A Rocking Interview with Author Lyndsey Dee

Hey gang! If you haven't jumped into the Bury the Hatchet blogfest, and entered for a chance to win the Nook or other prizes I'm giving away, there's still lots of time (runs through October 19--see the stickied post above for details). 

I'm forgoing the 'Good News of the Week' feature this week, because I've got nothing BUT good news to share. Beginning with the first of two author interviews/recent book releases. 



Lyndsey Dee is the author of Flour City Blues. Here's what the book's about:

'Soon-to-be high school senior, Josh LaSalle is forced to move from Pittsburgh to the Rochester, New York suburbs as a tactic his parents have chosen as the only way to salvage their troubled marriage. Distraught with the change, Josh unexpectedly finds two friends who actually have the same idea of starting a band and begin to take over the city with their own brand of rock 'n' roll. While everyone is worried about college applications and making final memories, Josh experiences the gain of local success in the music scene, house parties, neglectful parents and trying to find out if the French foreign exchange student really likes him, likes him.'

Tell me that doesn't sound like a great rock and roll story?! And you all know how much I adore music... 

Lyndsey is truly a dynamic creative talent, and I think you'll find her as fascinating as I did. She's a true entrepreneur, and provides a great lesson for chasing down your dreams. At the very least, you'll leave here hungry, and with a tune in your head. :-)

(Details on where to purchase Flour City are at the bottom of the interview.)

EJ (ME) - So, I've done some snooping, and you are a lady of many hats: You write, you graphic design, you're a professional maker of yummy things. Tell us about your interests, and other business ventures, and how those things factored into you writing Flour City Blues.


Lyndsey Dee (LD) - Haha, I do have quite a few interests! I love baking and writing so I finally turned them into something. I’ve worked on bringing both to fruition for the past five years and finally broke loose this year. I just opened the doors to my tiny little bakery in Rochester called Cakes a Go-Go and finally released Flour City Blues. I released the book under my own publishing name, despite any stigmas that self-published books may have. I just grew tired of dealing with agents. I queried both larger and smaller houses and they told me to try querying the opposite. I took things into my own matters from there. I study the trends in both young adult and new adult literature, follow forums or Twitter chats and I do all of my own promoting. I am the publisher who doesn’t have the middlemen cutting into the royalty pie. I honestly don’t mind the grunt work. I spent the time working on the book, and I make sure it is getting the coverage it deserves. I take the same marketing approach to my bakery, using social media, daily customer service and writing press releases.

I am also excited to reveal that my younger brother and I have started Stingray Press and Media. He started The Anderson Stingrays a few years back and developed the music connections that we are using to pave the way with our venture. We are taking the aspects from the punk DIY ethic and creating a company to press and market books from the YA/NA genres and distribute music. We will eventually be launching our website and we’re already working on our first release for the winter—which we are super excited about. Any book-related stuff will probably not go into effect until early 2013. We want to give those bands or writers the chance to get their material out there. We’ll also offer coaching and other services for novice book-promoters who want to get noticed in the world. This is also where the graphic design will be coming in. I do design book covers, flyers, band logos and artwork.

Anyway, for the book, it was all about the music. I am the only one in the family who is not musical performance-challenged. But, don’t try to beat me at “name that tune,” because I’d definitely win. I am the visually-sound and creative one, the writer and artist. The book is an open love letter to the music I grew to love so much as a teenager. I fell in love with punk and rockabilly, and grew up with Elvis, the British Invasion and swing, thanks to my parents and grandparents. My musical exposure is well-rounded, much like my main character, Josh.


ME - You clearly have an entrepreneurial spirit, has that helped you tackle the book business? If so, how?

LD - Sure. Both ventures actually mirror each other in the sense that you constantly have to market yourself to be seen. The only difference is that opening a bakery costs more money! Ha! It may seem weird, but everything that I have to do for the book is my downtime, my therapy or my post-bakery workday wind-down. I catch up on Twitter, post a blog entry and compose a few emails. This takes me from early evening to late at night. I am constantly in promotion mode, always on alert and consider anyone a possible customer or reader.


ME - Flour City is all about the rock, the roll, and the tunes--what are your musical influences, and how have they impacted your writing? Also, the trailer gives a similar vibe as some of my favorite music-themed movies (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, etc.). Any film influences? 

