Monday, February 28, 2011

Author Interview Series - Gregory Thompson

Please welcome Gregory Thompson to So, Write.  If you can tell a book by its cover, I think Thompson's will be a dark thrill ride.  I'm looking forward to the release next week.


Please tell us a little about yourself and what motivated you to start writing? 
[Gregory] I've been writing for about 20 years. Had some stuff published in the late 1990's and then turned to 10 years of screenwriting before returning to fiction a few years ago. I mainly write science fiction/fantasy/horror and have a few works of each of those genres published in various magazines and anthologies so genre depends on the idea. I started writing in my teens when I was reading Stephen King's Cujo. As many horror fans know, that book isn't his greatest and I thought at the time I could do better than this. So I wrote a 7,000 word story called "Lucie" and realized I couldn't do better: that story sucked! However, I enjoyed creating characters, listening to how they wanted the story to move and wondering how everything's going to turn out. I have been writing in some capacity ever since. Some people might call that crazy; I call that being a writer. For more information on Nightcry go to Nightcry's Official Site (http://www.nightcrynovel.com).




What is NightCry about? 
[Gregory] Nightcry is a horror/supernatural thriller about a failed big city reporter, Grant Sykes, returning to his hometown to run its local paper. Soon, people start to die and suspicions point towards Grant. But he has reason to believe the cause of the deaths are from a supernatural being that terrorized and murdered his family when he was younger. To make matters worse, his high school rival, now the Police Chief, believes it's Grant and will stop at nothing to peg him. Grant hires a Ghosthunter to help investigate the being while Grant finds ways to clear his name.


How did you come up with the idea for Nightcry?
[Gregory] Nightcry came about a couple of years ago when I wanted to focus on some kind of horror terrorizing a small town. I love the small town atmosphere and the potential isolation they offer. Honestly, it took a week of brainstorming to figure out a few of the characters and what supernatural force haunted the main character; but after I plotted it out, I thought "hey, this isn't half bad!" 

What makes Nightcry different or special compared to the other titles in this genre?
[Gregory] What I think makes Nightcry unique is different than what I've been hearing from my Beta Readers, so I will include both. First, I feel the book hones in on being an outsider in a small town, no matter if you are a complete stranger or someone coming home after a few years away. If you have ever been in that situation, then you'll fit right into one of the two main characters. Second, readers have been telling me that they enjoyed the first person narrative of a complete jerk, which was refreshing to them. Now as I wrote it, I had no intention of Grant turning out this way, but I came to understand he had contempt for the town and some of the people living there. 

What type of reader do you feel will enjoy this book the most?
[Gregory] Any horror fan or ghost-lover should enjoy this book. Also, someone who wants a quick read to wile away a cozy afternoon. I think any reader who enjoys Richard Laymon or Brian Keene will have a good time with the book. 

What has been the most difficult part of the publishing process for you? The most rewarding?
[Gregory] The most difficult part of the process was making the decision to pull Nightcry from the traditional publishing process. I retracted consideration from one agent and two publishing houses since it's been over nine months from the initial submissions. My last queries were in the middle of January this year and all three basically said, "We are stilling looking it over." That's fine, but if it gets approved and I do the edits and do this or that, it may be the middle of 2012 before the book sees the light of day!

The most rewarding so far is formatting the book for eReaders and print publication. I can see it take shape; I have control over how things look; I can say yes to that or no to this and not worry someone on the Board of Directors is going to pull the plug. I've also enjoyed having Beta Readers looking over the novel to give their critiques and suggestions. When the readers don't come back with the things I was fretting over, I get a boost of confidence realizingNightcry may actually sell a few copies. 

When and where can we buy your book?
[Gregory] Nightcry releases on March 9 and it will be available from Barnes & Noble (print/nook), Amazon (print/Kindle) and through Createspace. I am working with my local Barnes & Noble to sell paperback copies through a few Author's Events and I am looking into setting up a space at the next Author's Fairs in my community and having a table at one of my local library's FantasyCons.


Thanks Gregory!  I wish you the best of luck with your release.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Author Interview Series - Megg Jensen

Please welcome Megg Jensen to So, Write. Megg recently released her debut YA fantasy novel, Anathema. I've had the pleasure of reading this one and can tell you it's the type of book you devour in a day. Here's what Megg had to say about herself and her book.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

[Megg] I have been a parenting journalist since 2004, but my dream since I was a little girl has always been to write and publish a novel. I grew up on a farm and even though we watched every penny, my mom always bought me any book I asked for. Somehow that made books more special than any other item in a store and I read voraciously. In late 2008, I decided it was time for me to sit down and write a novel. I'd written two previously, but this time I was serious. I wrote Anathema in January of 2009 and never looked back.

What is Anathema about?
[Megg] Reychel is a slave girl surrounded by magic, lies and manipulation. Her best friend disappears in the middle of the night leaving Reychel to face her fifteenth birthday, the day her master burns his brand into the back of her bald head, alone. She's sheltered from the outside world and doesn't have any hope for escape, but when people desperate for freedom ask for her help can Reychel learn to believe in herself?

What gave you the idea for Anathema?

[Megg] One afternoon, my family was driving down to my parents' farm. My daughter, then five, told me she saw things in the clouds. I asked her what shapes she saw, but she sighed and told me she wasn't looking at shapes - she was seeing the future. (Obviously a wild imagination is genetic.) That little comment of hers sparked the basic idea for Anathema.

Anathema is your first novel. What do you feel was the most difficult part of the process from first draft to publication?

