Plunge: One Woman's Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary by Liesbet Collaert
1- How has the global pandemic impacted your travels and nomadic lifestyle?
By April 2020, campgrounds (even the free ones without amenities, which is where we always stay) and facilities started closing. My husband, dog, and I were in Florida at the time. The logistics became tricky, so we decided to abandon our lifestyle for the time being, drove to Massachusetts, and stayed at my in-laws over the spring and summer. They could use our help because of the pandemic. We ended up spending six months there, staying six feet apart and avoiding the main part of the house. Mid-October, the three of us hit the road again, heading west.
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
Hire a professional (copy) editor before publishing your book!
3- What most motivates you to read a new book?
Recommendations from others – fellow authors, bloggers, friends, family.
4- What was the most surprisingly delicious food that you ate while on the road?
My husband’s mushroom burgers, made from scratch, which he cooks on the stove of our 19ft campervan and serves with homemade aioli on a bed of mixed greens, served with jasmine rice. They are to die for!
5- Would you share a picture with us of your book at a fun location?
This photo was taken near Madera Canyon in Coronado National Forest, Arizona
6- What similarities and differences does PLUNGE have compared to Cheryl Strayed's WILD?
It’s been a long time since I read WILD… As far as I remember, both are written by a straightforward, impulsive woman who struggles with and overcomes the punches life throws her. The differences have to do with the writing style and voice of the authors. PLUNGE is written in the present tense and incorporates distinctive elements from the novel: foreshadowing, flashbacks, and suspense. Also, Strayed tried to escape from her troubles by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in her coming-of-age tale, while my decision to embark on adventures is a lifestyle.
7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
My Twitter handle is @LiesbetCollaert Twitter author friends: @vallypee , @pokercubster , @sgc58
8- When did you first know you wanted to publish a book someday?
I’ve always been passionate about traveling, from the moment I hitchhiked to Italy from Belgium at age 17 to today, age 45. I’ve also always loved to write. After my first year of backpacking on my own in South East Asia when I was 25, I played with the idea of writing a book. But it wasn’t until three years later that I actually started jotting down an outline and notes about a year-long RV trip in Latin America. Nothing happened with that either, since I dove into an eight-year sailing adventure soon after. Once that one finished, I suffered from travel burn-out. The relatively stable lifestyle of house and pet sitting throughout the US for three years allowed me to finally start writing a memoir, which turned into Plunge.
9- Are you a Plotter, Pantser, or Plantser, and how did you adopt that style?
Probably a plantser. I’m a bit of a weirdo. In real life, I like to plan as little as possible and follow the “see what happens” approach. Yet, I am also very organized and prefer to make to-do lists and shopping lists to achieve my goals. When I wrote my memoir, part of me wanted to (and did) put “everything” down I could remember, as a first draft. On the other hand, I made a chronological outline with chapter titles as guidance. Interestingly enough, after five years of work on Plunge, those titles remained unchanged.
10- What does your basic writing schedule look like, and how often do you write?
Whenever I have time and the logistics allow it. On the road, it is difficult to stick to a schedule as life’s distractions, problems, and chores come first. Today, for example, I planned to work on this interview in the morning. But we ran out of propane. So, in order to keep cooking meals and taking hot showers, we had to drop everything, pack up the van, and drive to the closest town 40 minutes away to take care of our needs.
My perfect work environment is a free, level campsite in nature, where we can spend a few days in a row, where the dog can be walked, where the solar panels soak up plentiful sunshine to provide electricity, and where my husband can be outside, so I can use our table/desk and don’t feel too cramped in our 80 square foot living quarters. 😊
11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!
Unfortunately, I haven’t had a lot of time to read the last five years, what with my own writing projects, blogging, paid jobs, and life on the road. I do remember really enjoying
Author name: Hillary Custance Green @HilaryCustanceG
Title: Border Line
Love because: I love it because of its originality: the unusual premise (suicidal protagonist), unique location (Slovenia), well-developed characters, and excellent writing.
My review of Border Line: https://goodreads.com/review/show/2134813121
12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?
Intrigue, awe, understanding, reflection, zest for life.
13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?
I really hope Plunge will inspire as well as entertain the reader. If he/she can somehow gain something from the book (on a personal or global level) or is affected by its contents (physically or psychologically), I have reached my goal as an author.
14- What is your favorite creative non-writing activity to do?
Photography – I just wish I had more time for it.
15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Plunge is written by and is about a woman (me) who does not stick to the usual social norms and who breaks free from society by preferring a less than ordinary life. She chooses experiences over material goods, simplicity and nature over gadgets and suburbia, flexibility over routine, new horizons over the familiar, and primitive conditions over unlimited resources. Furthermore, the book is “brutally honest,” showing the good as well as the bad, without glossing over negative experiences, feelings, and personal flaws.
16- What method do you feel is the best way to get book reviews?
- write an outstanding book that sells itself, because readers are excited to spread the word, in person, on social media, or with reviews.
- add a note in your book’s back matter about the importance of reviews, encouraging readers to share their opinion about your book in a short review.
- gift ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) in exchange for an honest review to ferocious readers in your genre during the early stages of publication.
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
To be honest, not being able to get the attention of an agent or a publisher within one year of pitching Plunge. That being said, my gut always told me I should go the self-publishing route, because of my personality, dedication, and work ethic. I’m a perfectionist and like to make decisions myself. By self-publishing, I am right where I want to be. I can execute changes, promote as much – or little – as I want, am happy with how everything came out, and feel an incredible sense of accomplishment.
18- What's the biggest writing goal you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
Make a difference in the lives of my readers. Inspire them. Entertain them. Just like in real life, I have only one major goal: have no regrets.
19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?
What is the most important, attractive quality you look for in a book? What is it that makes you pick up and read a particular book?
I will pick one winner out of the commenters who answers my question, that person will receive a free eBook of Plunge. (I will need your email address.)
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Blurb of Plunge
Tropical waters turn tumultuous in this travel memoir as a free-spirited woman jumps headfirst into a sailing adventure with a new man and his two dogs.
Join Liesbet as she faces a decision that sends her into a whirlwind of love, loss, and living in the moment. When she swaps life as she knows it for an uncertain future on a sailboat, she succumbs to seasickness and a growing desire to be alone.
Guided by impulsiveness and the joys of an alternative lifestyle, she must navigate personal storms, trouble with US immigration, adverse weather conditions, and doubts about her newfound love.
Does Liesbet find happiness? Will the dogs outlast the man? Or is this just another reality check on a dream to live at sea?
Liesbet Collaert’s articles and photos have been published internationally. Born in Belgium, she has been a nomad since 2003 with no plans to settle anytime soon. Her love of travel, diversity, and animals is reflected in her lifestyle choices of sailing, RVing, and house and pet sitting. Liesbet calls herself a world citizen and currently lives “on the road” in North America with her husband and rescue dog. Follow her current adventures at http://roamingabout.com.
Social media links
Facebook: https://facebook.com/liesbet.collaert/ & https://facebook.com/roamingsabout
Amazon Author Page
Plunge: One Woman's Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary by Liesbet Collaert