An Interview with Lillian and Dave Brummet, authors of One Small Garden
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. After moving to their dream location (in the Kootenay Region of BC, Canada), they have been methodically converting the abused lot over to the little park it has become – and in doing so have gained certification with bee, pollinator and wildlife organizations. Their home, too, has become energy efficient via the many upgrades they have done. 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, with over 300 delicious, nutritious recipes!
How many books or short stories have you written?
L: I’ve only written a couple non-fiction short stories, numerous non-fiction articles, bn oth product and book reviews, and a total of 7 published books, if you count an e-book (Jump Start For Writers) that no longer exists. Currently we have a 2-book series on green living (Trash Talk), 2 books of poetry (Towards Understanding; Rhythm & Rhyme) and there’s marketing advice for writers (Purple Snowflake Marketing). Our most recent release is a cookbook: From One Small Garden that, as you might derive from the name, focuses on recipes that help people take advantage of garden harvests and reduce food waste.
Where did you find all the sources for your research?
D: I do most of my learning online, for instance when it comes to understanding a new program for vector graphics I will comb YouTube for tutorial videos. Somewhere online there is a video explaining everything you need – and more usually. I would never have attempted repairs to household appliances or automobiles if I didn’t have access to tutorial videos. Learning how to do things yourself can save you a bunch of money as an entrepreneur too. However it also means that you have to be able to learn, have the patience and then actually apply that new skill. Not as easy as it sounds, believe me.
What do you do when you are not writing?
D: I play drums in a rock band when ever possible. I also teach both drum kit and hand drum lessons. I have an active repair shop in which I build, fix and tune djembe drums (among others) and manufacture a few percussion accessories as well. I enjoy doing the graphic design work for all our marketing and that is a never-ending learning journey in itself, but certainly an enjoyable one.
Who, or what, inspired you to pursue a career in writing?
L: The first writer I ever knew was my mother, who dabbled at the craft for a short time. Later, teachers would comment about my writing, truly moved by what I wrote. These were the earliest influences, slowly pointing me in this direction. Some of my poetry was published, then I won some writing awards… later I took some career evaluation tests and writing kept coming up as a career option. Dave’s emotional support and strategic skills have been of great value; having that strength, someone to mull over challenges with, split the work with, and just share the experience in general.
What have you learned about while working with your spouse?
We do some of our best creative work when we are just discussing stuff together over a cup of coffee during a break. And, we always have a note pad to jot down the ideas that come bursting out because, sure enough, the best ideas are the ones that slip your memory if you don’t.
Describe a typical writing day.
L: There is no real typical day for us; 2-3 days per month are dedicated to managing the blogs, about 16 hours are spent networking, advertising, sending out queries to media and following up on marketing opportunities every week, a few hours per week are spent managing social media. Any one day can also involve cleaning the office, workshop, studio… assisting Dave where I can. However, I’ll share an example of a ‘behind the scenes’ look at one day: upon waking, we have breakfast and coffee and deal with the fur kids, get some house duties done, check emails/messenger/text messages for any important communications, and after a brief discussion about what each other’s goals are for that day, split off in our different directions. I’m in the office responding to interview questions while Dave is in his office working on images and ad creations for our cookbook (From One Small Garden). After this interview, I plan to complete a few touchups to some articles we wrote last week. We always take a break to make lunch and clean up after. Depending on what Dave might need from me, I may take on the task of going through the emails etc. one more time, responding and dealing with what I can… or I might start some seeds for the garden and do some laundry. Perhaps I’ll be dealing with garden harvests or taking an online course during the afternoon hours.
How do you manage social media, what social media have you used, which do you like to use the most and why?
D: I personally use Facebook for networking with specific groups and for general announcements, YouTube for posting video content and blogging for building a presence and sharing information with followers. Lillian is the one that handles the blogs and a majority of the social media and I am happy for that as she is very good at it and knows the ins and outs. She has a lot of relevant connections already from over 20 years experience of promoting our business and books.
How do you go about choosing a book title?
D: For me the title almost always comes near or at the end of the writing process. If ever I have had an idea of the title first it was usually changed by the time the book was done. A title for me has to explain the book’s purpose or intent in some way. I like it to be catchy and not too wordy. Like a good melody that you can easily whistle, a good title should be memorable, appropriate and roll off the tongue easily.
What is your contribution to society?
D: As a drum teacher I hope to help the next generation of drummers by passing on the knowledge of drums and percussion I have accumulated in my career. I run a program called Drum it Forward that I was inspired to create years ago. I go to the schools and offer my services as a drum doctor armed with all the spare parts I have amassed along the way and fix their gear. The schools don’t have the budget to pay for this and the poor teachers don’t necessarily have the time or knowledge, so I do it as a donation. All I ask is that if they have any spare parts or pieces laying around that they consider donating it to the cause to perpetuate the program.
Tell us the process of creating the cover for your book.
D: 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.
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