Indie Author Of The Month – Richard Dee

It’s been a while since we highlighted a fellow indie author on the blog, but that’s more to do with how little time I have for reading at the moment, then the quality of indie authors I’m coming across! Please welcome sci-fi/fantasy author Richard Dee to The Glorious Outsiders today. Richard has just launched a brand new novel, We Are Saul, which I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing recently. Here, Richard tells us about the inspiration for the book, the research needed to write it, his writing process plus his tips for aspiring indie authors! You can find links to Richard’s social media pages and books at the end of the interview. Here is the blurb for We Are Saul, followed by the interview.

When Saul is paralysed in an accident, he thinks it’s the end of his life. In fact, it’s just the beginning. While trying to come to terms with his injuries, the mysterious Dr Tendral offers him a way to make a difference. All he has to do is join his project. There are no other details until he agrees, he’s either in or out. What choice does he have? Agreeing is just the beginning. Saul undergoes drastic surgery, only then is the full depth of the project revealed. Or is it? As time goes on and he learns more about Tendral’s scheme, Saul’s new life becomes increasingly difficult. In the end, he has to abandon everything as he learns the truth. All second chances come with a price.

  1. Congratulations on the release of We Are Saul – tell us a bit about the book!

We Are Saul is my eighteenth novel and a stand-alone story. Although it may get a sequel one day, a lot of my series have started with the intention of being stand-alone stories, so never say never. Basically, it explores the life of a man (Saul) who is given a second chance, after things go horribly wrong. Circumstances force him to face and relive his past mistakes and he learns that second chances come with a price.

  1. Where did the idea for We Are Saul come from? What inspired it?

The idea grew from research that I did when writing the sequel to my earlier novel, Life and Other Dreams. I’ve been trying to write that particular sequel since 2017, every time I think I’m getting close to completing it, I get side-tracked by some part of the science that I’m researching or a part of the plot. Before I know it, a new story suggests itself. We Are Saul is the third (or fourth) such side project.

  1. Did you have to do much research to write this book and if so, what did you research and how?

I had to research nanotechnology, robotics, wireless communications, advances in liquid batteries and a lot more besides. I also needed to look at medical ethics and emotional responses to certain situations in quite a bit of detail. Some of it was only for a short paragraph in the book but it all needed to sound right.

  1. What are you working on right now? Tell us about any upcoming releases

I have about ten, part-finished novels, one or two of which I’m hoping to get finished this year. Most of them continue series, which I get most of my ideas for. I also have a new stand-alone project, a psychological thriller, that’s earmarked for NaNoWriMo 2022.

  1. What are your preferred genres to write in and why?

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as an amateur detective series set in space. I’ve also dabbled in High Fantasy and psychological thrillers and have written a textbook. They are the sort of thing that I always loved to read.   Most of my work crosses or blends genres, which can make them hard to place in marketing.  

  1. What about reading? Which genres do you prefer and why?

I’ll read just about anything, although, as I said, I do prefer the sort of thing that I like to write. Never to pinch ideas but to get a feeling for where others are taking the genre. Often, it’s more a case of what someone hasn’t written. That’s the thing that will plant the seed that leads to my next idea.

  1. Name your top 3 favourite books of all time

My first choice is a bit of a cheat, The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov (I know it’s more than one book but it all fits together as one story). Next is The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke. Lastly, The Hobbit. From a single line, Tolkien created a world. It shows what can be done.

  1. What is your writing process? How does an idea become a book?

I get an idea and see a film of the story in my head. I just write down what happens. I can slow the action or pause it for a better look, I can even rewind it but I can never fast-forward. This means that I see the end at the same time as the reader does. It’s usually as much a surprise to me as it will be (I hope) to them.

  1. What are the best things about being an indie author?

I have complete freedom of expression, no deadlines to stress over and more importantly, nobody telling me to change anything. I can employ my own editors (and ignore them if I want to), design my own covers, set prices, control distribution and special offers. I have a network of beta readers who give me honest opinions about new projects.

