As an indie author one of the things you’ve got to work hard at is making connections and marketing. Just about every forum I’ve joined, Valmore has been hanging out in the, “Introduce Yourself” thread and has always welcomed me to any new forum. If you head over to KindleBoards, you’ll also find, in the Writer’s Cafe, that Valmore shares things he learns with other indie authors. Lots of good karma points.
“For Forbidden The Stars I use an online editor program, and that came back to haunt me. From this point on, everything I write I will filter through a professional human editor.” – Valmore Daniels 2 December 2010
The Back Flap
At the end of the 21st century, a catastrophic accident in the asteroid belt has left two surveyors dead, but the asteroid itself is completely missing, along with their young son, Alex Manez, who was accompanying them.
On the outer edge of the solar system, the first manned mission to Pluto, led by the youngest female astronaut in NASA history, has led to an historic discovery: there is a marker left there by an alien race for humankind to find. We are not alone!
While studying the alien marker, it begins to react and, four hours later, the missing asteroid appears in a Plutonian orbit, along with young Alex Manez, who has developed some alarming side-effects from his exposure to the kinetic element they call Kinemet.
From the depths of a criminal empire based on Luna, an expatriate seizes the opportunity to wrest control of outer space, and takes swift action.
The secret to faster-than-light speed is up for grabs, and the race for interstellar space is on!
About the Book
What is the book about?
Forbidden The Stars is an epic science fiction journey from the Space Age to Earth’s next era – the Interstellar Age. Along the way, I added a few more what-if’s to the novel: What if there was an undiscovered element in the asteroid belt that was the fuel for faster than light travel? What if there were tens of thousands of alien races out there just waiting for humans to evolve before making first contact?
When did you start writing the book?
Forbidden The Stars was originally a short story I wrote about twenty years ago, encompassing the last thirty pages of the existing novel. When I presented the story to my writer’s circle for critique, they encouraged me to expand it into a novel. I completed the first draft about ten years ago. When Amazon’s dtp program launched, I pulled the manuscript out and polished it up.
How long did it take you to write it?
From outline through final draft, I put in about 400 hours of work over a ten-year period.
Where did you get the idea from?
When I watched the Space Shuttle Columbia’s maiden voyage into space, my first thought was, How would a teenager, such as myself, get on one of those flights? Simple, hijack the shuttle! And with that kernel of a story, I began to plot Forbidden The Stars.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
The research was particularly difficult, and I had to enlist a nuclear physicist friend to help me with the science.
What came easily?
I’ve always enjoyed writing fast-paced scenes and action sequences.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
I tend to borrow heavily from people I know, often mixing traits of several different people to come up with the final character’s personality.
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?
I’m a voracious reader, and I’m particularly faithful to science fiction and fantasy genres, though I might add the odd horror or mystery thriller just for a taste here and there. The masters of the genres always bear the heaviest influence on me. Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, etc.
Do you have a target reader?
Anyone who enjoys the wonder of science fiction. I kept Forbidden The Stars free of foul language and mature themes so that readers of all ages may enjoy it.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
I start with a working title. This embodies the “feel” of the project for me. Then I write my blurb first (this may change a hundred times). Once I have that down, I develop the main characters and outline their primary and secondary conflicts. When I have completed the roster, I do a preliminary outline where I jot down random thoughts and things to include.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just Chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
The outline itself is a very comprehensive document; and only when I feel I’ve resolved all the major conflicts do I begin the first draft.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
I edit as I write, and before each writing session, I go back and re-read what I wrote in the last session. Once I’ve completed my draft, I will go through the document and do several revisions. A final proofread before I send it off to the editor.
Did you hire a professional editor?
For Forbidden The Stars I use an online editor program, and that came back to haunt me. From this point on, everything I write I will filter through a professional human editor.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
I require music while I write. I have thousands of songs in my playlist, and use music appropriate to the mood of the scene I am writing: fast paced for action, softer tunes for characterization and dialog, etc.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
No. I honestly thought I would need a body of work completed before an agent would even look at me.
What made you decide to go Indie? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
I’ve always enjoyed being the captain of my own ship. I own my own business, and following the route of an independent author seems very natural to me.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did it you do it yourself?
I did the design myself, but used a stock photo for the illustration.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
My marketing plan includes getting reviews, creating awareness on forums, and some light advertising.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Research, research, research – and spend money on a professional editor and cover.
What are you working on now?
I just completed the final revision on a new dark urban fantasy series, and have shipped it off to my editor in hopes for a February 2011 release.
Angel Fire: The First Book of Fallen Angels.
Darcy Anderson has a dark gift she has hidden all her life: whenever she experiences extreme emotions, objects around her burst into flame. Returning home after a ten-year absence, she tries to rebuild her life, but when a man from her past seeks revenge, she must learn to control her power before she destroys everyone she loves.
End of Interview