An Interview with Author Staffan R.B. Nordqvist, M.D.

 Staffan at 50 in private practice
Staffan at 50 in private practice

Tell us something about your book. The basics: what’s it about?

Choices is the story of my first 78 years on this earth, the first 35 in Sweden and the rest in America. My three sons were born in Sweden, but the five grandchildren here in America. To me, when older family members die, one great loss is the inability to ask them questions about how things were and how they happened in the past. I feel it will be of value for my grandchildren and future generations to at least have some answers about their heritage when I am gone.

How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published traditionally?

As I was writing I began to feel that my somewhat unlikely (and definitely unorthodox) career with its various hurdles, twists and turns could possibly be of interest for a larger audience, such as medical professionals with dreams of their own, Swedish Americans of all ages, golfing and sailing buddies and maybe people of no particular description who just like to read.

Essentially the book is about a man with many talents and interests, little self-confidence and a great appetite for life. He is ambitious, maybe to a fault, a bit restless, constantly looking for new and better things. Sometimes he surprises himself with some of his successes and accomplishments. Sometimes he gets in trouble for blindly trusting people around him expecting them to always do the right thing. Life repeatedly taught him lessons the hard way, but he had an uncanny ability to always bounce back.

The book emphasizes how we repeatedly, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes with great determination make choices, which form our lives. How we give up one dream for another, and eventually settle down, hopefully in the right place.

To illustrate these traits, I found it necessary to address issues like the practice of medicine and surgery, health care, but also science and biology, travel and extracurricular activities unrelated to my profession. They have all helped form the man I became. Originally the theater was my dream. Instead the whole world became my stage with plenty of acting along the way.

I submitted manuscripts to two Swedish publishers without success. I did not try any in the US.

What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?

I used AuthorHouse as opposed to Xlibris, Duncan and a few others. They were competitively priced and cooperative. I was happy with the service, being unaware of issues I later discovered when SPR reviewed the book. Obviously I am unhappy with any spelling and grammatical errors; they should have corrected that. Their Photoshop work of the cover leaves something to be desired, particularly with the hat. I will try to get this corrected. I am sure it will cost…

What avenues have you taken to market the book? Have you gotten reviews, interviews, TV, print media coverage?

Until now marketing has been on a mouth-to-mouth basis. I am building a website, staffannordqvist.com, which I would like to appear on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (although I don’t use it) and others. I will advertise in a monthly publication (Nordstjernan), which reaches a large Swedish-American population. There are as many Swedes in the US as in Sweden! Other than your review I have none, I have not approached any media, do not really know how to.

Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?

These are memoirs. They are written from memory alone. I have no diaries or other sources.

Who are your greatest writing influences?

My greatest writing influence could have come from my deceased mother and my background in entertainment. One of my readers commented that I write the way I speak, others like the uncomplicated language and the ease with which the book is read.staffan - choices

What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?

I do not have a particular regimen. I write when I feel like it. There is never any pressure or deadlines. Once I start I have no problem staying focused.

Would you self-publish again?

I don’t know if I will ever write another book or what it would be about. Any suggestions? If I found a publishing company willing to take me on I would, of course prefer that. If I were to self publish, I have had a great learning experience.

Any final words of advice for those looking to self-publish?

Anyone self-publishing needs to do a diligent homework when choosing a self-publishing outfit. Your company undoubtedly would be someone to consult with, but your existence needs to be easy to find.

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