Q: What are the biggest surprises you’ve encountered as a writer?
D: The surprise was that the work only increases after your book is published. As a self-promoting team, we have to do everything we can to get the book to the attention of the audience we wish to target. Of course, this was different decades ago when you might have a publishing company involved in this, but the world of books has changed. Unless you are a big name you are going to be on your own for most of it and it can be intense. You need to have a well thought out plan and stick to it in order to get noticed. Flexibility is the key – always be ready to adapt to whatever comes your way. It will keep you pliable and ready for anything.
Q: What do you do when you are not writing?
D: I play drums in a rock band whenever possible. I also teach both drum kit and hand drum lessons. I have an active repair shop in which I build, fix and tune djembe drums (among others) and manufacture a few percussion accessories as well. I enjoy doing the graphic design work for all our marketing and that is a never-ending learning journey in itself, but certainly an enjoyable one.
Q: Who, or what inspired you to pursue a career in writing?
L: The first writer I ever knew was my mother, who dabbled at the craft for a short time. Later, teachers would comment about my writing, truly moved by what I wrote. These were the earliest influences, slowly pointing me in this direction. Some of my poetry was published, then I won some writing awards... later I took some career evaluation tests and writing kept coming up as a career option. Dave's emotional support and strategic skills have been of great value; having that strength, someone to mull over the details with - it is a huge benefit.
Q: How many books/stories have you written?
L: I've only written a couple non-fiction short stories, numerous non-fiction articles, both product and book reviews, and a total of 7 published books (one of which is no longer available). We did have an ebook (Jump Start For Writers), but that no longer exists. Currently, we have a 2-book series on green living (Trash Talk), 2 books of poetry (Towards Understanding; Rhythm & Rhyme) and there's a newly revised book filled with marketing advice for writers (Purple Snowflake Marketing). Our most recent release is a cookbook: From One Small Garden that, as you might derive from the name, focuses on recipes that help people take advantage of garden harvests and reduce food waste.
Q: How many (books) bookshelves do you have in your home?
D: We are still bookies. We have about 7 or 8 bookshelves throughout the house and studio. I will never stop reading real books as it has a much more intimate feel than a screen. A lot of the books I have are technical manuals on computer software, photographic technique books, books on drums and percussion and sound or rhythm therapy.
Q: What have you learned about while working with your spouse?
L: Verbal communication is a challenge for me and I have to say that has been my biggest learning curve through our 2 decades of working together, and our 30+ years of marriage. It took a while for us to determine which of us had a better knack for this task or that duty, and over time we just slid into our roles and did our best to support each other in any way we could. We learned to give each other space to do what needs to be done and to be gracious when one of us has personal challenges. We have regular, spontaneous meetings and brainstorming sessions. We talk about what needs to be done and determine priorities based on what is realistic to take on that week... and we divide the duties as best we can.
Q: Describe a typical writing day.
D: Well, when Lillian is responding to interview questions and running the social media end of things, I am working on the back end of things like images, ad creation, copywriting, or editing anything we have written together. We always proof each other’s work; it is amazing what one might miss that fresh eyes can catch. And with the graphic work, I always have a hard-nosed critic with a keen eye just upstairs from me to give an honest second opinion. What looks good to my eye after working on something for hours might be seen as too wordy or the wrong colour scheme. A fresh set of different eyes with a common understanding of the goal is the best feedback I could ask for – and she brings me cookies!
Q: What is your proudest writer moment?
L: Our Trash Talk series is probably the project that I find the most pride in. Through this series, we have influenced people all over the world to live more proactively, consciously saving money and reducing consumption of resources, while helping their own communities. My proudest moment came when the Recycling Council of British Columbia presented us with an award for "outstanding use of various media in ongoing outreach work to reduce waste in our environment" and then we were recognized as Community Heroes by the LiveSmart BC program. Mere words cannot describe how it feels to hear from our former radio listeners, and our readers over the years... their stories of how we influenced them to become proactive and make a difference.
Q: What business challenges have you faced as a writer?
D: The learning of new software and web design has been a big challenge in my end of things. There is always something to learn in the realm of graphic design but it is a challenge I love to take on as it only increases my knowledge and ability to do all of our own promotional projects for all aspects of our business.
Q: What have you learned about while working with your spouse?
D: We do some of our best creative work when we are just discussing stuff together over a cup of coffee during a break. And, we always have a note pad to jot down the ideas that come bursting out because, sure enough, the best ideas are the ones that slip your memory if you don’t.
Lillian and her husband Dave are the team behind Brummet Media Group, high-fiving cheerfully as they pass each other on the way from checking off one item or other from their long to-do list. Their business includes Dave’s music studio and percussion accessory products and graphic design work as well as numerous award-winning non-fiction books and popular blogs. Today we help them celebrate their latest book release - From One Small Garden, with over 300 delicious, nutritious recipes!