IndieView: Lexi Revellian, author of, Remix

Cover for Remix, by author, Lexi Revellian

A friend suggested that I get in touch with Lexi Revellian. He knows I’m on the lookout for quality indie books and their authors. I did and was impressed. Not just with the book, a fast, smooth read, reminiscent of a Dick Francis, but also with Lexi’s professional focus.

“I knew there was a market for the book from the reaction it got in the early days of Authonomy, and I’ve been proved right so far; to date Remix has spent four weeks in the top 100 in the UK Kindle chart, and sold over a thousand copies.”

Lexi Revellian ~ 11 Nov 2010

The Back Flap

Caz Tallis restores rocking horses in her London workshop. When shabby but charismatic Joe and his dog turn up on her roof terrace, she is reluctantly drawn into investigating a rock star’s murder from three years before.

About the book:

When did you start writing the book?

20th June 2008 – I know because I blogged about it.

How long did it take you to write it?

A bit under a year, if you count all the tweaking and polishing.

Where did you get the idea from?

After my first two books, which occupy a genre all their own – fantasy for people who don’t like fantasy – I aimed for something more commercial. I set out to write a fast-paced page turner, like an early Dick Francis, with a naïve but intelligent heroine, like Cassandra in I Capture the Castle. This may be why she is called Caz…

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Not really; though one of my favourite characters, Jeff Pike, was a bit of a stretch to write. He’s rude, anarchic, a sexual predator, with a secret love for another character. I picked up a lot of bad language from him, which has lingered.

What came easily?

Dialogue. I like writing dialogue. And the London settings.

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

All my characters reflect aspects of me; some have traits borrowed from real people. Ric has a bit of my daughter in him, for instance; he likes climbing and chocolate digestives and believes rules are optional.

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?

Mary Renault is a huge influence on me – her novels are excellent and extremely enjoyable and I’ve been reading them since I was twelve. I love the way she drops a brief yet vivid description into the narrative (before reading her books, I always skipped descriptions). She is perceptive and subtle. And I’ve picked up her semi colons. I love Jane Austen of course; and lots of other authors. I have a select number of novels that I reread regularly.

Do you have a target reader?

Anyone who enjoys my books.

About Writing

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

I get a what if idea, think about the characters, write notes and the odd scene; when I know the beginning and the end and I feel ready I start chapter one. I don’t outline too much, as I’ve found the best ideas come to me as I’m writing. Brooding in the bath is good, too. When I’m in full flow I wake up in the night and jot things down.

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

I edit all the time. I am constantly changing the words round to make them flow better, and I don’t move from one chapter to the next until it’s the best I can do. This doesn’t mean I won’t change it later. I tend to write sparely, then add bits, so as I revise, the book gets longer.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I don’t need one – I have a mean eye for a typo; I spot them in traditionally published books. I use Autocrit to deal with my word echo problem. It’s well worth the $47.00 a year. I read the whole thing out loud. And Remix was read by about a dozen lovely beta readers, who told me what didn’t work for them and found the odd plot hole.

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

No, I find music distracting. I do associate certain music with a book. I guess for Remix it’s Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis, and Rockstar by Nickelback.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

Yes, I spent a year submitting Remix. Four agents requested the full typescript; two of them approached me. I was told I write brilliantly. Two said they would like to see my next book. They said Remix did not fit their list, they did not believe they could sell it to publishers, even that books about rock stars never sold. I decided a year was long enough. I knew there was a market for the book from the reaction it got in the early days of Authonomy, and I’ve been proved right so far; to date Remix has spent four weeks in the top 100 in the UK Kindle chart, and sold over a thousand copies.

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

I did it myself. I have a love/hate relationship with Adobe Photoshop 7.0, but one thing I reckon I’ve mastered is lettering. I love choosing fonts and making tiny adjustments. I did the trailer myself, too.

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

My marketing plan is to push every button I can. Most of those buttons won’t make anything happen. The odd one does – and I may never know which one it was.

I’ve had a website and a blog for the past three years.

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

Respect the reader; don’t earn indie writers a bad name. Make absolutely sure your book is ready for publication before you publish. Get it read, and listen to what your readers say. Formatting is very, very important; check and change until it’s perfect.

The Amazon Kindle Store provides the nearest to a level playing field we are going to get. Amazon is your friend.

Are you working on a new book?

Yes; I’m 40% through a novel currently called An Unofficial Girl. It’s about Beth Chandler, who works at a government research institute, where a replica of her is accidentally created. Beth 2 has to go on the run, with no money, food, friends or home, while Beth 1 does not know of her existence. A spec op, Nick Cavanagh, regards the recapture of Beth 2 as a personal challenge; meanwhile he becomes involved with Beth 1…

End of Interview

Get the book here, you’ll enjoy it. Got a belly laugh out of me before Chapter Three.

11 responses to “IndieView: Lexi Revellian, author of, Remix

  1. Thanks for the great interview, Simon and Lexi. I recently bought Remix and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

  2. This is a great interview. I’m enjoying re-reading Remix – I’ve run out of new books and I’m on a comfort read binge. It’s just as good the second time around.

    I’m very happy to hear about the next book. I can’t wait for it to be finished. The premise is fascinating.

  3. What a thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating interview. Like her book, Lexi R gets straight to the point. I really feel this writer is going places and this interview shows how dedicated she is. I’m glad her hard work paid off – there’s a publisher out there who is missing out.

    Thanks Simon.

    • It truly was my pleasure Anna, a most enjoyable interview. One of the things that Indie means is that you actually have two jobs (neither of these two jobs include the Day Job). Your first job is to write, the second is to publish; Lexi does both of these jobs with aplomb.
      Once a self-published, indie author/publisher has success, it would take a very good offer to give away the control and the rewards.

  4. Thank you Simon Royle for a fab interview of Lexi! She’s so amazing – she comes across here and in her blog as one hell of a determined, focused and very passionate writer!! She really went all out to have Remix published and it’s paying off. I love that she enjoys dialogue and London settings because these show in her book that I am currently reading!!! I look forward to encountering Jeff Pike…!! Take care

    • Call me Simon, please. And yes Lexi is amazing. She has a real talent for giving characters life. Her characters have depth, are engaging and made real through their flaws. All of this is done in fluid, easy-going prose filled with the realities of life; the old van that struggles over sixty, the dog that needs to be walked and work that has to be done, when sometimes we don’t have the heart to be doing it.
      And Lexi, whatever you end up calling, ‘An Unofficial Girl’, I am officially looking forward to reading it.

  5. I want to echo other people’s comments and say what an excellent interview. Lexi really is an inspiration. I’ve read REMIX and I think it’s a tragedy that a major house didn’t pick it up – I think it says a lot about the state of publishing at the moment. The irony is that if Lexi were a minor celeb it would have been snapped up in an instant. It’s sad how these days the author is more important than the content… Fingers crossed AN UNOFFICAL GIRL is a smash!

    • Dear Targuy, I understand your frustration but I don’t think that it is a tragedy – not by any means. I think, given the state of publishing that it is probably a blessing in disguise. Reality is that a book when released through a major publisher has maximum 12 weeks to prove itself – and if it doesn’t you’re done.
      I think what is happening is just fine…

  6. I bought Remix off Kindle a week ago and I’m really enjoying it so far! It’s great to learn more about the author behind it.

  7. I first became of Remix on the Authonomy website. I was astounded that Harper Collins passed on it. I’m amazed, but not surprised at its success as an indy book. I wonder if that editor is still working at HC?