Saturday, November 26, 2016

Author Interview: Philip J Bradbury author of 53 Smiles

Welcome once again readers, it is time to interview another fantastic author.  This week, I have Philip J Bradbury here to answer me questions.

 Philip is a recovering accountant, banker, corporate trainer and lecturer who turned to writing. and somehow found himself involved in (or informed about) international intrigues, dishonesty and fraud, involving banks, governments and police forces. He thought it was time to turn them into stories so everyone can experience the "other side" of life.

Having run personal development courses in several countries (and being a student of A Course in Miracles) he couldn't help but bring in the spiritual element to his stories, giving characters (and readers) ways of dealing with stressful situations.

Life is far too interesting to be fluffing about on the sidelines and he (and his characters) are determined to live it to the fullest, even if it means a little danger, stress and uncertainty at times!

Thanks for joining me this week, can you tell us a bit about you as an author?
I write in every genre but there is one theme – to help you find peace, your place in the world and to rediscover the you that you lost. I share your hope that my words will help you unlock the prison you’re in, the current drama you can’t find your way out of. I share your hope and willingness to find your passion, your wings and take on the life you’re born to experience. It's my hope for me as well.

I spent twenty years in the wrong occupation. One year of accounting and I knew we didn’t fit each other. Why did I stay? Years later, I found I’d stayed bored and desperate to please my father and my wife. I couldn't please them. I can only please me.

Once I’d realised I was in a rut – a grave with the ends kicked out – I was stuck. I didn’t know what else to do. Also, the accounting income provided for my family. I had responsibilities and had to go on. I couldn’t let them down. But I let me down.

I’d followed my father's example – sticking in a job that sucked me dry – and became more angry and depressed.

The divorce was traumatic, sad and releasing but, work-wise, I quietly slipped sideways into teaching and writing and then, because of my 20 wasted years, facilitated personal development courses and men’s groups ... and wrote books on that. I quickly realised I was a lousy accountant and slowly realised I was a good teacher and writer. I loved them both and, 20 years later, still do.

If you’re misaligned you can't give (or receive) your best till you get wise about the choices you’re making in your actions, words and thoughts. I hope my words can help bring you back to wisdom, home and to the peace you know is there.

The dream I’ve realised for myself is the dream I have for you. I write for both of us.

What are the hardest part of being an author?

Finding a publisher or writers agent. Writers are good at writing and most of us are terrible at marketing/promotions. We need someone else to do that part but there’s so many more books and writers than publishers and agents. So, in the meantime, we try to do the marketing by self-publishing.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?

Writing! Just being in the space of writing, with the words flowing through. Impossible to describe though nothing should be impossible for an author to describe!

The other real buzz is hearing back from happy readers. Some have told me they were going to commit suicide, found my blog and my words saved them and set their lives on a more positive track. That kind of feedback – and other, less dramatic, reactions – are what give me the juice to carry on.

What authors/books have had an influence on your writing?

Paulo Coelho,

Do you ever get Writer’s Block? If so, how do you deal with it? Do you believe there is such a thing?

I used to get writers block and finally realised I was getting in the way. Actually, the first book I wrote was about me and I didn’t know it. I learned to meditate and, while meditating, I’d get these words in my head. They’d stay there, nagging me for days till I wrote them down. Then more words would turn up. So I’d write the sods down. A few months later, I decided to read the drivel I’d written and discovered it was my own life, beautifully told as a novel.

The lesson I learned from this is that I don’t write – I allow my pen to move to the music that flows through. When I get writers block, it’s when I’m trying to control the process. I’ll get frustrated for a while, trying harder to think of what to write and then realise I’m getting in the way. Then I let go, start writing drivel, anything nonsensical, and, soon, the better words start coming through again.

Do you have a particular place that you like to write?

Cafés. Don’t ask me why but there’s something magical about being surrounded by happily chatting people, the orgasmic aroma of coffee, pen and paper and my muses … the writing always flows in those exquisite places.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I’m often up at 4.00 or 5.00 am with words swirling in my head and I’ve learned that, if I write them down straight away, they fall more beautifully, more naturally, than if I leave them for hours or days. Sadly, cafés aren’t open at those times but I do make a point of going to a café at least twice a week with pen, paper and an empty mind, just to see what turns up. Something always does.

