Tag Archives: Veronica Kirin

Interview with Author Veronica Kirin

22 Jun

I posted my review of Veronica Kirin’s Stories of Elders last week. As I mentioned, I know Kirin personally and am good friends with her brother. I asked her if she’d mind doing a brief virtual interview with me and she agreed. So I’m happy to present you with the following interview diving more into Kirin’s book and her experiences along with it. Enjoy!

S: What was the most surprising thing you heard during your interviews?
VK: I had just watched Interstellar before conducting the national interviews.  I was surprised to hear several elders describe scenes from the movie, except they were describing the dust bowl.  I didn’t know the power lines would interact with the dust and spark into the sky.  I didn’t know that the dust was so thick that it came into the house through any crack possible.  It was amazing to talk to Hal Royer and hear him say he still wipes out a glass before he fills it with water, 70 years later.  These conversions made clear my own ignorance about our history, despite being an anthropologist.  I want to note that each interview was approximately one hour long.  I couldn’t include the entire interview of each person in the book, and so I created a podcast for those who want to go deeper and hear more from the elders.  They can find it here:  https://storiesofelders.com/podcast-2/

S: How did you choose the topics to cover in the book?
VK: The chapter topics were those that came up the most often across interviews.  The goal of the book is to highlight the major areas of our culture and society altered by technology.  As an anthropologist I acknowledge my own ignorance on the topic, and looked to the experts I interviewed to highlight what was most changed.  That ultimately led to the areas of focus for the book.

S: You share some of your personal stories along with the Elders stories. Why did you choose to do this?
VK: Some have criticized me for this, but I had two major reasons to include myself in the journey.  The first was to create a relatable narrative to those who were undoubtedly curious about how I executed the project.  Even those that have read the book ask what it was like, how did I meet people, and how have I changed.  The publisher thought that including some of the journey in the book would help carry the reader from one narrative to the next and humanize the work that went into the creation of the book.  The second purpose of my narrative is to connect younger readers to the stories.  I wrote this book because I think understanding history is critical, especially as we live through a major paradigm shift, but I worried that Millennials and Gen Zeds wouldn’t be interested unless they heard themselves in the story as well.  My personal evolution throughout the journey bridges that gap.

S: Why do you think you were uniquely positioned to write this book?
VK: My degree is in anthropology, but I live my life as an entrepreneur.  It took every skill of an entrepreneur to build and execute on this project.  I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for the travel and publishing.  I had to network to find supporters as well as interviewees.  I also leveraged my network to find a publisher who could see the vision of the book and would help make it a reality.  My skills as a former website developer helped me create an online presence for the book and promote it years after its initial publish date.  The anthropologist is the visionary, the one who can see societal change and how critical this narrative will be to future generations, but the entrepreneur is the one who made it a reality.

S: What gave you the idea for using Kickstarter to raise funds to finish this project? What did those funds cover? How did you reward your donors?
VK: I didn’t personally have the cash to take time from my business (as a solo-preneur, time off doesn’t just cost money, it also costs income) to travel for the research for this book.  But I knew I had to go in person to meet the elders, as that is what was expected of an interview in their generation. Kickstarter would not only create the funds needed for the project, but also create a following.  It took an enormous amount of work, but it was a success and I’d do it again.  Donors received a range of rewards, from signed artwork quoting those interviews I’d already completed, to a signed copy of the hardcover book when it was published.

S: Can you please describe the publishing process you went through? Did you have a proposal or a completed book when you started looking to publish?
VK: I met my publisher on a podcast I co-host shortly after I had a completed manuscript draft.  They specialize in unique non-fiction, which is perfect for my work.  Shortly after the interview, the publisher flew to meet me at my home and discuss the project.  We signed a contract a week later.  This is not a conventional story, but it makes clear how critical my network as an entrepreneur was to the success of the book.

S: How did you decide to do an audiobook? Can you describe the recording process?
VK: My publisher demanded I create an audiobook.  They had the stats to back it up.  Audiobooks are very popular, and being able to offer that format has certainly boosted my sales.  I didn’t love the process of recording, but I had a great team.  I can’t recommend enough having both an audio engineer AND a reader to follow along as you record to ensure you don’t misread or mispronounce words.  What we hear in our minds is often different than what is on the page.  Having a reader made all the difference in the process.

S: Can you talk about your next project, Stories of COVID?
VK: Stories of COVID™ falls right in line with Stories of Elders, but instead of documenting a 50-year paradigm shift, I’m documenting a 5-month shift.  Furthermore, the interviews are worldwide, rather than focused on the United States.  I’ve interviewed 73 people since the end of March and, as you know, there’s no end in sight.  I look forward to writing this book.  It will be a challenge, but I already can see it forming.  Those that are curious about the stories I’m gathering can hear them on the podcast:  https://anchor.fm/stories-of-covid

 

Thanks again to Veronica for granting me this interview! It’s always interesting to learn more about writers, what inspires them, and their process. You can pick up a copy of her book on Amazon.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 17-June-2020

17 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m in love with Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian by Anthony Ervin and Constantine Markides. The style jumps between Ervin’s memories and sports journalist Constantine Markides’ narration of his swimming career. Now that I’m swimming again, this is pumping me up and I’m ready to get back to racing.
A lot of new books for the list this week! I began a new audiobook, Semper Fidelis by Ruth Downie. This is the fifth book in the Medicus Investigation series. I lent the first three to my mother at the beginning of COVID and she’s loving them as well. I recommend this series a lot, it’s well deserved.
I began my Buddy Read of The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. We split the book into four sections and this first one is the longest. I should wrap it up very soon and be able to move on to another book until my buddy is ready to meet and we can move forward.

