IndieView with Arthur David, author of Agents of the Third Party: Blackmail: The Beginning

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.

About Writing

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.

About Publishing

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

About You

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:

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

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:

Get your copy of Agents of the Third Party: Blackmail: The Beginning from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Indieview with Eva Pasco, author of An Enlightening Quiche

Since both of my novels in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction feature female protagonists over forty, they are my target readers. However, l want it known that “real men read quiche!”

Eva Pasco – 21 March 2017 Continue reading

Indieview with Mia Lutsch, author of In Search of the Golden City

In the beginning it wasn’t easy to go with the flow. I had to learn how to let go of control to be truly creative.

Mia Lutsch – 18 March 2017 Continue reading

Indieview with Art Shulman, author of Tyrus Carson’s Ride

Of course, I had to do some research, to find out more about the early 19th century, to remain factually accurate regarding that time, but I wouldn’t call that a struggle. I enjoyed it.

Art Shulman – 16 March 1017 Continue reading

Indieview with Lindsay Detwiler, author of Who We Were

I didn’t want either to be completely vilified because I feel like in real life, no woman is completely innocent or completely guilty when it comes to drama. I wanted to find a way for them to be polar opposites but also believable.

Lindsay Detwiler – 14 March 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Simona Grossi, author of Looking for Clara

It’s like being in front of several doors, only some of which will open to the story. You need to patiently open all of them, look around, explore, and leave if what you see doesn’t belong to the story. And keep doing this until you find the door that will take you where the story wants to go. You don’t control anything. You don’t decide. You just observe, wander, look around, taste, dream, feel.

Simona Grossi – 11 March 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Jason McCarthy, author of War Drum

I grew tired of waiting for others to fulfill my dreams for me. Sometimes you’ve just got to take life into your own hands.

Jason McCarthy – 9 March 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Krista Wagner, author of Intent

I expected mostly young female adults to like the story, but my audience turned out to be children in their young teens through adults in their sixties, both male and female, both Christian and non-Christian, of all kinds of backgrounds.

Krista Wagner – 7 March 2017

The Back Flap

Trying to deal with small town life and feeling that she has no real purpose, Raylee Johnson finds a new source of confidence when her former high school crush returns to town. When she begins to feel better about the direction her life is going, Raylee is thrust into a maze of doubt, uncertainty, murder, and deceit where the only thing she does know for sure is that her life is engulfed in lies.

About the book

When did you start writing the book?

In 2013. My final class for the MFA in Creative Writing program required me to create a full-length movie script. So, Intent started out as a movie and over the summer I turned it into a full-length novel.

How long did it take you to write it?

Since I already had the template from the film all written out, filling in some narrative was left for the novel version. On a family cross-country road trip, it took me two weeks to write out the novel.

Where did you get the idea from?

This one came under pressure. I had 4 weeks to write a complete screenplay, so I had to figure it out relatively quickly. Unlike some of my other stories, these characters and the plot came upon me in a delightfully spontaneous way.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Since mystery plays into Raylee’s realm, I had to find ways for pieces of the puzzle to logically come together and ways to make the villain not obscure.

What came easily?

Writing the villain. Evil is easy to illuminate once it’s revealed.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Little bits of them do come from people I have known, but for the most part, they are fictitious.

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?

Dean Koontz, by far, has influenced me the most. Many of his novels are thrillers written in a rich complex style with deeply disturbing villains and realistic heroines. Christopher Pike also majorly influenced me through his simple yet amazingly written teens and intricately designed plots.

Do you have a target reader?

Indeed. My stories deal with issues that anyone, regardless of gender, age, or beliefs, can relate to. Intent, for instance, contains issues of doubt, hope, faith, loss of faith, desire, fear. I expected mostly young female adults to like the story, but my audience turned out to be children in their young teens through adults in their sixties, both male and female, both Christian and non-Christian, of all kinds of backgrounds.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I write when it’s late at night (I’m a night owl), when the kids are asleep and I’m not going to be interrupted. A Pepsi at my fingertips helps too.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I do not outline. I find that the story comes to me as a nice surprise sometimes and once I start writing, it continues to beautifully unravel, without a set outline, just naturally and mysteriously.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I wait until I have finished writing the story, though if I change something (like a date or a person’s identity) I will go back to make sure other places rhyme. I also have learned that it’s best to do the technical things after the story is done in order to avoid tripping up its pace.

 Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

Sometimes. But usually what gets the story told are the characters coming to life. I put them in a situation where I discover more about who they are. Circumstances and conversations reveal more and more of how they will handle life in those moments.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

At first, yes, but it was only the publishers who expressed interest.

 What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher?

It wasn’t really a choice, it was just that the small presses were the only ones who responded.

 Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

It took some months to hear back from anyone with my first novel. But when I started querying about my middle-grade fantasy The Gold, I received a response from another small press within a month.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

 TouchPoint Press let me decide on the cover. I chose the covers for my two self-pubs, indigo and Rian Field and CleanReads had a professional graphic designer create the cover for The Gold.

 Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I have done a ton of marketing for all of my books with social media advertising, interviews, book signings, giveaways, and more.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

You are literally one of millions, so be strong, be brave, and endure the murky waters.

About You

Where did you grow up?

San Bernardino

Where do you live now?

San Bernardino

What would you like readers to know about you?

I have been an English Professor for the past decade, I have three amazing kids and an awesome Marine Corp veteran for a husband, and the Bible anchors me every step of the way.

End of Interview:

For more from Krista, visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or like her Facebook page.

Get your copy of Intent from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

IndieView with Stella Brians, author of The Paperback Writer of Central Park

It found peace in New York City in a very ethereal way. Many of my feelings and memories about New York City during that time are kept in my novel as a sort of time capsule.

Stella Brians – 4 March 2017

The Back Flap

Book One in The Hidden World of Wysteria Series

Elizabeth is homeless in New York City, sleeping in hostels when she can and barely surviving. Writing her novel keeps her going, and when it is published her life changes forever. Along with her Brit Punk friend Sarah, she starts a writer’s group for other indie writers. It is in that group that she meets River, a New Age hippie in whom she finds true love and a kindred spirit. The couple face both joy and tragedy in the city that never sleeps, before moving to a cottage in Mystic Connecticut to start a new life together. It is behind a bookcase in their attic that they discover the hidden world of Wysteria.

About the book

What is the book about?

The Paperback Writer of Central Park is about a young author who goes from being homeless in New York City to leading a group of indie authors towards their dreams. My book is also about her love and connection with River, a kindred spirit who relates to her when most of the world does not. It is about their friendship with British punk Sarah, and their shared love of New York City. My novel is also about nature, and their eventual discovery of Wysteria, a New Age afterlife. The Paperback Writer of Central Park is the first volume in my Hidden World of Wysteria Series.

When did you start writing the book?

I began writing The Paperback Writer of Central Park in 2015.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took about three drafts and a year and a half.

Where did you get the idea from?

In 2009, I took a trip to New York City and stayed for a while in hostels. It was a very freeing experience, and most of the time I stayed in the upper West side of Manhattan. I would spend my days writing in a journal, taking walks, and visiting the Saint John the Divine Cathedral. Aside from the enormous and striking cathedral, I will note three peculiarities that interest me to this day about the cathedral. A very unusual fountain known as The Peace Fountain sits to the side of the cathedral. It is sculpted to depict the conflicts of good and evil. Angelic white peacocks stroll the grounds, and beyond the fountain is a children’s garden. I mention this because of the spiritual and New Age content of the books in my Hidden World of Wysteria Series.

It found peace in New York City in a very ethereal way. Many of my feelings and memories about New York City during that time are kept in my novel as a sort of time capsule.

In my novel, the main character Elizabeth befriends a punk rocker from England. Her name is Sarah, and was the one character I based almost completely on fact.

We met in the first hostel I stayed at, and we became friends. What I remember most about her is that she loved the Sex Pistols, and this movie Suburbia (1983.) She was such a sweet and fun person to hang out with. We lost touch after awhile, but I hope to find her again someday.

