In this episode of Book Journeys Radio, Angela Lauria talks to author Cathy Larson, about her book, Yard Wine: It’s a Neighborly Thing. Larson is also a writing instructor, and has likewise written a children’s book called The Dream Train: A Family Bedtime Tradition, which she also talks a little about during the interview.
According to Larson, the concept of Yard Wine came about from her bonding activities with her neighbors, who were fond of sharing drinks while talking about different topics. In her website, yardwinebook.com, Larson says that this is a good way to build meaningful relationships the old-fashioned way, that is, face to face. In particular, Yard Wine builds much on the twenty-five years’ worth of experiences and stories of Nancy Roddy, who is credited as the inspiration for much of the stories and anecdotes in the book, as well as the person who set Larson on the path of writing the book. While this has allowed her to draw on a much larger and deeper source of stories to tell, Larson noted that it also lent its fair share of challenges; one of the biggest challenges that she had when writing Yard Wine was the fact that while the book is written in the first person, she takes Nancy’s point of view instead of her own—essentially, it was Cathy putting words in Nancy’s mouth. It was a good thing, she said, that Nancy was also there to help with the book, because it meant that she had the final say over what Larson was writing. Larson likewise said that Yard Wine was more of a collection of vignettes and short stories about her and Nancy’s experiences interspersed with a little practical advice.
Some issues also got in the book’s way after Larson was done writing it, one of which came from the
marketing side of things. She said that initially, she and her team had some trouble figuring out what their target audience for Yard Wine was, setting their making their marketing projections for the book a little too broad. However, she was able to narrow it down to a specific set of people, making the task run a little bit smoother. Larson revealed that because she knew very little at the time about the practical side of getting a book published, she was forced to learn on the fly. Fortunately, she was able to use what she had learned by the time she wrote The Dream Train.
Larson also talked about some of the things that have changed since the publication of Yard Wine. She revealed that Nancy was in charge of running their social media presence, and is currently looking to venture into Twitter, and organizing Twitter parties that are sort of the electronic equivalent of what they are doing in real life. She also shared some of her and Nancy’s experiences while promoting the book, such as visiting California’s Wine Country.
Larson noted that the best thing that came out of having a book that you’ve written getting published is the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes whenever somebody commends you on it. Lastly, she gave the following advice to anyone that’s planning to write a book: just do it, and don’t wait for things to be perfect before committing words to paper, otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.
Watch out for Angela’s interview with another exciting author.