July 2015 is a big month this year for fellow writer, Linda Huber Her first two novels – The Paradise Trees and The Cold Cold Sea were published by Legend Press in 2013 and 2014. This year Linda independently publishes her third novel – The Attic Room. A few weeks ago, I asked Linda some questions about the new novel and the experience of publishing independently.
How did you come to write The Attic Room?
In the beginning it was quite a different novel. My main characters are Nina in the present day, and her mother Claire, who gives details of the twenty-odd years leading up to today. In the first drafts, though, as well as all their other horrible problems, Claire had Huntington’s Disease. As a physiotherapist, I’d worked with a few Huntington’s patients and writing about this appalling condition was the original reason for starting The Attic Room. However, I was advised by my amazing editor that I had written two books in one here, so the Huntington’s subplot came out. I’m using it in another novel at the moment.
The Attic Room is set in locations in Scotland and in the Bedford area of England. How did you choose the locations?
The Attic Room follows an old school friend around the country. My main character Nina lives on the lovely Isle of Arran, where my friends have their home. As a teenager I stayed there every summer and it’s quite simply a magical place. The same friends later spent a few years in the Bedford area where I visited them several times, so the English part of my book is set there. Then there are a few chapters in Edinburgh where my godmother lives, and one in the Glasgow hospital where I used to work.
It’s a story of a mother and a daughter and a secret. How important is the relationship in the story?
It’s less important than it was when Huntington’s was part of the plot, but still key to Nina’s happiness. The problem is that Nina in the present day doesn’t know what Claire knew twenty years ago, and this is threatening to undermine the good relationship they had. The reader discovers on the first page that Claire recently died, so there’s no one for Nina to ask anymore.
How has the independent publishing experience been compared to your previous experience of traditional publishing?
What I enjoyed most about both processes is the collaboration with the women who edited my books. It’s such fun to see a story tighten and change as it’s edited. The big advantage of traditional publishing is that afterwards you don’t have to worry about things like formatting and uploading to various platforms etc. And the big advantage of indie publishing is you get to work with the people who create the book cover, do the formatting etc. It’s nice having the last word! Another big advantage is the relative speed of the indie process – by the time The Attic Room was licked into shape, publishing it myself was the only way to ensure the book came out in 2015.
What have you enjoyed most about the independent publishing process?
Choosing the book cover, which came from the amazing The Cover Collection. Getting to decide about cracks in the wall, font, colouring – it was brilliant!
What online resources have you found most helpful in the independent publishing process?
The ALLi website and Facebook group have been particularly useful. But I think what’s helped me most is having contact with various indie authors – everyone has leaned over backwards to help and I really can’t say how grateful I am!
What advice would you give to an author who is thinking about going the indie route?
Two things – first and foremost talk to other indie authors about their experiences; find out exactly what you need to do.
Secondly, there’s the financial side. Editors, cover designers et al don’t come cheap but they do a vital job, so that’s something else to consider. I went the easy but expensive route and hired people for everything, though someone who’s more technically-minded might be able to do some of it themselves. But it’s still best to decide at the outset what you can and can’t do, rather than get halfway through a process and then discover you’re stuck!
Would you do it again?
I would go both routes again. Many people have told me it’s useful to have at least two books self-published, so I’m working on another with my editor now. And having a book traditionally published is great in a different way. We’re lucky nowadays that both ways are possible.
At the moment I’m preparing the next book for self-publishing this winter/spring, and writing the Huntington’s Disease book. I’ve only done the first few chapters of that so it’ll be a bit longer coming…
Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, where she trained as a physiotherapist. Linda now lives in Arbon, on the banks of beautiful Lake Constance in Switzerland, where she works as a language teacher at a school in a medieval castle. Linda has had in excess of fifty short stories and articles printed in women’s magazines.
In 2013, her debut thriller, The Paradise Trees was published by Legend Press. Her second book, The Cold Cold Sea, also a thriller, was published by Legend Press in 2014. The Attic Room, a psychological thriller, is available for pre-order on Amazon now on kindle (out tomorrow 22nd July 2015).