See the prior interview here:
And see more about Maddie's second adventure over here:
Steampunk (noun): a genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology; a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.
My latest novel, WAKING ANASTASIA, had a unique inception. First it was a dream, then a screenplay, and finally, the novel.
Trust me when I say that this isn’t the usual route to publication. 99% of writers skip at least the screenplay part of the process, and here’s why…
Think of a finished novel like Michelangelo’s David. Your first draft is akin to Mike going to the Carrara marble quarries and selecting the perfect block of marble, looking for density, purity, and colour. You, the writer, select your words with the same care, and when the first draft is done it’s a weighty, unwieldy thing, hardly art, more like a block of words full of potential.
But as you edit, tweak, and refine your story, it’s like chipping away at the block of marble, taking what’s not necessary to leave behind the perfectly paced, brilliantly envisioned story, polished to a sheen and ready for the world to see.
Now, imagine if you will, starting with a skeleton instead of a block. Compared to a novel, that’s what a screenplay is. The skeleton contains the dialogue, and the locations, but none of the details. What a screenplay describes as “EXT. DAY. SUNNY. URBAN PARK” could take two pages of a novel to describe the sounds and scents, and maybe the colour of the Frisbee that lands at the heroine’s feet. I found that to flesh out “EXT. DAY…” to become “scuffed neon orange disc” throughout the entire manuscript is as tedious as adding marble to the skeleton would be to create David by gluing on instead of chipping away. I’d love to say I’ll never do it again, but I still have five more terrific screenplays begging to become novels. Kill me now.
Publishing the Hard Way
As someone whose first three novels were traditionally published, I had a lot to learn when circumstances nudged co-author Chris Bullock and me into self-publishing TOUR DE MORT.
We are not technically adept enough to do everything for ourselves, so we chose a hybrid self-publishing service that conducts almost all transactions electronically. This system created poor communication with those involved in production, especially in design.
TOUR DE MORT is a fictional version of the first Cops for Cancer ride down Vancouver Island. So I searched stock images until I found a suitable cycling photo. Then came the five-month design process.
* I submit author photo and bios, blurb, reviewer comments and cover image electronically to our Account Manager, having noted on a form that the cover should seem ominous, foreboding.
* First proofs: Cyclist appears in full on the front; the cropped image on the back looks more menacing. Yes! I say in a sticky note on the PDF (my only means of communicating with the Designer). Put that on the front.
* Second proofs: Cropped image on the front, but still not menacing enough. Add red streaks leading towards a puddle of blood, I suggest.
* Third (and supposedly last) proofs: Red streaks have no relation to the bike’s path; a red blob looks like it’s been slapped against a wall. Our Account Manager at first ignores my complaint. We pay extra for a fourth round.
* Fourth proofs: The cover image as you see it. Hurray!
* Our softcover copies arrive. About the Authors (on the hardcover dust flap) has disappeared. Our new Account Manager investigates. The Designer’s email about possible ways of accommodating this material hadn’t been passed on to us.
Missing in this process is an experienced, knowledgeable publisher keeping an eye out. Long live traditional publishing!