Can you tell us a little bit about Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero?
This is the first book of a 15 book action fantasy series. It takes place in the world of Windemere and follows the adventures of a young warrior named Luke Callindor. He comes from a family of legendary heroes and has grown up hating the fame that he gets from his last name. So, he has run away from home to find his first adventure and prove that he’s worthy of being called a Callindor.
Luke lies to a royal messenger to receive a mission to secretly protect a royal heir who is attending Hamilton Military Academy. Being more concerned with keeping up his lying, Luke forgets to ask for the identity of the royal heir. The young warrior is forced to find allies who will help him locate the heir and keep his mission a secret from the ex-mercenary headmistress, Selenia Hamilton. To make matters even worse, Luke has to keep his eyes out for a demonic assassin that a Lich has already sent into the academy to kill the heir.
What's your background with writing?
I first learned to write in elementary school where I also acquired a taste for pencil erasers. I managed to kick that habit, but the love of writing stayed. I’ve been writing fantasy since high school, which is when I swore I would be an author and learned that parents don’t like hearing that. I went off to college to get a BA in English Writing Arts, which I learned after graduation doesn’t mean anything. I have been writing novels, outlining future series, and collecting rejection letters for the last 10 years.
Recently, I decided that being passed around various office jobs was about as fulfilling as clearing my 13th paper jam of the day. So, I looked into self-publishing through Amazon Kindle while editing my completed novels and took the plunge. So far, it’s worked out pretty well and I’m a lot happier.
Who are your inspirations/influences?
I was heavily inspired by my time playing Dungeons & Dragons, which is where I tested out various characters and storylines. I found that the medium helped me get a deeper feel for my heroes. When I began running games, I developed a stronger sense of story and continuity, which translated to my books.
My writing style has also been heavily influenced by reading and collecting comic books, which might explain why I’m most comfortable writing in the dreaded present tense style. This style and influence has driven me to aim for making the reader feel like they are watching events unfold instead of simply being told to them.
Authors that inspired me are definitely Tolkien (does any fantasy author not list him?), but the spark was created by Fred Saberhagen and his Books of Lost Swords. It was such an amazing series with realistic characters and a world that felt more real to me than Middle Earth.
What was it like working with Amazon Publishing?
It has been great since I control everything from price to content to advertising. I like that I have so much power over my own destiny even though it does get frustrating and confusing at times. I will admit that I sacrificed the sense of peace that comes from having an agent and publisher that takes care of the advertising. Still, there is a lot to be said for the feeling of doing it all on your own.
I will admit that it took some time to get the formatting right and I found formatting mistakes even after I published. Amazon counters this by allowing you to upload revised versions of your book for free and as many times as you need. This is very important if you publish without a professional editor like me.
Who was responsible for the cover/book design?
My cover art was done by my wife’s highly talented cousin, Jason Pedersen. He is professionally trained and does tattoo art in Arizona along with pictures that he auctions off for charities.
What are you doing in terms of marketing/publicity?
I use a lot of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google +, and Goodreads. All of these are connected to my blog, Legends of Windemere, so any post I make there goes to all of those outlets. I also used several websites that have various promotional tools for self-published authors. Using those websites, I spent probably $70 overall and that was with a few splurges such as author profiles on their site. As I’ve used advertising sites, I’ve been listing and explaining them on a blog page. You can see the page here.
The most important thing that I did for marketing and publicity is I made friends on social media. There is a vast community of aspiring artists that are more than willing to help each other with support, reviews, and spreading the word. I’ve actually gotten more support and help from people I’ve never met in real life than those I get together with outside of the internet. It’s a very tight-knit group of authors that you can learn from at the beginning and then contribute to when you get more experience. As one of my friends says, ‘when one aspiring author succeeds, we all succeed’.
Do you have any stories from book signings/radio interviews/etc.?
I’m still fairly new, so I haven’t had any signings or radio interviews yet. So far, I’ve only done e-mail interviews like this. Though, I’m working on setting up my first radio/podcast interview for August or September. I’m sure I will have plenty of stories from that first time experience.
What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
My blog is called Legends of Windemere and it began as a simple site where I posted book excerpts. I have since added character origins, poetry, thoughts on aspects of writing, inspirational videos, book reviews of other self-published authors, and whatever I think might be entertaining. I have begun posting about how important it is to support self-published authors. As someone who gets very little support from friends and family, this is a very important topic for me. To put it simply, something as simple as clicking the share button is enough to make an artist smile and feel like they aren’t alone in their journey.
What projects do you have planned for the future?
I recently finished writing and editing the 4th book of Legends of Windemere. The 2nd and 3rd books are waiting on cover art before they debut on Amazon. On the side, I’m outlining other series that I have come up with over the years. I would say I have about 40 stories of various lengths that I work on when I want a break from my first series. It probably helps that I don’t even think of this as work, except for when I have to read through and edit a full novel for the third time. That gets a little tedious at times and usually forces a week-long break before I snap and write a massive death scene for all of my characters.
Is there anything else about you we should know?
I’m an Ares. I did fencing in high school and college. I hate pina coladas and walks in the rain. I crack jokes, usually bad ones, when I’m nervous and don’t know what else to say. Honestly, I’m just a friendly, helpful aspiring author with delusions of overzealous grandeur.
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