Hello everyone! Today I am interviewing another member of the Indie Eden Book Club, Myrtle Brooks. Her book, The Geyser Girl of Yellowstone Park, is the story of a young girl who gets taken in by the geysers and the animals of Yellowstone Park, and grows up completely surrounded by nature.
Let’s see what Myrtle has to say about her book, and about her writing process.
Hi Myrtle! First things first: What is the one question that you wish people would ask you about The Geyser Girl of Yellowstone Park?
They already do, all the time! “Are you the Geyser Girl?” Yes, of course. The story idea came from childhood, when I imagined myself a legendary child who lived with Old Faithful and rode the fountain (Wheeeee!), able to withstand the temperatures of a hot spring.
Which typical author interview question do you hate the most?
None. It means someone is giving me his/her time, interest and listening ear.
Can you give us a short description of your book?
The Geyser Girl of Yellowstone Park is an allegorical literary novel, the universal theme of which is man’ edification through nature’s examples. It is family-oriented, and the reading level starts with ages 11 through 111 (smile) with stories for little kids. It replenishes the core values such as kindness, courage, faithfulness and rejoicing over the successes of others.
I like that idea; there are not a lot of books out there like that today! Is there any famous author that inspires you, or that you admire?
Daphne Du Maurier comes to mind. Her famed novel, Rebecca, is filled with lush descriptions that transport you to that world and inside the characters’ skins. She does this by much showing and little telling.
Your book is in the historical fiction and fantasy genres. What drew you to these genres? Do you also like to read books in these genres?
I like most genres. Reading many genres broadens the perspective: it helps you understand other people and the lives they lead which could be far different than your own, while possessing the same emotions, needs and aspirations. What inspired me to make this a historical piece was an imperative: I had to match the backdrop and story. And then, of course, it’s Yellowstone. Exploring the park’s history, flora and fauna, the transition from the First U.S. (Yellowstone) Cavalry to the Park Ranger was a sheer joy. Knowing the park’s heritage enriches the book’s import.
Who is your target audience for this book? What do you think will appeal to them about your book?
While the concept and narrative appeal to older children, I cannot restrict the age group. A Yellowstone firefighter bought it for herself (picture her in a tent underneath the stars with a flashlight), as did senior citizens. People who love nature and national parks will identify with this “artist’s rendition.” People who love Disney will picture a geyser princess whose calling is to aid and protect all of Yellowstone, in a world where animals, geysers and winds speak their own languages and tell their stories.
I was definitely picturing a Disney movie while I was reading, I have to admit! When you write a book, do you plan out everything beforehand, or do you let the story follow its own course?
Oh… I thought the characters wrote the book. How did my name get on this?? Seriously, spontaneity equals real life. The story carries me.
Do you have any quirky writing habits?
See last question. I do get stuck and write notes to myself with my name on them. Okay, Myrtle, what’s next? And I’ll figure out what I think is a capsule idea for the next part. Then I come back, look at it and say: Hey, that’s perfect the way it is: short and succinct. A spontaneous outline?? Hmmm…
Any writing tips for other writers?
Cannot stress this enough: Write from the heart, soul and spirit. And the belly. Don’t worry if someone will like it or not. That is called: “editing.” Editing something you haven’t written yet?? Then you are not writing it at all. Pour it out (or erupt in geyserlike fashion).
That is some of the best advice I have heard in a while. :) What would you say is the best way to market your book? With which method have you had the most success so far?
I took a road trip to the Yellowstone region and did book signings in Cody, Livingston and Jackson. Spent nights at Old Faithful Inn and Colter Bay Cabins, Grand Teton. The ranger at the Yellowstone Park gate said: “I’ve heard of your book. You’re the Geyser Girl.” Go, as is possible, to the places where people will identify with your work.
How did your book come to be published? What was your journey to publication like? Did you get a lot of rejection letters before you finally saw your name in print?
I kept telling myself: Hemingway and Stephen King received rejection letters. Don’t be a fool and give up. Keep going: you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Then Black Rose Writing sent me the contract. It is an independent press: honest, dedicated to its authors and will judge an author’s work based on its merits. Period.
Is being a published author everything you dreamed it would be? If not, how is it different? Is there anything you would change about it?
It is all I expected and much more. The first thrill on the journey is the “Yes.” The second, holding your finished book in your hands. The third, a complete stranger reading it and getting something out of it. Change? Yes. Authors should be judged by their art, not because they publish with the “big five.” Many bookstores lean towards a title from a large publishing house. There is so much extraordinary talent out there. They should read some of that talent and promote it. It’s a win-win.
I agree! Thanks for the advice, Myrtle, and for letting us get to know you and the Geyser Girl a bit better!
About the Author:
As written beneath her yearbook photo, Class of 1970, the expressed lifetime goal of the author herein known as Myrtle Brooks is: “to realize the love present in everything.” When not at home in her beloved Brooklyn, N.Y., she may be found dancing with the big rigs on the interstate as she heads for places of quiet beauty.
About the Book:
In Yellowstone National Park at the turn of the twentieth century, an infant of mysterious origin is adopted by Old Faithful geyser and by a mother buffalo named Bearer of Song. Beloved to all the park, Flower of the Steam Basin grows up with their stories, proverbial sayings and teachings: in a land where the animals, winds and geysers speak their own languages.
Having met a child her age and her parents, trust ripens between families, and Flower of the Steam Basin gains a closely protective circle of human friends. At nine, she is brought face-to-face with Retired Lieutenant Ned Halpen of the Yellowstone Cavalry, whose exemplary career embodied the role of protector of Yellowstone’s spiritual and physical heritage.
In the wake of Lt. Halpen’s passing, her sacred vow to continue his legacy brings both reward and mortal danger. And when the circle is breached, Flower of the Steam Basin and her father are forced to choose between her well-being and the performance of her sworn duties.
This is her story as seen through the eyes of Yellowstone.