Interview with Catherine Harris, author of Finding Frances…Love Letters from a Flight Lieutenant

What makes the subject matter so important to me?

It is the true story of my Uncle Eric, my hero and a Royal Air Force pilot in WWII.

What is my preferred manner of writing?

Computer; Microsoft Word.

What is the most important thing to abide by when writing?

Being completely diligent each and every day.   I would be at my desk at 9am and would write until I felt satisfied with my writing for that day.   Sometimes the writing did not come easy but I read a quote by a famous Irish author who said “If you get one good line a day you are doing well”!

What prompted me to write this book?

I wanted to honour my uncle and in order to keep his memory alive I decided to dedicate my time to writing his life story.    When I was given the love letters he wrote to Frances I could not just put them in a box in the attic and I wanted to give people insight into the daily lives of the young pilots.   I wanted to make sure that people were aware of the sacrifices made by the brave young Royal Air Force pilots who put their lives on the line every day.

What is the hardest thing about publishing a book.

I have found that generating sales is difficult and am hoping that “Serious Reading” will help with my sales.

What have I done to publicize my book so far?

I have generated interest by approaching Air Force bases both in America and England.   I have attended events such as book fairs and air shows where I set up an EZ Up, displayed my banner and spoke with people who showed an interest in my subject matter.

What is my best publicity tool?

I created a book mark on glossy stock with a picture of the book cover; an outline of the story and my email address as well as a link to my publisher.

What made the bookmarks such an effective selling tool.

They are something I can carry with me and people seem very receptive when I give them one.   I used to hand out postcards but nowadays people do not write postcards but they can always use a bookmark.

How do you choose who to give a bookmark to without seeming intrusive?

When I see a person wearing a cap with WWII or military insignias I strike up a conversation and then give them a bookmark.  Sitting in waiting rooms I often hand one to people who are reading or carrying a book.

What other avenues of publicity have been helpful?

I have done several radio and TV interviews which have been fruitful.

How long did it take to write my book?

I procrastinated for ten years and then decided to go for it.   It took me one year to write and research my book, although I had already done a great deal of research..

What did I like about writing the book?

I found that I really enjoyed the creative process.

What was the most important thing I learnt about being an author.

The most important thing was utilizing an independent editor.    I found that a second set of eyes was invaluable.

What other tools were helpful to me?

I did not want to upload my manuscript to the publisher directly from Word.  Therefore I hired a graphic designer who was an integral part of the final publishing process.  She rearranged all the pictures, numbered the pages, inserted the title on each page…a lot of small details which the publisher might not have taken the time to do.

What has been the most gratifying part of the process?

Sharing my uncle’s story with many family members and bringing his heroism to light not only for my family but bringing the history of WWII to others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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