IHS: Welcome, Majken! Thank you for being with us today. I’m really excited to have you here! Would you please tell our followers who you are, what city you're from?
Majken: Glad to be here! My name is Majken Selinder Nilsson. I currently live in Atlanta, GA, but I am born and bred Nevada girl at heart, through and through!
IHS: Okay, Great! What is the title of the book you just completed with us?
Majken: It's titled A Good Kind of Crazy.
IHS: Wonderful title! What was your favorite part about bringing this book to audiobook life?
Majken: My favorite part of listening to A Good Kind of Crazy was hearing the way that Jen Carmody, the amazing narrator, interpreted my story and made it come alive! She did such a wonderful job with various voices and accents- she is a very talented woman. I also found it interesting to hear her interpretation of the inflection and intonation in the characters' dialogue. It was a bit surreal, however, to hear the characters brought to life with different voices than they had in my head.
IHS: Whether fiction or non-fiction, books are truly inspired work from authors. What was your inspiration for this book?
Majken: My inspiration for A Good Kind of Crazy started when I began watching a TV show on Netflix that, when I researched it, had spawned a lot of speculation with the fans about the two lead actors' private and love lives. Because of their amazing on-screen chemistry, devoted viewers were busy on social media platforms, without the benefit of much available personal information, trying to decipher whether or not they were a couple in "Real Life".
The situation got me pondering if there was perhaps more to their story than they chose to disclose. As I began to imagine all of the different scenarios, the story line for the novel developed, and then demanded to be written. I actually composed the first page in my head while showering one cold January morning. The most shocking part in all of this was that I hadn’t ever seriously considered writing a book, but it quickly morphed into a personal challenge, just to see if I could do it.
IHS: Great answer! Is your primary business writing? If so, what do you do for fun? If not, what do you do “in real life”?
Majken: I have always loved writing, and it was never a chore for me, even winning a contest and getting published in my home town’s local paper as a six- year-old first grader. I have also always been an avid reader, devouring books while hidden under my covers with a flashlight as a child, long after I was told to go to sleep. When I was twelve, I started to write a book, but soon lost interest. (I also lost the notebook I was writing in, which didn't help.)
By the time I was in high school and college, I was one of “those” students who actually enjoyed writing papers. Before I graduated from university, it had gotten to the point that I could easily whip out a ten page paper in just a couple of hours. After graduation, and a few other jobs later, I landed a position at an environmental research facility, where I would help to edit the grammar and formatting of scientific proposals and final reports, which was always challenging, especially since my boss was not a native English speaker.
Now, unfortunately, I battle some chronic health challenges, so I am primarily the mother to four children and three fur babies.
IHS: Fur Babies? I love it! Okay, next question. Many authors are not audiobook listeners by nature. Are you? Have you ever listened to an audiobook before your own?
Majken: I know it is extremely ironic, but in the spirit of honesty, I have to admit that I had never listened to an audiobook that was not a children's story before A Good Kind of Crazy!
IHS: That's actually surprisingly common! More common than you would think. What do you love about actual physical books?
Majken: I guess that I am old school in that I love the feel of a book in my hands and the smell of the paper and ink. I also enjoy the small satisfaction in physically turning each page while mentally noting my progress in the journey to reach the end of the story. I had always wondered, too, if it would be too strange to have someone else give voice to what I usually picture in my head while reading. Because of all this, I am the first to acknowledge that I hadn’t yet jumped on board with all the various ways technology now allows us to enjoy books.
However, one of my best friends works at a library and has been telling me for years that audiobooks are extremely popular, especially with commuters. Personally, I have always preferred to listen to music while driving- if you ever drive past me, I guarantee that you will see me singing my head off. I also secretly worried that getting engrossed in a story could potentially make it harder for me to concentrate on the road. Thankfully, as I listened to some of the proofs for A Good Kind of Crazy in my car, my worries were proven unfounded, so listening to audiobooks while driving is definitely something I will consider doing again, at least on the rare occasions I am in my car alone.
IHS: I can just picture that! Okay, when you were listening to your narrator auditions, what was it like to hear your book get voiced by different people?
Majken: I loved hearing the different variations and the unique voices of those who auditioned to narrate A Good Kind of Crazy. They were all worthy candidates and I appreciated their individual interpretations of my story. But, when Ms. Carmody read, I knew she was "The One". She truly brought my novel to life; giving the right voice to what I had pictured in my head while I wrote it.
