A Conversation with: Rebecca Buckley

May 27, 2012

 A Conversation with: Rebecca Buckley

Author, Publisher, Traveler, Singer–(oh yeah, and Blog Radio show host!)

Rebecca Buckley

Today, I’m visiting with Rebecca Buckley, another “how does she do it all” dynamo author—and publisher! I met Rebecca very early in my promotions journey. She invited me to my first Book Fair. If I remember correctly, it was in 2009 at a library in Fountain Hills, AZ, and it was my first exposure to “in person” sales. I do remember how gracious and kind Rebecca was to me. I still haven’t forgotten that trip and experience. Since that time, I’ve followed Rebecca, mostly on Facebook and her blogs, and have come to appreciate how much she does. Yes, today I’m talking with another multiple-hat, nonstop author!

Thank you, Rebecca, for taking the time to stop by for a chat. First off, I’m amazed and so impressed with all your internet activity.[i] I have a real challenge doing the occasional interview like this. My first question is how do you manage keeping all your blogs going? What I’m getting at, is it a planned and coordinated activity—or as the spirit moves you? Then there’s finding the time…

Well, first of all, Madeline, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to have this conversation. Yes, it’s been a while since we first met, and I remember that day too. You were a bright spot at the table next to us … you and your friend next to me and my friend. As I recall both our friends loved hats.  lol lol lol  As for how I manage to keep the websites and blogs going, as well as the social networking … it ain’t easy. I’ve tried several ways to make sure I keep on a schedule, and one that I prefer is setting aside the same day each week for blogging, one day for updating websites, one day for social networking, one for marketing, and so forth. Like I said, that’s what I prefer. But it doesn’t always work. I constantly have to attend to this or that with my publishing company and other authors, and my own writing, which destroys my Internet schedule.  So … I really don’t have a set answer for you. It’s a do as I can situation.  I find myself on two of the social networking sites usually every day, however – Facebook and Twitter. And on my recent FREE Kindle promotion for the third novel in my “Midnight” (Rachel O’Neill) series, posting on those two social sites paid off tremendously. I’m hoping to gain some new fans, which was the purpose of the program.

You are amazingly busy! One of your blogs I find most fascinating is your travel blog. I very much admire the ease with which you travel, and especially loved visiting Britain through your eyes. I’ve been on several panels talking about setting—and its importance for reader enjoyment. Different locations are central to your “Midnight” series. Could you share your thoughts on your travels and how they connect with your novels, ideas, inspiration…? And again, the logistics, with everything else you do.

Traveling is near the top of my “what I love” list. Writing about those travels without it being a travel guide has been my motivation and goal in my novels. The settings are secondary to the plot and characters, but are most important in helping the reader visualize. I’ve created a central character who has adventures in all these places, is a writer who lives in Cornwall, and something momentous happens at a New Year’s Eve celebration in each novel – hence the ‘Midnight’ in the titles.

The inspiration came from my own father when I was growing up and when he watched the panning of New Year’s Eves around the world every year on television. I would stay up and watch the exciting celebrations with him. He loved to travel and always wanted to go to all those major cities, but he only made one trip to Europe before he died. Well, I’m carrying on for him. I go to all the settings I write about. I have to see it, feel it, and experience it to write about it authentically. Sure a certain amount of information can be filled in from Internet searches, but I must know what it feels like to actually see the sights, hear the sounds, smell the aromas, and meet the people. And most times, being there is the inspiration for plot and characters. Definitely.

Your “having been there” certainly comes through. On Rachel O’Neil’s website, I love the roses! Pulls you right in… Interesting, a character coming alive on a blog. What are you and Rachel thinking about this adventure now that it’s actually started?

This is an entirely new endeavor for me and I’m still not as regular as I want to be with it.  Rachel has a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/racheloneill100… and a blog: http://racheloneill100.blogspot.com/  It’s been fun posting the conversation between me (writer) and Rachel O’Neill (character) as if we’re good friends. But then of course we are, I know her better than anyone, and vice versa. lol lol  I had been reading up on book marketing and in several instances in more than one publication it was suggested that authors create blogs and webpages as well as social networking profiles for characters, especially serial characters. I loved the idea and off I went.

Midnight at Trafalgar, Midnight at the Eiffel, Midnight in Brussels, Midnight in Moscow, Midnight in Malibu
The Rachel O’Neil Series by Rebecca Buckley

Changing topics, Do you still write plays? And, How does the writing experience differ from writing your books…or does it...?

