IndieView with Alexander Watson, author of River Queens

If so can you please describe it? OMG, we work hard for our money. Thomas Hardy gives me permission to set an important and compelling story in the furthest reaches of civilization—today, Far from the Madding Crowd is where cellular coverage is non-existent. Why isn’t that in here?” Mr. Process encompasses what I do when I am not writing. They swear by it. “Not everyone wants to come, but everyone wants to be invited.”
My responsibility is to invite everyone to participate in River Queens. Baskin had imparted to the narrative and the style. Not everyone wants to read about two gay men bounding across the hinterlands in a fabulous vintage yacht. When did you start writing the book? Do you have a target reader? Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? Dale and my pasts shaped our perceptions of what was going on. I heard my characters, remembered how they spoke and what they said. A favorite memory are Christmases when we had little to no money. It paves the way for the eventual outcome. Finally an acquaintance blurted out, “Everyone we know thinks you are peculiar and that your behavior is weird.”
It was said to be mean and hateful, but it was liberation. Never. What came easily? The trees grow tall, the topography rolls, the summers are moderate, the fall burns, and winters are frosty. An editor for Random House sang in his choir. It was a string of post card captions: “We went here. My guest’s responsibility is to decide if the offer is right for them. I am fortunate to live in a city that is convenient to both New York and Chicago. A curse because they cannot be bent or molded for convenience. When I recognize that something has gone down wrong from the get-go, I delete it and go on. And homosexuality is not the norm in the backwaters of the American Heartland. The trials and setbacks that beleaguer any partnership dogged our progress; things got hairy. Self-publishing is eating our lunch.”
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? What would you like readers to know about you? No. I never planned to write a book. A fifty-year-old wooden motor yacht is no one’s first boat. “Not everyone wants to come, but everyone wants to be invited.”
My responsibility is to invite everyone to participate in River Queens. Others were much longer because the river is a foreign place requiring explanation of situations quite remote from an urbanite’s workaday world. Our hand-made gifts were cherished into dilapidation and ruin. I don’t worry about it because I was on the model stand one afternoon when a drawing instructor walked over to her student’s easel and said, “Do you have a chamois, dear?”
The student eagerly produced a chamois only just taken from its wrapper. Similarly, when I am not writing, I am not writing. The backstories and the impressions which give River Queens its life and breath did not fall easily in place. But the event that pushed me over the edge came while I was looking for an editor:
A friend of mine was Director of Music as St. Handing the now-soiled chamois to the student, the instructor said, “Don’t worry, dear. Alexander   Watson – 18 October 2018
The Back Flap
“Alexander Watson has turned the well-trod river epic on its ear. The first design was excellent but was too casual, too camp to accurately imply the sophistication and polish the Mr. No. In short, I let the customer say “no”. It still took two tries. No one can have as much invested in the success of my work as I have. River Queens is about them. Mr. I used professional book designers to come up with the jacket cover for River Queens. I have no set plans for the blank page, so I set down the major landmarks, the equivalents of the cant of the head and the tilt of the pelvis. Melissa Fay Greene (Praying for Sheetrock, The Temple Bombing, The Underdogs) shows me how to position myself as a narrator in order to effectively comment on social issues—compassion for all sides is her secret. What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? If you can draw the figure badly once, I’m sure you can do it just as poorly the second time.”
If I can write poorly once; I can write it just as poorly the second time. Every book is judged by its cover. The artist’s studio is like the river. Baskin’s work, River Queens is a commentary as candid and unabashed as The Wizard of Oz, Alice and Wonderland, or Gulliver’s Travels, but a true story about a real place and real people which demands respect for and fidelity to its subject. I do better when I have a dog. Beta-readers were not enthusiastic. Get your copy of   River Queens   from Amazon US or Amazon UK. A chronology seemed sufficient for River Queens, but that was a mistake. But committing to a book because one can write a good email is like opening a restaurant because one can throw a good dinner party. I grew up in modest bungalow in Dallas, Texas in the 1960s and 70s. Each can bankroll expensive performance extravaganzas and sustain experimentation. Dale Harris is a wonderful thing. I delete a lot. “It’s good,” they said obligingly. Fortunately, my partner, Dale Harris, and I did not know all that. A character sketch pasted in between the lines of dialog became too lugubrious and cumbersome. When my friend made inquiries on my behalf, the editor advised, “Get an agent. We did this.” “We went there. Her Dallas, Texas caterer would truck the rehearsal dinner to Lubbock, Texas and serve it on Mother’s Randolf-Macon Women’s College roommate’s china, crystal, and silver in the dining room where Mother herself, some thirty years prior, was the matron of honor at the self-same roommate’s wedding. Even then, the outline received just as much emendation as the text itself. However, unlike those we met on the river, Cincinnatians do not take in strangers. “You know, Vivian,” the caterer said. What are you working on now? His The Kings of Big Spring is as candid as Giant yet as meticulously plotted as The Forsyte Saga. We’re on the Ohio!” which went out in the tiniest window of connectivity at Smithland, Kentucky, the confluence of the Cumberland and Ohio Rivers. River Queens is about unwittingly bumbling in where one doesn’t belong. The problem with the draft was that I had written to target—a travel narrative for boaters. Mother spent the entire year dreaming up gifts my brothers and I could make with clumsy hands, bits of paper, glue, ribbon, stickers and sparklies. Artists toil for hours to capture the image of a naked person when there is a cameraphone in their pocket. I learned brevity. Baskin asked me to explain some aspect of what I had written then scribbled notes furiously saying, “Why isn’t that in here? But we were in the company of kind and charitable people who passed us lovingly from hand to hand. Survival depends on integrity, willingness, and dedication. Baskin and I were sitting at table needling about “Did the woman smell like meat loaf and potatoes?” or “Did the foil wrapped dinner by her side smell like meatloaf and potatoes?”
