All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/
About the interviews:
When I published my first book, I looked for ways to reach new readers, and being a brand new author, participating in various book bloggers interviews was a good way to start. Some interviews were standard questions, while others had more individuality built into them.
I then did a twist on the author interview by interviewing myself (Leon Interviews Himself). I then thought it would be fun to get to know some of the authors I was cross-promoting with, and the Friday Conversations were born. Guess what? They are a lot of work. I look up the authors information, visit the website so I can craft a unique set of questions (OK, there are a few standard ones) to let my readership get to know these new authors. Worth the work? You bet. Here is today’s conversation:
In Conversation With Author George Horner
Well, here we are again. I’m sitting with author George Horner. Can I offer you a hot or cold beverage?
I’ll take a hot cup of tea please, milk with no sugar. I rely on my daily cuppas to help get through the busy days as a nurse and it helped keep my creative juices flowing when writing my books.
Tea. Earl Grey. Hot?
I prefer the traditional English breakfast tea. Definitely hot.
You have two books, The Unplugged Summer: An Englishman’s Perspective of Life at an American Summer Camp, and your newest book, Hidden Heroes of our Community: Reflections of a Male Community Nurse During the Coronavirus Pandemic, both with long titles. Is that your calling card?
Both my self-published books have a similar layout with a pretty lengthy subtitle at the bottom of the cover page, but I wouldn’t say that would be an effective calling card to attract a reader’s attention, haha.
Based on the title of my most recent book, I feel that the word ‘hidden’ is very meaningful. Community nursing seems to be quite hidden in the background of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). I don’t think many people know about the role of a community nurse, but this book is to make this field of nursing more recognisable. It goes into depth about the diverse range of qualities and clinical skills needed to be a community nurse. And it demonstrates how unpredictable the job is from one day to the next.
Considering what the world has gone through, it is topical. What made you want to write it?
I agree that this book is very topical, because the coronavirus pandemic is still with us and it’s not something that will just go away overnight. It requires everyone to still do their part by taking the vaccines, having good hand-hygiene and social distancing when necessary.
But one of the main reasons I wrote this book was to demonstrate how vitally important community nurses are, despite how undervalued I feel that ourselves and other medical professional have been over the years. The book celebrates the value of community nurses and how they’ve played an important part outside of the busy hospital settings throughout the pandemic.
Everywhere, health care workers, from aids, nurses, doctor, as well as support staff have endured more than most people realize. I thank you for your hard work and dedication.
You’re very welcome. The thanks that we received was really noticeable during the tough times of the pandemic and the majority of households all around the UK were clapping every Thursday night during the ‘Clap for Carers’ movement. I found that very touching.
Why do you think people would want to read another story or memoir about the pandemic? Or maybe a better question is, why should they read yours?
Well because I work in a very niche area of nursing, I feel that this book is like no other. The book captures the daily experiences of a community nurse, along with the emotional ups and downs nurses we go through. And for the most part, the lovely people we work so hard to help and support. The book was written at a time when the global pandemic was at its worst and when people were extremely reliant on healthcare professionals. The written visits with my patients have led to funny, emotional and heat-warming reads, which the readers and my colleagues have found enjoyable and impossible to put down. Overall, I feel that this book reflects a crazy, busy, diverse, black-humoured world, which is community nursing.
Let’s get to know George Horner. Did you like to read and write at a young age?
I’ve always liked to write things down and get creative with my hands, and even at a young age you’d often see me holding a pencil, crayon, or a paintbrush, about to make some messy masterpiece on the paper below!
What was the first book you remember reading?
There were some classic novels that I read in secondary school, which was when I started taking reading more seriously. I think the book I enjoyed reading the most from school was Holes, by Louis Sachar. I found most of the storyline gripping and I used to put myself in the shoes of the main character, Stanley, who would have been of a similar age. The thought of being sent to Camp Green Lake gave me some nightmares though!
Do you have a favorite book?
