I’m not really sure where it came from, I don’t quite want to say my fingers flew on their own just tapping out a story. The whole monkey typing out the works of Shakespeare kind of thing. But there would be nights when I would decide to work on it, and the story would just come.
Arhur David – 23 March 2017
The Back Flap
The Third Party is a secret organization dedicated to moving humanity towards a future of peace and prosperity. A future where hunger, poverty, and war no longer exist. An organization so dedicated to its ideals that it is made up of spies, saboteurs and assassins for whom the ends justify the means, no matter how atrocious.
BlackMail has spent her entire adult life dedicated to the cause of The Party. She has lived her life knowing that she is working for the greater good of humanity and the world, and it doesn’t matter how they achieve that.
Her dedication has made her one of The Party’s top agents, and The Party has tasked her with training a young woman, Jade, who they believe will become The Party’s next top agent.
When The Party sends them on a mission that goes horribly wrong it will forever change BlackMail, Jade, and The Third Party.
About the book
What is the book about?
The book centers around an agent, BlackMail, who is part of a secret organization known as The Third Party or The Party for short. The Party is bent on changing the world according to its designs. However, they are interested in the ends, and are not concerned with the means. If that means assassination, blackmailing, kidnapping, or anything else necessary to get the job done, so be it.
This book focuses not just on BlackMail, but on her training a new recruit, Jade. They undertake a mission that has huge consequences for BlackMail, Jade, and The Third Party as a whole.
When did you start writing the book?
I started writing it back in 2001. I initially wrote another book, centered on a different character within the same organization. While writing it I realized that it was not his story, it was BlackMail’s. She wasn’t the narrator for that book, but it was her story all the same. After I finished that book, I decided to go back and write BlackMail’s. This was also around the time George Lucas was releasing the first “prequels” so I decided that if he could do it, so could I. Except I would release my books in order.
How long did it take you to write it?
Forever. As I said, I started back in 2001, its now 2017 and I’m re-releasing it to the world. I originally wrote it in third person, despite what I’ll now refer to as the sequel being in first person. I did this mainly to see how I would do in a third person format. The answer was not well. After what felt like endless editing, rewrites, more editing I submitted it for review and published on Amazon. The review came back pretty bad, but it was something I really needed.
I went back and rewrote it, this time in first person. However, after having worked on it for so long, and so often I soon became tired of it. I shelved it for a very long time, worked on other projects or hobbies, got married, had kids, dealt with life.
Eventually I got back to it again. Finished up the writing and here we are.
Where did you get the idea from?
I really have no idea. I was encouraged to write by a friend who had been working on writing something at the time. I started to write book “2” just kind of seat of my pants style. No real purpose or idea what would happen when I started. The idea of The Party just kind of popped up on the screen surprising myself as much as anyone I suppose. The entire story really was a surprise to me, with the exception of the end, I knew how that would happen.
I didn’t expect BlackMail to be the real main character though, which is what brought me to “The Beginning” While writing BlackMail, I continued with seat of my pants style rather then outlining everything. But I knew who some of the characters would be already, and where it had to end, it was mostly just a task of filling in the blanks in between.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
The biggest struggle was motivation. After having worked on book “2”, writing, editing, rewriting, adding, subtracting etc. Then doing the same for BlackMail, getting that bad review, and rewriting in a whole new perspective.
I got sick of it. No other way to put it really. I shelved it for I don’t know how long, occasionally coming back and putting in some work on it before deciding I didn’t want to keep at it anymore.
Eventually I just doubled down and got it done. I’m glad I did, I’m pretty happy with where it went and how it all turned out.
What came easily?
Most of the time the story would just flow. I’m not really sure where it came from, I don’t quite want to say my fingers flew on their own just tapping out a story. The whole monkey typing out the works of Shakespeare kind of thing. But there would be nights when I would decide to work on it, and the story would just come.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
My characters are mostly fictional. Some bits and pieces of myself work their way into them, a few things I’ve noticed here and there. This is more so in the main character of book 2. Mostly if a character is being sarcastic or a smart-ass, thats me talking.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
The closest I would say would be Jim Butcher and Peter David. The first books I really read were Star Trek, and then other science fiction. Peter David was immediately my favorite Star Trek author. I moved on to other books based entirely on his name. Peter David has a habit of writing humor into his books, sometimes its sarcastic or just strange situations or a play on words. Those are things I really enjoy and seeing his success with it could work its way into my books as well.
The other author, Jim Butcher, I found by randomly picking up one of his books in a book store. I fell in love with him halfway through his first book. Jim Butcher has a habit of a lot of pop culture references, and those do find their way into my writings as well.
Do you have a target reader?