I watched as my editor wrestled with the common and persistent modifier problem, then I grabbed his hand and said, “You realize, of course, that we are doing what hundreds of thousands would give their eye teeth to do.”
My producing and promoting River Queens has been as rewarding as launching cross country in a vintage Chris-Craft motor yacht. My guest’s responsibility is to decide if the offer is right for them. River Queens brings a surprise around every muddy bend: the dialogue is crisp and hilarious, the encounters genuine and honestly rendered, and there isn’t a shred of irony throughout. Do you outline? In these divided times, River Queens is a lesson on civility and acceptance while learning to disengage and just be.”
—BRYAN MEALER, author of The New York Times bestseller, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, and other books
About the book
What is the book about? Exposure to how other craftsmen and artists practice and hone their respective talents is just as important to me as respecting my own. Dayton and Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Louisville, Kentucky all throw themselves headlong into the edges of the envelope and are unencumbered by heady reputations. I was the youngest of three sons to a single mother, a divorcee, who believed with her whole being that creating was imitation of the Divine, the highest pursuit, the penultimate luxury. The notes for the book were the emails we periodically sent to our landlubber friends back home and those we met on the way. I have writer friends who journal and find great value in writing down whatever pops into their heads. Sell the manuscript. However, the same acquaintance who said, “Everyone we know thinks you are peculiar…” also took me aside on previous occasion to urge most fervently, “You must write.”
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? It is also as far north as covered slips go on the Ohio.  
“Everyone wants to be invited.” Grandmother insisted in answer to my protests about inviting a kindergarten nemesis to my fifth birthday party. I did not. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? I have been an artist’s model all of my life. Mostly I want to get something down that I can judge. The cover of River Queens conveys the quiet confidence that river folks have as they negotiate the myriad of hazards that await them on the water. The reader must know histories in order to understand choices. Dale, a native of Wisconsin, agreed to the river journey only if we abandoned the South and relocated to a northern state. Do you listen to music while you write? Where do you live now? Boaters work tirelessly to go out on water when dry land is more hospitable and convenient. A vintage Chris-Craft motor yacht named Betty Jane needs shelter. The draftsman erases a lot. The backstories. I believe chances must be taken and bets placed. I edit less from self-doubt and more from gut choices. I had to outline. About You
Where did you grow up? Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? My fears are the loss of wonder and joy; the deprecation of simple, found beauty; and ignorant people. My-oh! Two gay river captains on a journey through the heartland tells us more about America and its people than most of what we read today. My characters are all real people—a blessing and a curse. Baskin’s editing prowess yielded layering. Cincinnati, Ohio on a street that overlooks the Ohio River. Unfettered from social obligation or expectation, I was able to concentrate wholly on writing. The instructor deliberately and methodically wiped down the student’s work, obliterating it into the page. Some missives were as brief as “Me-oh! We did that.”
Beta-readers’ initial invariably asked, “Who’s your audience?” which I interpreted as: “I don’t get a word of it, but somebody might.”
The story dd not emerge until John Baskin started editing. Baskin knows how to draw story out of author. Dead silence. Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? End of Interview:
For more from Alexander, visit his website, follow him on Twitter, and like his Facebook page. In exchange, we pursue a passion which most people only dream about. The house will provide the editor.” In the same breath, he added, “But I gotta tell you. Where did you get the idea from? Mr. If you don’t try new things, you stay stupid. Self-publishing is the most efficient path to the market. If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? Two years with an editor followed. The slightest prevarication would compromise the credibility of the story. If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Both of us are liable to throw away an hour’s, or even a day’s, work without much provocation; but the effort is not wasted. Was it a particular event or a gradual process? Similarly:
Mother, a gourmet, was planning the menu for my brother’s wedding. I write long days. Stopping is against the rules; editing is verboten. Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? Not everyone wants to read about two gay men bounding across the hinterlands in a fabulous vintage yacht. As a result of Mr. I edit all the time. Dale and I spent five years trying to get a foothold in our new home. “Those steak-n-tater West Texas ranchers are not going to eat this haute cuisine.”
Mother raised her hand and said, “Mine is merely to provide.”
It is my job to promote my book in an efficient, creative, engaging manner. Those histories had to be focused, concise, on topic, and brutally honest. I retain all creative control. We all know how important it is for writers to read. A blessing because their own actions and attitudes drive the narrative. James Episcopal, NYC. Bryan Mealer teaches me that the minutiae, when organized carefully, are the sparkle in the jewel. Ohio just barely is. The marketing plan for River Queens consists of a belief, imparted to me at an early age by my grandmother, and an assumption held by her daughter, my mother. The dining table was a Santa’s workshop. Recipients of our emails were the first to suggest a book. My process is like that of an artist rendering the human figure. About Writing
Do you have a writing process? The setbacks seem insurmountable, the odds decidedly against me; but the windfalls, the strokes of good luck, the kindnesses of perfect strangers are too amazing to turn away. The dialog. Details had to be salted in on a need-to-know basis which required extensive and judicious planning. The draft took twelve months. My work keeps me up at night and awakens me in the morning. “Everyone wants to be invited.” Grandmother insisted in answer to my protests about inviting a kindergarten nemesis to my fifth birthday party. My prospects must decide if River Queens is valuable, applicable, and of service to them, their audience, their platforms. Mr. Both groups share a drive for sanctuary, the story behind River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America. How long did it take you to write it? A large cruiser is never practical. About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents?