I think you’ll enjoy this interview with Lillian Brummet. Like many writers, Lillian used poetry to sort through feelings of abuse and neglect as a child. She also feels like a hermit sometimes, and can’t we all relate to that? As writers we spend a lot of time alone. Lillian works a lot with her husband Dave (pictured) and spends the majority of her day in her office at home writing. But she loves it! Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
Well, my name is Lillian Brummet – I am currently 39 years old. When I meet the eyes of the woman in the mirror I see someone with a passion for the environment, nature, literature and stimulating discussions. I tend to feel like a bit of a hermit, working away in my home office up to 12 hours a day, but I do so enjoy the work. I have always relished time alone, quiet contemplation and sounds of nature. I love music; in fact it has always been a great tool for me to understand life and society. I do play some drums (drum kit, djembe, conga, etc) but I would not call myself a musician… more of a closet drummer – yes, that title suits me better. I love to just put on a CD of some really challenging songs and study them forever. I don’t play with other musicians or go on stage. That is my husband’s thing, not mine.
Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
Ok, I am from kind of all over Western North America (she smiles). My family was kind of nomadic, having grown up in a broken home we moved more than thirteen times before I was eight years old. I was born near Los Angeles, CA (USA) but have lived communities in Nevada as well. My mother married and brought her children to Canada when I was around 8 years old. Since then I’ve seen BC’s mountains, valleys and coastlines – I’ve even seen the artic circle in upper Canada when working there for half a year – however the last 10 years have been spent in Grand Forks, BC ; a small city in south-central BC.
Coming from the home-life that I do, I found refuge in writing – starting with poetry, which helped me vent and fume out the feelings I was having from being abused and neglected as a child. After winning various awards, being included in five anthologies and having a few articles published, I teamed up with my husband, Dave, in 1999 to write the Trash Talk column. This was published internationally until early 2007, when we moved on to other things. The first book we wrote was based on this column.
What types of writing do you do?
Dave and I tend to write about things we are passionate about – conscious living subjects, such as: organic gardening, waste management, recycling, reuse, writing, literacy, animal welfare and human rights. To date we have written thousands of articles and four books, three of which are available to the public. The fourth book was written as a gift to family and friends as a way to share our garden harvest recipes and recipes that are well remembered as favorites from friends and family who are no longer with us.
Our first book, Trash Talk, was released in 2004 in paperback and was based on the column we wrote. We talk about the 4-R’s of waste management, (refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle) but also discuss things like water conservation, energy savings and more. The book provides a way for readers to make a real and measurable contribution to a healthier planet while saving money at the same time. This book is now available in hardcover as well and will soon be released in a new edition in e-book format before the end of 2009.
Towards Understanding was released in 2005 in paperback and it too is available in hardcover as of this year. It is a collection of poetry that depicts my story growing up in a broken home, being on my own at a young age and learning to find value and purpose in my life. I have created a new revised edition with an updated introduction and author bio, etc and five new poems that create an ending I am more comfortable with. This new edition was just accepted by Booklocker.com Inc and will be released soon.
Finally, our third book was just released as a 2nd edition in e-book format – Purple Snowflake Marketing – How to Make Your Book Stand Out in a Crowd. This is a guide for writers to develop a frugal and effective marketing plan that will enable their work to be seen like a purple snowflake in a snowstorm of other writers. This book is very popular with publicists and writer’s education teachers, and despite the urging from others in the industry we strove to keep the price of this e-book down to where most authors could afford… it is available for only $10 at Booklocker.
What’s the best thing about writing?
The best thing? Hmmm… the flexibility… the endless list of ideas for future projects… the ability to write about things that I am passionate about… influencing positive action in my readers… working from a home office… having my two big dogs curled at my feet… There’re just too many “best” things to pick one!
Share some of your writing goals.
The main focus of everything we do with our books, our sites, blogs, newsletter, radio shows… everything we do is to provide positive, proactive inspiring information that will enable our audience to feel like they too have value in this world, that they too can play a positive, proactive role in creating a healthy planet – and they can do this with small daily actions that have a huge impact. So many of us are way too willing to look to others, to point fingers and say “someone should do something about this” and then walk away. It is our hope to stimulate and help accelerate the growing conscious living movement that is already happening in the world.
