Let me start by thanking The Miramichi Reader and editor-in-chief James M. Fisher for being a great supporter and friend to Bill Arnott’s Beat. Much of the success of the column-series and subsequent book, Bill Arnott’s Beat: Road Stories & Writers’ Tips, can be attributed to TMR. I was privileged to be interviewed recently for a feature at Authors’ Lounge, in a conversation with their contributing editor, Beth. This is from that virtual visit …
Hi Beth. Thanks for inviting me to the Authors’ Lounge. It’s so nice in here; I feel underdressed! To answer your questions about Bill Arnott’s Beat: Road Stories & Writers’ Tips, let me introduce the book with a blurb:
“Join author, poet, songwriter Bill Arnott on a journey from the road to the writing room in this #1 Bestseller, featuring the best of his column-series found in publications around the globe. In this book, Bill shares personal stories from a life on the road with insight, humour, and advice for every artist and lover of reading, writing, and wandering.”
Bill Arnott’s Beat was something I initially created to connect people. I’m fortunate to live in a city with great artistry: reading, writing, poetry, music and live events. And as encompassing as it can be, I was surprised by how disjointed it often was. Engaging, yes. Inclusive? Not always.
So I set about to bring people together, finding commonality in the community. I did this by spending a few years taking part in as many events as I could, a diverse range of locales and artistic genres. Then I wrote about it. Bill Arnott’s Beat was the result, a lighthearted column-series which ran in a few blogs then was picked up and commissioned by magazines and literary publications around the world. What began as a simple attempt to dissolve barriers—some real, some imagined—through personal interactions and inclusivity, became a series of personal stories. And those stories—people, experiences, communities—became the backbone of the series, a means of connecting and promoting artists and yes, myself at times as well. And I thank every publication that took a chance on me as a writer. I’m eternally grateful.
What I’ve done is by no means unique. Many people are doing the very same thing, and doing it exceedingly well. This is an excellent example, bringing writers together, featuring their work, and disseminating it to a broader audience, a collaborative win-win.
Regarding audience, what’s surprised me about this particular book is the breadth of readership. The appeal for writers struck me as the most obvious, as I share pointers and recommendations: things I’ve learned from mentors, peers, students, and being privileged to have written a few bestsellers in different genres, published both traditionally and independently. Through this, Bill Arnott’s Beat itself became a journey, one comprised of interactions, people sharing their stories, each imparting a personal stamp to the whole.
In addition to artists and writers, I’ve been delighted by the popularity of Bill Arnott’s Beat across a range of readers. Some people know me from Bill’s Artist Showcase, a fun newsletter featuring artist interviews and a live performance series, while others may be familiar with my travel memoirs, Gone Viking: A Travel Saga and Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries. I suspect because of this, readers expect my work to encompass a trek, wandering and peripatetic pursuits. Which it often does, and I feel this latest book delivers in that regard as well. I was pleased to see Bill Arnott’s Beat (the book) reach #1 on Amazon in Arts and #2 in Short Travel. It’s not particularly easy to categorize, which I like. Yet it’s managed to find its readers, and vice-versa. I believe the book’s balance—a bit of travel, meeting engaging individuals, and a few suggestions for creatives to make the most of their work—is part of the appeal: a blend of armchair escape, introspection, and humour.
If you asked me what my future plans are for this book, to be honest, it’s exceeded my expectations and accomplished what I’d hoped and envisioned. Going forward, I can imagine Bill Arnott’s Beat morphing into something new, finding that space I feel needs examination or a helping hand, in a manner I hope remains engaging and entertaining.
Thanks again Beth, for including me in this shared journey. I look forward to our collaborative paths crossing again, as I know they will, like virtually all of us.
“Join author, poet, songwriter, and TMR west coast editor Bill Arnott on a journey from the road to the writing room in this #1 Bestseller, featuring the best of his column-series found around the globe. In this book, Bill shares personal stories from a life on the road with insight, humour, and advice for every artist and lover of reading, writing, and wandering.”
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