Expat Bookshop gets to know Maggie Myklebust, the author of Fly Away Home (Summertime Publishing 2012). Find out more about Fly Away Home (Summertime, 2012). Find Maggie’s website and blog at flyawayhomebook.com.
EB: Tell us about your book. What is it about?
MM: In my opinion the book is about challenge. Not only the challenges of being an expat but also of life in general, no matter where you are. The story touches on issues such as divorce, abuse, autism and custody, but most of all it’s about love. A love that stands the test of time and miles…
EB: Why did you write it?
MM: I wrote it for my family. Thanks to me we’re a blended clan living on two continents and I felt the need to explain why to the future generations of my family.
EB: What qualifies you to write this book?
MM: First of all it’s my story but in order to write it, I had to learn how. While living in the Netherlands I stumbled across an advert in The Local Expat newspaper for a series of ‘Write Your Life Stories’ workshops in the Hague. These workshops were taught by the incredibly talented author, Jo Parfitt, and literally put me on the writing path.
EB: Why do you think your book needed to be written? What will it do for other people? How will it help?
MM: I’ve already had people from all over, some expats and some not, contact me about the book. Yes, I’m an expat who has lived in three different countries but my story is about more and I believe women on both sides of the fence will be able to relate.
EB: Who do you think will read your book? What made you think that there was a market for it?
MM: I have packed up and left home several times and for various reasons. I once fled in desperation. I have also moved for love and again for work. At the same time, non-expats can also identify with the problems I faced. That’s why I believe my book is for everybody.
EB: What steps have you taken or do you plan to take to promote your book? Which methods do you think work best and can you give me any examples?
MM: I consider myself to be more a person with a story than a writer. However, I do have a blog and a website – flyawayhomebook.com – where people from all over the world have found me and my story. I’ve had over 8000 hits in the last three months. Overall, I think my blog has been the best source in promoting the book.
I’ve had several book reviews and interviews, which have all been positive and can be found on my website. I also have a Facebook page, am on Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and Goodreads, under the same name flyawayhomebook.
There has been a press release in both Norway and the Netherlands. I have submitted the book to a Norwegian publisher for translating and am waiting to hear from her. A Norwegian women’s magazine called Hjemmet is coming this week to interview me about the book and take pictures of my house, which I wrote about in the book. I was also interviewed recently by the Stavanger Expats website.
I have also sent out several review copies, participated in giveaways and contests. There are links to everything on my website and or Facebook page.
EB: How did you publish your book? Please describe your process and tell us how you found the experience. Is there anything you would definitely do again or never do again?
MM: I was LUCKY, because my teacher Jo Parfitt agreed to read my story and helped me find an editor. After it was finished (it took two years) she liked it enough to help me publish it through her publishing company, Summertime Publishing. I had a wonderful editor named Jane Dean and an equally talented book designer named Lisa Hall from Lemonberry Design; together we made a great team. I found the whole experience to be as exciting as it was challenging!
EB: What was your biggest challenge regarding the writing of your book? How have you overcome that?
MM: I would have to say, not hurting or offending anyone. When writing a memoir the most important thing is to tell the truth and sometimes in doing so innocent people can be hurt. In some places I had to put my feelings on a shelf to be fair and show both sides of the story. I laughed and cried (several times) along the way. Another challenge was deciding whether or not to publish or keep it private. I won’t lie, telling the world my secrets has kept me up a few nights…
EB: What has writing the book done for you, your family, your self-esteem or your business?
MM: Sometimes I feel as if it has taken over my life! I spend many hours chained to my desk in pursuit of readers (haha). I get up early and go to bed late trying to carve out the time I need for my family, my friends and my book but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
EB: If you were to give advice to someone else who is thinking about writing a book, what would be your number one tip?
MM: Oh that’s hard, because people write books for different reasons. I wrote the book one chapter at a time, with no deadlines or expectations. I’m glad for the experience and happy for whatever comes from it.