Connect and network with other authors early on. Listen, learn, share, and commiserate. There are a lot of great communities and forums for authors on LinkedIn and Facebook. Also, check out IndiesUnlimited.com. The guy who started that this is really cool and devastatingly handsome. (ahem)
Stephen Hise – 21 January 2013
The Back Flap
What does the man who has almost everything want? Brilliant, self-made multi-millionaire Brent Schoenfeld yearns to be attractive. He’s tired of his solitary existence which he blames on his bland appearance. He wants women to want him. Skeptical but verging on desperate, he undergoes a mysterious procedure which promises to transform him into the object of every woman’s desire: a decision that will change his life
One million dollars later, Brent sees no difference in his outward appearance. Yet beautiful women are fawning over him and even competing for his attention. After decades of self-loathing, the temptation for physical validation is too great, and Brent begins a sexual juggling act with cataclysmic consequences.
Beware your heart’s desire.
About the book
What is the book about?
The book is about a wealthy but unattractive young man who has a micro-procedure that causes others to see him as very attractive. Through the experience of this character, the book explores the issues of attraction, ego, and self-image.
When did you start writing the book?
How long did it take you to write it?
About three months.
Where did you get the idea from?
My daughter and I were watching an old Twilight Zone marathon. I suggested that as a creative writing exercise, she try to come up with an idea for her own Twilight Zone episode. She challenged me to do the same. I had originally envisioned UPGRADE as a short story, but the words just kept coming.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
No, there really were not. I envisioned the whole premise from the beginning. Ther rest was just a matter of fleshing out the skeleton of the premise. Post-production is where the nightmare really begins.
What came easily?
The whole writing process was almost effortless.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
I’d have to say the characters are composites of people I have known and traits or mannerisms they possessed. There is no one in the book based entirely on anyone I have known.
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 always loved Michael Crichton and the way he was able to introduce principles of fringe science into his work. I think some elements of that are present in Upgrade with the introduction of a micro-procedure based on appealing to a brain metric that decides attractiveness.
Do you have a target reader?
I think anyone who watched the old Twilight Zone show or who likes twist endings would appreciate the book. The book is not erotic, but it is sensual, so—not for young readers at all.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
In this instance, I guess I’d have to describe myself as a “pantser.” I didn’t outline or plot at all. The story is character-driven and I simply wrote it from beginning to end, knowing where I wanted to go from the outset.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I did not do so with Upgrade. I am now involved in a book with a much more complicated premise, and find I do need to outline. I have not yet determined the nature or the extent to which I will have to do that. I hope it’s not too difficult. I am terribly lazy.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
Unfortunately, I do both. I wish I could wait until I was finished, but I do not like the sense that I may be going down a false trail, so I tend to write and then edit about a half-chapter at a time as I go, then look at it again from start to finish at the end. By then, I am sick of it.
Did you hire a professional editor?
“Hire,” being used loosely here—I utilize, employ, or avail myself of editorial services provided by friends and acquaintances who do that sort of thing.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
No, I prefer to write in silence.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
Yes, I did. I queried dozens of agents. I got back the customary Seems like an interesting premise, not what we are looking for at this time, blah, blah.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
I had actually just filed the book away when I found an article online about self-publishing. I had never heard of or considered such a thing before. The article included a link to Smashwords. The rest is ill-documented history.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did it you do it yourself?
My wife is a graphic designer. This was new to her. The first cover she did for me was kind of a bust, but she also did the current cover, which I like a lot.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
Yes. Here is my plan:
1. Write a book.
3. Reap profits!
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Connect and network with other authors early on. Listen, learn, share, and commiserate. There are a lot of great communities and forums for authors on LinkedIn and Facebook. Also, check out IndiesUnlimited.com. The guy who started that is really cool and devastatingly handsome. (ahem)
Where did you grow up?
My misspent youth was mostly misspent in rural mid-Missouri.
Where do you live now?
I live in The Phoenix Metro area, in a little subdivision called Satan’s Skillet. You know, it’s a dry heat.
What would you like readers to know about you?
I’d like them to know that whatever it is they are missing, I did not take it. Whatever is broken, I didn’t break it. Also, that I love them., but not in a creepy way.
What are you working on now?
I am involved in a number of collaborative projects with other authors from Indies Unlimited and with my writing partner, K.S. Brooks. I am also working on several solo projects, which I hope to complete this year.
End of Interview:
Stephen is also the founder, “Evil Mastermind,” and co-administrator for the multinational, multi-author website devoted to all things indie, Indies Unlimited.