Saturday, September 28, 2013

Author Interview & Giveaway: Seeley James

I'm always on the search for Indie authors. I think it takes so much courage to write and release a novel on their own and it takes even more to find readership for them. That is why when I read The Geneva Decision, I knew that I would feature this author in my Blogoversary. Please welcome to Blood Rose Books today:

Seeley James 

Is there a book, author, story or person that inspired you to become a writer?
Two books inspired me: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Red Pony by John Steinbeck. I read them both when I was young. Treasure Island made me realize books could take you places and the Red Pony made me realize books could make you see, feel, even smell things.

What has been your biggest challenge as an indie author?
Getting my books into the hands of people who want to read them. When I published my first book, The Geneva Decision (Nov-2012), over 89,000 books were being epublished every month. That’s twice as many as were published in all of 2002. At least I outsold JK Rowling in the first three months.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why? 
Autobiography. People tell me to write my memoirs, including how I adopted a three year old when I was nineteen. But I can’t—if I wrote an autobiography, I’d have to sue the author for defamation.

Soccer star and head of a security company are not something you read about every day, where did the idea for Pia’s occupation come from?
Fiction heroes usually come from the military or police, as do most heroines. Since women are just now going into combat roles, I didn’t see that as a realistic path for a heroine. My daughter played soccer which led me to become a big fan. She also took up boxing, briefly. Those two disciplines showed me that while women are not as physically strong as men, their will to win is very much the same. Once you combine that strength of character with a surprise attack, you can overcome many limitations.

Pia Sabel’s occupation came from the need for putting her in dangerous situations. Police and private detective angles have been bludgeoned to death over the years. And I never much liked the Murder She Wrote premise. To me, a security company provides plenty of ways to cross paths with the wicked, as well as have the personnel to do something about it.

Do you play soccer? If so which position do you play? What team do you cheer for?
I never played soccer, but two of my three children do and I’ve spent a decade on the sidelines. My son plays outside mid and my daughter plays holding mid. Both have been perennial team captains.

I’m a serious fan of Phoenix Country Day Eagles (the school my children attend), Chelsea, & Portland Thorns (NWSL). My son is fan of LA Galaxy and my daughter loves Real Madrid (I’m pretty sure that’s because of Ronaldo).

Do you find that people are shocked to find that the individual who is writing about Pia is a man?
No, there are a few but not many. When I first started writing about a woman, I submitted many short stories to writing forums. I learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. The main thing is: men and women have the same hopes and dreams and ambitions. We expect women to use manipulation to accomplish their goals where we expect men to use violence. But neither case is absolute.

Was it hard to get into the mindset of a woman and write how you think a woman would act?
Physically: Pia Sabel is very tall and strong to overcome the physical requirements of fighting in a man’s world. Thrillers tend to be violent journeys through a male-dominated kingdom of evil where the hero/heroine races to prevent a crime. Many heroines today are based on the average woman, ~ 5’7” who might know some martial arts—and they are inherently unrealistic in fight scenes with men. I searched high and low for an archetype for my heroine and settled on Devon Wharf, the former U of A goalkeeper who is 6’1”, good looking, and quite strong.

Mentally: The feminine mindset is something I’ve worked on extensively with female beta readers. I try to weed out male sentiments, but I’m not convinced it makes a huge difference in thrillers. Romantic entanglements would present a different circumstance, but thrillers are based primarily on saving lives—and there’s not a lot of gender difference in that. (I did have a reader tell me that a specific line uttered by Pia Sabel sounded more like a teenaged boy than an adult woman. I told her that she was the only reader to identify the one sentence my teenaged son insisted I add).

Why did you decide to also release a serial novel? Do you find that releasing a serial type novel is more challenging or easier that writing a full novel at once? 
Readers: When I embarked on writing Trench Coats as a serial, what appealed to me was the reduced reader-commitment. With so many indie authors hitting the market, I believed it would be easier for readers to try a short version before committing 10-15 hours of reading time. That part has worked out to be true.

Evidence: I have nearly eliminated the reviewers who say they’ve abandoned the book. All books big and small have ‘abandonment reviews’. Amazon is rife with readers who need to tell the world they did not finish a book but are reviewing it anyway—god knows why they would publicly admit to active ignorance, but there you have it. 

Writing: I have discovered it is more difficult to produce a coherent thriller on a serial basis. The writing process is more drawn out; allowing over-expansion of extraneous concepts that must be reined in. If I do another serial, I’ll write the entire novel first, then break it down. 

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
I am working feverishly on Trench Coats, Episode IV: The Desperate and will release it on the first of October. Episodes V and VI will follow shortly thereafter.

For all your readers who drop me an email mentioning the greatness of Blood Rose Books, I’ll send the first four episodes free (ebooks)!

What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite).
Sorry, I must note two books: South by Lance Charnes (Due out in December) and Black Karma by William Davis. 

I want to thank Seeley once again for being part of my Blogoversary and I encourage you to not only enter the rafflecopter giveaway below (open INT) but also to take Seeley up on his offer for the first 4 books in his serial series. I think that we need to support Indie authors as much as we can

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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