Xlibris Publishing returns with KJ Stewart, author of The Spinster and the Madman.
What inspired you to write your book, and how long did it take you to finish it?
The idea for the Spinster and the Madman came from the British television series, The Fall, the story of a serial killer and the policewoman heading the taskforce to investigate his crimes. The killer is a family man with two young children and it got me imagining what it would be like to grow up with such a parent, and the effects this would have on a child’s perception of the world, family and love. Then, in the very early hours one morning, I had a kind of waking dream – think Fight Club without a manic and deranged Tyler Durden, aka Brad Pitt, in my head – where an elderly woman started speaking in my mind. This voice spoke of a childhood filled with unidentified dread, of horror and loss, and it had me scrabbling for the notebook and pen I keep on my bedside table.
That morning I wrote out the map for this book, however it took a very long time to complete (two years) due to the juggling act of my life, between fulltime work, parental obligations, family responsibilities, and health issues. This also included a complete rewrite to change the way I told the story, from a multi perspective to single perspective.
What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?
Often, I believe many people want, and need, to view life and others, in terms of a black-and-white landscape – us and them, good and bad. What I have found throughout my years, during which I’ve witnessed the worst and best in the human condition (often side-by-side), is that this view is limiting and doesn’t provide the full picture, or allow for the gradients of shading between, which make up a person’s psyche.
The story of The Spinster and the Madman exists in the grey, and I hope this makes it a far more interesting and intriguing read.
Are you working on a sequel to your book?
While I initially intended The Spinster and the Madman to be on a one-off novel, during the course of its writing I found my main character, Gina Palumbo, emerge as a strong and interesting protagonist whose story isn’t finished. Thus, this is the first instalment of a three-volume set, the second of which I am currently working on, and hope to get published by mid-2018.
Are there any events, marketing ideas or promotions planned for your book?
Being a local author whose book, in part, is set in the region, I am concentrating initially on promoting my book to the Blue Mountains community. I will be approaching bookstores, as well as doing a stall for the monthly markets situated up and down the mountain. I plan to then work my way outwards, incorporating the Sydney metropolitan area, including the bookstores which specifically cater for the LGBTQI community.
What was your favourite part of your publishing experience, overall and with Xlibris?
As my talented daughter, Jess Stewart, produced the wonderful cover artwork, my favourite part of the publishing experience was seeing the final cover, including the marketing material, which I absolutely love! I have found the overall experience of publishing with Xlibris to be a positive one, with plenty of support, explanation and advice from staff who guided me through the process.
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