Virtual Book Tour: Bowfin , by Lee Hill

With the abundance of self-published authors, you have to come up with creative ways to market a self-published book.  While book tours are a great way to connect with your readers, they aren’t the most affordable method of promotion.  However, technology has made it possible for an alternative.


Take note from self-publishing Outskirts Press author, Lee Hill, who is taking his latest book, Bowfin, on tour – a virtual book tour, that is. He will be featured on several blogs over the weeks and months ahead so keep your eyes peeled to learn more about him and his book.

Luckily for us, Lee was kind enough to answer a few questions as the tour was getting started so that we can give you a sneak peek into the mind of the creator of Bowfin.

OP: Tell us a little bit about Bowfin.  What is it about?

Lee: A large fish called a “Bowfin” is trapped in a water hole beside the river running through a country farm; the fish is doomed.  The boy who lives on the farm, Lee, 18, befriends a second boy, Christopher, 14; the book is about their struggle to free the Bowfin from its trap.

OP: Why did you decide to write this story?

Lee: Because of the multitude of inescapable traps I see people falling into.  The central trap in this book is a physical circle of water of course, and other physical traps echo this central image; for example, a carousel spinning too fast to let children jump free, and a woman (Lee’s grandmother) who is so shamed by her son’s (Lee’s father) killing of a little girl that she has imprisoned herself in her farmhouse.  But the book makes it plain that not all traps require a physical enclosure.  Some half-dozen self-defeating cycles are woven into the text.  For example, Lee refuses to retaliate against the bullies who beat up Christopher because, in his words, that would “just give the wheel another spin”; he refuses to join the local gangs (the Dukes and Princes) because his grandmother warns him he would be recycled into a Slave.  A Robin is unable to stop attacking her own reflected image in the barn window, because the harder she fights the harder the “other” bird fights back; her inability to learn and therefore her enslavement to preconception locks her into the cycle, unable to win and unable to quit.  Another lose-lose situation concerns an elderly dog who lives across the road from the farmhouse and an elderly bus driver who drives the route every day; the old beagle and the driver have hated each other for years.  The dog attacks the bus and the driver screams at the dog, and both will remain slaves to hatred.  The traps—the water hole and its analogs, physical and nonphysical—provide a pathway into the book’s heart:  identifying the commonality underlying so many of the harmful cycles we see in action on our planet.  These traps can thus function as a collective lens focusing on that which constricts life, limits potential, stops learning, and harms.  The book closes with new beginnings, literally; fresh lumber is stacked at the grandmother’s door; she has chosen to end her self-imposed exile. And Lee has chosen to end his lifelong feud with Mr. Higgins across the road (the owner of the beagle).  To save the Bowfin, the two boys have fashioned a simple net from tree branches and scraps of clothing; out of compassion for a fellow creature, they have done what they could with what they had, and that is why I wrote the book.

OP: How did you get your book published?

Lee: By working with Outskirts Press.

OP: What types of readers would be interested in this story?

Lee: Most likely the twelve-to-twenty age group.  This book after all is for the young-adult genre, so it is essential that it be a good action-read for younger readers; and it must also have another level beneath the action-surface for those readers interested in symbolic content.  I think anyone any age who likes fully developed characters and a storyline that can be both enjoyed as itself and at deeper levels will find the book readable.  When Jesse straddles the bus’s ruts in the dust, looks down the creek toward the Bowfin and at his grandmother’s new lumber, he tells Christopher “we’ll get her out of there,” it is plain he means freeing much more than a fish in a water hole.

OP: What is special about your book?  

Lee: The bonding between the boys, their compassion for an ugly, ancient fish, the clear-eyed pragmatism, and the seamless, easy fusion of action-storyline and subsurface symbolism.

OP: What differentiates it from other books in the same category?

Lee:  I have taken pains to create a living, breathing story that speaks in its own voice.  The book’s ideas and motifs are always embodied in character, dialogue, and action rather than authorial declarations.  I have done my best to avoid the pulpit, the soapbox, and the drum.  The setting by the river, the grace and power of the creature in the water, the excitement of the struggle, and the warmth between the boys should be enough to carry the day even for those with little interest in “subsurface symbolism.”

OP: Have you published any other books?

Lee: No

OP: Do you plan to publish more?

Lee: Yes, I plan to publish others.

OP: Thanks for your time, Lee! We look forward to learning more about you as you visit other bloggers!


Lee Hill studied fish biology at Southern Illinois University, where he edited and published books for the Center for Archaeological Investigations. He then worked in the university’s Information Technology department, learning some half-dozen programming languages, editing and publishing a newsletter, and training staff and students at the university’s campuses. Today, he lives by a lake in Southern Illinois.For more information or to contact the author, visit

This author purchased the Virtual Book Tour marketing option, which allows self-publishing authors to connect with bloggers and harness the power of the blogosphere by taking their book on the “virtual road”.  Learn more about this service by visiting your Publishing Center and reviewing the available marketing options.

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