I spoke with Myne Whitman, author of A Heart to Mend, about her novel, working with Author House, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about your novel, A Heart to Mend?
MYNE WHITMAN: A Heart to Mend narrates a love story and a journey of self-discovery. Gladys Eborah moves to Lagos from a deprived single-parent home in Enugu, to seek a job. She lives with a formerly estranged aunt who wants to be forgiven and so has the uneasy role of the bridge between both families. A new job and good friends gradually transition Gladys into an independent young woman and then she meets and begins to fall for handsome Edward Bestman.
Edward is very wealthy, and believes money can buy everything. Though physically attracted to Gladys, he is not ready to give his heart. To make matters worse, Gladys is implicated in a plot to take over his company. Readers have to find out who these people are that want to betray him and destroy their happiness. And will Edward trust Gladys enough to give love a chance?
The novel details how we can be affected by events from our past and how it may limit our opportunities in the present, especially in the area of love and relationships. Gladys obsesses over the divide between her and Edward, while he had barricaded his heart and was not letting anyone in, man or woman. The message is that none of us is perfect but we should be able to keep our heart open for that (sometimes one) person who has enough masking tape to cover our imperfections.
DAVID WISEHART: How does the setting inform the story?
MYNE WHITMAN: The story is set in Lagos, Nigeria, and this is one of the largest cities in the world. It is the thriving economic capital of the country and so this made me select to place the subplot of the story in the finance and business sector of the city. The hero runs a conglomerate listed on the stock exchange and there are business rivals who are about to take it over, dragging the heroine into their machinations.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
MYNE WHITMAN: I started writing as a child but only began to save my manuscripts when I was like 20 or so. A Heart to Mend is my first novel. The narrative of AHTM is very instinctive, you know, from my heart and from my head too. I am practically a novice at writing. I entered this writing business, really, from outside. My entire background has been in sciences; I studied biological science for my first degree, then public health research for my masters. I’ve never had any formal training in writing. So what I write is from my own personal makeup, and less from what I have picked up in writing books and online courses, which go more toward the craft.
So my journey in my writing is who I am, my identity, and this has been influenced by my life experience. There was so much to draw from around me especially in terms of storytelling. There were so many books around me, from the children’s stories to the adult books. Then of course are the newspapers and the movies, rich sources of material. I always had that storytelling instinct, and through all these channels, I always looked for the story. So now, when I write, what I do is to find the kernel of a story and then tell it.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
MYNE WHITMAN: My writing process is pretty basic. Once I have my laptop, I’m good to go. I usually blog a bit before I start writing, something about reading all that different styles and stories. Sometimes I also like to listen to slow ballads while I write some emotional or love scenes. I am usually a plotter. I try to have an outline of all the chapters to include in a manuscript, but after that, it’s freewheeling all the way for the scenes or what could happen.
The inspiration for my writing and characters come from all over. I might have this idea and then see how it is handled in this TV series or movie or something. Or I have this character running around in my mind and then I come across the perfect scenario to try her out in. Then at times, I have these very funny dreams, where I dream up whole stories or at least scenes and even character backgrounds.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
MYNE WHITMAN: I read a lot and have so many authors that I love. They include several Mills and Boons writers, Barbara Cartland, Francine Rivers, Sidney Sheldon, Robert Ludlum, Leon Uris, John Grisham, and Micheal Critchton. And in Africa: the Pacestters writers, African Writers Series, Flora Nwapa, Buchi Emecheta, Cyprian Ekwensi, Chinua Achebe, and more recently Chimamanda Adichie and Jude Dibia.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your all-time favorite romance novel, and why?
MYNE WHITMAN: It has to be Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. The book has an amazing story line and the characters are so well drawn! It made me cry, laugh, think, and I really was so tuned in to all that was going on that I didn't want the book to end. It was interesting how the author brought God's love to life through romance.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your experience with Author House?
MYNE WHITMAN: I chose Author House because I read several good things about them. They assign you a design team, a book consultant, and a sales person. I liked that they had access to a large number of the major retailers in America, Europe, and the UK. They also have various packages including editing and promotions and you choose the one that suits you best and which you can afford. I couldn’t afford doing that so I first improved on my writing by attending workshops and interacting with other writer-bloggers which helped to polish my manuscript to very good standard. There were also a lot of author resources on the Author House website to guide one through all the stages including marketing and publicity and that convinced me.
So far I have not had any major complaints.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
MYNE WHITMAN: While publishing on Author House, I heard about Kindle. AH wanted extra pay to convert my book and have it for sale on Kindle. I researched the whole thing and realized it is something I could do myself. I like how these new technologies have given authors more opportunities to market their books.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of publishing on Kindle?
MYNE WHITMAN: They have to be sure it is the right fit for them and that they have exhausted other options for getting their book out there. Otherwise, I'll just say, "Go for it!"
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your book.
First published on Kindle Author Blog