I’m pleased to welcome author Roz White along to the blog today whose #TenThings have certainly made me smile. She certainly has a very entertaining turn of phrase!
1 My name is Roz White. Does that count?
OK, here’s a little more. I’m 57, I currently live in Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth and work nominally out of Inverness – but I have a Roving Brief (I blame the elastic) and cover an area from Aberdeen to Fort William and All Points North as a Maintenance Engineer for Royal Mail. No, I don’t deliver letters.
2 I don’t read as much as I would like, or probably ought to. But I don’t rely on the TV for my information either! I like a good, “chewy” history or biography in terms of non-fiction, and have a passing interest in anthropology, too. Having just said that I don’t rely on the telly, it occurs to me on a quick glance over at the bookshelf that my two main anthropology books are actually based on TV series! “Tribe” by Bruce Parry and “Last of the Medicine Men” by Benedict Allen, who recently Went Missing up a mountain but didn’t do it right because they found him again… that series is one I’d love to see again, but as far as I can discover it’s never been released on video, let alone DVD. Why is that??
3 I’m hoping Joanne can tidy this up, but #3 ought to be that I’m rubbish at formatting, this thing is all over the place! However… I used to be a re-enactor. Perhaps I still am, though I left all my kit behind when I had to relocate in order to Follow The Money and the family have custody of it all. I made a very mean Viking!
4 Other hobbies include wargaming (more history…) and model railways, from teeny tiny trams in 2mm scale to real, hissing, bubbling, “ouch-that’s-hot” live steam in 16mm scale. I’ve done it forever, I got my first train set when I was perhaps three?
I could boil all this down to another strand of the Endlessly Creative urge: I need to make stuff, be it trains, toy soldiers or stories. I began writing at an early age as well: around five or so, if memory serves. It was two pages of foolscap (because I predate A4), based on a telly program of the time, and the word “then” outnumbered any other!
5 I began writing… no, let me rephrase that. I began seriously writing, as in “I have something to say and I need to get it said and out there” when I read a couple of books by an acquaintance. The guy in question is a fellow viking enthusiast, but he thinks he’s a serious scholar of the subject. Sadly, I disagreed… anyway, I lived on the Wirral at the time, and although he had moved away (he’s a noted academic and scientist in his field) he’s a Wirral lad still, and he put out a couple of books about Wirral’s viking past. I disagreed on every point he tried to make, and it was then pointed out to me that I could shout and rage all I wanted, but what really mattered was putting the record straight. So I did. The resulting book was taken up by the other guy’s local publisher (result!) and, had I been on a PhD course, would have been my thesis.
Frankly, I destroyed his arguments one by one, and in so doing effectively re-wrote the book on Wirral’s viking past. He was gracious enough to admit defeat!
It’s been a bit of a recurring theme from then on… I went looking for what I considered decent Viking-age fiction and couldn’t find any. One particularly well-known author in another period (televised, too, no less) tried his hand and I lasted barely a chapter, it was so wrong! I can’t watch “Vikings” on the telly for the same reason. So I wrote some of my own; I’m in the process of migrating them to Amazon from Lulu just now, and I write them under the name H.A. Douglas.
Then I wanted decent, non-erotic transgender fiction. Again, I couldn’t find any! So guess what I did… I’m now writing Book 8 of my Sisterhood series, which have been very well received by trans and cis readers alike, something I find very heartening. I’ve tried to make them entertaining, amusing and educational as well; it’s not an easy balance to strike.
Lately, I’ve been looking for good Steampunk fantasy… and Book 2 of my Lady Ghast novels is also underway! There will be links at the end, I promise.
6 I went the self-publishing route, well, apart from the non-fiction Viking one I mentioned above. I spent endless time, money and stamps sending letters and manuscripts – yes, real, heavy, type-written manuscripts! – to agents and publishers, only to occasionally get even a cursory “no thank you” letter back – very often I got nothing at all. Now, at the time, Amazon’s self-publishing arm was clunky, messy, difficult to use and very much in its infancy, so I cast around and stumbled across Lulu.com, who had (and still have) a much friendlier policy towards authors, and will even print books for free if you waive any royalty. It was also free to actually use, and pretty user-friendly. It still is, but as Amazon grew, the chances of actually getting potential readers to go to any other site and buy books (that come from the US, so take a while) diminished.
As I set out on the marathon journey that was to become “The Sisterhood” series, I stumbled across an actual publisher, who was looking for submissions! Wonder of wonders… so I submitted and was accepted. I was going to be a CoolBeans author, I was so excited! Then they took on a “media guru” to do all the hard work for them (it turned out the company was the love-child of a couple of part-time editor friends who had Bigger Dreams than they could actually handle) – and he wrecked it in no time. They went bust, and I was back on my own – well, not quite. I made some good friends, with whom I’m still very close. Silver Linings an’ all that…
Where was I? Oh yes. After CoolBeans crashed, I had another look at Amazon, and now their CreateSpace thingy looked OK. So, feeling mercenary enough to chase the money, I put the first book with them, it all went up on the site without too many hitches – though again, over the years since they appear to have put a lot of work into improving things and it’s now the case that I can get a book up within an hour. I’ve been with Amazon ever since, and whilst my sales are never massive (I could buy a bottle of cheap plonk most months but that’s about it), they still outstrip sales on Lulu – which is daft, since the market for historical fiction must surely be bigger than that for trans soap opera! So I’m moving all the viking ones over, and 2019 might be the year I get my tushie into gear and actually start marketing them properly.
7 I love chilli! I have books of recipes, and have invented a few of my own. I would think Mexican is probably my favourite cuisine right now, though Indian and Italian are a close second.
[Roz is responsible for my family having chilli after I read this – must ask for one of those recipes!]
8 To go with my tongue-tingling concoctions, I enjoy a good red wine (Merlot being my grape of choice) but am also a real-ale fan. When it became clear in the middle of last year that I would be moving to Inverness to work, I did a little research (as you do) and discovered both my Nirvana and my Nemesis – the Black Isle Brewery Bar! Over twenty fine, gorgeous ales on tap, in a basic spit-and-sawdust style drinking den in the middle of the city centre… heaven. It’s probably just as well that I can’t afford to go in there too often!
9 Musically, I’m an unreconstructed ‘70’s Rock Chick. I will stretch into the ‘80’s, which includes seminal bands such as Motorhead, Saxon, Judas Priest, Scorpions and so many more. In a musical sense I awoke to the sound of Hawkwind: in the days when Radio 2 stil thought it was the Light Programme, somebody one day slipped “Silver Machine” in amid all the Mantovani and Henry Mancini… and I can still remember staring wide-eyed at the radio and thinking “what on earth is this…” Some might say it’s been downhill ever since, but I’d have to disagree. Of course, it was Lemmy singing on that track, and he kept dipping in and out of my life from then on. I don’t usually pay much attention to celebrity happenings, but when he died… the world got a whole lot quieter. I remember thinking much the same when Spike Milligan passed, too.
10 Oh, did I mention that I’m trans? Does it matter? 😉
Thanks, Joanne – it’s been fun! Tricky, too, and there were moments when I wasn’t sure I could actually list ten things about me – but we got there in the end! Now for some links:
My Roz White Amazon page: www.amazon.co.uk/Roz-White/e/B00W1L8QKW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1546986167&sr=8-1
My H.A. Douglas Amazon page: www.amazon.co.uk/H.-A.-Douglas/e/B07CC4GQSX/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1546986268&sr=1-2-ent