LD - Like I mentioned above, I fell in love with punk music when I was in high school. The fast guitars, the nihilistic views and the simple fashion. I was not too keen on piercings and Mohawks, although I did have my share of different hair colors, I was a Chuck- Taylor-and-leather-jacket-Ramones kind of girl. My parents also turned me on to their influences. My dad was a drummer in a few bands, and continues to really enjoy Grand Funk Railroad, the Doobie Brothers, Elvis and Motown artists. My mom liked the early Beatles, it was the one band her father actually enjoyed and bonded over. The British Invasion and garage rock were high on her list of favorites. Growing up, I spent tons of time with my paternal grandparents, and they each surrounded me around Johnny Cash, Glenn Miller, Louis Prima, Elvis (Grandma was OBSESSED! She saw him twice!) and Middle Eastern music. I think the wide exposure of music has shaped my writing in a sense that it helps create a story and a setting.

It is funny you mention Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, because it is one movie I was thinking about when I was writing. (ME - See! Great film, btw.) I have a communications/film background and plan my book like a movie in my head. The scenes in the book were just based on anecdotes I heard from friends or stupid things I have done.

I have a few outlines of future books lying around and I definitely draw the film inspiration from Federico Fellini or Francis Ford Coppola. I am going to go back in time to mid-century post-war society with a couple ideas I have.

ME - Check the trailer gang! (This is a punk rock jam, so adjust your speakers accordingly--which in my case means crank it to 11!)



ME - Being adept at so many artistically expressive things (baking, design, drawing, etc.), I think most people will want to know: Why a book? What did you need words to convey that you couldn't say with the other mediums?

LD - I feel conventional with the other interests. If I make a cake, I love when the customer tells me they have their trust in me to create a gorgeous conversation piece at their wedding or birthday party, but there are limits. Despite the free creativity, I am making something for someone else, not me. Then there’s the possibility of something happening during the baking process (God, forbid!). Owning a business is great, but there are those constraints that still don’t give you the full control. For example, I rent my space, rather than own. Since I rent, I have to adhere to the conditions of the landlord, the town, the county. Writing is something I can have complete control of and not hold myself back. Writing about teens is something you really should not try to do with a filtered mind. It is such a crucial age period filled with friendships and relationships that may have an expiration date, aka graduation. (ME - YES!)



ME - Okay, the good part: Tell us about Flour City Blues and how we can snag a copy of our very own

LD - Well, Flour City Blues is about Josh LaSalle, a 17 year-old who, along with his sister is uprooted from their home in Pittsburgh to a Rochester, NY suburb after his parents realize their tortured marriage could be salvaged if they move back to their hometown. While the parents are busy reliving their teen years, Josh meets Jeff Kilbourne and they recruit Frank DelVecchio to play drums in their band. They join ranks with the local punk and rock scenes in Rochester and join in on the booze and parties. Josh also falls for the French foreign exchange student, (ME - Ooh La La!) but after living through the hard times with his parents, he’s afraid to express his feelings. There’s a real theme of carpe diem throughout the book, you just have to see if Josh “seizes the day.”





WHERE YOU CAN FIND LYNDSEY ON THE WEB



Twitter: @lyndseyisgr8

9 comments:

  1. As a guitarist, that book sounds interesting!
    And I don't know - I'm pretty good at name that tune.
    Good luck, Lyndsey!

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  2. I love Elvis-whether he's around or not.

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  3. Fascinating interview.... Thanks for introducing us to Lyndsey, E.J.

    Good luck, Lyndsey!


    Hey, E,J, mentioned you in my post today...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great Interview!

    I tweeted and FB'd this. Glad to see the birth of an Indie.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    ReplyDelete
  5. This books sounds right up my alley. I LOVE music and the whole boy rock band thing is totally my thing.

    Thanks for this interview!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This book definitely sounds like the kind for me! I'm going to add it to my TBR for sure :)

    Just so ya know E.J., I posted my blogfest entry today :)
    http://thefarseas.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/ej-wesleys-bury-hatchet-blogfest.html

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks everyone! Once again, thanks EJ for the opportunity!

    <3 Lyndsey

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