Friday, January 26, 2007

Rolland Loves the Ozarks

I have a guest on the blog today. My friend and author, Rolland Love. He shares some of his insights on writing about a specific geographic region and how selling books anywhere and everywhere could get you a movie deal!

Tell us about yourself, Rolland: I grew up in the Ozark Mountains and spent summers swimming and guiding fishermen down a spring fed river paddling wooden johnboats. This environment ultimately motivated me to share my experiences through writing.

Rolland's the author of award winning short stories and three novels.

What kinds of things did you write before starting your book series on the Ozarks? With the exception of a novel called Toe Tags and TNT, which is set to become a movie later this year.
I have always written stories set in the Ozark Mountains.

How did the movie deal happen? The novel is based on an experience I had where a business partner and I were abducted and held captive in an RV – motor home, for two days and one night during a 1,000 journey from Las Vegas to Kansas City. I self published the book because I felt so strongly about the story. One day I was at my barbers getting a haircut and told him about the scary event and he said his son was an actor in LA and would like to read the book. After he read it he fell in love with the strange story and said he would write the script for a chance to play one of the bizarre characters. He wrote the script and rounded up the production money and the rest is history.

What made you decide to concentrate on such a regional niche? I grew up in the Ozark Mountains. The attached short story First Camping Trip tells where and why. The photo on my website of the kid jumping off the rock bluff is a picture of my backyard when I lived on the river. Here is where I grew up

Which one is your favorite and why? The Blue Hole, it is a story based on my boyhood when I lived on the Jacks Fork river and fished and floated the river and hunted squirrels and explored caves and dived off tall limestone bluffs. This was my backyard

Which one was the most challenging to write and why? The sequel to the Blue Hole, a novel called An Ozark Mountains River’s Edge Murder Mystery, which has been released by It was harder because I aged the two boys in the Blue Hole by 50 years, making them grandfathers. Then I injected my 9 and 12 year old grandsons into the story and took them back to the Blue Hole where a murder was committed the last time I was there as a 15year old boy. During the course of the tale, which becomes more supernatural as the story progresses, in the final pages I solve a 50-year-old murder that occurred the last time I was at the Blue Hole. Attached is a typical dialogue with my grandsons, Jake the youngest, a nine year old, ask if music other than church music is the work of the devil. One of his friends whose mother is very religious said it was. It was a fun vicarious writing experience that took 3 years to complete working off and on, but steady.

What are the advantages of writing on one particular area? Need to spend less time doing research.

What are the challenges? Writing a story about a remote area of the country that readers in the city can relate to. I Look at the attached Modern Day Mark Twain Author for the answer, which is, make the story so interesting the reader doesn’t want to put it down and wish they had grown up there and experienced diverse happenings.

How did you develop your platform? It was easy because it was based on my life The Ozark Stories website provides a good overview.
Is the website the only way you market your stories? No, I talk with and send information to anyone and everyone I think may be interested in my work. It’s called Shameless Self Promotion. The biggest problem with the majority of writers is that my have wonderful work, but they don’t promote what they have enough. Market. Market. Market. It’s okay for writers to blow there own horn, if their work is good, people will be glad they did.

What advice would you give writers who want to focus a book series on a particular area of expertise? Write what you know. Why? The facts are easier to get straight, the story flows better, and the writer knows the audience.

What’s next? A cookbook that Mary-Lane Kamberg and I have worked on for the past two years. I wrote about 30 Ozarks short stories dealing with foods that are all Ozark Mountain recipes. We have a publisher and expect the book to be on the market this fall.


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