Recently finished: I was able to push through and finish Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich over the weekend. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. I’d hoped it would inspire me to write but I found it geared toward short stories more than toward novels and that didn’t help me. I’ll have a full review up tomorrow.
I finished the audiobook of Stories of Elders by Veronica Kirin and was able to post a review yesterday. It was really fun hearing Kirin read her own story, especially knowing her and having heard her speak about this project. I’ve done an email interview with her and will be posting that next week so stay tuned for even more!

I posted my review of The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits by Emma Donoghue last Thursday. Our book club met and I posted my book club reflection on Monday. It seems this collection has been taking over the blog this week!

Reading Next: I’m so close to starting The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins! It’s been here longer than I’d like but it will be what I escape to between sections of my Buddy Read so it’s coming soon!


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 10-June-2020

10 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m making a push to finish Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich this week. I don’t think it will be too much of a problem; it should be on my ‘recently finished’ list next week. The only issue is that it hasn’t really inspired me to do any additional writing. Oh well, it was worth a try.
I needed a new ebook and found out I could give myself both the books I wanted to pick up next if I tried Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian by Anthony Ervin as an ebook. I know it will be a slower read but I also see myself motivated to keep moving forward with it, so maybe it won’t take as long as other ebooks have.
I started a new audiobook that I’m really excited about. Stories of Elders by Veronica Kirin is one I’ve been wanting to read for a while and have been putting off. I know Kirin personally and am good friends with her brother. I heard her speak a while back about this book and I’m sorry I put it off as long as I did. She narrates the audiobook herself which is always fun.

Recently finished: I wrapped up The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits by Emma Donoghue just in time for our book club meeting on Monday. I’m not a huge fan of short stories so I’m sure that affected my rating of it. I gave it Three out of Five Stars. I’ll have a review up tomorrow.
I also finished It’s All Relative by A.J. Jacobs on audio. I adored hearing the story in Jacobs voice through the audiobook. I’m not sure what project he has coming up next but I’m guessing that it will make for a great book that I’ll love to read. I posted a review yesterday and I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

I posted my review for The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai on Monday. This was a great read and I’m so glad I was talked into buying a copy by the signage at the story. It was a beautiful story. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I can’t wait to pick up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins as my next physical book. It’s time for some YA dystopian binging and this is the perfect book for it. I hope to have started it by next week.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

A Night with Author Veronica Kirin

19 Feb

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine surprised me with a message to our group of friends.

My sister wrote a book! If anyone wants to grab dinner in Ann Arbor then see her

This was accompanied by a link to an event that I was unable to attend. Thanks to the extreme cold, the event was rescheduled, and my husband and I were able to go!

Veronica is an anthropologist by training and explained that her involvement in her tech company made her think about how people of different generations connected with technology. And what people of older generations thought about that technology. She began interviewing people of the Greatest Generation (we can talk later about who names the generations) about technology and how they feel about it. She’d interviewed thirty people in our metro area and wanted to meet more, up to 100. She turned to Kickstarter with her idea and the proposal for this book and raised the money to travel America and meet and interview these people. She’d networked to get the names of the people she’d meet and she took off, ready to learn. The result was her book, Stories of Elders.

Veronica, me, and Gerrie

Veronica taped her interviews and began the evening (hosted at the amazing Nicola’s Books) by showing a documentary with highlights from those interviews. The elders shared their stories and opinions on technology today in a quick 15-minute summary. From there, we had a group discussion on what she’d found. Veronica shared stories that hadn’t made the documentary and gave us some background on the people we had met. We were fortunate that one of the women interviewed for the book, Gerrie, was in attendance. She shared some stories outside of what was in the book and her daughter was able to chime in as well.

It was a very different author event than I’ve attended in the past. Primarily because of the nature of the book. Fiction and non-fiction authors have a very different path to their books and very different goals with publication. Veronica is sharing the stories of these elders and the analysis she’s able to put together by having spoken to all of them. She’s trying to entertain, but in a different way than I would if I published my book. Having someone involved in the book appearing as well changes the nature of the event. It was much more of a communal experience than I’ve had at most other readings. We all felt encouraged to speak, ask questions, and share our own experiences.

Veronica has several more events in the area pending. She told me she’ll soon be recording a TEDtalk about her findings (so expect that post soon) and may be releasing the documentary we watched. There is another book in the works as well and I’m excited to see where she takes this idea and how she can create another book with it.

She ended the night by signing her books and Gerrie signed as well. Apparently, there is a Pokèmon-esque element to this book where you can try to get all the elders interviewed to sign by their name in the back. I’ve got 99 to go!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!