We had the good fortune of connecting with A.E. Wasserman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi A.E., is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
In my experience, success comes when one enjoys what they do. Whatever anyone does, they need to enjoy it; love it. Or else why do it? I know everyone says, “Do what you love,” which is easy to say, but not always easy to be able accomplish. I have always loved writing, but when I first began as a novelist, I had no idea just how much was involved after that first book was published. So initially, I only enjoyed part of my “job.” I knew, of course, that being a writer meant that the work is always in your mind, either thinking about it directly or subconsciously—plus the many the hours, days, months, at the keyboard. I expected that. But what surprised me was everything that happens afterward—the launch, the book signings, the book festivals. Initially it was daunting, and I wasn’t sure I liked it much—I am not a naturally outgoing person—but the marketing is a critical aspect of being a writer; an author. Thus, at the beginning I loved part of what I did, all the writing, but as a professional author, I needed to encourage myself to love the rest of what I did. It dawned on me, finally, that the marketing was for the readers. The appearances and the festivals and the signings were all for them. I love all my readers, who are now all around the world, and when I took my eyes off myself and focused on them, my attitude changed immediately. Being an author wasn’t just about the book, or about me. It is all about the readers. So for anyone who thinks they may not like exactly what they do, it may help to view their tasks from a different perspective. I can say, now, without reservation, that I love what I do. I love living the “Writer’s Life.” I love writing. I love my readers. And that is my success.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My Historical Mystery/Thriller novels in THE LANGSFORD SERIES have been well-received internationally. I tell people to think: Sherlock Holmes meets Downton Abbey, so immediately there is a frame of reference to these books. I am fortunate in that these novels have been embraced by readers in many countries, from Thailand, India, France, Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and others, as well as the US. So delighted that they are distributed world-wide. BUT, none of that happened overnight. The biggest challenge was promoting the first book because I was an unknown, in effect jumping up and down on my porch going, “Look! I have a book! Look! Wanna read it?” Getting noticed is not easy, so it took time. When I heard from several readers right away asking for the second novel, I decided to write the next book. By the time the second novel was released, I had established an on-line presence and was already going to personal appearances, going on book tours, both in person and virtually, attending book festivals. There was a momentum that was created and at the same time, a fan base. Was it easy? No, it took a lot of consistent work and dividing my time up between writing—five books in five years—and marketing. Was it fun? Yes! Was it work? Yes! When I hear from a reader, that is major encouragement. Writers write books to be read, not to sit on shelves. So knowing others are enjoying the fruits of our efforts is huge. Absolutely huge. It always makes my day soar when someone tells me how much they loved one of my novels. Then I sit back down and write another.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Let’s say my best friend, make it Langsford, my protagonist in my full novels, transported himself from the 1880s to Southern California 2021. He’d land right where I live, The Los Padres National Forest, in the transverse mountain range that stretches from Santa Barbara over to the Tehachapi’s. We’d spend a day or two here, hiking to the top of Mount Pinos at 8846 foot elevation where we can spot the Pacific Ocean and some of the Channel Islands. Topper, my Border Collie Muse, would come along of course—Langsford has Border Collies himself, and they would adore each other. The next day, since Langsford is British and I want him to feel at home, we’d drive south to Los Angeles and head to The Robin Hood British Pub, in Sherman Oaks. Nothing like steak and kidney pie, a game of darts, a pint of ale, and Trifle cake to finish it off. We’d devote a day for a trip to Santa Monica and the wharf, and because Topper and I hike all over, we’d also have to hike up with Langsford to the Griffith Observatory, enjoying the park and the views overlooking all of LA. Perhaps have a picnic there. Because we’ve timed it right, there would be a Dodgers game the next day, with Dodger Dogs and garlic fries, and of course the Dodgers win. We’d talk about the difference between cricket and baseball and laugh a lot. The next evening would be a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, under the stars on a balmy summer evening. I think the program would include The Planets, Op 32 by Gustav Holst. Langsford would not have heard that yet—it was composed in the early 20th century, so that would be thrilling to him to hear and exciting for me to watch his reactions. What better venue to hear the music about the orbs when you can look right up at them. The following day, it only follows that we tour Mount Wilson and he can learn about the marvels of Hubble’s discoveries about the universe. One more adventure is for him to experience the amazing world of flight via a helicopter trip to Catalina Island. The exciting technologies of our time, compared with the Victorian era. On our final evening in Los Angeles, we would dine at Iroha Sushi of Toykyo, on Ventura Blvd. Langsford would have a taste of sushi that he had never had before. New experiences, not just of Southern California, but of the new millennium. What a fun-packed, busy week we’d have had before Langsford enters his own 5-glassed Landau carriage with his four black horses and asks Mr. Pelham to drive him back to the streets of London.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Although a writer’s work is solitary, no one writer can accomplish much without the support and encouragement of others. I am so fortunate in that Los Angeles and Southern California have a wealth of writers’ groups and organizations. Early on, it was the Southern California Historical Novel Society (a chapter of the international organization based in London) that helped me get my feet on the ground as a budding novelist. I found writers cheering on other writers, and it was so inspiring. Other significant groups that helped me learn along the way: The Greater Los Angeles Writers Society, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America. So many fellow writers and authors in all these organizations have influenced me over the years and taught me much. My writing career would never have gotten off the ground had it not been for the people I’ve met through these writers’ societies. Writers are never alone.
Other: Amazon: https://amzn.to/3cuXtu0
Photos 3,4,5 (with Topper and me) taken by Pamela Corey, Fur Family Photos of Los Angeles