SUMMERSIDE – Jessie Wheeler is a popular singer-songwriter and actor – but she has a troubled past.
Before she hit stardom Wheeler was a teen runaway from P.E.I., living in Vancouver’s rough East Side.
Despite her humble beginnings, Wheeler has managed to find happiness, success and even love with her fiancé Charlie.
But that all changes the day she meets fellow actor, Josh Sawyer.
Throw in the return of a shady character from Wheeler’s days as a runaway and you’ve got the plot of Susan Rodgers’ new e-book “A Song for Josh.”
Rodgers, of Summerside, recently self published her work online, and it’s now available from most major e-book stores, including: Kindle, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and iTunes.
“It’s basically a love story. And I like to think it’s a little higher than your sort of general romance,” Rodgers laughed during a recent interview.
It’s a story that has been kicking around her head for years, so she’s overjoyed to finally have it in the hands of readers.
The book has only been out for a couple of weeks, she said, but the initial response has been encouraging.
“It’s going to take a while to push it and get the word out there. I know that and I knew that going in. But the sales are good,” she said.
Rodgers used a company called eBookIt (www.ebookit.com), to get her work into the market.
That company basically provides everything an author who’s looking to self publish an e-book needs, including: editing, file conversion, formatting and other advice.
Rodgers decided to go the e-book route for three reasons, she said.
Firstly, she wanted to get her book out from under a stack sitting on some publishing company’s desk.
“I’m not sure you really get that much out of traditional publishing anymore. The industry is really turned on its heel with the digital revolution,” she said.
Secondly, she didn’t want to lose creative control of her work.
And third, e-books, which can be read on computers, smartphones and devices like Kindles and Kobos, are only getting more popular.
Before she started working on “A Song for Josh,” Rodgers also had a few long conversations with another Island author – Patti Larsen.
Larsen, who has been featured in the Journal Pioneer before, has found great success in digitally publishing her supernatural themed teen novels.
So while she waited to here back from a Newfoundland and Labrador publishing company on another book she’d written Rodgers sat down and wrote “A Song for Josh,” with the intention of publishing solely as an e-book.
In all, eBookIt charged her about $700 for their services, and take a commission from every sale.
So with each copy of “A Song for Josh,” costing about $5.99 Rodgers is not expecting to get rich quick.
She sees these first novels as more of a way to get her name out there, collect some (hopefully good) reviews and build her experience.
But even more than the sales, Rodgers wanted to know what people thought of her work – even though it was a scary prospect.
“You become very engrossed in your characters and in your story. So they’re very personal to me. That’s why I care more about what people think about the story, because I really hope they like it as much as I do,” she said.
It’s been a great experience she said, and one that she would recommend to anyone with a story rattling around in their head.
“I would say ‘do it,’” she said
“If someone is out there with a story in their head that they want to write, I would say sit down and write it, but prepare not to have a life because you get so caught up in it,” she said.
Rodgers is now in the process of getting her second book published online.
“A Song for Josh,” is actually the first book in a series called, The Drifters Series.
The second and third novels are already written, she said, so it’s just a matter of now having them edited, formatted and published. She expects her sequel novel to be published by the end of March or early April.
It’s an exciting time to be a writer, she said.
“I’m really excited as a writer that there is an opportunity to get my stories out there to a wider audience through the Internet. I think it’s a whole new world for writers and it’s a really great opportunity,” she said.