  1. What are the worst things about being an indie author?

Marketing is the thing that gives me the most grief, although I hear that’s a familiar refrain from the trad side of the publishing world as well. I think the worst thing about the Indie scene is the assumption (from some parts) that, as Indies, we’re somehow not proper authors or that our work is not very good, because we don’t have the endorsement of agents and publishing contracts. I submitted my early novels to agents but never got much feedback, now I rely on the reaction of my readers to validate my efforts, which I think is a much more accurate indicator of my ability.

  1. Who is your favourite character from one of your own books and why?

My overall favourite is my amateur detective, Andorra Pett. Purely because she is an amalgamation of the traits and personalities of my wife and my three daughters. It makes her fun to write, as her adventures bring back memories of the life events that inspired them.

  1. What comes first for you, the characters or the plot?

As I said, I get the whole package in one, so I don’t have to agonise about setting the scene, building a world or even working out a plot. It’s all done for me. All I do is watch what happens and copy it down.

  1. What advice would you give to anyone considering the indie route?

First, don’t be afraid. There are so many generous people in the Indie community. They have helped me by sharing their knowledge and experience as I’ve progressed on my journey. You don’t need to spend much to get started, just about everything you need to produce words and pictures has a free version. The one thing you do need to spend money on is a good editor, remember that everything you produce will be scrutinised and must be of a professional standard. The most important thing is to be patient and not to get discouraged.

Thank you so much to Richard for joining us here to talk about We Are Saul. Here are the relevant links!

Purchase: http://mybook.to/We_are_Saul

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60304988-we-are-saul

About Richard Dee

I’m Richard Dee and I’m from Brixham in Devon.

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, a reluctant amateur detective.

I spent forty years in shipping, firstly at sea, then in Port Control and as a Thames River Pilot, with adventures to match anything you could imagine. When I retired, I just moved them out into space, changed some of the names and wrote them down.

When I’m not writing, I bake bread and biscuits, cook delicious meals and walk the Devon coast.

My first novel, Freefall, was published in 2013, my eighteenth, We Are Saul, will be published in June 2022

I also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection of alternative history stories. I’m currently working on more prequels, sequels, and a few new projects.

I’m an active member of Exeter Authors Association, attending events and giving talks on World-building for speculative fiction. You can keep up with me at https://richarddeescifi.co.uk/ where you’ll find free short stories, regular features on writing, book reviews and guest appearances from other great authors.

There’s also an offer for a FREE novella, when you join my subscriber’s newsletter. I can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RichardDeeAuthor

Richard can be contacted at: mailto:richarddeescifi@gmail.com

Author Interview; Rae Stoltenkamp

Welcome to my latest indie author interview, this time with author Rae Stoltenkamp. I first came across Rae when we were both authors on the now defunct indie publishing platform Autharium. I read her excellent  crime thriller  Six Dead Men and will soon be diving into her new venture, the first in a young adult series, Where Rainbows Hide. In this interview Rae talks about her writing and publishing journey so far, tells us about her writing process and offers her advice to writers about to embark on the indie route!

Q1 Tell us about your writing and publishing journey so far;

In 2006 I made the firm decision to leave teaching and write on a more full time basis. When I told my dad of my decision he didn’t blink an eye and supported me without a moment’s hesitation. In 2012 my dad died and my rebellious streak asserted itself in a desire to do something to honour his passing. I had a completed novel (Six Dead Men) which I was editing whilst sending letters and emails to agents and publishers – getting the usual rejection mail as expected. His death prompted me to do SOMETHING more concrete with my novel. Unbelievably, an opportunity arose to publish in e-book format without any expenditure on my part at all (Autharium). At that time e-publishing was a much debated topic and people were convinced it would have no place in the world. I thought, “Well, what the heck – it’s not costing me a penny.” Tons of no risk no gain sayings crossed my mind: Nothing ventured nothing gained If you’re not willing to risk the unusual you’ll have to settle for ordinary For who that dare not undertake, by right he shall no profit take So I forged ahead. I didn’t have the slightest clue what I was doing but the e-book went into the world and I told my friends and family all about it. I made the sum total of £12 in royalties and could not have been prouder.

Q2 When did the writing bug first grip hold of you?
I first got the writing bug around age 12 but started with incredibly soppy poetry that always rhymed. From 13 onwards wrote angst ridden teenage poetry which is so embarrassing I probably shouldn’t even mention the existence of it. Then ventured into short stories around age 14 and started on my first novel called Panthra.
Q3 Tell is a bit about Six Dead Men. Where did the idea for the story come from?
It’s quite sad really. I’d been to a neighbour’s party and met a rather nice guy. We ended up snogging for quite some time. Afterwards he asked for my number and I was certain he’d call but then he didn’t. I just put it down to the way things go sometimes. But a few weeks later my neighbour called me in, sat me down, made me a cup of tea and was generally acting very anxious. He then told me that the lovely man had been killed in a tragic accident. It may have been the shock but I found myself thinking it was probably my kisses which cursed him. And so was born the premise for Six Dead Men.
Q4 How would you describe your genre and your style?
My preferred genre is Magic Realism. I’m intrigued by how much in life can seem totally inexplicable. This genre allows me to explore this and helps me to delve into characters’ minds to look at how they may think or behave or be affected by circumstances and influences. My style is influenced by writers like Toni Morrison and the poet Maya Angelou. I love how these writers use the rhythm, feel and sound of words to get a message across in a dramatic way. I also equally love the element of melodrama you get in work by Austen and the Brontes. My YA books are all Science Fiction as they have a strong eco message which lends itself to this genre. It was also one of my mother’s favourite genres so I have a great soft spot for it. I guess my YA books are mostly a tribute to her.
Q5 You write in adult and YA genres, can you explain to us how this works? Does the character come first, or it is usually the plot?
As I’ve already said, Six Dead Men was born out of a personal experience so the character was built around this. I thought long and hard about the names as I wanted them to be significant. With my WIP; the prequel to Six Dead Men, the character came first. In fact I woke one morning with her words in my mind. Her voice was strong and clear and I had to race to scribble them all down. My YA novels always seem to be story led but I’ve recently found that characters are beginning to demand I tell their story in greater detail. As this is a series of books on the same topic I don’t have to think about the plot so much – it is almost a foregone conclusion. So it seems natural that I can now focus more on characters and what they feel, think and ultimately do.
Q6 Can you tell us about your writing process? What is an average writing day like for you?
I teach at a local charity 3 days a week so only have 2 dedicated writing days a week. I also volunteer one evening a week and tutor in the evenings the rest of the week. So I usually get up around 6:30am. After a coffee I get stuck right in. I have to set the timer on my phone as I often forget to have breakfast. After breakfast I get straight back into it and work until about 2pm. The afternoons are reserved for meetings or any marketing which needs doing. If I have no meetings scheduled I write until about 3 or 4pm then call it quits for the day. I’m currently thinking of moving all my marketing activities to a Saturday as this will free up more writing time as I want to crack on with several projects.
Q7 What are you working on at the moment?
My current WIPs are: 1. The prequel to Six Dead Men 2. A series of short stories based around characters in Six Dead Men and its prequel 3. The sequel to Where Rainbows Hide 4. The sequel to The Lonely Dragon.
Q8 What would you say have been the best and the worst parts of being an indie author?
The best part is writing about things that matter to me and seeing them in print. There is no worst part as it allows me to do something which makes me feel incredibly fulfilled. Sometimes the precariousness of the financial side can cause sleepless nights but when I’m deep into a project and the words are flowing on the page, I get such a sense of rightness that the worry simply falls away.
Q9 What advice would you give to anyone about to embark on the indie publishing route?
Only go down this route if you have great support from friends or family or both. Trying to do it all alone is a very hard road. Be prepared to put the hours in. No-one will be standing over you to make it happen – you’ll have to do that all on your own. Join a body like the Alliance of Independent Authors as they have a wealth of information which is invaluable. And finally – know your product and your audience then market accordingly.
Q10 What are your hopes and dreams for the future with regards to your writing? What would you like to achieve?
My hope is that within 5 years I will be able to earn a living from my writing and give up tutoring in the evenings so I can spend more time with friends and family. I would then wish to publish any writing for children for free.
Q11 Who are your favourite authors and why?
My favourite authors make up a very long list so I’ll just do my top 10: Jane Austen, The Brontes, George Eliot, Toni Morrison, Louis de Bernieres, John Steinbeck, Terry Pratchett, Joanne Harris, Neil Gaiman and Jacqueline Wilson The Brontes, Austen and Eliot because of the element of melodrama they bring to a cracking good story. de Bernieres because he opens up unexpected worlds in my mind. Pratchett and Gaiman because they tackle serious topics but also make me laugh out loud. Morrison, Harris and Steinbeck for their beautiful use of language. Finally, Wilson as she tackles issues so very relevant to children in this day and age and does it with great sensitivity.
Q12 Tell us three interesting facts about yourself
Not sure these are particularly interesting but here goes: 1. I absolutely loath white trainers – don’t know why, just do 2. I don’t like being given cut flowers as a present as they only serve to remind me that they are already dead and only good for the compost heap now. 3. I love watching garden make-over programmes even though I am the worst gardener on the planet and never even go into my own.
Thanks so much Rae!

