But I believe, despite this democratization of publishing, the reader is the one we must put our trust in and believe their discerning taste will ultimately separate the wheat from the chaff.
Collin Tobin – 24 January 2013
The Back Flap
Someone’s always watching.
Jay Brooks’s life is in chaos. His mother’s sudden death has unhinged his father, making Jay a stranger in his own home. He seeks solace by spending his spare time with his best friend, Bennie, but matters are further complicated by his crush on Chloe, Bennie’s older sister.
A wheelchair-bound hacker, Bennie Welch practically lives in his basement computer lab. Longing to make genuine connections to the outside world, he secretly films people’s precious memories for later sale and surfs the crowds at rave parties, despite the danger to his frail body.
One night, Jay’s hobby of Wi-Fi hotspot hunting turns serious when he unwittingly blunders into the scene of a crime and downloads a mysterious transmission. When Jay brings Bennie the contents of the transfer, Bennie embraces the opportunity to use his skills to investigate.
As Jay and Bennie dig deeper into the world of electronic secrets, they find that the simple video has far-reaching implications that not only threaten their lives, but society as they know it. Tracing the mysterious coalition responsible leads them on an inexorable journey that will change them forever.
About the book
What is the book about?
Upload is a techno-thriller about a teenaged boy, Jay Brooks, who accidentally intercepts a video he shouldn’t have, and finds himself in the middle of a deadly conspiracy that stands to threaten the lives of his friends and loved ones.
When did you start writing the book?
I started writing the book in late 2009.
How long did it take you to write it?
Truly tricky math. The first draft took a little over a year, but because of the complex plot, I spent several more months after that to truly iron it out to my satisfaction. So probably closer to a year and a half? But I could also technically deduct another couple of months if I don’t count the 18,000 words eventually trimmed from the novel.
Where did you get the idea from?
For the year leading up to the book idea, I became obsessed with watching true crime television: Unsolved Mysteries, 48 hours, Dateline, Forensic Files… you name it. I was fascinated by the horrible depths to which some people can sink, but even more so, depressed by the desperate follow-on investigations, and the seeming hopelessness of it all. Often, a victim’s family over the years would become so utterly exhausted, so completely devastated, they longer sought any form of justice. In the end, all they wanted was a body. And then I had an epiphany.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
Yes. Since the book does touch upon violent crime, there are some scenes I was compelled to write, but with latex gloves, a mask, several trick mirrors, and an awful queasiness in my stomach.
What came easily?
The easy parts were getting my protagonists into trouble. And as a follow-on to the previous question, sometimes I struggled to get them back out of trouble again.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
I’ve not directly borrowed from real world people in any wholesale fashion, but each are griffins of sorts, parts of people I know and love. For the truly evil characters in the novel, no comment.
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?
Vladimir Nabokov has had the most influence on me, but being a mere mortal, I content myself with not attempting to write like him. But what I have learned from him is to forever maintain a keen eye in everyday life and try to smuggle as much of this contraband as possible across the border and into my fiction.
Do you have a target reader?
Yes, the rereader. A rereader is ready to see things anew each time, and not hope to be merely stroked with typical plots, formulas, and characters. This is a reader that truly cares about writing, the act of reading, and has faith that more can be unearthed when enjoying a book a second, third, and fourth time. That’s my ideal reader: one that comes back just for the taste of it, and to suck on the book’s marrow.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
For novel writing, I start with small notes. I use outlines. From there, I might work on scenes a bit out of order, depending on which ones I feel strongest about at the time.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I do. But not the kind of outline I’d want to submit to my high school composition teacher. Just like you said, chapter headings, some scene notes and details.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
I’ve learned to hold off on editing as I write first drafts and try to focus just on creating. Pure writing time is precious, and would be wasted if I wrote in a halting, “everything must be perfect” mode.
Did you hire a professional editor?
Red Adept provides this service for contracted authors.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
I can’t explain it, but while writing Upload, I listened to an unhealthy amount of 1970’s pop music. But for good measure, I threw in large doses of Cake, AC/DC, Linkin Park, Kruder and Dorfmeister, and the like.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
I did initially, and received enough encouraging requests for full and partial manuscripts that I continued that route for some time. I finally heard of Red Adept through a friend who had been accepted. All glowing praise. I knew I had to check them out and I am so glad I did.
What made you decide to go Indie? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
I honestly had worried if with the Indie route, whether I could push out my book with as a high quality as I hoped. Red Adept put all my concerns to rest and truly took me to task. While technically not an Indie publisher, Red Adept is in the process of building their publishing arm, and I’m happy to be part of that process.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did it you do it yourself?
Red Adept works with Streetlight Graphics, and from all the covers I’ve seen so far, everyone is extremely pleased.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
Red Adept organizes a blog tour, and assigns a publicist to guide you through the entire process.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
I know there’s a general concern with whether passionate, talented writers can differentiate themselves from dear Aunt Mable who also Indie publishes (her memoirs, her jelly and jam recipes). But I believe, despite this democratization of publishing, the reader is the one we must put our trust in, and believe their discerning taste will ultimately separate the wheat from the chaff.
Where did you grow up?
Where do you live now?
What would you like readers to know about you?
I’m actively suppressing the urge to tell you I can juggle (I really can). Okay, how about this: I was intensely fascinated with magic as a boy. I since learned all the secrets to all the popular tricks, which was a bit disheartening. But I think writing also has an intriguing sort of magic, which when done well, can perform sleight of hand tricks I’ll never be able to debunk.
What are you working on now?
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