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Thank you, Kristen and Kira, for the opportunity to guest-blog during #IndieFallFest, a celebration of fabulous Indie authors. I’m thrilled also to be able to contribute copies of my post-apocalyptic novel, A GAZILLION LITTLE BITS, and my new flash fiction book, LIGHTNING: A COLLECTION OF VERY SMALL STORIES to your awesome #Giveaway! (Readers, don’t forget to enter the giveaway before you leave.)
Indie author! What a cool moniker. Edgy. A bit rock and roll. So very current. Maybe so, but my first experience with an Indie author goes way back. Twenty years back.
Long before I dreamed of writing a novel, before there was a Createspace or Smashwords, and even before the birth of the web, I found inspiration reading fun, middle school mysteries written for my older son, Casey.
My mother, Juliette Levinton, was an Indie author before the notion even existed. She wrote a series, the Kenny O’Donnell Mysteries, based on the adventures of her grandsons, my sons, Casey and Dylan. Casey loved these stories, especially how Kenny O’Donnell and his friends always managed to solve the mystery!
My mom printed these books on the slowest inkjet printer in the world, popped them into colorful three-ring binders, decorated each cover with pictures cut from magazines, and gifted the creations to Casey.
She wrote the first in the series, “The Cookie Caper,” in 1993. Casey was six years old and Dylan was three. The second, “Puzzle from the Past,” was written in 1994, and my mother completed the final book, “The Thin Air Mystery,” in 1996. This last bears the inscription:
Dear Casey, Happy Birthday! Love, Grandma Juliette.
My mother stopped writing after the third. I’m not sure why, but in re-reading her novels in advance of this post I realize that she should have continued. In fact, I’m thinking I will get these stories out there for her, and maybe if she sees her books live on Kindle or available in paperback she’ll be inspired to pick up the series again! My mother has always supported my writing, and it’s time to return the favor!
There’s one more inspiring Indie author I must mention. My great-aunt Rebecca Berger Perlov (Aunt Beck) wrote, sometime in the 1980’s I’d guess, her memoir, “The Berger Family,” a work that is so much more than the title in the faded blue binder suggests.
“The Berger Family.” a personal family history, is the kind of writing that everyone should encourage his or her parents and grandparents to pursue. Aunt Beck documented her 1905 arrival in this country and recalled the small town in Russia she and her family had emigrated from. If Aunt Beck hadn’t preserved her recollections through typewriter and Xerox, these unique and priceless stories would have been lost forever. I’m so thankful a copy of this found its way into my hands. Here’s a sample:
The town where my mother was born, was married, and bore nine children was called Sirotzina. It was a small town in Russia – so cleverly described by Sholem Aleichem in the stories upon which “Fiddler on the Roof” was based...There was no doctor, no lawyer, no hospital, no poorhouse and no home for the aged. There was no running water or sanitary facilities in any home. But we did have one Orthodox synagogue, one Rabbi, one policeman and one drug store that sold patent medicines. And we had a town idiot. Once in a while he would appear on Main Street, dressed in a white shirt down to his knees, and making the most peculiar sounds. We children used to run after him, and I can still remember the sounds he made.
Excerpt from “The Berger Family” by Rebecca Berger Perlov
We Indie authors are a tough breed. There ain’t nobody who’s the boss of us, and we triumph and fail for the most part in isolation. But when we do get our creations out there, nothing beats watching our influence spread and seeing the places our words travel to.
Thank you Indie authors everywhere. From my mom to my great aunt to the scores of authors who populate my Kindle! You’re my inspiration and first choice when I sit down to read!