Rae Stoltenkamp was born in South Africa and came to England in 1987 to visit family. She liked the weather so much she stayed. After a writing holiday in Greece she had an epiphany and realised she should be writing on a more full time basis. It was probably heat stroke since she hadn’t had sun in a while. She then studied writing at City Lit with the poet Caroline Natzler and is now a writer, blogger and former English teacher living in South London.

Currently Rae also works with www.inkhead.co.uk , teaching creative writing courses to children. This has inspired her to work on a children’s book called The Lonely Dragon. She is writing and editing several projects simultaneously, including a series of YA Science Fiction novels and the sequel to The Lonely Dragon.

Rae has a passion for Argentine Tango and when she is not chained to her desk and laptop, can often be seen tripping the light fantastic with her tango friends. She has also recently discovered the delights of Lindy Hop and is laughing her way through this style of dance.

https://www.facebook.com/raestoltenkamp.author

http://raestoltenkamp.blogspot.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/Raedenewrites

Interview with indie author Joel Dennstedt

Almost a year ago I interviewed two great author’s about their experiences of writing and publishing, Kate Rigby and Alec John Belle. You can find the interviews here. I’ve been meaning to interview more author’s since then, and just have not had the chance to get around to it. Anyway, that’s all about to change! Joel Dennstedt is a very diverse indie author, and I have enjoyed all three of his novels. Here he chats to me about his indie journey so far, his books, his on-going travels, and his plans for the future.

 

1) You and your brother are currently travelling through South America. Could you tell us a bit about what made you decide to do this? And was there a conscious decision to write and blog about it as you went?

Everything was Steve’s idea. As of 2010, I was working for the same evil corporation as he, a criminal organization known as the largest bank in the United States. He couldn’t take it anymore and decided to retire. His wife could not take that, so they divorced. He said he was off to see the world. I had to ask him twice – he did not believe me the first time – if I could tag along. So, in April of 2012 we packed everything we owned into our backpacks and duffels and went off to see the world …. slowly. Four years later, we have made it to Peru. He began his blog a year before we left, and once we hit our first stop in Merida, Yucatan, MX he said: you should publish your novel Orange Cappuccino. So I did. Because he has really great ideas.

2) Your novels are all quite different. Could you tell us what inspired you to write each one? Where did each idea come from?

