Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Judy Croome's Dancing in the Shadows of Love (+ giveaway!)

Due to the long geographical distance between us, I've not yet had the pleasure of meeting Judy Croome in person, but I've loved her thoughtful blog posts these past few years and couldn't have been more delighted when her first independently published novel, Dancing in the Shadows of Love (available on Amazon and Smashwords), was published recently. I snagged her at once for an interview so we could learn more about her book! Judy lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her short stories have been published in ITCH magazine and “Notes from Underground Anthology”. She was recently shortlisted in the African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition.

Welcome, Judy!

Marilyn, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. (I'm delighted to have you here, Judy. ;)

Please tell us a bit about your book, Dancing in the Shadows of Love: The story explores the sacrifices people make in the pursuit of a love that transcends everyday existence. Lulu’s quest, and that of Jamila and Zahra too, is to find the divine love that will fulfill their hopes and save their souls...if they can recognise the masks of those who seek to lead them astray.

What inspired you to write this story? There’s a Hebrew phrase “Tikkun Olam” which means ‘repairing the world’ and denotes the restoration of the right order and a true union; a correction of our spiritual selves to be made whole again. Kabbalists see a tikkun as a special healing: they experience themselves and each other as the Divine sefirot (Divine potentials; planes of God made manifest.) This act of healing connects across differences, without becoming the Other. In essence, for a person to find inner peace, there needs to be a healing (a sacred union) of the inner fractures of the soul which create dualities such as racial or gender divides (black vs white, male vs female.)

This phrase lies at the heart of my story. As an ordinary person, happy in my ordinary little life, I’ve always tried to be a “good” person. But South Africa’s tragic history, as revealed by the TRC, left me questioning so many things about myself . I came to the conclusion I just don’t have the warrior personality that wants to change the world. That made me wonder what I could have done to prevent or heal the wounds of our past.

Through the eyes of three very different women, Dancing in the Shadows of Love explores how an ordinary person, one who doesn’t have what it takes to be hero, can also find a way to repair the fractures of a broken world.

Dancing in the Shadows of Love is being published independently. These days publishers require their authors to do a lot of the selling and promotion themselves. How much more work (and risk? and funds?) do you think it takes to publish independently? With the changing face of the publishing world, budding writers have never had it so good! The creative freedom is exhilarating. But there are as many risks in independent publishing as there are in traditional publishing. The difference lies mainly in where the buck stops. With traditional publishing, the buck stops with other people (the editor, the marketing department.) With independent publishing, the buck begins and starts with the author. So, unless you’re willing to take total responsibility for your book, don’t even consider independent publishing. There may be the potential for much greater financial rewards, but there are as many risks—and much more responsibility—than the traditional route.

The eBook edition is being released before paper. Do you think this is going to become the norm, regardless of being published independently or traditionally? Yes. Amazon has recently announced that, for the first time, eBooks have outsold print books. eBooks are the future, and the future is now. A caveat, though, is that sweeping changes take time to filter through as an accepted part of life. There are still many people who enjoy the feel and weight of a paper book in their hands. Paper books have not died yet, but their demise may come quicker than expected. I’m still weighing up the option of doing a print version of my novel, as I’m getting quite a few requests for a print version.

You've made a lovely book trailer for Dancing in the Shadows of Love. What inspired this idea? Book trailers are common on the ‘net and when blogging friend Damaria Senne asked me who was doing my book trailer, I decided I’d try to make one. You can read how I did it on my guest post “12 Easy Steps to Make a Book Trailer” on self-publishing guru Joel Friedlanders’ blog. (View Judy's wonderful book trailer HERE!!)

The life of a writer is full of ups and downs. What (or who) helps pull you up from the pits? Meditation is my most important tool for keeping centred. I also have fantastic support from my husband Beric, my Mom and Dad and the rest of my family.

Marilyn, thanks so much for hosting me here. I really enjoyed my visit and, to say thanks, I’d like to ask you to draw the name of a random commentor, who will win a US$15 gift voucher (from their preferred choice of Amazon or Barnes and Noble).

Thank you, Judy! Wishing you much success with your novel. I'll use random.org to select a name on Thursday night after 10pm (June 9th) and will post the winner's name on Friday morning. Good luck, everyone!!


Edie Ramer said...

Judy, your book sounds lovely. The title and cover are wonderful.

