1) Tell us about yourself and what you do.
My first book, The Journey Takers, just launched July 1st. So, lately about all I do is book stuff. Before my book took over my life, I used to write for magazines, mostly history and family history magazines, as well as some family magazines. Some of the publications I have written for include The History Channel Magazine, Family Chronicle, Ancestry, Family Tree Magazine, History Magazine, and Family Fun. I also speak to genealogy and history groups. By the end of 2010, I will have spoken in fifteen states! I love writing and I really enjoy speaking too.
I live in a small town in western Massachusetts in a cute, old, red farmhouse. I have four children, ages nine months to ten years. Between kids and writing, there isn’t much “spare” time left over!
2) How long have you been writing?
I have wanted to be a writer since I was five years old. I started writing for magazines nearly eight years ago and have written about 100 articles. I actually started working on my book before that…It’s just been a long time in coming.
3) Where do you get your inspiration to write?
I love doing research about different times and places. As I learn more about people in history, my mind often fills with ideas and thoughts about what their lives were like.
4) Where do you like to write? What type of writing schedule do you follow?
With four children, my schedule has to be very flexible! I usually write at night for a couple of hours after my children go to sleep. I also try to write a few hours on the three mornings a week that my third oldest goes to preschool (if it happens to coincide with the baby’s nap.)
I used to have an office, but that got converted into a nursery when the fourth was born. Now, I often just sit on the living room couch with my computer.
5 ) What genre do you write and why?
I write nonfiction. My book is narrative nonfiction, so in some ways it is very similar to fiction. It tells a story and has emotions and characters. When I write for magazines, it is more how-to or informative nonfiction.
My book is called The Journey Takers. The description on the back cover states: Leslie Albrecht Huber’s ancestors were journey takers, leaving their homes in Germany, Sweden, and England behind to sail to the US and start new lives here. Huber sets out to trace these journeys and to understand her family – who they were and what mattered to them. But as she follows in their footsteps, walking the paths they walked and looking over the land they farmed, she finds herself on a journey she hadn’t expected. Based on thousands of hours of research, Huber recreates the immigration experience in a way that captures both its sweeping historical breadth and its intimately personal consequences.
You can learn more about it at my website: www.thejourneytakers.com. It is available through my website, on www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, or at local bookstores (ask them to order it in if they aren’t carrying it.)
7) What have you done to promote your book?
Basically – everything I can think of! I set off on a cross-country book tour on July 5, driving from Massachusetts to California. Along the way, I did book lectures and signings in Pittsburgh, Madison, Des
Moines, Burbank (CA), and Bakersfield (CA). Currently, I am speaking at the BYU Family History Conference. Throughout the month of August, I am doing other lectures and book signings in Utah, Nevada, and Tennessee, before returning home in time for my kids to start school. I have more lectures booked for the fall. I have also sent the book out for review, arranged to write articles for magazines about it, and even had the opportunity to do a brief television interview.
8) Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you to overcome it?
I actually feel like I don’t get writer’s block very often. I usually have more ideas in my head then I have time to write them. However, I do sometimes get stuck on a certain passage or section. When this happens, I skip to another part and start writing there. I never write anything from start to finish. In fact, I wrote the chapters of my book out of order, and have answered these questions out of order too!
9) If you are self-published, why did you choose this option instead of traditional publishing?
I chose to work with a distributor (actually a couple of distributors) instead of a traditional publisher. It allows the book to get into the “regular” distribution channels, but also makes it easy for me to sell it at my lectures and other events which works out nicely.
10) What is your next project?
Right now, I am very focused on spreading the word about The Journey Takers. However, I do have some ideas for the future stirring around in my head. I have done some work on a historical fiction novel.
11) What advice do you have for new writers?
Don’t give up. Gain as much experience as you can by writing other things besides your book. Also, get feedback from others so you can improve your writing. Join a writing group, attend a conference, or take a class. Keep working to improve your skills.
Thank you for sharing all this with us, Leslie!