IHS: Jen is really gifted. Cool! What were you most worried about when starting out with this audiobook process? Did the worry happen or was it unjustified?
Majken: When started the audiobook process, my biggest worry was that Kimberly, the owner of I'm Hearing Stories, had warned me that since A Good Kind of Crazy is a long book, it might be hard to find someone who would be willing to invest the amount of time it would take to narrate it. However, even though the book is almost seventeen hours long, my worries ended up being completely unfounded, and I don't think we could have found anyone better than Ms. Carmody. She not only chose to take on the project, she also did it in a professional and expedited manner.
IHS: Yes. Sometimes that makes it challenging, but Jen is a trooper and a pro! So, in hindsight, was there anything that you probably ACTUALLY should have been worried about instead?
Majken: In hindsight, I probably should have been more aware of just how many uninterrupted hours it would take me to thoroughly listen to the audio proofs of A Good Kind of Crazy, and note any needed edits. There is definitely a big difference between passive and active listening, and as I was reviewing each section, I quickly learned that I couldn't really do much else other than sit and focus, as doing other activities, even those as mundane as folding laundry, broke my concentration too much for me to effectively critique. I also learned that with four children, three dogs, and a husband, finding uninterrupted time was more of a challenge than I had originally thought it would be.
IHS: That must have been hard since you are not an audiobook natural. Okay, let’s talk reviews. Do you read your reviews and will you read your listener comments? What do you most like to see in the comments?
Majken: I do read my reviews and I appreciate the time people take to write them. Reviews are, after all, an author’s lifeline. Most of the reviews for the ebook and print versions of A Good Kind of Crazy have been beyond fabulous, and I have been thrilled to read how much people have been enjoying the story!
While all reviews are important and help make me a better storyteller, what I most love to see is when people write that they couldn't put the book down! The admission that people enjoyed what I created so much that it held their attention so thoroughly it was difficult to disengage is the best compliment I could ever receive!
Of course, as with anything in life, there will also be some who feel that A Good Kind of Crazy is not their favorite, and that’s okay, too. As the old adage says, no one can please all of the people all of the time. The truth of the matter is that I primarily wrote the novel for me, the kind of escapism I enjoy reading; a fairy tale for adults. Writing became my lifeline during a very difficult time in my life, and was my solace. Though I have now chosen to share my musings with the world, I wrote for my own well-being. Therefore, while I hope that people enjoy the story, I don’t really take it to heart if they don’t. I have already succeeded in my goals for writing this book, which were to finish it, then get it published, so everything else, including reviews, are a bonus.
IHS: Great insight! Okay, once a book is finished, then the work of marketing begins. What do you do to spread the word about a new release?
Majken: In terms of spreading the word about the release of A Good Kind of Crazy, I have to admit that I am learning marketing by the seat of my pants! I do have a pretty active presence on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a blog, and a website, and am gathering followers every day, which is extremely exciting! I enjoy interacting with people on these media sources, and have already used the platforms to do a few promotional giveaways to spark more interest.
I am also planning on donating several copies of the print version of the book to local libraries and am in the process of discussing with several regional book sellers about how to get A Good Kind of Crazy on their shelves. The next step is to also inquire as to how I can do these same things with the audiobook version of the novel.
As the publisher of the print and ebook version of my novel often says, being successful with publishing is a marathon, not a sprint, and so much of a book’s success is dependent on word of mouth. Therefore, my main marketing plan has been to produce a quality story to which people can relate, and distribute it in various formats for all to enjoy, so that they then feel compelled to recommend it to others.
IHS: Being active on social media is indeed a good way to start book promotions and word-of-mouth advertising is a time-tested effective tool, as well. Also, I like the idea of donating print copies of the book to local libraries. What advice would you give those who are thinking about becoming an author?
Majken: For anyone who dreams of becoming an author, my advice to them would be to go for it! A good deal of the fun for me was simply sitting down and seeing what developed. When I first conceived of writing A Good Kind of Crazy, I wasn't even sure if I was capable of writing a book. Four months later, I had completed a novel with over five hundred pages, and had started on a second. Now, three years later, I have three completed manuscripts: A Good Kind of Crazy, which is published, a companion novel currently in publication called Western Skies, and a third for which I have yet to seek publication, called A Twist of Faith. Truly, the hardest step in any situation is taking that leap of faith: no one will ever know what they are capable of unless they take a chance! "The journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step...."