Is there a specific time of day you like to write? / Any type of writing ritual you have?
I like to work most in the morning; I suppose that makes me a morning person. I tend to burn out around 3 pm and then get another boost in the evening, depending on what is happening around the home office. The tender balance for us is that Dave and I share one office, one computer. But luckily he is more of a night person. For me, writing is all about passion and spontaneity – rather than assigned projects with deadlines. Luckily I am highly organized and very self-disciplined – and these are traits that any successful writer will need to develop.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read? / Favorite authors?
Do I have to pick ONE? (She laughs). My favorite book of all time would have to be Shibumi: A Novelby Trevanian – this book on my shelf is so dangerously close to falling apart despite layers of tape and glue holding it together. Closely on the heals of that one would be Great Peacemakers: True Stories from Around the Worldby Ken Beller and Heather Chase, The Ovum Factor by Marvin Zimmerman, The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer, Battlefield Earth by L Ron Hubbard and Hawkwood’s Voyage by Paul Kearny. I know I will think of dozens of others later, but these are the ones that come to mind first.
…And the book you’re currently reading?
Actually I am re-reading the Lord of the Rings series at the moment. I have worn out two other copies of this series in the last 25 years, and this copy is already been taped and repaired several times. So one could safely say this is another of my favorite authors.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
While when looking back I can see traits that would point me to this career early on in life – the first time I seriously considered it as a career was back in 1998. My husband was taking a free-lance writing business course and that was when I realized how the way we manage our writing career could, and should, work.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it?
Oh, absolutely! Yes, I do believe in writer’s block – it does exist. What happens is we get burned out on a subject and our minds just cannot create one more thing. Sometimes our mind generates thoughts that hinder us with fear, confusion and even anger. More often then not, though, I have found that writer’s block comes from me not growing into the writer I need to be to complete the piece. I set it aside and come back to it when inspiration strikes. Writing is like any other creative craft… not every artistic piece is completed in an artist’s studio, and of those that are completed only a small percentage ends up being deemed worthy of exposure to the public. Sometimes when a story is set a side, for instance, we might end up using it in another tale years later. So the key is to not stress over it. Accept it and just keep plugging away at the keyboard.
What’s the measure of a successful writer?
Persistence is a trait that every successful writer has. Did you know that Gone with the Wind was rejected 150 times before being published? But I’d like to ask your audience – What is success? Is success to you leaving a legacy for your children’s children through publishing your journal for them and them alone? Is it changing the life of one person? Of bringing understanding to others about the plight of one group of people? … What is success anyway? To some it means the size of a paycheck or being on so-called “best-selling” lists. To me, success equates to meeting the eyes of the woman in the mirror without shame, and not just writing about my passions – but living them.
Advice for other writers?
The best thing a writer can do at any stage of the game is research. For instance, if you are querying a project to a publisher, research them thoroughly and craft your letter to reflect that you have thought about how you fit in with their focus. If you have just released a book and want to know about reviews, get on line and do the research. Consider what the other person or association might need from you to make their work easier, and determine what you are willing to do to ensure that there will be readers for your piece or participants to your event. We writers are inclined to do research for the creation of a piece of work; we just have to focus our talents in researching in a slightly different manner.
Where can we learn more about you?
Well, I can be found on most social networking sites, like Myspace, LinkedIn, Twitter, SelfGrowth, etc. But the best place to learn more about the work that Dave and I do and the charities we support, the blogs, newsletter and radio shows we host, etc. would be: www.brummet.ca I do love to hear from folks so people are welcome to email us by clicking on the “contact” buttons on our site, the message centers at the social networking sites or at the radio station that hosts our shows.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Sure, I’d love to invite your audience over to the Brummet’s Conscious Blog where we have weekly prize draws for everything from books to herbal tinctures. It is free and fun, and there is no limit to the number of times a person can win on our weekly prizes. I also host two radio shows that your audience may find of interest. At Conscious Discussions talk radio show I bring in featured guests from around the world to talk about proactive and positive information; we celebrate individual heroes around the world hoping to inspire others to be the heroes that we are seeking in society. Information can be found at: http://www.brummet.ca/conscious.html And the Authors Read radio show which is our way of continuing to support the world of literacy and literature by offering authors a way to share excerpts of their published work with an international audience. Information for this can be found on our main site.