Interview 36

15 August 2018


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Yes, Hostile Takeover is the first book in my new Urban Fantasy, Vale Investigation. The main character, Bellamy Vale, is a former US Marine turned private investigator. Also, he’s Death’s envoy on Earth. And the only reason he’s employee of the month is that no-one else was foolish enough to take the job.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Yes, this happened in the first series I wrote The Neve & Egan Cases. Dimitri, a mouthy Russian who runs a not-so-legal import/export company had a small part in the first book. That was supposed to be it, but he was such fun to write, I brought him back for short scenes in books two and three. And he plays a much larger role in the fourth and last book.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I did and got my fair share of rejection. I guess it didn’t help that I live in Switzerland (where there are no agents) while I queried in the US and UK. I don’t really mind that no-one signed me up.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your books?
I like the idea of being 100% in control of everything. I don’t know how I would react if a publisher asked me to do some drastic changes to one of my manuscript.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I used to find the artist who did the cover for Hostile Takeover. I willingly remained vague with my job post, because I was curious to see what the artists were going to come up with on their own. I wanted to see what my story’s summary inspired them to do. I was pleasantly surprised by the entries; there were a lot of amazing stuff. I chose my favorite design and worked with Spanish artists Miguel A. Ereza until I was 100% satisfied with everything.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I need silence to be able to think. It doesn’t really matter where I write, so long as it is quiet and I’m comfortably seated.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I outline everything. It’s an integral part of my writing process. A third of the time I spend creating a book is focused on the outline and the researches. The second third is for the actual writing. And the last part is spent on editing, proofreading and promotion.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes, each one of my book goes through several editing phases. I send it to at least 3 different people who provide detailed critiques, which lead to some rewrites. The final draft then goes to someone for copy editing and lastly someone else for proofreading. These are steps which can’t be avoided if you want to produce quality content. It doesn’t matter how talented a writer you are, you need an outside eye. We become too close to our texts to spot our own mistakes.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I don’t even try to juggle J. I always put writing on hold when I focus on promotion; there’s not enough to do it right otherwise.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Study the craft, find writers’ blog and learn everything you have to do. Writing is not everything, it’s a small part of the job. The silver lining is there’s no clock ticking and it doesn’t matter if your book gets published today or in six months. What matters is that it is the best it can be. So take your time about it and do it right.

Originally posted @ Two Ends of the Pen