IndieView with M.T. Thomas, author of I’ll Rescue You

You really have to wear your heart on your sleeve when you write a novel and I am a shy person. The hardest part was knowing that people were going to be reading my work, seeing what plays out in my imagination, and I struggled with the fear that they were going to find my alien characters weird or find my fantasy story childish….They didn’t.

M.T. Thomas – 20 April 2017

The Back Flap

Even after 40 years, Earth is ready; ready for another attempted invasion. Join our characters as they travel the world in order to save it. Experience growth and self-realization with Apollo as events open his eyes to see beyond what he had always thought was true. Does his home planet and species truly have the right to invade and acquire other worlds? Half-sisters Belle and Teneille must find a way back to each other while facing alien forces and overwhelming obstacles. Enemies become friends and friends become enemies while star-crossed lovers rescue each other in this science fiction fantasy.

About the book

What is the book about?

I’ll Rescue You is story about three protagonists who are living out the events leading up to an alien invasion…or, should I say, “another” alien invasion. I wanted my characters to already know that aliens existed instead of finding out for the first time like the characters from most alien novels do; therefore, 40 years before the time this story takes place, a first invasion was attempted. Needless to say, it failed. The invading species have learned from their mistakes and won’t be quite so easy to fend off the second time around.

The first protagonist is, in fact, a villain who experiences personal growth throughout the story; personal growth mirrored by the growth of a conscience as he, Apollo, begins to realize that he may not be on the right side (he’s an alien, in case you hadn’t guessed).

Belle (a half-human girl) and her half-sister Teneille (100%, grade “A” human) are the other two protagonists. Belle works for Earth and is used to spy on and interpret messages from their other-worldly enemies. She gets kidnapped for interrogation and Teneille joins the team of humans who set out to find and rescue her.

There is some romance but It’s just enough to pull at the reader’s heart strings; very “G” rated, so to speak, since I wrote this novel with young adults and teenagers in mind. It’s a fairly quick read at 187 pages so even someone who hasn’t quite built up a love of reading yet, who perhaps doesn’t have the time or attention to finish a large, epic fantasy novel will find the size of my book written to their perfection.

There is action. There is adventure. There are swords and futuristic technology all in one. There are beautiful descriptions of beautiful places and illustrations scattered throughout the pages to draw the reader into this world.

When did you start writing the book?

Ooofda, this is a tough question. I came up with the storyline a long time ago…years ago. Life is crazy and busy so it took a long time before I sat down to actually write it out the way it played in my imagination.

How long did it take you to write it?

Once I began, I’d say it took about 7 months to write, then about another month to rewrite certain parts I felt may be lacking and fix the areas that my editor pointed out.

Where did you get the idea from?

I’m an avid reader, always have been. I love battle scenes with hand to hand combat. The villains in my story are immune to heat and bullets so one of the only real weapons that can break their skin is a type of blade which the humans use as swords and arrows. This gave me the platform to write out some pretty fun fight scenes. I also love non-human characters, I love it when bad guys believe they are on the right side, I love emotional romance that doesn’t have any erotic descriptions yet is still able to make your heart ache and make you fall in love with the characters even before they fall in love with each other. I took everything that I loved reading about and fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle while purposely making the characters travel all over the world just so that I could stare at pictures of foreign places and describe them in the most poetic way I could.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

You really have to wear your heart on your sleeve when you write a novel and I am a shy person. The hardest part was knowing that people were going to be reading my work, seeing what plays out in my imagination, and I struggled with the fear that they were going to find my alien characters weird or find my fantasy story childish….They didn’t. My parents, who NEVER read fantasy stories and my father who, in fact, has somewhat frowned upon books that feature a lot of science fiction, aliens, magic, and things of that sort actually loved it! They even bought several to hand out to their friends and are urging me to hurry up with the sequel so they can read that too. I haven’t heard or read one bad review…yet.

What came easily?

The poetic descriptions; mostly because I enjoy using play-on-words and writing metaphors. I find this type of writing fun.

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

Just the names. Belle is the middle name of my youngest daughter and Teneille is the name of my eldest daughter. Allen (which is the last name of one of my secondary characters) is the middle name of both my husband, and my son. As far as the characters and their personalities, they are completely fictional and I created them based on how they would suit the story. Basically, I thought of the storyline first and added characters from whom I thought the story would benefit from.

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?

There are so many! I’ve probably read hundreds of books and, in a way, every author of every book I have ever read has influenced how I write in one way or another.

Do you have a target reader?

Young adults mostly, however, regardless of your age, I’m sure you will enjoy my book.

About Writing

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

I write out everything by hand using a pencil and paper first. I do this for many reasons but mostly because I really have to concentrate when I’m typing it out afterwards. It’s almost as if I am writing it all over again because I have to read every word to type it out instead of simply skimming it over for mistakes. I’ve found that this process helps me to make more corrections and changes.

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

I absolutely do an outline before I write a single word! My outline consists of each chapter heading and the plot for each chapter written out in points. There are usually 4 or 5 points underneath each chapter and so, when I write, I make sure that all the points are covered before I move on to the next chapter.

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

Both.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Sort of. My father is a school teacher and he edited my last novel for me.

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

I love this question! Here I thought I was the only one who listened to music while I wrote. I purposely put on sappy love songs while I’m building the romantic relationships of my characters. I picture how I feel while listening to a heartfelt love song and I want my readers to feel that when they read the scenes that I write.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I couldn’t find one around me. I live in North Dakota so there weren’t any options and I wasn’t sure where to look. I did a few google searches but only found ads for publishing companies.

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 found publishers who were interested, however, they were too expensive. I wanted to find a publisher who would give an advance or, at least, comp the price of publishing it but I had no such luck. I decided to publish with Createspace not because no larger publishers liked my book but because it was less expensive and put less strain on my family financially. I feel like there is this stigma against indie novels because people feel that authors settle for it only when they can’t find a large publisher who wants their book. This was not the case for me. In my situation, it was all about what I could afford to do.

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

I did the cover myself, sketching with white pencil crayons and chalk on a black piece of paper instead of pencil and charcoal on a white piece of paper like I normally would. I love the black and white reverse contrast. There are about 30 illustrations throughout the novel that I also did, however, they are printed on white paper so I used the usual media for those sketches, pencil and charcoal.

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

I had a marketing plan. I sent out 76 requests for book reviews to bloggers but only 4 responded. I send a proof copy to places like “The New York Times” book review 4 months in advance just as their website dictates but apparently they don’t even pick up a novel unless it’s an author from a large publisher or someone who already has a following. I even had one magazine that DID read my novel, sent me an email saying that they loved it, but then stated they would not be placing a review of my book in their magazine. They never said why but I’m sure it’s for the same reason; I’m a first-time author without a big publisher to back me up. I sent out 80 press releases. I don’t know exactly how many media sources mentioned my novel, I only know of 3 for sure. I’m doing a kindle promotion in March, I have 4 book signings scheduled, and I intend to start placing an ad with Facebook next month. Oh ya, and I have a little online comic that I upload to “Line Webtoons” for free that promotes my book and says where to purchase it.

You’d think, after all of this work, that my book sales would be fantastic but the truth is that not a lot of people or bookstores will give indie authors a chance and so my sales are miniscule compared to what I would have expected.

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

You start off thinking that writing the book is the hardest part, but really, it’s the marketing. When you form your budget, put more money and resources towards marketing your book than you would for writing/editing/illustrations. Being an indie author means that you can have the best book in the entire world but no one will ever know because no one will ever read it unless they know you personally or you have put blood, sweat, and tears into marketing it.

End of Interview:

Get your copy of I’ll Rescue You from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

 

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