Fay Risner is a veteran among the self-publishing authors. She started to use CreateSpace in 2008. Our next featured guest wrote 38 books. The last one was Doubting Thomas: Nurse Hal Among The Amish.

– What is your last book Doubting Thomas: Nurse Hal Among The Amish about?
– 7th in the series and my thirty eighth book. Emma Lapp plans her wedding. All Old order Amish weddings follow the same format. Except while Emma handles the wedding plans her husband-to-be is never around. Adam Keim, a mute, writes to communicate. He said he’d be busy all summer at his Furniture shop. Emma accepted that until she found out a woman labeled a man magnet is Adam’s new sales clerk. Emma is called a Doubting Thomas for thinking bad about Adam and the sales clerk. She confronts Adam, and it looks like the wedding might be called off.

– How did you decide to write the story?
– As soon as I publish a Nurse Hal book, the readers ask when the next book will be done. They like the Amish characters and the rural setting. So for this book, Emma reached the age to join the church and marry. It was just a matter of figuring out what believable problems would work in an Amish wedding story.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Trying to keep the story factual and believable as far as Amish beliefs and customs are concerned. For Emma’s wedding reception, a friend was a guest at an Amish wedding reception. She gave me the details which I tweaked to fit my characters. Also, she asked for the wedding food recipes so I could use them in the back of the book.
– Tell us something more about your main character?
– Emma Lapp is level headed and hard working. At thirteen, she became the housekeeper and caretaker when her mother died. Life was made more interesting when her dairy farmer father married Hallie Lindstrom, an English home health nurse. Emma learned nursing from her step mother and teaches school. Her good friend was Adam Keim growing up. Several men in the community vied for Emma’s affection. She was a good catch since she was already an experienced homemaker. For awhile, she was flattered by all the attention, but once her head cleared, she found it was Adam she loved.
– Is it 100% fiction or it’s close to someone from your real life?
– The story is fiction. The Nurse Hal series started because I was interested in the Amish way of life. There are Amish settlements near us. After writing Christmas Traditions, I realized the growing number of Amish book buyers. The reason I picked a home health nurse working in an Amish community is because I was familiar with the home health nurse’s job. I was looking for an angle that hadn’t been tried in other Amish books. A mentor/English teacher/friend, that helped me improve my writing for twenty years, said to write what I know. That’s what I do. Also, I have a good friend that is an RN. When I need help getting nursing techniques correct I ask her.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– It takes almost as much time to edit a book as it takes to write one. Start to finish in four months usually I’m done and writing the next book. In fact, I try to keep a deadline in mind.
– Give us some insight about your other books?
Christmas Traditions: An Amish Love Story – That’s the first Amish book I wrote. I expanded a short story I entered in a contest. Readers enjoyed the book and wanted me to write a series about Margaret Yoder, but I had already started A Promise Is A Promise the first Nurse Hal book. As a compromise for the readers, when Nurse Hal has a hard time adjusting to Amish life John Lapp takes her to meet Margaret Yoder. As a young woman she left the Amish community to marry an English lawyer and later left him to go back to her first Amish love, Levi Yoder. She becomes Nurse Hal’s best friend. The readers were pleased to see Margaret brought to life again in the Nurse Hal books.
Open A Window -A Caregiver’s Handbook came about after I met Jolene Brackey a well known Alzheimer’s speaker and author. I read her book and thought I could do that on a smaller scale. The nursing home administrator sent a copy of my book to Jolene. I was very nervous about an expert in the field reading my book. I shouldn’t have been. She asked to use some of stories in her next book and gave me a signed copy as a thank you. I worked at the local nursing home as a certified nurse aide (CNA) for years. I saw the need for a caregiver book when the residents families needed explanations. Education about the disease is important. I was a spokesman about Alzheimer’s for the Alzheimer’s Association. I started a support group at the nursing home and had a print shop print Open A Window. I wound up giving away more books to families and at doctors offices than I sold. The reviews I received from families were great and two great reviews on Amazon. While an aide, I was awarded Iowa Aide of 2004 and in 2006, I received the Alzheimer’s Association award for Professional Caregiver. This book I’m proudest of because it educates so many people in the U.S. and other countries. I was so pleased when I finally turn this book into a paperback on Amazon and later an ebook on kindle and now on other sites like Smashwords and B&N and nook.
Floating Feathers Of Yesterdays: A Play Dealing With Alzheimer’s Disease-That play was taken from a essay I entered in a state wide nursing home contest for the Iowa Health Care Association and won the contest about a resident with dementia. I wrote a shorter version which I cast and directed at a nursing home educational in-service. It was such a help to the CNAs that I expanded the play into a book so others could use the play as a teaching tool.
– Who are you
– Born in the Missouri Ozarks on a farm. I developed an interest in the Civil War and later wrote Ella Mayfield’s Pawpaw Militia, a woman bushwhacker from that area. We moved to Iowa. My parents bought a historical gas station on the Lincoln Highway. I met my husband in Iowa. He was raised in Arkansas. Over the years, we’ve raised cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and rabbits. The last two years, we’ve downsized, but I do all our veterinarian work. We raise our own food, meat, eggs, garden, fruit and nut trees. My rural experiences helps me write Amish farm life. I grew up reading my parents westerns. I’ve written two books in Stringbean Hooper western series and plan more. I accidentally became a book publisher, but I didn’t think I’d ever publish a book. I’ve published two books for relatives-A Vietnam war story and a romance. I’ve retired from my CNA job, but I’m on the Advisory Committee for a Home Health Agency.
– What are your writing habits?
– I write early in the morning. My mind is always working when I’m not at the computer. If I come up with an idea I get on the computer and add to a book at any time of day.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book?
