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Advice from IR Approved Author Madeleine Van Hecke: “Work with an experienced developmental editor.”

Once You Know received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Madeleine Van Hecke.

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

Once You Know was released on October 15, 2020.

What’s the book’s first line? 

“The moist spring air smelled of newly-mown grass, and Colleen inhaled it greedily, as if the past dry months living in Arizona had left her parched.”

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

Quick-tempered, Irish-Catholic Colleen Moretti wants a close-knit family more than anything in the world. But when a letter arrives that jeopardizes her marriage, she must deal with a betrayal that splits her family apart and threatens to unravel it entirely.

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

Over the years, I’ve listened to stories of women who felt trapped in no-win situations, caught in the cross-fire of people they love.  I wrote Once You Know in the hopes that this story might help a woman or two out there make the best decision possible for themselves.

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

Hope. Once You Know provides one example of how a family that seems irrevocably torn apart might move toward healing.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

Colleen’s preferred way of dealing with unpleasantness is to turn a blind eye to it. When that fails, she explodes, believing her Irish temper will clear the air. She reminds me of Elizabeth George’s character, Barbara Havers, in her Inspector Linley series. Both Barbara and Colleen are woefully lacking in self-insight and must undergo painful ordeals to overcome their blind spots.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

This is my debut novel. I have had two nonfiction books published by a traditional publisher, Prometheus Books.

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

I have the great gift of being retired and able to focus exclusively on my writing.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

Six to eight hours a day, but that includes everything from background research to marketing.

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

The best part of being an indie is that you have total control over every aspect of your book: what you write, whose editorial feedback you rely on, when you want to release your book, where and how you want to publicize it, etc.

The hardest part of being an indie is the other side of that coin: you have total responsibility for every aspect of your book. It’s up to you to get the feedback you need to make your book the best it can be, to find the best possible editing, copyreading, and proofreading available to you within your budget, to master the ins and outs of different self-publishing platforms, of marketing approaches, etc. That’s a steep learning curve.

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

Work with an experienced developmental editor. To write a successful novel, I think we need to become skillful at a very intricate craft, one that most of us have no specific training in. Sure, we might have listened to small groups at a writers’ conference critique a chapter of our book or gotten useful feedback from a writing partner. But for me, working with an exceptional developmental editor (Alida Winternheimer) is what took my work to the level that made possible the positive reviews Once You Know has received.