IHS: That's great, that's so true! So for our audience who hasn't begun the process yet, what advice would you give authors who are thinking about doing an audiobook from their published book?
Majken: I would tell anyone who is interested in pursuing an audiobook for their novel that it is definitely worth it, but it is imperative to find the right voice to bring it to life so that it will appeal to listeners. As my best friend who works in a library said to me when I was deciding if I should have A Good Kind of Crazy made into an audiobook, it is a way to reach a whole other potential audience. Studies collaborate her assessment in that according to an article on March 23, 2018 by the Pew Research Center, approximately twenty-four percent of Americans had not read a book in the past year. For the majority of adults, the most logical reason behind this lack of reading is almost certainly due the fact that they simply can't find the time to read in their busy daily lives. Audiobooks are a way to reach and engage a portion of that population in a way that may be better suited for their personal time constraints.
IHS: Perfect! So, for you, what was the best part for you about working with I’m Hearing Stories. Would you recommend I’m Hearing Stories to other authors thinking about creating an audiobook?
Majken: The best part of working with I'm Hearing Stories was the ease and speed of which all was completed! The process went much faster than I honestly thought it would, and I had to scramble to find the time to proof everything. In the paper and ebook publishing world, it can take up to a year to get a book produced, so I had no idea that an audiobook timeline is much more accelerated.
Another benefit to working with I’m Hearing Stories is that Kimberly is professional and pleasant to work with, and the narrator pool is very talented and dedicated. All in all, this whole experience has been delightful! I hope to work with the company again when my next novel, Western Skies, is released.
IHS: Thank you so much for that! What a fun time we've had chatting with you today and getting your input! Okay, just for fun now, why don't you give us your Top Ten Craziest Accomplishments....
Majken's Top 10 Craziest Accomplishments:
1. My two best friends I have known since I was three and six years old, respectively.
2. I graduated from high school in three years instead of four, before going to Sweden as an exchange student during what would have been my senior year.
3. As part of my high school choir from a rural Nevada town, we won a competition that afforded us the opportunity to sing Vivaldi's Gloria under the direction of composer John Rutter at Carnegie Hall on Easter Sunday, 1992.
4. I left home at 17 to become an exchange student in Sweden. My host parents both worked a lot, so I was essentially living on my own during the weekdays for almost a year.
5. I took twenty-one credits one semester in college (and lived to tell the tale)!
6. I graduated from University "Cum Laude"
7. My husband and I got pregnant completely unassisted- twice- after enduring five years of extensive and invasive infertility treatments, as well as being blessed with two adoptions. We are so incredibly grateful and know that each child has a very specific place and purpose in our lives, regardless of how they came to us.
8. I wrote my first novel, A Good Kind of Crazy, in four months. I immediately started on my second book, which was also completed in four months.
9. This past autumn, my husband and I were introduced to a single mother of two who had lost her job and then, in quick succession, lost everything else, as well. Together with friends, I managed to find them temporary housing, then more permanent housing, and did a GoFundMe that raised enough money to buy a vehicle to replace the one they could no longer keep.
10. I’m a published author!
I'm tenacious as heck and strive for my heart's desires!
IHS: Thank you! That's very impressive - and inspiring!! So, how can our followers learn more about you?
After a particularly difficult year, Majken (pronounced “My-ken”) Selinder Nilsson started writing novels as a way to avoid the room with the rubber wallpaper and the jacket with all the buckles, finding during the process that she really enjoyed and had a knack for it. This was not surprising, however, as Ms. Nilsson has always had a vividly active imagination, including having not only one, but two imaginary friends as child. Even as an adult, her characters come to life in her head and their personal stories often flow out faster than she can type. In just nine months, she had written two full-length manuscripts, including extensive research, and started a third. A native Nevadan from a small agricultural town, who also spent some time living in her ancestral home of Sweden, Ms. Selinder Nilsson is now a transplanted Southerner, where she lives with her very understanding family.
Okay, folks, there you have it! Majken Selinder Nilsson, author of A Good Kind of Crazy.