Meet Laura McCrossin

A Facebook friend of mine posted a great quote that came to mind during today’s interview with featured debut author Laura McCrossin: “The cure for anything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.” My hunch is that Written in Water: An Uncharted Life Aboard a Wooden Boat has all three. :)

Name: Laura McCrossin

Name of book: Written in Water: An Uncharted Life Aboard a Wooden Boat

Book genre: Adventure Nonfiction

Date published: April 5, 2012

Publisher: Createspace

What is your day job? Unemployed meteorologist (send me your vacancies!)

What is your book about? At age 21, I joined a 125-foot wooden ship for my first sailing experience. A few years later, I bought a wooden sailboat of my own, and on a whim and a prayer, I set sail for Cuba.

Why did you want to write this book? It’s a story of overcoming adversity and uncertainty, and of turning ones back on engrained assumptions that result in many of us leading our lives oblivious to the countless possibilities that exist. I wanted to provide inspiration for people in search of positive affirmation to validate their own dreams, and the encouragement to pursue them.

What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? The editing. It was never finished. Even though the book is now published, some days I still wonder if I should have included this, or taken out that… I’ve managed to leave it alone so far!

Did any other locales besides Cuba provide the material for this book? Yes, indeed. I traveled by sea to Cuba, Mexico, the Windward Isles of the Caribbean, Bermuda, Azores, Denmark, Scotland, Bahamas… to name just a few.

What motivates you to write? New experiences. The book (the unedited version) was written as I traveled. If something terrifying, inspiring, or otherwise out-of-the-ordinary occurred, I couldn’t wait for my next opportunity to pull out my writing materials and get it on paper.

Did you experience writer’s block? Yes, most definitely.  While editing, it was necessary to further develop the stories I’d already recorded, and to insert completely new material to create better flow. Writing new material, while I sat land-bound and completely uninspired in an apartment in the city, was very difficult and disheartening. I would overcome this by casting off the bowlines (literally) and going sailing for a few days. A quiet anchorage surrounded by nature was all that was required (and maybe a bottle of wine…).

How long did it take you to write this book? It took the better part of three years – two years full-time, and one year part-time while working a full-time job.

Tell me about the self-publishing process. Was it easier or more difficult than you thought it would be? The self-publishing process itself (formatting, uploading, cover design, etc.) was a breeze. Not being very computer literate, I expected it to be more challenging than it was. I solicited the help of a number of well-read and well-spoken acquaintances to help edit the manuscript. I do not have any regrets having taken this route, although I would like to have the marketing resources of an established publishing house at my fingertips right about now.

What would you say is the biggest misconception about writing a book? I knew it was going to be difficult, tedious, and sometimes frustrating, but I underestimated how many times I would have to start over. I would think I was ready for print, but would be forced to essentially go back to the beginning. It took two years longer than expected, and probably at least twelve more drafts than originally anticipated.

What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? The research.

What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion? At the moment, it’s a lot of social media. I continue to update my blog, and I started a Facebook page for the book, which I update frequently with photos and videos of my journey. I also try to make at least three new contacts per day, whether it’s an independent bookstore that I think my book would be suited for, or by submitting an article to a sailing magazine to help get my name out there (that’s McCrossin, with a “c”).  I’ve approached a couple of well-known writers and asked them to read my book and write a review, and many have been happy to oblige. As a fellow self-published author once told me, it may begin as a “slow burn,” but if you’ve done everything in your power to produce a book of exceptional quality, it will soon sell itself.

How has life changed for you since the publication of your book? The best part has been having the time to catch up on maintaining my boat and seeing her look beautiful again. The downside has been experiencing a mild case of empty nest syndrome now that my “baby” has grown and gone. This might be cured though by starting my sequel…

Do you find yourself obsessively checking sales stats? Yes, to the point where I’m considering canceling my Internet service.

You mentioned a sequel… I’m so glad you asked! Yes. It will be titled Second Violin: Keeping A Relationship Afloat When Your Mistress is a Boat.

My favorite last question: Oprah once famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. In regards to my own writing, I would say I shall have to wait and see…

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