Anyone who might enjoy it really. I wasn’t writing with anyone in particular in mind. I figure 8th grade or 13 years old and up would probably enjoy it. I don’t have any parts that are particularly risque or anything and think it would be appropriate for most ages. There are some references to more adult material or themes, but they are mostly implied rather than explicit. Some younger readers may not understand them. Older readers may also understand more of the references I include, though anyone who doesn’t likely either won’t notice them or can read on as they aren’t really important to the story, just little things I enjoyed throwing in.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
There’s no real process to my writing I think. It’s mostly sit and stare at the screen until something comes to mind and then allow my fingers to do the rest. I prefer to just let things flow and see how they turn out.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I don’t really outline my work. I tried it once with something I was preparing for NaNoWriMo. I found that it stymied me more than helped. I work best when I work without a plan.
Sometimes I have already thought of how I want something to go earlier in the day, typically in the shower for some reason. But generally I just write and let it come on its own.
I find this is how I tend to work best, I don’t generally plan things out too much (Much to my wife’s annoyance.) I’ve even found this to be the case when I give presentations or speeches, that a general idea of where I’m headed and want to say is better than having prepared remarks.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
Yes, lol. I do a bit of both. I really hate seeing that little red squiggly line on my screen and will almost always stop to fix it. Same goes for the little green ones. However, I did leave a lot of editing for after with this book. I wanted to get the writing of it done, then deal with the editing later. I remembered how frustrating and tiring going through and editing it all was with my other works that I just wanted to get the first step done before proceeding with editing and left a lot for when I was finished.
Did you hire a professional editor?
Yes. I hired a free-lance editor via upwork.com and I am so glad I did. I probably would have gotten around to editing it, eventually. But it probably would have taken years more to get myself to do it all again and again. Hiring someone else to do it was a lifesaver and well worth it. She found not just the grammar stuff but issues with story and pacing, plot holes and little details I had missed. She had suggestions for extra story and background as well as ways to improve the dialog.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
Sometimes, I usually have some kind of background noise going on. Sometimes it’s the TV, other times it music. I generally drown it out without really noticing it, but I do notice when it’s not here. But when I do have music playing I have a range I tend to play. I have a list on Spotify that includes artists like Muse, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The GoGos and other 80’s music, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, or Lindsey Stirling and The Piano Guys.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
I did not.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
When I finished my first (2nd) book, I started looking into the process for getting published. Trying to find an agent who would represent me, or submitting directly to a publisher. The typical catch 22 of needing to be published to have an agent, needing an agent to get published. I didn’t really feel like going through all the hassle of it. Besides it was something I had done on a whim and hadn’t really taken seriously. Not to mention, I was going to school and working full time and that money is an issue. Printing out manuscripts to send to publishers could get expensive. I worked at a job that I could use the printer to print out one or two copies of it. But to print out the amount I would have been sending out would have either gotten me in trouble or become expensive.
When I finished the 2nd (1st) book I decided to forgo all of that and head straight to self-publishing via Kindle and Nook. I had looked at other vanity presses at the time and decided the free Kindle and Nook options were the way for me to go.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
The first time around, no. This time around, yes. I can do some photoshopping from time I spent entering photoshop contests online. However, those were centered around making jokes, and quality was not a requirement.
The original cover I designed I had found some royalty free stock images to use. I put them together and had a horrible cover. It really had little to do with the book, used a model that didn’t look like the character, and the fonts and colors didn’t work and were hard to read.
This time around I hired another freelancer on upwork.com again. Once again, I’m glad I did. Graphic arts are obviously not my thing, but he did a great job putting together a cover that makes sense with the book and the genre and can actually be read.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
I’ve been learning as I go. Trying to get review sites, doing these interviews, posting to author groups and boards that I find.
Writing and even editing were the easy parts. Marketing and getting the work out has been much harder.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Research how to do marketing if you plan to self publish. Do yourself a favor and hire an editor, someone you don’t know who will tell you the truth. Also, listen to them, even if you don’t like it.
But mostly, have fun. I wrote these as I said on a whim, though I found that I wanted to know what was going to happen too. The story isn’t done yet, and I’ll be excited to see where else it goes. The writing should be personal, in that it should be for you. Even if I don’t hit it big and get the big movie deal I can take pride in the accomplishment of having written a book or two and enjoy the stories I’ve spun.
That makes it all worth it
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a beach town called Ventura in southern California. It’s right in between Santa Barbara and LA. I always looked at it as being close enough to LA to not be the middle of nowhere, but far enough away from LA to not be LA.
Where do you live now?
I still live in California, but now in the Bay Area. I moved up here in 1999 at the ripe old age of 18 to go to school. I just kind of stuck around after that. Though getting married, having kids, life in general can take you to strange places. Who knows where we could end up later on. Guess we’ll see.
What would you like readers to know about you?
If anything I just want readers to enjoy what I’ve written. I think if people do want to learn more about me the best way would be to find me on social media at:
I’m happy to interact with my readers and hear what they think or just to talk. Sometimes that’s where stories come from.
What are you working on now?
Life lol. Right now I’m working on getting the word out. I have spent some money on editing and covers and some of the marketing and such. If I can at the very least make that back, I’ll go back to book 2 which needs some polish, then rinse and repeat. Once that’s out I’ll get to work on book 3.
End of Interview: