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Advice from IR Approved Author Steven Mayfield: “Don’t let your genuine narrative voice get lost in an effort to be rich and famous.”

The Penny Mansions received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with authors Steven Mayfield.

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

The Penny Mansions (Regal House Publishing, October 2023)

What’s the book’s first line?

Goldstrike crouched at the edge of the stream for a dip, afterward giving the ice-cold, murky water in his pan a good swirl before picking out the larger rocks the way Old Butch taught him when Goldstrike was a pup and just starting out.

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

A former gold rush town offers to sell four abandoned mansions for a penny apiece if the buyers agree live in the homes until they can be counted in the 1920 census. It sets off an explosion of events that includes one blizzard, two avalanches, three romances, an unintentionally hilarious community theater presentation, and murder!

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

My wife told me about houses in Italy that were being sold for one euro each if buyers would commit to living in the dying villages that made the offers. We thought about doing it, after which I would write a book about our experience, but the pandemic got in the way. Hence, I relocated the idea to America during the previous flu pandemic of 1918-20.

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

I write novels with heart, humor, and a dash of crime; hence I don’t want my readers to feel wretched when they’re done. I try to both entertain and elucidate, which means that I won’t ignore conflict nor will I leave the reader staring into an abyss of hopelessness. I like happy endings, or least ones where the bad guys don’t get all the donuts. The last statement might seem odd, unless you’ve been to an HOA meeting. Take my word for it. The troublemakers arrive early, eat all the donuts with chocolate frosting, and then stuff the bear claws into their pockets or purses.

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

There are several main characters. However, Bountiful Dollarhyde is the glue that holds them all together. Most distinctive thing about her? Intelligence and self-awareness. Who does she remind me of? My wife.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I started writing at nine and began my first novel at twelve. However, it wasn’t until college that I thought it possible to actually be a writer. By the way, if anyone reading this knows someone about to start a novel at twelve, advise them not to tell the other kids at school. They’ll get their glasses broken. I’m not kidding.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

This is my fourth and I previously was a ghost writer for four others.

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

I’ve been solely a writer for almost twenty years. Before that, I was a neonatologist.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I try to write every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I probably average about 2-3 hours/day. I’d devote more time, but Netflix isn’t going to watch itself.

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

Don’t let your genuine narrative voice get lost in an effort to be rich and famous.

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

I’m already traditional with Regal House publishing my last three books. Frankly, I’m just trying to stay traditional, which depends on books sales, so please buy The Penny Mansions!

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

I recently realized that the ability to create worlds where everyone does what I want is a wonderful substitute for psychotherapy.

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

So many, but to pick one living and one dead, I’d go with Anthony Doerr for the former and Muriel Spark for the latter.

Which book(s) do you wish you could have written?

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut and Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis.


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