I'm an indie author, too, and I love it. It's empowering. Good luck to you!

Tonya Kappes said...

Hi, Judy! I love your picture and your book sounds great! I'm an indie author and have great fun and success with my debut novel, Carpe Bead 'em.

You are right, you have to be able to say you are responsible for your work. I did invest in an editor and wasn't completely happy with the results. BUT I had a wonderful reader email me who loves my books, she is an English major and offered her services! FOR FREE!! She catches everything. Of course I acknowledged her in my books, and she lives close so we meet for dinner! Not to mention I belong to a fantastic critique group with authors Heather Webber, Shelley Shepard Grey and Cathy Liggett. So it's very important to surround yourself with honest people who will tell you your stuff is good or help you fix it. Good luck!!

Be sure to check out my grog The Writer's Guide To EPublishing! It's got some GREAT stuff on there for Indies!

Judy Croome said...

*pant!pant!* Made it! A bit late,but here I am! These time zones sometimes make me late for my own party!

Edie, I agree. Indie publishing really has empowered me and has made me fall in love with writing all over again.

Tonya, Carpe Bead'em - ha! that's such a clever title! And yuo're so right about the importance of a great crit group. Without my lovely crit partners (who are tough enough to keep my writing on the straight and narrow!) this story would never have seen the light of day!!:)

Judy, South Africa

Judy Croome said...

PS One day we'll share a hot cup of coffee and a large box of chocolates, Marilyn! :)

Judy, South Africa

Marilyn Brant said...

Edie and Tonya, it's been such a delight to see your indie releases doing so well!! It's a brand new world for publishing and you two have been inspirations for me!

And Judy, YAY!!!!!! I'm so excited for you! Definitely looking forward to talking with you over coffee and chocolates someday ;).

Pamala Knight said...

Thank you to Marilyn and Judy for the awesome interview about what looks to be a fabulous book.

The cover is beautiful!

Lydia Ruth said...

Judy - congratulations on your commitment to sharing your story with the world! I also watched your book trailer, and the images really seemed to invoke the feel of your book - great job. If you ever share photos of South Africa please let me know as it's definitely on my list of places I want to visit.

Marilyn - thanks for introducing me to another wonderful female writer.

Judy Croome said...

Pamala: So glad you like the cover - the South African artist is a personal favourite of mine, but I was wondering if the painting worked as a cover - so Yay! You might like to pop over to my blog and read my interview with the artist Wenkidu - he's a very interesting man! (hope you enjoyed the French Open this year - yay Rafa!)

Lydia - thanks so much for your kind words! And you might like to see the South African Snippets on my blog - plenty of photos! (My favourite is "Meeting Nathanial - you'll see why!)

Judy, South Africa

Pamela Cayne said...

Judy, this sounds like such a wonderful book--congrats! And yes, that cover is beautiful and I feel like it conveys the essence of your story so well. Lovely!

Thanks, Marilyn, for another fabulous writer recommendation! You're single-handedly stacking my TBR pile!

Judy Croome said...

Pamela: although I've had serious post-cover-design-second-thought-itis (is there such a thing?), it's because this cover perfectly expresses the essence of my story that I wanted to use it so badly. I'm thinking of getting some books done in print and the cover looks even better! :)

Judy, South Africa

Marilyn Brant said...

Pamala, Lydia and Pamela~Thanks so much to all three of you for stopping by to welcome Judy. Always wonderful to see you ladies here ;).

Robin said...

Congratulations, Judy! I so enjoyed reading this interview and wish you much success! Your book sounds great and now having gotten to know you a little better (thanks, Marilyn!), I want to read the book all the more.

Marilyn Brant said...

Hi, Robin! *waving* Thanks for taking a few minutes to pop by, esp. during this really busy week you have. Will be thinking of you and the new grad tomorrow ;).

N. R. Williams said...

Good interview Marilyn. Thanks for coming by my blog today.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Judy Croome said...

Robin: Thanks so much for your congratulations, I'm glad you enjoyed reading about my book! I'm starting to think about the next one, so getting excited about new ideas.

Nancy: Glad to have you pop in - you always have exciting links to your blog on FB!

Marilyn Brant said...

Nancy, thanks so much to you for stopping by ;).

And, Judy, again -- a big hug of thanks for being here this week. I'll be drawing the winner's name late tonight and posting in the morning!