How do you like to reach your readers? (Social media? Book signings? Blogs etc)

Right now, without a publisher, I reach readers via social media, blogs and through the various writing classes that I run. I would, however, love to travel around the globe, doing seminars and book signings.

Can you tell us about your latest book?

From the back cover:

53 SMILES is about life – your life, my life, our lives – and its tiny stories address the big questions of the human condition and tell of our simple greatness, our foibles and how to let go of the need to be something for somebody else. This book, then, has many uses ...
• An exquisitely simple gift,
• A coffee table book,
• A Conversation starter,
• For daily meditations,
• For personal/spiritual development workshops,
• For Life Coaching,
• Teaching children (of any age) life lessons,
• To remind you of who you are each day – simply exquisite!
53 SMILES – 53 Special Moments In Life’s Exquisite Simplicity – is 53 53-word stories, along with illustrations and photos. I hadn’t heard of flash fiction till October 2015 when I stumbled on a flash fiction competition run by a Brisbane book store – the best 100-word (or less) story. I didn’t win but, realising nothing is for nothing and everything counts, decided not to waste my words. Three days later the idea popped in that I could write a book of 53 stories … 53 of them. I just liked the number 53 and the challenge of writing tiny stories – quite different from the 100,000-word books I’d previously written – appealed. I determined to write one a day and so it took 53 days! All were about personal or spiritual development and how to live a bigger life (or how not to live a smaller life) and, as a non-artist, relished the challenge of adding illustrations for the first time.

I’ve since written 97 SMILES, a 97 97-word book and who know what will come out next! 97 SMILES should be published in September.

How long did it take you to write the book?
53 days … and then a little longer to do the illustrations and assemble the photographs I’d taken over many years.

Do you have a favourite character/topic in your work?
My favourite (only?) topic is about being at the cross-roads of life – be that divorce, redundancy, financial struggle, health problems and so on – and about making wise choices when life turns to mush and turning it into fertilizer.

What was your process? Did you plot out the entire book, or just let the storyline flow? Do you write in chronological order?

Whether it’s a novel, non-fiction book or something else, I don’t seem to be able to plan anything – just not how I’m built. I just let it flow the way it wants to. It’s only after it’s finished that I release my logical brain and do the editing, that I start deleting, adding and rearranging words, phrases and chapters.

Do you have plans for further instalments?
I suspect I’ll write a few more flash fiction books but, right now, I’m focussing on the series of short story books.

Do you have a plan for your next book?
My current project is five books of short stories. I recently found 290 stories (fiction and non-fiction) all over the place in my computer and so I’m collating and sorting them to create five books on different topics - 40 Moments With Writing, 42 Moments With Men, 50 Moments With Fables, 55 Moments With God, 65 Moments With Self. That’s the plan, anyway …

Ebooks vs Physical books? Do you have a preference when reading?
I only read paper-back books. I suspect I’ll get an electronic reader someday but, till then, there’s something tactile about a “real” book – the smell, feel, sight …

Self-publishing vs traditional publishing? What are your thoughts? Do you feel that the industry is changing?
There’s no doubt that there’s change but the direction is debatable. Internet sales and self-publishing took over the traditional model but there’s evidence of the regrowth of bricks-and-mortar book stores again with, for example, Amazon’s plans to open 400 new book stores in USA. I self-publish and make a living out of that but would prefer to hand over the marketing to someone else so I’m looking back to the more traditional model … and I have no idea where we’re headed next.

And finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Keep writing, listen to everyone and all the rules and then decide for yourself what’s best for you. All the rules are begging for you to break them. The internet is rife with “experts” who’ll guarantee you unlimited success but it’s impossible to know how successful they really are. Listen to it all and then tur to your gut, your intuition, and walk the path that brings your greatest peace … and don’t hesitate to call out for help as the community of authors is one of the most supportive I’ve ever known – we’re all here to help but can’t if you don’t ask! (I totally agree - A)

Thanks so much for dropping by Philip, where can readers find you?

Linked In - Philip J Bradbury …
Wordpress blogs:

Thank you Philip for joining me this week, and again thank you to my readers for dropping by. 

If you'd like to be interviewed for this blog, please drop me a line. 

Until my next blogging moments, 



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