Saturday, 20 October 2007

I Romanced the Stone - Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie: Marvin Wilson

I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie): by Marvin Wilson
Published by Global Authors Publishers (July 26, 2006)
ISBN 9780977968039

What is your book about? When you think of a crackhead, what kind of picture comes to mind? A stupid teenager with little or no education? A prostitute? A smack talking, ghetto-born African-American? Or maybe, a misfit Caucasion dropout from a broken home, with an alcoholic, abusive, absentee father? Crack heads are street walking, panhandling, hustling, poorly dressed, teeth missing, gaunt, thin, useless, and dangerous looking kinds of people, that you'd never invite over to dinner, right?

Well guess again, because the author of these memoirs is an educated, articulate and thoughtful, formerly successful family and businessman, a grandfather, who owns expensive suits, always knows how to appear well groomed, and knows which fork is used when, at the gourmet banquets of the upper middle class.

"I Romanced the Stone" observes, discusses and exposes fundamental tendencies of addiction in our society, and weaves these general themes throughout the personal story of the author's journey. The reader comes to understand that drug addiction is not some exclusive disease of the poor or the uneducated, or the social castaways of our world; it is an insatiable and insidious ghost, shadowing anyone, of any walk of life, from any economic or social environment. It can appear as a false god, "the good life", and then devour you as "the grim reaper" is revealed bewilderingly to you, as your new slave master.

The book tells how the author was rehabilitated, cured, and had his life and soul spared, through love and help from family and most significantly, through a powerful spiritual experience. It is an inspiring, yet fearsomely awesome story, sending a message of hope and advisement.

Why did you write the book? It was my way of giving back to God, repaying the universe for a new lease on life. I want help others avert certain ruin by going down the dark road I traversed and nearly died on.

How does your book differ from others that are similar? There are others books written by the author's experience of an addiction experience, and some offer cures, as well. However, I ROMANCED THE STONE is more than a memoir. The book is half personal journey and half social comment and critique.

Why did you choose POD? Being it was my first ever book, I had no clue how to go about getting published. I just networked online, found and joined author and writer forums, home schooled myself on how to write a query letter, make a submission, write a good proposal, etc. At first I tried traditional publishing companies, but was always met with rejection for one of two opposite reasons.

The secular publishers eschewed it for being too "religious" – my addiction cure was one of a spiritual Christ experience. They wanted me to re-write the ending into more of a new age "Ultimate It" self-discovery. But this book is about truth, and I give credit where credit is due.

Ironically, the Christian publishers also rejected it for being too worldly. I don't pull any punches in the story telling of what it's like on the drug infested inner city streets. There's plenty of spicy language, graphic depictions of despairing souls, illicit sex etc, in the book. And I wasn't about to water it down into some phony nicey-nice Sunday School story.

So, I just decided if I wanted the thing done right, I'd just have to do it myself and go with self publishing.

What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of this method? Advantages? Number one, control of your work! Except for editing for spelling, punctuation, good grammar, syntax, good sentence flow, STONE was printed exactly as I wrote it and wanted it. Number two, you have control of your work. Did I say you have complete control?
Disadvantages? Well for one, you have to pay to have your book published, rather than getting paid for it being published. Also, and even though this is true for many of the smaller traditional publishers as well, your book is not going to get promoted and wind up on bookstore shelves unless you can mount a mighty personal marketing and promotion campaign.

How did you market your book? TV and radio talk show interviews, blog tours and interviews like this one, massive amounts of online networking.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome? Actually committing to the publication of it. I wrote the book firstly as a catharsis, part of the healing process. A reflective person at heart, I figure things about by writing about them. And I did have it in my mind and heart that I wanted to help others with the telling of my story. BUT … when it came time to actually commit to the promise I'd made, it was tough. Going public with a memoir that features an idiot tied to a crack pipe that just happened to be yourself is a little like wearing your underwear on the outside of your suit. It had to be done, though, so I sucked scared up and got on with it.

What would you say to others considering POD? If it's your first time, join some author's forums, network and find good people to work with. A great source I use all the time is the Preditors and Editors site, they list and rank publishers and agents, with rankings from "strongly not recommended" to "highly recommended." Make sure the company you go with is legit. I nearly got clobbered with a rascal outfit during the early going with STONE. I got a quick acceptance from a submission and was all giddy with beginner's luck. A little online research dashed my dreams into thankful reality. The company was infamous for tying up your book pub rights for years, producing poorly edited crap that almost no bookstores wanted in their stores. You just have to do your due diligence; there are plenty of fine outfits available with good packages to offer, fair pricings and contracts, producing good quality books.

Where can I get a copy of your book? It's available through – Or, if you want a personalized signed copy, email me through my website at: You can also order it from any major bookstore. If you like the read, do me a favour; go back to the bookstore and request that they start carrying some copies on their shelves (another example of my marketing – Ha!)

1 comment:

C M Barons said...

70s Generation-Jones culture:

In the Midst Of
by C. M. Barons

Sticker price on a 1975 Corvette was $6,550. A bag of Columbian: $30. In the Midst Of features a barefaced ensemble of true-to-age characters. Brian connects with an offbeat mentor cum older brother named Hollis in a lopsided relationship. Hollis moves on, but Brian will not let go. He clings to a myth perpetuated by dependency and self-denial. The 1970s was an era of global hang-time; the 60s pendulum had swung as far as the silent majority would allow. Poised to back swing, the repercussions were unclear. The shock value of the previous decade had been commercialized. Like pre-faded jeans: off-the-rack and ready-to-wear. “How's your love life?” “Try it... You’ll like it!” ...Couldn’t raise the eyebrows of the Tidy-Bowl man. The nation was in transition, post Watergate-pre AIDS. The war was over, and Disco was an urban anomaly. Americans shimmied into hip-huggers, submitted to analysis and shucked inhibitions. Suburban cool: Naugahyde living room set, Tiki-lit backyard and coveting the neighbor's spouse. ...Cocaine for your groove and a doobie to unwind. What distinguishes In the Midst Of? Barons’ characters are not trite icons typically enlisted to resemble the 70s. Brian, et al, leap beyond stereotypes; genuinely developed, invigorated by brisk and animated dialogue. The backdrop is vivid, an eclectic pastiche- definitive 70s. The era pretends to be a character, à la Grand Central Terminal, too epic for the label: train station. Brian and his friends’ lives play out, guided by elements more onerous than the clockworks of society and politics. They are ensconced on a college campus. Co-ed dorms, liberal drinking, open drugs and casual sex. Edge-lurking has always been fashionable. Hollis dangles by his fingertips. Beneath his public facade lies a disturbing void. His multiple secrets are protected by an ambiguity that passes for cool. His inner sanctum is Brian's obsession; a fixation that yields a mirror with a chilling reflection. Hollis is the aim- as clear as the bull's eye emblazoned on any Zen-archer's target.