Introducing Christine Hurst January 17 2014, 1 Comment

This whole self-publishing lark has been a big learning curve for me, and several people have helped out with advice along the way. I now belong to a 'Self Publishers in New Zealand' Facebook page, and one of the other members is Christine Hurst, self-published author of the Symphony Smythe books. The first two books are out, with a third coming soon.

Christine gave me Symphony Smythe Wants a Pet to read to my girls, which they thought was very funny. The illustrations are lovely, the writing aimed at young readers but with plenty of interesting words and phrases.

Symphony wants a pet, but her parents aren’t keen. Her mum comes out in orange spots and her dad doesn’t want another mouth to feed. So Symphony comes up with a series of alternatives that she makes (or imagines) herself.

Children over a broad age range will enjoy it, first as a story that is read to them and then as a read-it-yourself story for the older reader. A great start for kids just starting on chapter books, and refreshingly free from fairies & princesses, which seem to over-populate the choices for girls these days.

This is the second book in the series, the first being Symphony Smythe and the Baked Bean Birthday Party

I asked Christine some questions about her writing journey....

What was your inspiration for your first book? 

My first book was trade published, but my first self-published book, Symphony Smythe & the Baked Bean birthday Party, came about because when I was ten years old my mother served baked beans on toast at my one-and-only birthday party. I was mortified! I had the character of Symphony in my mind for a while and the two elements just came together perfectly.

What was the most challenging piece of the self-publishing puzzle? 
There seemed to be so many challenging parts, but the technical aspects of ebook conversions and uploading to online retailers. It should be easy, and I think if everything goes as it should, it is easy. But the minute it doesn’t go to plan, it’s a huge headache.

What do you wish you had known from the beginning? 
It’s all a learning curve, so I was trying different things to see which worked best – which ebook converter, which online stores were best, etc. If I had

What is the most rewarding aspect of self-publishing? 
Being in control of the decisions. Being able to call the shots, set your price, cover designs etc. And of course the satisfaction of knowing that you did it yourself. What an accomplishment!

What are you working on now? 
A couple of projects – the third Symphony Smythe book, as well as a novel for young teens. Also, I plan to write a picture book about one of WW2’s unexpected heroes – a dog.

Where to from here? 
Keep plugging away with my self-publishing. Build my back catalogue, start some marketing to schools, book some school visits.

Tell us something fun that not many people know about you? 
I don’t know if it’s fun, but I am a librarian at a family history library (in my ‘paid’ job). There is nothing more satisfying than discovering what your ancestors did, where they lived, who they were.

You can follow Christine on Facebook or check out one of her websites, she has three!

* As a new self-publisher myself, I know just how important it is to support other writers in our little community, and I am happy to do so. I have not received any financial gain from this post whatsoever. Any opinions expressed are entirely my own.