Yes, I do. In fact I wrote my latest play last year to include in my book, released in October 2011, of six stage and screenplays I’ve written. The collection is called MY DRAMEDY. The new play is called GEORGE & LOTTIE. It’s a continuation of the original play written by Willy Russell – EDUCATING RITA. Remember the movie?  I took the liberty to bring the lead characters ‘Frank and Rita’ back together after 20 years and give them the romantic ending I wanted the first time around (being the romantic that I am), didn’t like the way Willy ended it.

Writing screenplays was my first serious foray into the writing world, by the way. I learned so much about the technical side of plot and characters during that initial experience and through classes at UCLA, and have adapted it to novel writing. A movie has 60 scenes approximately and three parts:  1) introducing characters and lead character’s desire, 2) action unfolding towards conclusion, 3) conclusion.  As you will notice my novels have 3 and sometimes 4 parts with around 60 chapters. Each chapter is a scene to me. The only difference between a novel and a screenplay or stageplay is a 300-page novel has loads of narrative and descriptions, and a 100-page screenplay is ninety percent dialogue.

That’s so interesting to me because I can’t seem to get the hang of either screenplays or plays. I admire your abilities in those areas. While we’re on “abilities,” tell us about being a publisher. I would say that’s a full-time career in itself—and exciting. Giving talented authors a venue—what could be better?! I’d love hearing any thoughts on your publishing activities you’d like to share. Such as skills required, do you like it, is it hard…whatever comes to mind?

I started my publishing company in 2007 on a shoestring and on the fly. What I knew about publishing at that time was very little. But I knew I could learn and I could be of benefit to those writers who were having a hard time getting published. I had experienced the whole process from an author’s perspective – the queries, the rejections, then being published. And I learned how traditional publishing houses operated.

I joined IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) and began studying and applying what I was learning and am still learning. By the end of 2012, I will have published 29 books (by other authors including my own). The skills involved are tremendous. Selecting manuscripts that will produce a return is the biggie. Designing the book interiors and the cover is a specialized art. My experience in graphic arts has helped, and my eye for color and design (was an interior designer for years) is a plus. Being computer literate and savvy helps, and my years of word processing in the corporate world have certainly been of value. Then comes editing and editing and more editing. And mustn’t forget the marketing. It all can be pretty overwhelming at times, and it is. When that happens I have to take a breather and tell myself over and over that I can do it. Then I jump back in and tackle the problem, if there is one, and go forward. Always going forward. At times it’s perplexing and frustrating, and can be costly on this shoestring of mine, but something keeps me interested and something keeps me inspired and something keeps me going. I think it’s because I love it! I love publishing almost as much as writing. Wearing two hats can be exhausting however.

Wow! Let me say that again, Wow! I also picked up on one of your blogs that you sing, garden, and love cats. I know you live in a western state like I do, and in what I’d call a desert area. On the gardening front, what challenges do you face? I know I have many—two come right to mind, heat and wind. Or, are you a “green thumb” gardener and can grow anything, anywhere? Sure could use some tips!

I love a lush overgrown English garden. That’s what I’m creating, front and back. This year it looks better than it ever has and I’ve been in Arizona nearly five years. My worst nightmares are the freeze and the darn wind.

Two winters ago I almost lost all my plants during the freeze except for the hardy bougainvilleas and roses, I was really worried.  But all but three varieties came back, and that’s how I learn what I can plant, what works and what doesn’t. I select only flowering species from the nurseries, I love blossoms, and I’m slowly filling in all the empty spaces with them. Love roses. Every tree has been blown over at one time or another in these horrid wind storms, have six trees. But I’ve managed to salvage all but one – which is now merely a shrub. I have four Mesquite trees, the weeping willow type, not the yellow flowering that attract tons of bees. One of the Mesquite was blown to the ground during one storm, some of the roots came up, but it didn’t break, and so I left it that way. Trimmed it and now it looks like a bonsai and serves as a canopy over the iron bench and flowerbed.  I love it.  Everyone comments on how unique it looks. Reminds me of the leaning Monterrey Spruce on Highway One in California. I’m pretty much a green thumb gardener, like my grandmother.

Yes, I love singing, have some recent samples on my blog … have you listened?  Years ago I was better, when I was younger. Loved the music scene in L.A. Even sang gospel with my sister and another gal, had our own band, sang all over California for a few years, even sang at the Fresno Convention Center – scary! I’ve produced gospel concerts and even a jazz festival in my time, also owned and managed a jazz cafe – music five nights a week. Used to play the piano, accompanying myself, but that’s gone by the wayside. Lots of memories there. Now I satisfy that urge with my Karaoke setup at home.