[Megg] The writing comes easily and I also really enjoy editing. The hardest part for me was making the decision to self publish instead of pursuing traditional publication. It took me nearly a year to come to the decision and in the meantime I did submit to agents, but I did not exhaust all of my options in traditional publishing. After researching both sides and really being honest with myself about what I wanted from my career, I chose to go indie. I can't imagine I'll ever regret it.

What type of reader do you think will love this book most?

[Megg] Even though my genre is fantasy, Anathema focuses more on relationships than a fantasy world. So while I'm dropping the reader into an unfamiliar world, I don't bombard them with the setting. This makes my book accessible to anyone who likes romance, mystery and intrigue. Is there romance? Sure. But it's definitely rated PG, so anyone twelve or thirteen and older could read it without fear of stumbling upon something inappropriate. Will guys like it? Hopefully, but it's definitely slanted towards the ladies.

Visit Megg Jensen at http://meggjensen.blogspot.com/ today to learn about her Anathema launch party contest where you can enter for a chance to win your choice of Nook or Kindle!!

Thank you for being here today, Megg, and good luck with your contest! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Author Interview Series - Laura Eno

In preparation for the release of The Soulkeepers, I'll be posting a series of author interviews on So, Write. I decided to do this because I wanted to learn how other people thought about and promoted their work.  Over the next several weeks you will read interviews with both self-published and traditionally published authors, some who write fiction, some non-fiction, for readers all over the market.  The questions are similar but I think their answers will fascinate you.

Laura Eno
I'm very excited to kick off this series with fellow #fridayflash contributor, Laura Eno. I'll confess I'm a fan and actually have this book but haven't read it yet.  Here's what she had to say.


Please tell us a little about yourself and what motivated you to start writing?

I've always had a creative outlet, including painting, silversmithing and home decorating. When the economy made silver creations unfeasible and my husband refused to keep moving so I'd have a fresh house to decorate, I became possessed and started writing. Really. I sat down and words poured out of me.

I have two muses who help me write. Jezebel, who is a menace from the Underworld—with tentacles—and a terrible flirt, likes to attend parties and swim in the punch bowl. Mr Fluffy is a somewhat more dignified personality, who happens to be a human skull.

Don't Fall Asleep is the fifth of dozens of novels I plan to write, in several different genres. Two things are mainstays in my writing, though, regardless of genre. They all have a fantasy element and all focus on personal development.

For a list of all my books, you can go to my Amazon Author Page.   I'd love to have you drop by my blog A Shift in Dimensions, as well, where strange things generally happen. 


What is Don't Fall Asleep about?

The female lead is a Dream Assassin, a highly specialized skill and only rumored to exist. She enters dreams and kills people, but physically they've died from a heart attack. She has her own moral code concerning her work, along with needing to sort out some personal problems, naturally.


How did you come up with the idea for Don't Fall Asleep?

I'd written a short story, to be included in an upcoming dark fantasy collection, and fell in love with her character. As for the actual idea, the voices in my head mutter all the time. I take no responsibility for their channels of communication.
What makes Don't Fall Asleep different or special compared to the other titles in this genre?

Every writer hopes their story is different from anyone else's, but I'd have to say that a dream assassin is different from the standard hired gun.


What type of reader do you feel will enjoy this book the most?
Anyone interested in soft sci/fi, paranormal talents, or adventure/thriller. Also, that person would have to enjoy a strong female heroine.


What has been the most difficult part of the publishing process for you? The most rewarding?

Setting up the files is a learning curve, but I think the most difficult part is promotion. I don't want to beat people over the head with info on my books—but I want people to be aware of them. It's a difficult balance.

The most rewarding, of course, is having absolute control over content, cover and price. The only people I have to answer to are my readers.


You're a veteran to self-publishing with five books in print. What advice can you give someone like me who is just starting out?

Ask questions. People are willing to help and happy to share their experiences. Realize that writing the story is only the beginning of the process. Celebrate each sale and don't quit your day job. Don't fold after negative reviews. Have plenty of chocolate on hand.


Where can we buy your book?

Thank you, Gen, for inviting me here today. I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming book!

Thanks Laura, for visiting and for the great advice.  I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Soulkeepers Cover Art *Drumroll*

Thanks to Adam at anjindesign for creating something that absolutely embodies The Soulkeepers!  The amazing part was he took a conversation that went, "Uhm, so there's this boy who goes through some stuff and like there's a girl too..." and came up with THIS.

 
Well maybe I gave him a little bit more than that but is it not AWESOME?  *Fireworks*

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Desperately Seeking Authors

Are you an author looking to promote your work?  Would you like to be interviewed on my blog?


To celebrate the upcoming release of my first novel, The Soulkeepers, I would like to do a series of author interviews. Have you self-published recently?  Been traditionally published and want to spread the word about your book?  I want to hear from you!


Interested?  Please leave a comment or contact me via the tab above.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cover Art and Other Amusements

My novel, The Soulkeepers, is coming right along.  This week, I've been working with an artist on the cover.  If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know I write cross-genre.  The Soulkeepers is an upper YA paranormal, with inspirational, suspense, fantasy and romantic elements.  A fifteen-year-old boy of chinese-american descent is the main character.

After much discussion, the artist sent me seven amazing sketches promoting various aspects of the work.  I'll tell you right now, any one of them would have made an above average cover. Four of them had a male as the central figure, two were abstract, and the seventh had a male plus the face of a female character from the book.

Here's something interesting about YA: researching the market, I found that the books rated as having the best covers featured a female face.  However, these books don't necessarily have the best sales. What's an indie to do? In the end, I asked the artist to expand on this last idea hoping that the tension between the male and female character in the artwork would appeal to both male and female readers.

What's your opinion?  When you think of the best YA covers you've seen this year, what elements come to mind?