Today I’m thrilled to have my wonderful client Gordon England here to talk a bit about his new release and writing in general. England has written a fantastic book titled “Cuban Raft Voyage” inspired by the 1994 Cuban migrant crises:
ENGLE: Thank you very much for stopping by for an interview. Tell me about your most recent book. What’s it about? Where did the story idea come from?
ENGLAND: When I was fishing offshore in 1994 I encountered a number of empty rafts floating up from Cuba during the Balseros Rafter event. I was haunted by these dead man rafts and often wondered what fateful stories they could tell. Inspiration recently hit me and I wrote a fictional account of four Cubans who were driven to desperation by miserable living conditions under Castro’s reign. They build a makeshift raft and set sail for freedom only to encounter terrifying conditions on the ocean as storms, sharks, and drug runners take their toll on the rafters. This is a harrowing tragedy of human strength and endurance pitted against brutal Mother Ocean. Much of the book content is based on interviews of Balseros survivors.
ENGLE: One of the challenges faced by authors is visibility in the market. What have you done to bring your book in front of the consumer? How has your publisher helped?
ENGLAND: I am self published on Amazon. Therefore I do all of my own marketing. I use Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, word of mouth, a press release to the paper, a release on Florida Book News, and will have a booth at the upcoming Florida Key Lime Pie Festival. I also send a News Letter via Constant Contact to over 300 of my professional and writing contacts.
ENGLE: What is an interesting or bizarre fact we don’t know about you?
ENGLAND: I lived in the Bahamas for several years working as an Drainage Engineer for the Bahamian Government. I took my boat and explored many islands and harbours of the Bahamas.
ENGLE: How do you come up with your ideas and what’s a typical writing day like for you?
ENGLAND: I mostly write nonfiction action adventure stories based on my own experiences or other people’s experiences. In this book I spent 6 months interviewing Cubans rafters and internet research on Cuban life and history. The internet makes this research so much easier than past writers who trekked to libraries. I normally write 2-3 hours a day, though at the end I go to exhaustion each day. I go down a rabbit hole of complete concentration and write my way out. No phones, email, or other interruptions. My wife knows better than to disturb me on those days. I believe this is the same rabbit hole that Lewis Carol went into to write Alice in Wonderland. A world of my own creation and rules. After I finish a book, I am drained and exhausted for weeks.
ENGLE: If you were trapped on a deserted island with one book, one drink, one friend from literature, and one song what would that look like?
ENGLAND: The island would be one of he deserted islands overlooking Waderick Wells in the Exumas, Bahamas next to the National Land Sea Park. The most incredibly clear, azure waters in the world. A Pina Colada made from fresh coconuts falling on the beach is the best drink I know. I searched for this paradise for years, driven by Jimmy Buffet’s song, One Particular Harbour. It is the best island song ever. My wife, Annie, a fellow explorer and my chief editor, would be with me, as she was in so many island adventures. I wrote about and rated these magic harbours and beaches in my book Bahamian Harbour Guide.
ENGLE: Your book incorporates a real life event. Why did you choose this experience and how do you hope the story will impact readers as a whole?
ENGLAND: With so much press and talk of Cuba these days, the timing was fortuitous for a Cuban story. As I said, this story had been fermenting for years in the back of my mind. When a friend recently told me of his Cuban escape, I decided now was the time. I hope the new generation will learn from this story about what really happened in this rough piece of recent history.
ENGLE: Now that you’ve wet our whistles, where can we find your book? Do you have a website/facebook/twitter you’d like to share, and a publisher site or discount code for pre-orders?
ENGLAND: My book can be purchased on Amazon in paper or Kindle format. My website, www.wildsidestories.com, gives more information on this book and my Wild Side Series of 20 short stories only available on Kindle. The site also gives information on plays and songs I wrote. Twitter site is @Island_Tales.
ENGLE: If you could be a Muppet who would you be and why?
ENGLAND: I don’t know the Muppets. I’m a crusty old Texan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gordon England hails from Texas, born in 1954, and now lives a tropical life in Cocoa Beach.
He graduated from the University of Texas is retired from a successful civil engineering career in Florida during which he coauthored three books about stormwater engineering for the American Society of Civil Engineers that are now in the Library of Congress. Gordon wrote dozens of technical papers given on the speaker circuit at conventions across the country. He is an editorial advisor for Stormwater Magazine and peer reviews research papers for the Environmental Water Resources Institute. He wrote Brevard County’s stormwater regulations and parts of Auckland, New Zealand’s rules for stormwater treatment devices.
Gordon grew up an avid outdoorsman, hunting and fishing across Texas and Mexico. These experiences serve as a basis for several of the short stories in his Wild Side Adventure Stories series. His passion for the outdoors led to offshore fishing adventures when he moved to Florida in 1988 and discovered a whole new world of tropics and Margaritaville and his wife Annie, another explorer. These exploits led to his first book, Boat Tales, True Tales of Hunting, Fishing, and Outdoors, with stories from Texas, Mexico, Florida, the Bahamas, and Panama.
The search for more adventures led his escape to Nassau, Bahamas for several years where he worked as a Senior Engineer for the government’s Ministry of Works as his day job. In his off time he explored the islands in his boat, Boat Tales, in search of spectacular reefs, big fish, the perfect tiki bar, and Buffet’s One Particular Harbor, gathering a treasure chest of story material that he now writes about. His story of wandering the islands is told in his book Living in the Bahamas, Escape to the Bahamas, which shares adventures and misadventures in paradise lost, as well as Bahamian Harbour Guide, a pictorial travelogue of Gordon’s favorite harbours off the beaten tourist trail.
Since returning to Florida in 2006, Gordon has written a prolific collection of books, plays, songs, and audible books, as well as Kindle eBooks featured in his Wild Side Series of short stories. His web site at http://www.wildsidestories.com offers his collection of non-engineering material.
NONFICTION SHORT STORIES
Lake Washington Terror, Wild Side Series No.1 (2013)
Cape Canaveral Odyssey, Wild Side Series No.2 (2012)
Cuban Confusion, Wild Side Series No.3 (2013)
Quail Bonanza, Wild Side Series No.4 (2012)
Popcorn Poison, Wild Side Series No.5 (2013)
Whitewing Hunting in Mexico, Wild Side Series No.6 (2011)
Chasing Pancho Villa, Wild Side Series No.7 (2013)
Bad Storm, Wild Side Series No.8 (2012)
First Marlin, Wild Side Series No.9 (2012)
The Other Side, Wild Side Series No.10 (2012)
First Marlin, Wild Side Series No.11 (2012)
Deep Into Mexico, Wild Side Series No.12 (2012)
Hole in the Wall, Wild Side Series No.13 (2012)
Rabbit Run, Wild Side Series No.14 (2012)
Big Dolphin, Wild Side Series No.15 (2012)
Pit Bull Terror, Wild Side Series No. 16 (2011)
Pinas Bay, Wild Side Series No.17 (2012)
Baja Tuna Frenzy, Wild Side Series No.18 (2014)
Texas Dove Swarm, Wild Side Series No. 19 (2014)
Bahamian Harbour Guide – Finding Your Dreams (2013)
Living in the Bahamas – Adventures in Paradise (2013)
Boat Tales – True Tales of Hunting, Fishing, and Outdoor Adventure (2012)