In a previous post we profiled local writer Catherine Brunelle and her attempt to raise $3,000 to publish her debut novel The Adventures of Claire Never-Ending. Incredibly, she smashed her fundraising goal in less than 24 hours, and has now collected more than double what she was originally hoping for. We caught up with Catherine to discuss her Kickstarter campaign, her blog Bumpyboobs and her relationship with her readers. Below is an email interview slightly edited for length and style.
Apartment: 613 You met your Kickstarter funding goal in less than 24 hours. How did you react to this success?
Catherine Brunelle: I was blown away. The amount I was asking, $3000, felt like a huge mountain to climb. Then all of a sudden, in one day, that target was met! It was crazy. After that happened, I thought to myself, “but I still want to sell more copies.” So while the urgency has passed (thankfully for my nerves), my goal of sharing The Adventures of Claire Never-Ending with as many people as possible remains. It’s been such a positive experience.
Apt613: What are the next steps in publishing your book?
CB: The next steps are to get my edits back and incorporate them into the text. As well, I’m arranging cover design and typesetting. Once those are done, we’ll print a proof and review. After that comes the bigger print runs. As well, there are the additional prizes that need to be met like postcards, tea towels and the short stories too. I’m going to be haunting Bridgehead soon for a little caffeine-infused writing inspiration/motivation. So there’s actually quite a bit of work.
Apt613: Let’s turn to your blog Bumpyboobs. Given your struggles with cancer, what significance do you put in your site’s name?
CB: The name came after my first diagnosis of breast cancer (and from my addiction to alliteration). It felt playful in a very difficult situation, and the name seems to always get people laughing. Since starting the blog, I’ve played with changing the name, considering it is so tied to breast cancer and my identity is not all about cancer. But it’s so catchy that this far it has stuck. Mind you, I don’t put it on my business cards for clients. It’s just for the personal tell-all side of my life. ‘Cause we all need a little tell-all venting space, no?
Apt613: Do you find that blogging helps you grow as a writer, or does it fulfill a different creative goal?
CB: Blogging gave me the confidence to declare myself a writer. Before that the label embarrassed me. I can’t exactly say why the blog flicked that switch in my confidence, except that with blogging there is immediate satisfaction: you write, you post, the world can read it. The more I wrote, the stronger my identity became tied to that ‘writer’ label. I reckon everyone could benefit from having a blog. On top of the writing connection, it’s just good therapy and can be a leaping point from online community too.
Apt613: You are very open in your blog about your personal life. What has this experience been like?
CB: I am consciously open about my personal life. That is to say, the stories are my stories, not others. So I won’t air out my husband’s issues or a friend’s struggles. And yeah, I do share a lot of my thoughts and feelings – but apart from the talk about boobs, cancer and sex, it’s mostly about the little everyday bits of life like travel, finding work, enjoying where we live, etc. If people can relate to those emotions and experiences, then why not say it out loud? It’s seriously a emotional life-saver when things get really stressful. People are generally very supportive.
Apt613: What feedback have you received from your blog followers?
CB: Blogging is hugely about community. Someone stumbles onto your post, you in turn stumble onto their posts, and this sense of community forms. I am a reader of many of my readers. It feels like we are trading little excerpts of our lives, and acting as cheerleaders for one another. There’s often an expression of “I’m not alone in this!”, where what is written resonates with a reader. People share their own stories too, which can be uplifting, heartbreaking, hilarious, compassionate . . you name it.
In the three years I’ve been blogging, people (mostly women, to be honest) have contacted me about breast cancer, immigration, fertility, living between countries, meeting for tea, going boobless, creative writing – all kinds of things. Sometimes they are scared and looking for information, but mostly readers just want to say hello. It’s all about community.