Author Interview: Adrian Briones

I first met Adrian at a Writers Victoria course that he was running on self publishing. His energy, enthusiasm and success with self publishing inspired everyone at the course and J.R Knight and myself definitely benefited from his knowledge.  His food snaps are drool worthy and if you’re a foodie or even if you just like food, I recommend following his Instagram. Another Melbourne based writer, I am pleased to introduce you to Adrian Briones. 

 

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Tell us a little about yourself 

I’m the author of What the Heck is Filipino Food? which won a Gourmand World Cookbook Award and landed on the Amazon’s Best Sellers and publisher of the long running Melbourne food blog, Food Rehab.

I’ve written for publications including Broadsheet, SBS Food, contributed to several cookbooks, a regular speaker and tutor at various organisations including the Melbourne Writers Festival, Emerging Writers FestivalWriters Victoria and had quit my corporate job as the head of advertising operations at Carsales.com Ltd to go out on my own holding self-publishing workshops and helping writers one on one with branding and distribution. Most recently I was a key speaker at Bupa talking all things leadership and Voices of Young Leaders at RMIT University providing mentorship to our nation’s youth.

What is your writing style, what do you like to write?

It depends on the medium but I love writing about food. If I’m writing a post on the blog, I keep things casual, not at all too serious – in fact, my writing can be quite unconventional and my readers over the last 7 years have been loyal because of that, they’ve stayed part of my journey. I’ve always believed that when it comes to blogging, your writing needs to represent your true authentic self, otherwise, what’s the point?

If I’m writing a piece for a publication, then I’d of course, write according to their editorial guidelines, as hard as it is!

Why did you self publish?

I wish more authors who have/had decided to go down the traditional route of publishing are asked why they didn’t self-publish more often! It would have be one of the most liberating and fulfilling experiences I’ve had in my career.

The reasons I didn’t take my manuscript for – What the heck is Filipino Food? – to a publisher were the same reasons why I kept the project secret for the two years I was working on it. Being that it was a book so close to the heart, the last thing I wanted for the publisher to start slashing family recipes, anecdotes, chapters and most importantly, I didn’t want the pressure as I was still working long hours keeping up with deadlines at my job in advertising at the time. Self-publishing gave me the opportunity to put out a body of work that was truly unique having had total creative control over from the cover design to the comic book themed layout.

What are the best and worst parts of self publishing?

Self-publishing is running your own business – you are responsible for everything that can go right and wrong. You don’t have the engine of a publishing house to take care of day to day business matters so you must be prepared to work your butt off so to speak, as an entrepreneur.  You are accountable for invoicing, distribution, contracts, marketing, design

What are you currently working on? 

I’ve just wrapped up my self-publishing workshops and speaking engagements for this season and am helping other writer’s with their branding strategies, so now I have time to get stuck into writing my second book about Filipino food which I’m really excited about. I’m hoping to spend a couple of months in the Philippines to shoot a tonne of scenes for the book.  I’m also contributing to an upcoming anthology and cookbook being released in the US.

What advice have you got for people who may be thinking of self publishing? 

I would always start off with: Do you have the time?

What many people don’t realise is that depending on the type of book, self-publishing can be a lengthy, costly and complicated process, so proper due diligence and research is essential. A cookbook for instance is far more expensive to produce than a paperback novel as there are more considerations – photography (+equipment) or professional photographer fees, photo editing, recipe testing, ingredients, travel expenses, props and the upward costs of premium quality colour printing on top of marketing, distribution, design and editing.

Start your marketing from the very get go. Branding is the key to the success of your book. People don’t just buy you product, they are buying into your brand. I would recommend starting a blog so readers can be part of the journey, partake in the writing community from book clubs and meet ups and embrace social media but don’t continually flog your product.

When it comes to cover design, you get what you pay for. Invest in a good designer and always view their past coves and references. Research the best sellers in you genre – what kind of covers to they have, what titles draw in the numbers etc..

I learnt so many new business skills and have become an entrepreneur as a result of the opportunities gained from self-publishing, so if you’re up for the challenge of not only writing but running a business, then I would recommend it. Oh and don’t forget to hire a proof reader, editor and beta readers.

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Book or eBook? 

Both – launch with one format and test the waters. Releasing another format later down the track also give the book more marketing life

If you held a dinner party, which literary characters would you invite and why?

Tough one but definitely Galadriel created by J.R.R. Tolkien, appearing in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit alongside Gandalf of course. The stories they’d tell would be unreal though, I don’t think they’d eat anything and would probably burden me with that damn ring!

