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Interview with Becky Parker Geist


About the Author


Becky Parker Geist is the founder and CEO of Pro Audio Voices, which is a Portland based company serving clients internationally as a go-to place for exceptional audiobook production and marketing, and producer of the soon-to-be-released AMPlify app, that offers the highest royalties and most control to authors of audiobooks of any platform in the industry.

Her debut novel, The Left Turn, the first in the Split Universe series, which explores self discovery and discoveries in new science through contemporary metaphysical fiction in the context of parallel universes, is available for purchase on Amazon.

 

Q: Can you tell us something about yourself that not many people know about? Like your hobbies? I really enjoy inventing and playing games, and also playing the Native American flute. Ever since hearing the sound of one as a youth, I’d wanted to play. But it’s only recently that I finally got one and started making music with it.

I make kombucha and ginger beer and sourdough bread. Meditation is also an important part of my life.



Q: When did you write your first story and how old were you? I declared myself an author at 5 yrs old, after writing my first “book” in orange pencil in a small notepad. My next big step on the journey was my first chapter book that I wrote in third grade. I’ve always loved writing, but I wasn’t focused on publishing until about 2011. That’s also when I started my own audiobook business as a narrator, so my energies were less on my own writing at that point than on finding my way in indie publishing and audiobook production.

Q: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? The most important thing was to be a great mom, but I also aspired to being an author, actor, and a teacher. It was never about being or doing one thing though. My parents encouraged us to follow our hearts, and that sent me in many different directions at different times, exploring life. But those main things I listed, I always held to as core passions. I see my life as a testament that holding fast to intentions leads to manifestation.

Q: What inspired you to start writing? We always had a library of books and my parents read to us a lot. My mom was a teacher and very encouraging. Our family was quite literate, and we’d have dinner table discussions about words and books and even grammar. Writing is a tool for expression of ideas, and I’ve always been brimming with those! The crafting of that expression, the carving away of the excess to find the core, is really rewarding. I enjoy the beauty of that.

Q: What is your favorite book from your childhood? As a young child, The Smart Little Mouse by Earl Sherwan and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore were favorites. I loved the rhythms, rhymes and cleverness. As I got a bit older, the books Peter Pan and Heidi and Huckleberry Finn became favorites, partly because my sisters and I were named after main characters in those stories: Wendy, Heidi and Becky. I now have a lot of beloved kids’ books that I’ve come to love as an adult: Shirley Hughes’s Alfie books and Mo Willems’s Elephant and Piggie books. But they weren’t part of my own childhood.

Q: What do you like doing when you’re not reading? I’m passionate about stories, so most of my time is happily spent producing audiobooks. My company, Pro Audio Voices Inc., is just now launching a groundbreaking new platform called AMPlify for authors to sell their audiobooks directly. You’ll be able to find it in the app store by Dec 9. It’s a game changer for authors and small publishers and it’s a dream come true for me—one of those long-held intentions that is now manifesting.

One of my favorite things when not working is to be with family, especially playing games or in deep conversation or creating something together. I also love riding my road bike, hiking, and growing organic food.

Q: Where do you get your writing ideas from? Usually from an experience I’ve had, whether internal or physical or even something observed. Most of the scenes that conjure themselves in my mind never leave that realm. But sometimes, as with The Left Turn, it’s almost like they insist on coming out, refusing to be confined. They’ll hammer away until I let them emerge onto the page. Then they keep talking to me until I relent and go play with them.


Q: Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? It’s definitely a mix. Members of my family will sometimes refer to the characters as if I intended them to be us. (Especially true with my ex-husband.) But there are many ways in which they are definitely fiction. I’ve plucked pieces of real experiences to fit into other contexts, especially when they are extraordinary in some way. There are also traits that I’ve modified to intensify a character’s emotions. An example is having James’s brother be challenged at reading social cues. This heightens James’s feelings of guilt for not protecting him.



Q: Can you describe to us your ideal writing space? I like to write in a variety of spaces, from quiet at home to cafes to outside in nature. Each environment gives me different kinds of stimuli and I find that helpful. If I had to choose one, it would be a cozy cafe with a quiet hum of activity and a hot beverage at hand. Solitude has its own version of distractions.



Q: What is the most difficult part about writing for you? Allowing myself to take the time to focus on it for enough time to make progress. Once I’m doing it I love it, but I struggle to give myself that time. It’s almost like I’m afraid I’ll get so caught up that I won’t be able to pull myself back to the commitments and responsibilities I have in other arenas. I know most writers develop a writing routine and commit to it. I haven’t been able to get myself to do that. At least not yet. My audiobook business, Pro Audio Voices, has been growing fast over the last five years, and that’s super exciting and engrossing. With the launch of AMPlify we’re expecting that growth to turbo charge because we can now help so many more authors.

Q: How do you handle a writer’s block? I don’t really get writer’s block and that might be because I don’t have a regular writing habit. I write when I’m inspired or when I carve out time. When I’ve carved out the time, I’ve usually built up a bank of ideas I want to explore. I’m never sitting around thinking I should be writing and can’t think of anything.

Q: What advice would you give to a new writer, someone who’s just starting out? Keep at it and trust your inner guidance. Gather with others and get feedback, but stay open to that feedback. That can be hard, but we can learn a lot when we do. It doesn’t mean you try to change your writing for every opinion, but that you stay open to what you can learn from their experience of what you wrote. And find an editor that is a good fit for you. That’s priceless!

I’m working on book 2 in the series. I’ve learned from the process of writing The Left Turn, and from reviews and readers sharing their thoughts. Book 2 will send us in the opposite direction in the lives of Hannah and James, so we’ll learn about the parallel universes they left behind in the first book. So in a way it will be paired with book 1. Changing direction opens up a very different set of parameters. Events in the timeline will shift as well. And readers have expressed that they are eager to find out about some of the hints I’ve dropped in book 1 about people in the other universe. When I move on to book 3, I’ll use different split points to explore different territories of the mystical, magical universe that we get to live in.



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