Orange Cappuccino is true. I wrote it as a novel for the style. It tells the story of my life with my second wife and our trials and tribulations in Alaska. I had to write that story to make way for other things. And yet, the first book I wrote was Hermit – A Novella. I wrote that during my breaks at work, and though the main character is a lot like me, the story was simply a fantasy to help me get through my days in the real world. I published Orange Cappuccino first, and Hermit only after a hundred hours of editing while ensconced in a hostel/brewery in the jungles of Honduras. Guanjo is my science fiction novel, a promise to myself when I was young. The idea came from two photographs I had collected along the way: one of a huge longhouse situated in the canopy of a rainforest; the other of a little native girl with her pet frog.

3) Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I have never wanted or intended to be anything else. I considered myself an abject failure for 60 years of my life because I caved to the necessities of the real world.

4) What has been your journey so far as a writer? How would you describe the experiences you’ve had?

Mostly, I have felt rather lost. The writing is not fun. There has been little appreciation for my work. And yet, when I compare now to four years ago, that is not true at all. I have had a lot of fun. The appreciation has been immense. Now put those two feelings into one and shake them up every single day, and you know something of the rollercoaster ride that you and I are on. The experience of writing has called on every reserve of wisdom that I possess, and made me practice the path I follow with an intensity far beyond what I had known

before. The best things come unexpectedly. The worst come from my own expectations. The lesson: stop expecting and start accepting. And all I can say to that is when I do, things seem to progress perfectly.

5) What would you say are the best things about being an indie writer?

This is pretty easy. The creative control is great. The ability to immediately respond to any new idea, whether in the writing itself or in the marketing and sales keeps everything alive and fresh. The rebelliousness of it all. The interactions with other indie writers, their support and commiserations.

6) What would you say are the worst things about being an indie writer?

Only one thing that I know of: lack of exposure. The challenge to locate your audience, when mainstream authors seem to find their audience ready-made.

7) What are your personal top tips for indie survival?

Be prepared to do it all. Create, Write, Proofread, Edit, Produce, Promote, Market & Sell. If you don’t understand the essential elements of business, then enjoy the vanity of it all, but don’t expect success. And one personal tip for Indie Authors in general: if you don’t start learning to edit and correct your mistakes, you are going to fail. I read a lot of Indie works now, and I am nauseated by the typo’s, grammatical errors, misspellings, and simple format errors that permeate their books. It has given and will continue to give Indie Authors a bad reputation.

8) What are you working on at the moment?

I am supposed to be working on my literary novel: In the Church of the Blue-Eyed Prophets. Instead, I work most consistently on my blog, my collection of horror short stories, and my book reviews.

9) Who are your favourite authors?

My top 5 favorite authors are British: Barry Unsworth, Jean LeCarre, William Golding, Charles Dickens, and Graham Greene.

10) What are your dreams/hopes for the future in terms of your writing?

My biggest dream is to be accepted by the industry professionals and regarded as a writer of great literary merit. I know I ought to be seeking popular approval, but mostly I just want affirmation from those who know good writing.

11) Tell us about your writing routine/process

I guess that you’re assuming I have a routine. Not so much, really. I write what I want, when I want, at the pace I want. In this regard I pretty much go against all the advice of others. I do not write a certain number of words a day. I do not challenge myself to write so many pages. I do not even make myself write each day. It does not work for me. And even if it did, I would not do it. When I have experimented with such a program, what I wrote was trash, and I had to go back and rewrite every word. Sometimes I write a single paragraph in a day. Sometimes a page. Much more than that, and once again it turns to trash. I also ignore the trusted advice to just get the first draft out. Doesn’t work for me. I edit as I write. A lot. I cannot proceed until the writing is almost at the standard I maintain. And when I’m done, I go back and edit, edit, edit all over again. You see, writing does not come easily to me. And if I don’t take long breaks between, the writing suffers … a lot!

12) Tell us three interesting things about you

I am the son of a dwarf.

I believe that I am high-functioning autistic, enough not to be diagnosed.

I believe that animals can talk.

http://www.amazon.com/Joel-R.-Dennstedt/e/B008VJZ6RE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1456438558&sr=1-1

https://www.facebook.com/JoelRDennstedt/

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