– Not really. I’m always looking online in discussion groups for different sites others use to download books for sale or exposure. I sell books from home, but I live in a rural area. My best customer base comes from the internet.
– Do you have plans for your next novel?
– I have four file drawers full of folders that I add ideas to. When I’m ready to start another book all I have to do is pick out a folder and write. I just finished the fifty thousand word deadline for National Month Writing Novel contest. This was my fifth year. When I edit the book it will be number eight in my historical mysteries, Amazing Gracie Mystery series titled Will O Wisp. I have several short stories that placed in contests I’m turning into novellas. The idea is to write a few smaller books and charge less. Maybe the novellas will call attention to my other books. I don’t market my ebooks for free or at a big discount to interest readers. Next year, I’ll write the next Nurse Hal. That will be published in about eight months.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your book?
– I blog on Word Press, Book Marketing Network and my website. Each site links to Facebook, Amazon Author Central, Goodreads and Twitter. I put a new book release on Facebook since I have buyers linked to me and have an author page, but I considered Facebook a social site. The twitter link helps me get followers, but most of those are authors. So I don’t tweet much other than through the blogs. My books are in the Cozy Mystery, Iowa Center for the book and Center for Mennonite at Goshen Writing College websites. I follow Linkedin and Book Marketing Network discussion groups and get tips. I add my book list in my latest books. That increases sales with new readers. I put my Amish books on ebay sometimes. That started my home bookstore customer base. I email a list of loyal readers about a new book. They want a signed book and send me reviews which I add in the next book. Buyers use my books for gifts so word of mouth helps get me new readers. None of this is aggressive promotion, but my books are not what would be considered popular by a large mass of readers.
– When was your first touch with people with Alzheimer and how you decided to devote your life to people with Alzheimer?
– My father was diagnosed in 1987 when people didn’t have a clue what the disease was like. I learned by helping my mother take care of my father for ten years, and the residents at the nursing home where I started in 1991. The administrator sent me to every seminar available. I taught other CNAs. After I wrote Open A Window and Hello Alzheimer’s Good Bye Dad, I won two of the state nursing home essay contests about the elderly. Nursing homes thrive on a good reputation. Having an employee/author interacting with so many people to help educate about dementia was good for the nursing home business. The board of directors believed in my writing ability and gave me a $400 tuition to a writer’s workshop. I was thrilled. At this moment, my favorite aunt has the disease. She’s in a nursing home, and we spend as much time as we can with her. Her daughter is in charge, but I’m very vocal about my aunt’s care when I need to be. I donated the nursing home copies of Open A Window and my father’s story to educate the staff.
– Your opinion on USA health care system?
– I’m not impressed with the Affordable Care Act. It is penalizing the lower middle class for not being able to afford premiums. The millions that signed up live from paycheck to paycheck. They will find it a struggle to pay the premiums that raised after they signed up. I think it will mean giving up their insurance or default on their loan payments get behind with living expenses. This country is blessed with good health caseworkers. We have great doctors and hospitals in our area and live near a teaching hospital that saved my husband’s life when he had cancer in 2012. As for Alzheimer’s education. It is still lacking in our health care system with baby boomers of age to increase the statistic numbers for dementia patients. CNA are still not schooled about Alzheimer’s. It’s learn on the job training for CNAs who care and miserable existence for dementia patients when CNAs don’t know what they’re doing. That makes my Open A Window book and the one about my father with tips in it as relevant as when I first wrote them.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer)
– How did I publish my books on a shoestring budget? I wouldn’t spend a money without knowing if I could sell books. The Writers Workshop students talked about losing money. I’d read an unknown, Independent author would sell 100 books total to family and friends. Expenses were far more than sales. When I stumbled on to Create Space Self Publishing in 2008 I had eight manuscripts. I kept writing because I was optimistic, needed to improve my writing skills, and loved the writing process. I published all 8 books that summer for free. I made my own covers and do my editing with online software I have nothing involved in a book but time. However, I was glad to see the cover creator. My covers look much better now. In 2008, my theory was if one book sold 100 copies I might sell 8 times that. Sure! By watching my books sold on Amazon, I found the Amish buyers. So Amish books are my priority to make sales, but I slip in other genres to write something different. I could have just accepted the income from online sales, but I decided to sell from home. My inventory isn’t as large now with ebooks so popular, but that’s all right. It gives me more time to write. When Amazon opened up the market in other countries, I soon realized my books didn’t sell in English. In the last two years, I’ve translated many of my books into other languages. Now I see sales. I enjoy the adventure of writing, and I didn’t plan to make a living as an author. However, I do like the royalties. It’s fun to me to see my stories in print and hear from readers that they like my work. That’s what keeps me motivated.

To learn more about Fay check out her Blog

Take a look at her books:
Doubting Thomas: Nurse Hal Among The Amish
Open A Window
Hello Alzheimer’s Good Bye Dad – A Daughter’s Journal
Floating Feathers Of Yesterdays: A Play Dealing With Alzheimer’s Disease
Locked Rock, Iowa Hatchet Murders (Amazing Gracie Mysteries Book 6)

About Ognian Georgiev

Ognian Georgiev is a sport journalist, who is working as an editor at the "Bulgaria Today" daily newspaper. He covered the Summer Olympics in Beijing 2008 and in London 2012. The author specializes in sports politics, investigations and coverage of Olympic sports events. Ognian Georgiev works as a TV broadcaster for Eurosport Bulgaria, Nova Broadcasting group, TV+, F+ and TV7. He is a commentator for fight sports events such as boxing/kickboxing and MMA. In May 2014 Ognian Georgiev released the English version of his book The White Prisoner: Galabin Boevski's secret story.

Posted on December 5, 2014, in Author, Books, Interview and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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