Today it is my pleasure to welcome author S.S. Turner and his literary fiction novel, Secrets of a River Swimmer.
As Freddy gazes at the majestic river gushing past him in the depths of a Scottish winter, he’s ready to jump in and end his life. But what happens next is not what Freddy expects. From the moment he enters the river, Freddy starts a journey which is more beautiful, funny, and mysterious than he could have imagined. And through this journey Freddy’s story becomes interweaved with a cast of unforgettable characters who are equally lost and in search of answers. Eventually they all unite in their quest for an answer to the biggest question of them all: will the river take them where they want to go?
In the tradition of inspirational works of fiction like The Alchemist and Life of Pi, Secrets of a River Swimmer is at once a profound exploration into living with meaning and an affecting story of people on the cusp of change.
About S.S. Turner
S.S. Turner has been an avid reader, writer, and explorer of the natural world throughout his life which has been spent in England, Scotland and Australia. Just like Freddy in his first novel, Secrets of a River Swimmer, he worked in the global fund management sector for many years but realized it didn’t align with his values. In recent years, he’s been focused on inspiring positive change through his writing as well as trying not to laugh in unfortunate situations. He now lives in Australia with his wife, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and ten chickens.
Find S.S. Turner
On his website: https://www.thestoryplant.com/secrets-of-a-river-swimmer
Buy Secrets of a River Swimmer
Yes, there is a giveaway
The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.
My Favorite Excerpt
I dip my toe in.
It’s fucking freezing.
I sit and watch the majestically sinister Scottish river hurtle along below me. I’m not sure whether to be in awe or terrified, but that was always going to be the case today, my last day. The idea of jumping into the river reminds me of the feeling you experience when you arrive at the beach, and you’re thinking about jumping into the sea, but you know it’s going to cause you grievous bodily harm from your nether regions up. For some reason, your legs are the one part of your body which can handle intense cold without too much stress. But all body parts above your legs are a whole different story. My voice just rose an octave, and I’m not even talking.
So you sit and watch the sea while contemplating your next move, as if this thinking time will give you the required mental strength to leap into the cold blue water. However, this thinking time just gives the water an opportunity to look you in the eye with laughing menace, because the water knows the questions you are grappling with deep in your soul. The water understands it is strong and you are weak—the eternal power imbalance at play.
The waiting period only makes it worse, of course. All it does is allow you to hand more mental power over to the cold water than a short and simple jumping-in maneuver would have done. Why do we employ such counter-productive strategies in our lives?
Why would you write literary fiction?
Why wouldn’t you?
A big thank you to S.S. Turner for providing this blog with an exclusive post about the pros and cons of writing in his genre! I like to end on a positive note, so I’ve taken the liberty of listing the cons first. What do you think about writing literary fiction? Do the pros outweigh the cons?
10 cons of writing literary fiction:
- The mass market is sometimes slow to embrace literary fiction novels.
- Some readers believe literary fiction books are too challenging to read.
- Marketing a literary fiction novel can be more challenging because the market doesn’t know what they’re getting from the title alone. It’s the exact opposite of the murder mystery market for example.
- Literary fiction novels take longer to craft into great books because the different layers of the story need to interact with one another effectively for the novel to work.
- In a dumbed down world focused on social media, there’s a natural headwind against literary fiction writing which may challenge some readers in ways they aren’t used to.
- Most large publishing houses are more focused on the easy-to-market genres of murder mysteries, romance, and thrillers.
- It’s often harder to describe a literary fiction novel in a short elevator pitch compared to mass market genres.
- On average, the commercial appeal of literary fiction novels may not be as attractive as mass market genres such as murder mystery, romance, and thrillers.
- Literary fiction novels generally require more editing than other genres due to the additional complexity of the multi-layered stories.
- As it’s a smaller niche in the market, there may be less editors and writing coaches who can help literary fiction writers on their journey to publication.
10 pros of writing literary fiction:
- Literary fiction is a genre without limits – anything goes!
- Literary fiction is generally multi-layered so writers are able to create particularly creative stories which interweave at different levels.
- Literary fiction novels such as The Catcher in the Rye have paved the way for huge success in this genre.
- Writing literary fiction requires a writer to delve particularly deep into their creative reserves, so it’s a genre which inspires growth as a writer.
- A number of independent publishers recognize the literary fiction market opportunity as compelling for the simple reason most publishers are focused on other genres.
- There’s less competition from other writers in literary fiction.
- Writing literary fiction can be a particularly enriching personal experience for writers.
- In a market which is calling out for unique and different, literary fiction is one of the few genres which can consistently deliver unique and different.
- Writers of literary fiction have a unique freedom to write truly different stories as there’s no standard formula to follow.
- Literary fiction novels are better matched to winning book awards than any other genre.
S.S. Turner — we appreciate your sharing your thoughts and your book Secrets of a River Swimmer with us! Best of luck with sales, with those future awards, and with all of your future writing.