In the Author Lounge at London Book Fair I kept my mouth shut (for once) while being told that indie authors need to a)stop being so arrogant and b) indie book covers aren’t nearly as professional as properly published books.
Publishing still seems like a dinosaur profession to me. It’s so different from the tv and film world from which I hail. There, independents are admired as mavericks,risk takers, who challenge the status quo. Yet indie authors are regarded with suspicion (still) by the publishing industry.
So it was a great relief then to go to Indie Recon at Foyles on Friday and listen to the stars of the indie publishing world – CJ Lyons, Nick Stephenson, Rachel Abbott, JF Penn and Steena Holmes tell us that all that matters is your reader.
At the Author Fair (organised by author collective Triskele)
Lambert Nagle Book Signing @ Foyles
where we members of ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) got the chance to sell our books to the public, I came away from there determined to make a go of getting the print copy of Revolution Earth into bookshops and libraries.
Across the Mekong River is the story of a refugee family from Laos, who had to flee to the refugee camps in Thailand when the Vietnam war ended. The Communist regime hunted down their own people and killed those who fought on the side of the Americans. It is only thanks to their sponsorship by an American soldier that the family are permitted to resettle in America.
The story centres on daughter Nao’s struggles to bridge two opposing cultures. Her Hmong family believe women are subservient to men, whereas all Nao wants to do is to go to college and lead an independent life. Nao so desperately wants to fit in at school she calls herself Laura and hides this from her parents.
It is not exclusively written from Nao’s point-of-view as author Elaine Russell gives a voice to Nao’s mother Yer and her father Pao. Yer’s tale is of a paradise lost. Her beautiful homeland – a land of ‘gentle streams and green forests, ‘ has been invaded by a succession of foreigners – Thai, Khmer, French then Japanese. Pao, the patriarch in the family, left his fields to take up arms against the communists in the Vietnam War.
Nao, Pao and Yer are convincing characters who speak believable dialogue. Written in a compelling and convincing style, the author gives voice to all those displaced people who find themselves adrift in a newly adopted homeland, struggling to adapt to a new language and culture. Across the Mekong River is really the story of America.