Interview with Author; Regina de Wolf- Ngarimu

Tell me a bit about yourself….

I am Maori, was born on the East Coast, grew up in the Bay of Plenty,

lived overseas for almost 30 years and now live in Turanganui-a-

Kiwa/Gisborne.


What genre/s do you write in?

Fiction. Modern & contemporary, commercial, particularly Women’s

fiction in the Spirit Voyager series.


How long have you been writing?

Pretty much my whole life.


Do you have any published books or articles? Tell me a bit about

these and what publishing route you took.

I only just started to take my writing seriously a couple of years ago.

Last year I had two publications, my debut novel Guardians of the

Ancestors (GOTA) and short story Crushed Violet in anthology Kaituhi

Rawhiti – A Celebration of East Coast Writers. There was a poster up

in Treble Court on my way to the hairdresser's so I took a photo of it.

One day I decided to submit a story and wrote Crushed Violet. I

hadn’t written a short story for years, but Gillian Moon one of the

editors really helped me with it. GOTA had been in my head for

years.

The story starts on an idyllic Pacific Island and ends in

Aotearoa. I wrote the lagoon scene in the first chapter years ago in

Australia, but I was busy with work so it gathered dust. The novel

explores why people migrated, but also the spiritual connection we

feel to our ancestors, the ocean, and land. There are six books in the

Spirit Voyager series, Marama is the central character in the first two

books and the last book is set in the present day. The characters

experience the emotional roller-coaster of life - love, loss, insecurity,

faith, grief, adversity etc. These are things people can relate to. I also

wanted to highlight the ongoing battle for gender equality, personal

safety, the harm of domestic violence, the complexities of child-birth,

and the myriad of nurturing talents women possess. The male

characters are wonderful, sensitive, spiritual warriors or dark, self-

obsessed, rotten apples! I had to have some bad people as

protagonists!


Did you use an editor? If so who?

Yes, I did. You cannot proof your own work, you just don’t see

everything. I am fortunate enough to know a number of people who

read a lot, so my advance readers play a huge part in the writing

process. For GOTA, Pegasus Publishers did the final editing. When

you work with a Publisher, they will generally have the final say on

what is included.

Kaituhi Rawhiti, had four editors Gillian Moon,

Claire Price, Aaron Compton, and Chris McMasters, I mostly worked

with Gillian and Claire.


Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?

Pegasus Publishers designed the book cover for GOTA with my input,

and I am absolutely thrilled with the result. They gave me two

amazing designs, I market surveyed over 70 people and went with

the one people chose.

The Kaituhi Rawhiti cover was designed by

Evelyn Doyle and it is just gorgeous, so representative of the

Tairawhiti region.


Did you self-publish or get traditionally published? How did this go

for you?

Like most new authors I explored the traditional method, steeling

myself for the rejections you inevitably get, fortified by JK Rowling’s

12 refusals. Because I come from a business background, I looked at

publishing as a business first. For the Publisher, every book is an

investment where they take all the risk. I completely understand why

they prefer published authors, or want new authors who have

studied. To be honest my rejection letters were quite encouraging.

One suggested a particular writing course, another said I should

circulate the work to other publishers. I did a lot of research. Many

authors advised to just down and write your work and shop it

around. Some advocate not to pay anything to publish, others say it

doesn’t really matter how you get your work out there, as long as it’s

good and people want to read it. I was open to sharing the cost of

publishing because I had no idea what I was doing. You will always

need to work on promotion yourself and become an advocate for

your work. If your book doesn’t have an audience or isn’t interesting,

the best marketing in the world won’t do much for you.

In both my published works, I have realized I need to own the final copy, be

meticulous about my proofing input because nobody cares as much

as you do and mistakes happen. As a new writer, I was grateful to be

working with Pegasus. It is a steep learning curve about presenting

your work. They did the layout (this is something I never thought

about but it’s fiddly), proof, edit, cover, listing worldwide, gave me

an Author page on their platform, and support me with promotion,

for example making posters for the launch. We did the blurb

together, I wrote the bio, and set up my personal social media. The

key issue for me, was that I planned to launch in the UK, but due to

Covid launched here instead. As Pegasus doesn’t have a distributor

here, I needed to import some books myself which is costly. Having

said that the book is listed on Nielsen and Ingram Spark if bookshops

want to buy. All in all, I am happy with the result.


How do you market your work and promote your brand?(Include

links)

I have my own Wix website https://rdewolf.com

Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Regdewolf/

Youtube Channel here is a link to my last video about where to start

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npec0_U6Rk0

I also have R de Wolf Instagram and Twitter but I’m not as active on

those as yet and I definitely want to learn to drive Tik Tok.


What social media and writing platforms would you recommend?

Go to the platforms where your readers are, and choose the ones

that give you the most traction. I am not a Facebook fan but that is

where a lot of my readers are.


Do you use an agent?

I would love to have an agent! There are three in NZ and none of

them take unpublished authors. Some agents only take authors from

publishers. Recently I found more in Australia, but there are only a

few who take NZers, and the process is similar to submitting to a

Publisher. I emailed an agent in New York but no response. You just

have to keep knocking on doors. I will try anything and will get

somebody eventually.


Do you use paid advertising? If so what?

Not yet. I do intend to invest in social media boosts with advice from

a friend who works in this field.


Do you have a blog or website?

I just started a blog on my website last week. Due to the change in

Youtube ads, they can put them wherever they like now, I am going

to migrate more of my videos to my blog/vlog.


What inspires you most to write?

Life, people, and the amazing universe we inhabit.


What do you do to help with writers block?

I have never really struggled with this, but I do write something

pretty much every day. Prompts are excellent to get you started –

just google one, or pick up an object or word to get the ball rolling.

Don’t put pressure on either. Just go for a walk, look, smell, feel and

something will come.


How do you plan your writing and start?

Concept, outline, write.


Is writing your full-time job? If not what else do you do?

I retired a few years ago and write part-time around whanau and

community activities.


What are you working on at the moment?

Proofing my first draft of my third novel The Goodness Algorithm and

getting book two as well edited as I can.


What is your target audience?

Women of all ages.


How long does it take you to write a book?

About six months writing part-time, a few hours 4-5 days a week.


When did you first discover you enjoyed writing?

Pretty much as soon as I could string sentences together.


What is your writing schedule look like?

It’s fluid. I do find the promotional and editing work takes up a lot of

time, so writing is actually my happy place. One of the most difficult

parts of working from home, doing something you enjoy, is to switch

off and be present.


What does your family think about you writing?

They are really supportive, especially my husband Ieme.


What do you do when you are not writing?

I enjoy yoga, cooking, riding my bike, being around positive people,

spending time with whanau and friends. While we have no children,

or maybe because of it, I just adore them. Their potential, how they

learn and the way they think is priceless!


Where do you get information and ideas for your writing?

From experience, reading, conversation, media. For example, my last

book concept stemmed from watching a program on the Dunedin

Study.


What do you think makes a good story?

Interesting characters, a good plot so you can’t wait to find out what

happens next!




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