Jeff Heuchert, Gazette staff
A Stratford author’s books are on their way to New York City to help restock shelves at libraries devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
Yvonne Hertzberger is involved with an initiative called Indie Authors for Hurricane Sandy Libraries. The group was started in November by novelist KS Brooks to assist communities along the east coast that were hit hardest by last October’s storm. To date the group has supplied over 200 novels to the tri-state area of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, and Hertzberger says requests are coming in all the time for more titles.
The group connects libraries with authors from around the world whose books are in the specific genre that they are looking for, and also vets the material to ensure it meets basic requirements.
Hertzberger contributed copies of the first two books in her Earth Pendulum fantasy trilogy, “Back From Chaos,” which she self-published in 2009, and “Through Kestrel’s Eyes, released in 2011.
As for the final chapter in the series, entitled “Dreamt Child,” she plans to have it finished and available for purchase in time for the holidays.
“It takes a long time to write a good book,” she notes, “at least for some people.”
Hertzberger worked an assortment of customer service-related jobs before retiring and deciding to focus her attention full-time on creative writing in 2007.
“I started off writing a couple short stories and then one of them just kind of morphed into this trilogy that I’ve been working on since,” she says.
Hertzberger says her Earth Pendulum series mixes in romance and adventure while maintaining an underlying environmental theme. But it’s the strong characters she’s created that she hopes keeps readers coming back.
“(My books) appeal to people who like to read about strong characters,” she notes.
Hertzberger’s books began to reach a wider audience two years ago after she and her husband Mark moved to Stratford from Listowel; the books are available downtown at Callan Books and Fanfare Books in addition to regular online sites like Amazon and Smashwords.
Still, Hertzberger says it hasn’t been easy breaking through the stigma that’s attached to books written outside of the traditional publishing houses, and it’s most definitely been a learning experience.
Hertzberger says her first novel ended up costing her money, while she was able to break even on the second. But with positive word of mouth and a growing fan base, and a cost-efficient marketing strategy that includes promotional appearances, she’s hoping the third time is a charm.
“The profit margin on books is so minimal ... it’s really a labour of love,” she adds.
It won’t hurt, of course, that Hertzberger’s books will now be available at libraries in a big city where readers haven’t had easy access to her novels in the past.
“What I will hopefully get out of (this initiative) is that people will read my two books,” she adds, “and than that will give me some respectability and some cachet out there.”