5 Questions with Andrea Raine

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April 21, 2014

Andrea Raine is a local Victoria author and University of Victoria alumna. She has participated in the Glenairley writing retreats led by Canadian writer Patrick Lane in Sooke, B.C. and has been attending the Planet Earth Poetry reading series since 1997. She published her first book of poetry, A Mother’s String, in 2005 through Ekstatis Editions and recently self-published her first novel, Turnstiles, through Inkwater Press. Recently, Nadia Grutter held an email conversation with Raine via email to discuss her writing experience.

1. First off, tell us a little about Turnstiles.

My novel, Turnstiles, is basically about three main characters who are struggling with inner demons, pushing the outside world away and yet, at the same time, wanting desperately to be a part of the bigger picture. They just need to come to terms with a few things first. Their chance (and relatively brief) meetings propel each of them in different directions, where they gain new perspectives on how to move forward. It is an empathetic and honest portrayal of human beings attempting to redefine themselves amidst the clash of idealism and societal expectations. It is a stirring, dramatic depiction of love, loss, impulse, and consequence.

2. Your first published work, A Mother’s String, is poetry. Turnstiles is fiction. Do you prefer writing in one genre over the other? How do they inform each other in the writing process?

I have been writing poetry longer than I’ve been writing novels. My poetic voice definitely influences my prose in how I paint a picture and play with language.

3. From what I understand, Turnstiles is self-published while A Mother’s String is not. How did the publishing processes differ?

A Mother’s String wasn’t necessarily self-published, but it was published through on demand by a small, local publisher Ekstasis Editions. I didn’t pay for the publishing and professional editing services, but I did need to pay for subsequent copies of my book at a discount price. It was entirely up to me to place my poetry book in bookstores on consignment, much like my novel Turnstiles. I published Turnstiles through a publishing package with Inkwater Press that included marketing assistance. So, my two publishing experiences are comparable.

4. Why did you chose to self-publish and would you do it again?

Initially, I tried to publish my novel, Turnstiles, through the traditional route by writing query letters and pitching to literary agencies. I received positive feedback, but there were other obstacles to landing a literary agent, i.e. my book didn’t fit their portfolio. I stumbled across Inkwater Press, an indie publisher, and was impressed with their mandate and services. Inkwater Press was eager to publish my first novel, and they have continued to be extremely helpful in marketing and setting up reading events. I am not opposed to self-publishing again because there is a large degree of freedom and control in the design concept. However, there is a price tag attached to self-publishing and for that reason I am going to first try traditional publishing again for my next book.

5. What advice would you give other authors looking to self-publish?

Self-publishing has its benefits, and is a good way to get your big toe into the book world. Still, authors who are self-publishing need to be savvy when it comes to marketing your book, keeping out-of-pocket costs down, and targeting an audience.

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