FAST FIVE: 

1)      What was the last book you read? Kinfolk Home – I’ve been doing a tonne of property renos and styling projects over the last year, so I draw my inspiration from Kinfolk’s principles on slow living and their minimalist approach to design.

2)      Who is your favourite author? So many, can’t pick one!

3)      What can’t you leave home without? Terrible, but my mobile phone. I run my business on it plus what am I going to take pictures of my food with?

4)      What was the last song you heard? Street Corner Symphony –  Rob Thomas  

5)      What is your favourite word? (Can be in English or another language) Masarap! Which means ‘yum’ in Tagalog

 

 You can find Adrian at the following: 

Instagram: @food_rehab
Snapchat:  @food_rehab

Facebook: foodrehab

Blog: foodrehab.com.au

Book Boyfriends

I have had many boyfriends over the years, just most of them were fictional. A book boyfriend will never let you down. You can leave him on the shelf and know he will be there whenever you need him, or you can pick him up again  and again and fall in love with him all over again. This is the story of four such men.

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I often say I was lucky enough to marry my own Gilbert Blythe. We were friends for a few years before we finally admitted we did really like each other as more than friends. There were other relationships in between, but our friendship finally turned into more and we’ve now been together 10 years, married for three and have a 10 month old son. Apart from a relationship that stemmed from friendship , my husband has other characteristics like Gilbert: smart arse, smart, hard working, good looking, caring and has the balls to call me on my crap.

Like Anne, I have a very over active imagination and tend to have the flare for the dramatic (something it appears my son has also inherited) and like Gilbert, Tim takes it in his stride. Or calls me out on it. He challenges me and supports my goals and dreams while still achieving his. Gilbert loved Anne because she was smart, spirited, different and although not as classically beautiful as other girls, he knew there was no other woman for him. He loved her from the moment he saw her.

Take home to the family factor: 10/10

 

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He understands muslin

 

I never liked Mr Darcy and at the risk of being stoned by the masses, I’ve never got the appeal. I get the appeal of Colin Firth jumping into a lake with a white shirt that turned see through, but apart from that, he’s kinda moody and sullen, much like a teenage boy. I know, I know that’s the appeal, moody, broody male, but I prefer my Austen men to have a little bit more spunk, like Mr Tilney from Northanger Abbey.

 

My real life boyfriends, crushes and now husband all seem to have one trait in common: they were smart arses. It appears I like myself a quick witted smart arse that can put me in my place without putting me down. Like Mr Tilney. He teases our heroine Catherine pretty much from the moment he meets her and out of all of Austen’s love interests, he is my favourite.

He’s kind and loves his sister, he somehow turned out to be normal after having an a-hole for a dad and cad for a brother and most importantly? He loves Catherine despite her massive over imagination, yep, that point is a key one. And he’s kind, upfront and not moody. No pride here peeps.

Take home to the family factor: 8/10

Which brings me to a contender a little from left field. Let me introduce you to Captain Rhett Butler.

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The original bad boy

Oh, Gone With The Wind, one of my favourite movies and books of all time. This epic has produced one of the most masculine and reformed ladies men of all time. Captain Butler has been disowned by his only family, cavorts with prostitutes, throws away his money gambling and makes a profit from an impending civil war and during while making a nice profit from blockade running. All up, on paper he’s a cad, but guess what? He stops that for a woman.

Now, I’m not saying you can change a man and you shouldn’t have to, but Captain Butler loves Scarlet with every fibre and he stops his womanising ways once she finally marries him. He gives her funds to restore her family estate to its former glory understanding that it’s important to her. And the biggest winning point? His love for his daughter.

Nothing warms my heart more (well, maybe an elderly couple holding hands is on par) than seeing a man with his kids. Seeing my husband and our my friends and my friends husbands play and look after their kids just melts my heart. Rhett Butler would have gone to hell and back for Bonnie and this I feel is a very big redeeming feature. And who doesn’t love a former bad boy?

Take home to the family factor: 6/10

And finally, Jamie Fraser (insert love heart eyes emoji)

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Scot on the rocks anyone?

If you don’t know who who Jamie Fraser is, where the hell have you been?

The Outlander (originally known as the Cross-stitch series) series is pretty heavy reading but introduced me to a hunk of a man I didn’t know existed until last year. Jamie is all that is man and is one hell of a sexy character. In fact, I  would go as far to say that he is one of, if not my favourite male literary character.

My favourite accent in the world is Scottish (tick) I am very attracted to a man in a kilt (tick) and his love for Claire (tick) literally has him killing people. He’s a warrior who’s not afraid to show and say he loves his wife and he’s just super hot. He’s a man who lives in a very manly world, but he has a soft side.

Take home to the family factor: 8/10