4 min read

Urban historical westerns? What? Carol Buchanan talks about her work & self publishing in this #bookmarket #twitterview

In the month of January, I'm doing a Twitter Interview (Twitterview) of many of the participants of the #BookMarket chat. These are people who come and generously share their wisdom week after week. The Twitterviews give them a chance to shine.

Today, I had a chance to speak with Carol Buchanan, @CarolBuchananMT. Carol is an author who writes historical fiction set in the wild west of Montana

My take on the interview:

I thought it was fascinating to learn a little more about Carol's early life. The fact that she and her family spent a year living in a railroad car makes interest in the lives of people in historical fiction make more sense. She's lived like they do. Her experience with unsavory a publisher lends weight to self publishing. After all, how many honorable, integrous people do you know? And in business? In that light, it's not surprising she and many authors have had bad experiences with authors.

Here's the whole transcript:

ClaudiaC Q.1 - What 5 words would you use to describe your publishing company?

CarolBuchananMT: That ? is harder'n it looks. Historical, suspense, thought-provoking, Western, law. And fun.

ClaudiaC Tell me about the law part of your books. What do you mean? Are they like Grisham books?

CarolBuchananMT: Yes. They are historical legal thrillers set in Civil War Montana. Confused w/ traditional Westerns.  Protag is NY attorney where there is/was no law. No code of law because Congress screwed up.

ClaudiaC They sound really fun! :) How do you manage it? Are you a historian? Lawyer?

CarolBuchananMT: PhD w/ strong history background. Not a lawyer, but a fmr prosecutor as technical advisor. #bookmarket #twitterview

ClaudiaC Fascinating! Good for you for finding something that suits you so well! :)

ClaudiaC Q.2 - What is your favorite thing about the publishing world today?

CarolBuchananMT: A2 Opportunity for authors to attract readers w/o "gatekeepers." My 1st novel won Spur.  It's so democratic. Gives power to the reader to decide what they like. I trust readers.

ClaudiaC I like this "I trust readers" <-- would you like to add more to this?

CarolBuchananMT: I trust people to decide for themselves what they like and make their own judgments.  There should be a rattlesnake flag for readers. :-)

ClaudiaC I wish there was a rattlesnake flag. Man... I would throw one or two of those.

CarolBuchananMT: Someone should make one for readers to fly: Don't tell me what to read. I'll decide what's good.

ClaudiaC LOVE this! RT @carolbuchananmt: "Don't tell me what to read. I'll decide what's good."

ClaudiaC 4. What draws you to writing Historical Fiction? It seems so cowboy and you such a lady?

CarolBuchananMT No contradiction. Plenty of ranch women are ladies. My dad a cowboy, early.

ClaudiaC I didn't realize your father was a cowboy. Do you think that's some of your draw to it?

CarolBuchananMT Dad taught me to ride. Mom grew up on a farm. Both strongly moral, believed in education. I don't write about ranch life. When I was born he worked for the RR. We lived in towns.

ClaudiaC Wow, fascinating. Do you still ride? do you farm at all? I know you're moral so I won't ask! ;)

CarolBuchananMT I set my novels in the urban old West, among businesspeople, miners. Yup. I rescued a horse, now 21 & still ride him. Never farmed, but relatives & friends do. We lived a year in a boxcar. Privy, well, no elec. Now I don't have to research that.  RE: moral. I ask for forgiveness a lot. #twitterview #bookmarket

ClaudiaC Wait. What?? A boxcar?? How...? What...? When your father worked the Railroad?

CarolBuchananMT They a financial problem, so retrenched bigtime. Only lasted a year. I had fun. Mom didn't.

ClaudiaC wow. I bet your Mom hated it.I'm glad things got better! I guess they say all authors suffer a bit

CarolBuchananMT Mom hated it when the kerosene lamp exploded, got soot on everything. Dad was in doo-doo.

ClaudiaC ahahahahahahah

ClaudiaC Cool! :) Q.4b - Since we are talking abt ur writing: Self pub? NYC publisher? What's ur prefrnce?

CarolBuchananMT A 4b. I've had both. Self-pub is super hard work, but trad pubs buy your rights & that's not good.

ClaudiaC For you, what do you prefer? What's worked best

CarolBuchananMT A4b. Royalties're shrinking & pubs tie royalties to copies sold, then lie about sales. Self-pub. I'm not rich, but I know what I've earned & I keep my rights.  There's no perfect answer to self-pub or trad pub.

ClaudiaC That's horrible! Did that happen to you?

CarolBuchananMT Yes. Royalty statements are exercises in obfuscation.

ClaudiaC That's very well said. Ppl don't realize the lack of control&what that means w a lot of publishers

CarolBuchananMT They think get a pub & all will be well. Not necessarily. #bookmarket

ClaudiaC Great point! RT @carolbuchananmt: They think get a pub & all will be well. Not necessarily.

CarolBuchananMT I'd LOVE to have a good relationship w/ an honest publisher who believed in my work.  But the pub would still own the rights.

ClaudiaC Q.4c - What would you say is the #1 need of a self publishing author?

CarolBuchananMT A4c Faith. Faith in God, your work, your efforts. Then you can do what you think you can't.

ClaudiaC Nice! :) Q.5 - Everyone has a super secret ninja skill. What's yours?

CarolBuchananMT My super ninja skill? Listening. People talk to me. Always have. Don't know why.  I soak up ppl's stories, experiences, enlarge my cast of characters.

ClaudiaC  Thank you so much for the fascinating interview! :) *applause* *applause* *applause*

CarolBuchananMT Book titles: God's Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana. Gold Under Ice. The Devil in the Bottle.

CarolBuchananMT You're welcome. Thank you for the penetrating & thought-provoking questions! Yay

ClaudiaC Join me Monday at 6p ET for a twitterview w @davidrozansky!

What's your take?

Previous #twitterviews:

Eco-fantasy and @Harmonygirlit

Serial fiction, Moody vampires, and other fun with @TechTigger

Publishing with Kate from @CandlemarkGleam

Self publishing with @FriesenPress