Other elements of my life that inspired The Paperback Writer of Central Park was growing up in beautiful New England, and being enchanted by rain and the poetic side of nature. Many of my New Age beliefs also inspired the book as well.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

I think I struggled most in the very early stages with the plot and characters. Originally, The Paperback Writer was supposed to be a short story.

What came easily?

Once I worked through and rewrote weak elements of the story, I decided to make it into a novel. From there, the rest fell into place. After that, it became the first novel in a Metaphysical Fantasy series.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

All of the characters are fictional except for Sarah. Many are inspired by real people, or people I have observed or met. When you are a writer, it is helpful to people watch and to get ideas that way.

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?

My father is an author as well, and he influenced how I write in the sense that I remember to constantly improve, and to write the truth with class. Other than that, I would say that Laura Whitcomb’s style heavily influenced me. I loved her romantic, dream like tone in A Certain Slant of Light.

Do you have a target reader?

My target audience is 15—100. There are adult elements in my novels, but they are written with a gentle whimsical tone that I feel would engage a wide range of readers.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I tend to jot down ideas in a notebook or on my computer, and from there I do character and plot sketches. I sketch my characters too, and try to get into the environment that surrounds them. However, I do not plan too much as I am a discovery writer.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I outline briefly, just enough to know where I am going. I leave the rest to creativity.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I edit as I go, and once finished I print the manuscript out and edit it long-hand. I feel that it is more genuine that way, and it works well for my thinking process. I want to make my novels the best they can be.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I write, edit, design the cover, and any art that goes along with it.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I love to listen to New Age music while I write, or soft rock. Notable albums that have helped me write are: Deep Breakfast by Ray Lynch, and Everyone Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We? by The Cranberries.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I sent The Paperback Writer of Central Park to a few, but I am passionate about self-publishing. I felt that due to the unique nature of my work and the integrity of it, self-publishing was right for me.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

Deciding to self-publish was a gradual process, because I wanted to give traditional publishing a fair chance. As months went by, I did an enormous amount of research on the publishing world, and even did a college paper on self-publishing. Ultimately, I chose self-publishing because I could keep the rights to my work, and be as creative as I wanted to be. I am a very independent soul, and I would have trouble with a publisher stepping on my toes. It is important for me to create uninhibited, while producing honest work that I hope people will love as much as I do.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

I always do my own covers, and the art is my own save for the photograph of the Avery Point Lighthouse that is on the cover of Wysteria (Volume Two in my series). That was taken by my mother, and she did a fantastic job.

The photograph on the cover of The Paperback Writer of Central Park was an old shot that I had taken from a disposable camera when I lived in Colchester, Connecticut. It worked perfectly for the book.

I am going a different creative route with the third book in the series, as I will be illustrating the cover and providing some interior drawings as well.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

As a new indie author, I am discovering what works best, and what does not.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

I would like to suggest that you do as much research as you can. Taking writing workshops can be very helpful. Always make sure that you can keep the rights to your own work, and be as creative as you want to be. This is so important.

It is vital that you advocate for yourself as an indie author. Hang up flyers where you can, ask bookstores if they would be interested in selling your book, politely ask for interviews from online blogs and magazines. Always be creative, kind, and professional.

A website I suggest is Scribophile, it is a wonderfully supportive online writing group.

I would also like to suggest The Fiction Writer’s Handbook, by Anthony Maulucci. It is a very helpful guide that I have used in the past.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Connecticut. I was born in Hartford, but my family moved to Norwich in the early nineties. Norwich is a historic little town, and has inspired my Hidden World of Wysteria Series on different levels.  I am an alumnus of Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I love to write, read, and sketch. Some of my favorite bands are The Beatles, Iron Maiden, My Chemical Romance, and The Cure. My favorite thing in the world is to spend time with my soulmate, Clint.

What are you working on now?

I am working on the third volume in my Hidden World of Wysteria Series.

End of Interview:

For more from Stella, visit her website, her Tumblr page, or follow her on Twitter.

Get your copy of The Paperback Writer of Central Park from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

 

IndieView with Mark Bishop, author of Where the Dark Fish Swim

Someone I know asked me a great question when we were talking about it all. He asked if I wanted to make money out of it or for people to read my work. 

Mark Bishop – 2 March 2017 Continue reading