Interviewed by Phyllis Irene Radford
Tomorrow is the 5th birthday of Book View Café and we are starting off the celebration with an interview of our current Chief Cat Herder, Pati Nagle.
Pati Nagle currently leads the Book View Café as Managing Director and President of the corporation, succeeding Sarah Zettel about two years ago. She writes in multiple genres with a variety of pen names. P.G. Nagle writes historical novels about the U.S. Civil War in the west. As Patrice Greenwood she pens delightful cozy mysteries set in a New Mexico tea room. As Pati Nagle we’ve seen YA urban fantasies, poker novels, and other fantasies come from her active imagination.
1.) You joined Book View Café early on. What brought you to the group and what skills did you feel you could offer to the group?
A.) I’m one of the founding members who came together early in 2008 and decided to see what kind of a show we could put on in the barn. At that time we were just trying to attract more attention to our work by making it a group effort. I’m familiar with html web coding, so I helped with the behind-the-scenes operations of our early website.
2.) What was your progression and motivation from one of the many floundering to find our feet in this new world of internet publicity to becoming a small press that has incorporated and signed multiple international contracts?
A.) All along, BVC has been about working together to help all of our members. We gradually shifted from giving away free fiction to putting our backlist out as ebooks to publishing original titles. Distribution is one of the things that being a group enables us to do better–we can offer our large catalog to libraries, subrights publishers, and other distributors. This has led to new income opportunities for our members.
3.) You helped edit and produce the new Book View Café anthology Across the Spectrum, to help celebrate the fifth birthday of Book View Café. It includes the favorite stories of many of the BVC authors. What is your story and why is it your favorite?
A.) Mine is a little aside to my Far Western Civil War series, “The Cornfield,” a story about a minor character (brother to one of the series main characters) and his experience of war. It’s a favorite of mine because often those lesser characters in a novel don’t ever get the spotlight to themselves, and this was a chance for one of them to do that.
4.) You live in the high desert of the American southwest and you use that landscape in many of your books and stories. What do you find most compelling about this part of the world?
A.) The quality of the sunlight and the clarity of the air, and the fact that you can usually see for fifty or a hundred miles in any direction. I grew up with that and thought it was normal for everyone. Then I went to college in Missouri for a year–boy, was I surprised!
5.) You have an incredibly busy life with family, keeping Book View Café organized and operational, and your own writing. How do you do it all?
A.) Compartmentalization. I have to reserve time for writing and family and my other obligations, otherwise they simply don’t get done. It means that I have to pick and choose what I do for BVC, and what I can ask others to do, because if I let it, BVC would easily become a full-time job and then some. Right now it’s about a half-time job for me. At times it gets to be more.
6.) What do you consider your most valuable contribution to BVC?
A.) This year, my most important task has been getting BVC incorporated and making sure we are set up to operate as a business. We had outgrown our amateur status and needed the business structure, especially to make sure our financial systems are set up properly and the people running them are protected. Other than that, I’d say managing the publications schedule is probably my most important contribution.
7.) Is there anything you regret not doing because you have filled your time with writing and BVC?
A.) Not really. Writing is something I love, and BVC is also a labor of love because it’s such a great group of professional writers. It’s an honor to be among them and exciting to help the cooperative move forward in the crazy new world of publishing. True, it has severely cut into the time I have available for playing online video games, but I can live with that.
8.) What are you looking forward to in the future for both your own work and BVC?
A.) For myself, I look forward to building my Wisteria Tearoom mystery series and my Immortal fantasy series—I’d love to have ten or more books in each series (right now each has two, though a third Immortal book is coming out in December)—and to bringing out some stand-alone novels that are finished and waiting to be published. For BVC, I look forward to incorporating print editions into our catalog, expanding our genre base and becoming a more generalized publisher, and as always to our finding more new opportunities for increasing our reach to readers all over the world.
9.) Any closing thoughts about what you have learned and how you have grown because of BVC?
A.) I’ve learned that publishing a book is best done as a team effort. No matter how meticulous you are, if you do a book by yourself you will miss things.
Traditional publishing uses a team but the author just provides the manuscript and doesn’t have much input into how it’s produced. At BVC, the author is the project manager for publishing his/her book, and puts together a team of other BVC members to help with all the aspects of book production. The author is ultimately responsible for the finished book’s quality.
BVC members have helped me proofread and learn how to format my ebooks, helped me make my covers and my cover copy better, and provided support when I had moments of doubt, not to mention all the amazing opportunities I’ve had because of BVC that I wouldn’t have had on my own. It’s a unique organization and I’m proud to be a part of it.