Time to host another guest on the blog! Brian Holers, the author of Doxology, which focuses on bonding, family, and faith, stopped by for a quick chat.
1. What was the key influence in writing your book?
I’ve been away from Louisiana for half my life now, but wanted to write a story set in the
place I still think of as home. My primary goal was to write a book about relationships
between men who live with loss, who search for meaning, and who continue to believe in
a power greater than themselves, in spite of their losses. I wanted to write a story about
regular, unsanitized people whose faiths bring value to their lives, and genuine answers.
2. Your website speaks strongly of your faith. Did your faith figure into the plotlines of your
book, and how if so?
I grew up in rural Louisiana in the 1970s, in a world filled with stories. Everyone I knew was
Christian. As much as I admire those who study and study, I have never been a theological
person; faith for me has always been a feeling. I married into a Jewish family, and we chose
to embrace Judaism and raise our child in that faith; so I, in a sense, am a person in between.
3. What is the most interesting place you traveled, and how did that affect your writing?
Writing is just like any other job. It’s ninety nine percent perspiration, and one percent
inspiration. I started writing Doxology several years ago when my family and I were
traveling for a year. I found that, even if you don’t have a job to go to every day, writing is
still hard. You still have to sit down and do it. No time or place is ever perfect. Probably the
most exotic place I have traveled is Zanzibar. For a month we stayed in a dive shop hotel
there, and every day I would drag in a wooden outdoor table into my room and sit on the
edge of the bed—there was no chair in this place—and write. So traveling has affected my
writing in its logistics. No matter where I go, my mind still goes back to Louisiana.
4. You’ve written a very psychology-involved story. There’s a lot of self-analysis for Vernon
and Jody, considering their situations, and they both have a lot of self-discovery to go
through. Have you done any research in the field of psychology?
I have an undergraduate degree in psychology, which has qualified me to work in a
homeless shelter, a coffee shop and qualified me to further train to become an arborist. But
it does speak to my lifelong search for human motivation.
5. Have you had any personal experience that is similar to that of your characters?
Our experiences in life affect us, certainly, but the story in Doxology is entirely fabricated.
The central theme of boys fighting for entertainment comes from a story an old man in my
youth used to tell me, but other than that, it’s all made up. As hard as it is to create a story, it
frees the writer, in a sense, in that there are no facts to be considered and given their due.
6. What do you hope that the reader takes away from your story?
I hope the reader takes away a renewed sense that the real meaning of religion is to give
context to and add value to human life. We live life on this earth, with all the rules and
shortcomings of earthly life. But in the end, there is something greater.
7. What would you recommend to new authors?
I recommend that new authors be patient. Writing may well be the hardest thing you will ever do, and if your writing is any good at all, there is a desire at the center of it that will do its best to eat you alive. For many of us. we have to write. It’s something we need to do, But writing will do its best to turn you inside out. It will do its best to make you crazy. It will do its best to make you believe you have never done anything in your life worth the soil you walk on top of every day. You have to put everything you have inside you down on the page, and, for awhile at least, this leaves a person hollowed out. We want to get our work out there, and show the world we’re more than just the lifelond weirdos our friends and families have told us we were. Be patient. Publishing is a bit like writing. It can’t be rushed.
8. What do you think of your publishing process (self/trad, details, impressions)
Like many, I tried to find a traditional publisher. I found an agent, and she struck out trying to get my book published. By the time I decided to publish myself, I felt I had waited long enough, and enough time had passed since I thought the book was through, and enough tinkering had been done, that I simply had to figure out how to do it. The book market, like many businesses, is in a bit of disarray; not only are we competing with more and more and more writers, we are competing with more and more and easier and easier forms of entertainment. And whether you have a publisher or self-publish, you have to do ALL the work to sell it as a new writer. You create a quality product (your book) with quality packaging (cover, synopsis, media kit) and after that, it’s all a numbers game. You get out it there, far and wide. Thank goodness for the internet.