It would have to be This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay. Adam’s diary entries as a junior doctor leaves you laughing in parts, emotional in other parts and there is also a sprinkling of other diary entries that will leave you truly speechless. Like Adam, I have great admiration for the NHS I work under. The organisation does an amazing job across the board and like Adam says, “they delivered you when you were born and they will zip you up in a bag, but not until they do everything that medical science will allow to keep you on the road.” In echo of what Adam has written in the book, I feel privileged to do what I do as a medical professional, which I have noted in my recent book: Hidden Heroes of our Community. Knowing that I have made a difference to people’s lives makes the tiring shifts and overtime hours all the more worthwhile, and Mr. Kay demonstrates this too, sometimes in far greater scales.
What are some things that made you want to get into the medical profession?
Here’s a few reasons why I became a nurse. Essentially, I enjoy looking after and caring for people- I find it rewarding and satisfying. This all started in my first fulltime job as a carer and teaching assistant at a residential school for children with physical and learning disabilities.
I applied to study in nursing because there are many development opportunities, which made it an interesting career path to start! And the fact that my postgraduate degree was NHS funded with a student bursary and that I didn’t need a student loan to pay off was another big factor for taking on the degree.
I also wanted to make a positive difference in the NHS. It’s an organisation that’s extremely understaffed and with people like me adding to the workforce it can help stabilise and maintain the quality of this national treasure!
It’s not an easy job, I’m sure, with many ups and downs, but making a difference is the reward, I suppose.
That is correct. We don’t go into this profession for the money, but to make a positive difference to people’s lives.
Did you know that you share you name with William George Horner who was a mathematician who developed Horner’s method, a means of continuous approximation to determine the solutions of algebraic equations of any degree?
I’ve seen this gentleman’s name on Google, but I was not fully aware of his history. I can’t say I’ll follow in his footsteps. I was never that good at algebra, haha.
I kinda enjoy doing it. As a music enthusiast, I need to have some music-related questions, so let’s segue into that, shall we? Any favorite genres?
I’m not a musician myself but I have an appreciation for a range of music and love going to live concerts and festivals. My favourite genre has to be rock and Nu metal. My favourite artists over the years include: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Korn and Linkin Park.
Some great choices there. Do you have a favorite meal or snack to eat that other people just think is weird?
I don’t think I eat anything out of the ordinary. But my favourite meal has to be a nice, wholesome curry dish, which must include the rice, naan bread, samosas and the chutney!
That is definitely a tasty meal. Let’s pick up the pace, shall we. Are you ready for the lightning round?
Yes, go for it!
Great! Here we go. What was the last book you read?
When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
So far it would be Budapest.
Name a country the begins and end with the same letter.
Sports. Yea or Nea?
What’s the best team in the world, then?
Hopefully the England football team, once they win the world cup next summer!
Are extra-terrestrials real?
I’d like to think they are real. There can’t just be us in the whole of the universe!
Well done. Unfortunately, we are out of time so no time to present prizes. Any links that you would like to share?
Both my books are available on Amazon in E-book and paperback versions. You can find them on this link: relinks.me/GeorgeHorner . Also check out my very own author website https://george-horner-writer.mailchimpsites.com & follow me on my Instagram page too @georgehornerwriter
The story behind Free Book Friday:
I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?
Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.
This week’s other featured author: K. Leigh
K. Leigh is a 33-year-old once-painter, sometimes-freelancer, forever-artist living in Providence, RI. They write hopeful-tragic stories full of funny, horrible characters, in various genres. Enter the world of Constelis Voss: www.constelisvoss.ml
(There is a content warning in this book)
But wait, there’s more!
I had some interest read my next poetry book in the works, and the offer still stands for both my books.
I have two books in the works. StoryOrigin has now added a beta-read feature which I would like to try out. So for the sci-fi fans:
The View Inside (Beta Copy)
I’m getting close to having my next poetry book ready to read. I would really like your opinion on it, but since poetry is subjective, and comes from the heart of an individual, it may or may not resonate to you. If you have read my first book then you know what to expect.
What I’m hoping for is a critical eye for spelling/grammar as well as how the sections are put together. Ultimately, I hope that if you like it, you will leave an advance review before it is published.
A Wonder of Words (Beta Copy)
If you don’t want to use the StoryOrigin feature for either book, please use the contact form below.
Answer the following:
Have you ever beta-read before?
What makes you a good beta-reader for this project?
What books of mine have you read?
If chosen, what will be the time for completion?
Are you willing to leave an advance review before it is published?
Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.
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