And yes, I have three cats – Princie, Oreo, and Albee. My babies. In fact I live with them in their house.

Oh, Rebecca, I’m so dreaming of a lush British type garden…my experiences have been like yours, but worse.  And yes, your voice is wonderful! As always, I’m in awe of musical abilities.

Before you go,  what’s on the near horizon for you?

Upping the ante is in my future in all aspects of my life, personal and professional.

Thank you, Rebecca, what a lovely talk we’ve had! And we didn’t even get to the WOW anthologies, Blog radio, and your painting…

 And thank you.

16 Responses to “A Conversation with: Rebecca Buckley”

  1. rjbuckley said

    Kathleen, yes, you picked up on the cat house thingie. lol lol And this home is theirs. When I have visitors, they must be able to tolerate cats, because I will not make any changes in my babies’ routine to accommodate guests. I tell them up front, so it’s up to visitors whether they want to come to stay or not.

  2. rjbuckley said

    Learning what plants thrive and giving them the right amount of water is the key, Marja. Plus fertilizer and mixing in the right kind of soil. The dirt here is ridiculous, it always has to have a mix, or else the plants won’t even take hold, they’ll die from the get go.

  3. rjbuckley said

    Yes, Pat, I feel the same way. You can always tell if the writer has experienced the setting and the people. And yes, I’ll definitely keep traveling, that’s my fuel.

  4. rjbuckley said

    Looks like we do have a lot in common, Jean. Terrific!

  5. rjbuckley said

    I see I’m a bit confused at posting, here … lol lol … okay, here’s a test, just to see how it works.

  6. princie97 said

    It’s so good to read the comments, especially when we all have interests in common. Yes! And Marilyn, I wish I would have seen your post before the weekend, I could have driven up to Sedona and surprised you. That would have been fun.

  7. rjbuckley said

    Hey, Marilyn, sure wish I would have caught your comment before the weekend was over. I would have driven up to Sedona to see you. Yes, we’ll meet up again one of these days. Ciao, my friend!

  8. M.M. Gornell said

    Thanks, Kathleen, for stopping by! Yeah, Rebecca is an inspiration–I sure like talking to energetic people like Rebecca, and YOU–gets the slug in me going! I know about the pets, my dogs are so kind as to let me live in their house and take care of them. (smile)

    Pat, so true! And as a travel agent, you would know more than most! Even when the perspective might be different than your own, the ring of authenticity sure comes through. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.


  9. Pat Gulley said

    I’m always happy to hear that an author has actually gone to a place they are writing about. As a retired travel agent, it is one of the main reasons I’ve avoided reading anything with foreign settings where the blurb has that ‘blown through’ feel to a location gleened from the internet. Keep traveling.

  10. Thanks for writing this lovely interview, Madeline, and introducing us to Rebecca. She’s truly a gifted soul and an inspiration. It’s amazing how much she accomplishes! I love how she said she lives with her cats in THEIR house ~ how true 🙂

  11. mmgornell said

    Thanks, Marilyn, Jake, Marja, Jean, and Gayle for taking the time to stop by! It’s a special holiday I know, and I’m also guessing you are all very busy. I so enjoyed my conversation with Rebecca, so nice to be able to share with others.


  12. I love it when writers use locations as almost a character. Madeline does a terrific job with her Route 66 series, and just reading this blog says the Midnight series has lots of interesting things to say about those fine locations Rebecca travels. And I would think writing screenplays helps with writing dialogue in your books. I took an acting class just to see what the writer needs to provide the actor and it held true with writing novels and especially short stories. Brevity creates reality. This was a fun interview.

  13. I enjoyed the interview, Rebecca, and learned that we have a great deal in common: a publishing company, gardening, various blogs, singing in Los Angeles as well as writing. I look forward to reading your books. Thank you for featuring her, Madeline.

  14. Terrific interview, and so interesting. In No. Arizona where I live, an English garden wouldn’t survive two days. I envy your project. Thank you so much for sharing. I enjoyed learning more about you.

  15. jblinco said

    Enjoyed your blog. Informative & fun to read. Always learn about new (to me) authors worth a read.

  16. marilynm said

    REbecca is a good friend of mine too! This was a great interview, Madeline. I think you are even busier than I am, Rebecca. Sure hope I’ll get to hang out with you again one day. I’m headed over to Sedona this weekend. I’ll be at the Well Red Coyote Bookstore on Friday night. Loved the conferences you used to do.

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