IndieView with Tyler Omichinski, author of Plague in Paris

A large part of it comes from the bizarre world we live in. Naturally, I tend to be drawn to the bleak realities that we’re facing as a species. How we like to pretend we’re so enlightened but in whole swaths of the world we’re still engaged in the horrendous activities that defined us hundreds of years ago …

Tyler Omichinski – 21 January 2018

The Back Flap

Mr. Hildebrand and his valet, Driscoll, have fled the British Isles for Paris amidst rumours of scandal. Hoping for a warmer reception in Paris, they are looking for a way to put it all behind them. As Driscoll wanders the streets, tracking the gossip and searching for that special someone that could solve all their problems, he starts to get a hint of something deeper going on.

Though the Parisians are more welcoming of their unaccepted views, it is not long before they face problems worse than they had found back home. As the city is wracked by chaos, the ties that bind are tested. Tensions continue to rise and as the last British airships pull away from the city, they must determine if they can stay safe in their new home.

They are going to have to leave Paris, the city they thought would be a safe haven, behind. Battered and beaten, will they be able to survive?

About the book

What is the book about?

It is about a couple trying to live through an era that doesn’t recognize them as valid. They are forced to flee their home to try to find somewhere that is more amenable to them, only to find that there are many different kinds of threats that can face you.

All of this is over a Victorian-esque steampunk adventure romp with all that sort of good fun.

When did you start writing the book?

The first draft of the book was started in 2015, originally in response to a part of an idea that someone had posted online. It took root in my noggin and I kept working on it for awhile.

How long did it take you to write it?

The first draft took about two months, but then it went through a ton of iterations as it was shopped around until about September 2017. So, it really depends on how you’re counting the editing parts of it.

Where did you get the idea from?

A large part of it comes from the bizarre world we live in. Naturally, I tend to be drawn to the bleak realities that we’re facing as a species. How we like to pretend we’re so enlightened but in whole swaths of the world we’re still engaged in the horrendous activities that defined us hundreds of years ago, especially when it comes to realizing on our own internal bigotries.

Then whenever I read or see Steampunk, I noticed that it tended to gloss over some of the worst things of the Victorian era, instead focusing on all the greatness, so I really tried to match that sense of wonder with all the things that we still have to discover and the greatness that we have, combined with the fact that so much of the time we’re not much better than monkeys.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

The editing! I shopped it around to a few different places and it kept coming in at this very odd length – too long for a bunch of places and too short for a bunch of others. This led to a number of edits where I struggled to pull out things that were definitely important to the story. Then I would try to lengthen it only to find that I was adding things that were certainly not required.

What came easily?

From the beginning, I naturally got the triad of our main characters, and from the beginning I knew the general structure of the story. I knew the beats that had to be hit and they just sort of all fit together from the beginning.

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

They’re definitely fictitious, but are also borrowing factors from people I know. Driscoll borrows a couple aspects from me and a couple of my closest friends, as does Hildebrand and a few other characters.

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?

Hahaha – definitely. I read books all the time, averaging a couple a week. I try to learn from each of them, especially Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Max Gladstone, Cassandra Khaw, Ben H. Winters, Jeff Vandermeer, and so many more.

Do you have a target reader?

Usually, when I’m writing a book, I’m aiming for a specific friend of mine that I think would enjoy it. This one was written for people who would enjoy a lighter read, but one that’s also willing to turn on you.

About Writing

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

I sit down, and I write. I create a new process for each book. Plague in Paris was written in a fury of writing, adding a couple thousand words every time that I sat down to work on it. Other books take a different process. Another book I worked on had to be worked on in the middle of the night, and the one that I’m working on right now needs to be worked on in the morning.

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

As above – it  depends on the story. For Plague I never had to: I always just knew the entire shape of the story. I always knew that the different pieces had to fit together in a certain way.

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

Always after I’m finished. I have to get it moving forward because if I turn back to edit I’ll just wrap around and wander, editing and rewriting forever.

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

Different music every time – Plague needed some very steampunky music: Abney Park and Beats Antique helped get this one out into the world. Other books and stories require other music to get out into the world. There’s a lot of occult practices involved in it.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

Not this particular one: it was a weird length they weren’t interested it. I have a novel I’ve been shopping around.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

This particular one was novella length and it was the result of getting positive feedback from some publishers of anthologies and other places it could have lived but didn’t get accepted. People liked it, so I figured that going indie was the right call for this one.

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

I hired an artist friend of mine to do up the art behind it, creating something custom that didn’t exist anywhere else. I’m a big sucker for that kind of thing. I assembled that and added the verbiage to the front and I’m in the process of making the back cover myself now.

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

Six of one and half a dozen of the other. I have a larger plan for it, but I’m also making sure that I have a lot of flexibility to take on various opportunities and goals that can come up as I shift and shape it.

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

It is going to be more work than you think. No matter how much work you think it is going to be – it is going to need so much more.

About You

Where did you grow up?

All over the place. Rural Manitoba, rural Saskatchewan, I lived overseas briefly, and have been all over the place.

Where do you live now?

In the rural wilds of Canada, in Ontario.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I also design RPGs and board games, and we’re even in talks to have a board game tie in to Plague (which is crazy!)

End of Interview:

For more from Tyler, visit his website or follow him on Twitter.

Get your copy of Plague in Paris from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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