Lillian and her husband Dave are the team behind Brummet Media Group, high-fiving cheerfully as they pass each other on the way from checking off one item or other from their long to-do list.
Their business includes Dave’s music studio and percussion accessory products and graphic design work as well as numerous award-winning non-fiction books and popular blogs. Today we help them celebrate their latest book release – From One Small Garden, offering over 300 delicious, nutritious recipes!
Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation?
Here at Brummet Media Group Dave and I wear many hats. Dave is a drum teacher, hosting workshops and private lessons in the Angle Hill Studio located in the lower half of our home. He also designs drum and percussion accessories (watch for our new online store later this year) and he offers drum repairs. When we have enough excess supplies he tours as many school music rooms as he can, volunteering his services to improve their percussion situations. Dave is also involved in a couple of small bands, one provides rock tunes for parties and the other provides background percussive music for smaller and quieter gatherings and events.
I assist Dave where I can in his endeavors and I manage our 2 blogs, deal with members of the media and manage our social media as well. I take care of appointments, greeting new students, cleaning common use areas before and after every appointment/meeting/jam. I am a passionate gardener and sell some of my excess seeds, plants and preserves (jams, jelly, syrup, dried herbs, relish, etc.) in the corner gift shop we set up in the studio or via online FB groups for local gardeners. I’m also a homemaker, managing almost all the household duties – Dave does his fair share of repairs, manly maintenance, walks the dogs, vehicle and appliance maintenance, all that kind of manly stuff. I used to be so much more energetic and once ran online talk radio shows, and did reviews professionally, but now-a-days I have slowed down to a pace I can easily manage.
What is your family like?
I have 2 older brothers who each bore 2 sons and I have one Aunt from my mothers’ side and her family. Larry is a business owner, installing kitchens in high-rise buildings in the Vancouver area (BC, Canada). My other brother works in pest management. My aunt is a retired nurse, actually she taught other nurses. They are all people I admire, for different reasons. Larry is very proactive and motivated about running a business and being a great father. Gary is the brain of the family, knows a lot of languages is constantly involved in some form of education and has travelled a great deal. My aunt was very accomplished in her career and I really admire how high she climbed, how professional she is, how supportive she has been in our lives. We all live very far apart and so FaceBook messaging and emails are pretty much our level of communications. I’m pretty hard to get ahold of by phone because I don’t answer it when I’m involved in something and I’m often involved in something. lol
If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
My mother kept us fed and clothed, she hid our poverty from us – but it was a difficult upbringing. She married 4 times, but found happiness in her 4th marriage. All us kids were on our own too young, 14-16 years old, and we all have had to deal with various damage due to traumas we experienced in our youth. I think we’ve turned out ok though. 🙂
Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing?
I love to read – too much. That’s why my eyes are fading on me. ugh. Therefore, I’ve turned to audio books for the most part via YouTube mainly and have thoroughly enjoyed this variation of experiencing books.
I spend a lot of time gardening, preparing for garden season, dreaming about gardening and dealing with garden harvests. My dogs are the love of my life (besides my handsome hubby of course)… and kitty Korma too.
My favorite activity is simply being in the yard, or on the deck, listening to the world and watching the busy bees.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
I suppose if I was to change anything about myself it would be my impatience with others and my impulsive desire to accomplish something constructive. It is hard for me to relax. In fact, relaxing is very hard work… unless it is a summer day and I have a cold drink in hand. I’d also erase the Anxiety Disorder I suffer from.
What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I had been encouraged by teachers, friends, family, but never took it seriously until 1999 when I started to look at writing as a real career that I could actually participate in. It took a lot of courage to submit work, at first, but over time I came to know what I could offer, where I shone, and focused on that.
What is your greatest fear?
The thought that my husband will die or become chronically ill is so terrifying. We both dealt with caregiving for our parents and watched them suffer. My mother committed suicide over her chronic illness and depression. I came to depend on my husband more and more as time passed – I can’t imagine life without him. I’ve had a few friends pass away recently, leaving the other spouse behind and it brought such dramatic changes to their lives – including selling their home and belongings and relocation. Yeah, that is my greatest fear.
Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
This question actually made me laugh out loud and now my dogs are looking at me like “What? Crazy lady!” I guess I interrupted their nap. They are being so good, letting me work on this without interruption. Yes, I have 3 bookshelves filled with books I have read more than once, some of them a dozen times. Tolkien’s series, of course… I’ve worn out several copies – they started to fall apart and so were replaced… a few times. Startide Rising, Ovum Factor, Troll Hunters… I’ve read these at least a half dozen times.
Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
No. I never have chosen a book based on the cover, or by reveiws for that matter. I found most reviews are not unbiased, those seen online are often friends or family or paid reviewer services. That’s not to say there are not legitimate reader reviews out there – of course there are as we have pages and pages of reviews on our site showing this. However, even if a review is legit – it is only an opinion. Books, like art, are so very personal. I’ll give any book a chance as long as it is not romance, erotica, political, racist, is well written, and if it holds my attention beyond the first chapter then I’ll finish it.
What is your favorite film based on a book?
African Queen is my favorite movie -based on a book – Rat Race is my favorite comedy though. There’s a great book made into a movie staring John Travolta: Battlefield Earth. Also I loved the movie: Enemy Mine.
Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest book release and your writing process.
Tell us about your most recent book release.
Thank you for asking this. From One Small Garden – Over 300 Delicious Nutritious Recipes is loaded with interesting historical and nutritional information, this is more than just a recipe book – it is a way of treating yourself to the healthy delicious rewards of one small garden. It also encourages purchasing locally produced foods, visiting farmers markets, reduces food waste and helps people save money too.
How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?
Dave is our book cover designer – he also creates our ads, audio, manages the website, comes up with imagery for our blogs and for the media, and for all our publicity from bookmarks and flyers to magazine photos.
The way Dave explains it: “The significance of the book is to guide others on how to cook some great food with fresh wholesome ingredients that you could potentially grow yourself or get from a local market or farm gate. I intentionally designed he cover to catch the eye of gardeners and portray the journey from harvest to plate. From One Small Garden’s cover was a process that evolved over the years. By the time the final title was decided on the concept of what we wanted to portray was clear – How to cook with fresh produce. If you look at the front cover closely, in the background is an image of our actual garden ghosted out with dishes of prepared food in the foreground – from the garden to plate in a sense. The back cover concept is similar but with images of our freshly harvested produce in place of the food dishes. All from one small garden – is what we have lived for the past 30+ years as a life style and a health choice and we know it saves a bunch of money while having you eat like royalty. “
Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?
I tend to listen to music that will not distract me – so no rock, no lyrics, nothing too sleepy either. Sometimes I’ll put on a fireplace track from YouTube or Netflix and just let that run in the background.
How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
Towards Understanding came from the journey of moving past the trauma of a difficult childhood and learning my life could have value, that I could contribute something valuable in this world. Rhythm and Rhyme came from our experimentation with creating rhytmic poetry. Trash Talk came from the fact the series deals with helping people realize the value of their waste, and how to manage it and save a heck of a lot of money. Purple Snowflake Marketing came from the concept of making your business marketing efforts stand out like a purple snowflake in a snowstorm of others who have the same aim as you. And From One Small Garden was chosen for our collection of recipes because it is based on the harvests we have gotten from our garden space.
What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I think I use a little of both methods. I tend to rush out my ideas on paper and then organize it. I’ll think about choosing a writing style based on who I’ve determined the reader will likely be and then plot and plan where to go from there. I never write to the reader, talk above them, talk at them, lecture them… I try to come across as if we are visiting and just having a great conversation… but that takes knowing your audience.
Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing?
The greatest challenges for me come from a slight dyslexia issue. I write sentences backwards, sometimes a bit Shakespearean, and I have trouble spelling words when I am in a hurry – I’ll write them how they sound. So I have to be very careful, slow down, re-read, read out loud and then have hubby proof what I’ve written. It takes longer, and can be frustrating as I can lose patience with myself… but it has not been a roadblock.
Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?
Both. Originally, back in early 2000, we went with traditional publishers, then small publishers, and today we are self-published through Amazon. Authors have to be flexible in this ever-changing career. They also need to be proactive in learning their craft and the business activities it involves. It isn’t always advisable to go out pn your own as a new author, having a publisher that walks you through the process is beneficial. However now that we have been in the world of writing for 22 years, and have worked as members of the media as well, we feel we have a good handle on the situation and can manage our work ourselves.
What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
My eldest brother (Larry Towne) gave me great business advice when we were first starting out, and in one of our conversations he said something along the lines of: “figure out how you can stand out like a purple snowflake in a snowstorm of others who are trying to reach the same goals as you are”. Perhaps my approximation of what he said is not an exact quote, but it was the best advice I ever heard. The best marketing plans will include the answers to: What makes you different, special, worth listening to, worthy of their time, and how can you become memorable to them? Anyway, that advice led to the title of our Purple Snowflake Marketing writer’s advice book. It is in fact a compilation of all the business and media experiences, all the best information we gleaned from numerous courses, conversations, interviews and individual research for over 2.5 decades… all in one book. While the last release was back in 2012, it is still relevant today – in fact it is the guide I follow for every new book, service or product we release.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?
Never make anyone work for anything. Know what the next stage is, what you need to prepare, have it ready before going on to the next step. Have everything you do link back to your blog, website, social media, etc. Treat your writing as a business, keep books for the taxes and learn about the various write-offs you may be able to take advantage of.
Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.
Visit the Brummets via any of the following links: