I am so incredibly excited to announce that I will be sharing monthly interviews with inspiring vegan personalities that have truly shaped who I am today. Starting off with the lovely Kristin, creator of Will Travel For Vegan Food. Her first novel is officially available as of this morning!
I had the pleasure of chatting with Kristin about her book launch and got the inside scoop on what went into self publishing her first novel – truly informative read for those of you looking to do the same (ME!).
Please introduce yourself to The Plant Strong Vegan community.
Hi There! My is Kristin and in the fall of 2011 I quit my job, sold or donated almost all of my belongings, used Kickstarter to raise some funds, and moved into a van (named Gerty) to spend, what turned into, a 2-year-long journey around the country. My project: “Will Travel For Vegan Food” was initially designed to achieve one thing: to eat at and write about every vegan restaurant in the U.S. Though it turned into SO much more!
After 3 years of full-time travel, new career opportunities, all 50 states checked-off my bucket list, and more than 600 restaurants dined at, I’m now reporting to you from wintery Chicago. I fell in love with Chicago many years ago and always knew I’d come back. It seems a logical home base for the time being, as I’ll be jetting off every few weeks for upcoming speaking gigs and the super exciting book tour!
Can you share a brief overview of your book?
Because of the name of my project many people believe the book will be a travel or restaurant guide of some kind. The truth is: it’s a memoir about the 18 months I spent living in the van. I share in detail, what led me to take this journey, some of the people I met, a bit about influences from my childhood, the food I enjoyed, and more largely – how the experience as a whole completely changed my life, in every possible way. If it works out as I’d hoped, the book will make you laugh, cry, and ultimately feel inspired to go after your own passion projects and unique-to-you lifestyle choices.
What date is your book officially launching?
April 23rd, 2015! Today! You can purchase here.
How long has it taken you to write WTFVF?
I started poking at it in the summer of 2013 and finished in October 2014. As a first-time author I was completely lost the first 8 months or so. It seemed like I was just wasting time sitting there, staring at my Scrivener doc; or watching something about “how to write a book.”
It wasn’t until I prompted the help of my dear friend and seasoned author, Aurelia D’Andrea that I was able to finally get moving. She and I would hold accountability partner meetings once per week where we’d spend half the session talking about or reviewing the book/chapters and the other half talking about projects that I could give her guidance on. She is the #1 reason I was able to make any progress whatsoever.
Any future plans for a sequel?
Not at the moment. I never considered myself a writer before and working on this book was absolutely one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. As Aurelia would say, “writing is free therapy.” Haha.. and she is SO right. I can’t tell you how frequently I cried or had to break to regroup before continuing on. It was very challenging and I definitely need a bit of a breather before considering another book.
What piece of advice would you offer to aspiring vegan authors?
(1) Self-publish all the way. A lot of people too often stress on being linked to a “real” publishing house and can often halt their writing efforts out of discouragement during the process of trying to find one. While most publishers do offer distribution opportunities that might be challenging as a self-published author; you’ll have more control and make 100% of the profit by self-publishing. Did you know that most first-time authors are given less than 8-12% of each book sale? You do all the writing and are often responsible for all the promo and marketing; you might as well publish that baby yourself and reap the monetary rewards as well! Plus, there are a lot of great resources and self-publish communities popping up these days. It’s totally doable!
(2) Don’t hesitate: Get an accountability partner STAT. Like I said earlier, Aurelia was key in keeping me accountable and providing critical feedback. Be sure to seek out someone who is more of an acquaintance (sometimes we can be either too laid back or too critical of our close friends or family), someone who is well experienced in what you’re working on, and someone that has something that you can help THEM with; so it’s an equal exchange.
Finally, how does it feel having completed such an inspiring piece of work?
Writing a book is one of those things that I think a lot of people put on their buck list, just because. I did! Last winter I was thumbing through an old journal I used to write business and life goals in. To my surprise I stopped at a page with the date “April 2011” at the top. It was a list of goals I’d set for myself and #7 was “Get published!” I still get the “WHOA!” shivers when I think about that moment because I had completely forgotten I wrote that down. And here I am now, answering your questions about having completed that item. ::deep breath out:: It feels incredible. Absolutely incredible.
Thank you so very much for taking time to chat with me, I cannot wait to read Will Travel For Vegan Food!