In Conversation With Gail Copeland
I met Gail Copeland a couple of months ago by running into her at an Indigo where she was promoting her book, The Price of Loyalty. Aside from Gail being inviting, kind, and appreciative, the book’s cover pulled me in.
We spoke for a few minutes but I didn’t want the conversation to end there. We recently spoke again (over the phone), and I got to learn more about the book, the self-publishing process, and Gail herself as an author.
Here’s what she had to say!
What was the research, writing, and publishing process like for you?
“[It took about] two years to do research and then the whole thing took about eight years. Then, the publishing process was horrific. I tried for two years to find an agent or find a publisher – I researched who looks for that genre, that age group, historical fiction, [etc.]. It was a manuscript sitting in my drawer for two years. And then someone posted something on Facebook that was talking about this company called Creative Connex. Within four months of contacting them, I was published on Amazon.
What has the sale and promotion process been like?
“I got my book on Amazon, and I contacted all my friends and family. I don’t have a lot of social media, other than Facebook so I posted something there. And then after that the trickle started dying down. But I thought ‘you’ve got to market yourself.’ So, I’ve been approaching libraries. I’ve now got it in the St. Catharine’s Library and the Thorold Library. I went into [Indigo too] because I thought I should get it somewhere besides Amazon, because not everybody has an Amazon account. [Now] I’m working on the school system.
What was your inspiration for the book’s setting?
“Well, I always have wanted to see if I could write a book. I always wanted that to be a goal of mine, [and] I’ve always enjoyed writing – it was my major at university. And I know they always suggest the best thing you can do is to try to write about something you have some knowledge about. I’ve been researching my family tree since about mid the 90s. And I discovered I had a fourth great-grandfather who was a United Empire Loyalist. I found out that he and his brother had to leave home because the Americans had taken over their house, and had said to the mother, you are only allowed to live here, we own your house. It’s very strongly based on what really happened, but I didn’t have [all] the answers to what really happened. So, I had to use the facts and then be a writer with the rest of my imagination.
How would you describe Jake’s character?
“It was written from his point of view because that’s my fourth great-grandfather. I felt like it’s what he would have been like. I probably put a bit of my father in there too, because my father was very handy. So, Jake would be handy. immature but growing, and impatient but good heart.”
Can you tell me a bit about your inspiration for the book cover?
“I wanted to have a person buying the book look at it and go, ‘Wow, that’s really dense forest.’ First of all, I had to find out what kind of trees grew between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, because I didn’t want to put little skinny pines in there when they didn’t come across any pine. There were a lot of hemlocks and they were big. So, I wanted it to be dense to get the impression that this is rustic and rugged.
More about The Price of Loyalty, from Indigo:
“In 1787, the US government seizes the Cooper family home because, as Loyalists, they supported the British during the American Revolution. Thirteen-year-old Jake has his world turned upside down when his mother is forced to send him and his brother to the British Colonies in search of a new home. This is a story of adventure and starting over against great hardships and danger. Will they be successful before their sister and mother are forced to leave their home? Will they both make it back?”
The Price of Loyalty can be found on Amazon and at Indigo (locations may vary).
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