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Advice from IR Approved Author Elaine Alec: “Be fearless.”

Calling My Spirit Back received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Elaine Alec.

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

Calling My Spirit Back, Published July 24, 2020

What’s the book’s first line?

There are many forces that can damage a community and the people within it, especially those who have become marginalized by forces beyond their control.

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

Calling My Spirit Back is an exceptional piece of Canadian writing by an Indigenous author that addresses our particular period in Canadian history when the conversations about systemic racism and abuse of women and the historical and ongoing trauma of our First Nations are finally starting to resonate beyond their typical boundaries. This book is a welcome and much needed contribution to that dialogue, not only in its vivid details but in its approach to healing.It is a truly moving work that links an extremely personal examination of lived experience – told with startling honest and precision – to a much broader overview of serious national sociological concerns, accompanied by tangible steps to create spaces for diversity and inclusion based on Indigenous knowledge and teachings. ”

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

In the summer of 2019 I travelled throughout the Province of BC to facilitate conversations called “Path Forward: Women and Girls Community Safety Sessions” in response to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry. Coming out of this work one of the common themes was how do we create and cultivate safe spaces to have these difficult conversations? I felt a sense of responsibility to contribute back to the individuals who participated in this important work and to provide some kind of support or resource for individuals who wanted to learn how to create safe space for others.

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

To build a deeper understanding of how systems are built to prevent us from reaching our full potential.

When did you first decide to become an author?

When my 4th grade teacher told me I should be a writer.

Is this the first book you’ve written?


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

I am a partner and planner with Alderhill Planning Inc., an Indigenous owned and operating planning firm.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I spent 3-6 hours a day writing the first draft of my book over 29 days

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

The best part of being an indie author is the freedom of writing what I want and working with who I want on timelines that I set for myself. The hardest part is learning how everything works including distribution and dedicating 3-5 hours a day to marketing your book, even on days you don’t feel like it.

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

Be fearless. I have been lucky enough to run my own companies over the years and have become comfortable with being uncomfortable and building faith in myself. I know that if I work hard and continue to be consistent, it pays off. Spend at least 1 hour a day learning about the writing and editing process, the publishing and distribution process and more importantly, learn how to market yourself. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Make connections and ask for help.

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

Yes, I would. I run a full time business and have two young children at home. I am passionate about my book and I feel I have worked really hard. It has taken me away from my family over the past year and I would like to rely on someone else to worry about publishing and distribution. I am still committed to marketing my book but could definitely use some relief in administrative areas.

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

To let people know that they are not alone. I want as many young women who are struggling to read this book. I wish someone would have shared these stories with me when I was younger.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire? 

Lee Maracle.