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Advice from IR Approved Author Charles Colman: “Approach your writing process with professionalism.”

MY UGANDAN HILL received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Charles Colman.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

MY UGANDAN HILL was published on August 25, 2019.

What’s the book’s first line? 

“On my Ugandan hill I met a mamba.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

The book is a memoir set in Uganda in the 1950s. I wrote it to provide middle-grade readers (and older!) with a glimpse into my early childhood, growing up in another time in a far-off place that will be foreign to most. My book has been reviewed as “vivid” and “uncompromising.”

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

I spoke to my daughter’s class about Uganda. The teacher encouraged me to write a book about my experiences. That was twenty years ago! Wow. I tried writing the book from the perspective of “In the Moment,” but it didn’t work. I decided that I had to improve my writing craft. I wrote other books that were traditionally and independently published. When I returned to My Ugandan Hill, I tackled the project from the perspective of “Author Looking Back.” It worked!

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

My Ugandan Hill is for pleasure reading and education. I hope the book will help readers appreciate a country rich in diverse cultural traditions. I include what I hope is a judicious selection of Luganda and Swahili terms, native concepts, and an introduction to African wildlife that is based on real-life experiences. I also include some super stamp illustrations for those of you who enjoy stamp collecting. Might I suggest you light an omuliro, gather round, and read this book out loud. I hope you will travel to a magic place as the flames leap and the wood crackles.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Wouldn’t that be amazing! Do you mean a movie that is the Uganda version of The Durrells in Corfu? Well then, I choose Milo Parker, who plays Gerry in that wonderful series

When did you first decide to become an author?

I’ve enjoyed writing since my college days. During my business career, I wrote a section for a book published by the Financial Times of London. I wrote business cases that I taught at business schools. Once I began reading books to my children, it was a natural progression to try my hand at writing for kids.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

My Ugandan Hill is my fourth book. I’d love to welcome you to my website, chcolman.com, where you can explore my other titles.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I’m retired, so I am able to spend a lot of time writing.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I try to write most mornings.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?  

The best part is having the freedom to create a book on my own terms. The hardest part is creating a quality product without the support of a traditional publisher’s staff (editor, copy editor, fact checker, art director, etc.)

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

I know you want to be proud of your book. Approach your writing process with professionalism. Find a critique group to both contribute to and learn from. Attend writers’ conferences to improve your craft. Above all, once your book is complete, pay for a professional copy edit. Those are gold!

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?

I have published books that are both traditional and independent. I like both routes. A traditional publisher will, however, open more doors for you. For instance, you will gain entrance to all book fairs, some of which are closed to independent books (e.g.: The Buckeye Book Fair.)  Having said that, the publishing landscape has changed. There are so many ways to promote your book. IndieReader, for instance, offers wonderful promotional tools.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

Honestly, I just love the writing process, especially revision, and I also love interacting with other writers. Of course, fame and fortune would be great!

Which writer, living or dead, would you like to have dinner with?

Beatrix Potter. Can you imagine the animals that might join us? Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle would set the table linens. Jeremy Fisher would bring a fish. Two bad mice would break a dish. Peter would steal the salad, and I’d have to interrupt my conversation to chase him.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Peter Rabbit. It’s the quintessential children’s story. The hero is full of mischief, and we love him. The villain has good reason to be mad at Peter, yet we dislike him. The illustrations are out of this world, starting with Peter looking the other way while his sisters pay attention to Mrs. Rabbit.