Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Author William Rockwell

We're meeting author Bill Rockwell today, to talk about his latest novel,
Heaven's Conflict: The Rise and Fall of Angels.
He tells us about lessons learned in writing his books, so this should be of interest to other writers as well as readers.
Q. You’ve now published three novels.  What have you learned from your experience that may help other writers?

A. I learned much with the publication of my first novels, especially the mistakes. Hopefully, I won’t make the same ones in my next novel. The title of my first novel, Generation Z, Birth of the Zompire, which is a vampire love story, is simply too long. The problem: as readers try to find me on Amazon or elsewhere, my novel doesn’t come up until they type the last letter in Zompire. So, it’s hard to find. I could have made the second phrase a subtitle, but, even better than this, I should have titled it simply: “Zompire.”
The lesson: Keep It Simple: make your book easy to find in search engines and websites.

Q. Did this help with the second novel?

A. Yes, but I still made a mistake in the title. The novel is a murder mystery entitled Not Privileged to Know, a phrase drawn from the novel. It fits the story perfectly; however, again, people are having trouble finding the novel. It’s not the length this time; it’s one word: ’Privileged.’ They either add the letter ‘d,’ or spell it with an ‘a’ or an ‘e’ where there should be an ‘i.’ I have tried to correct this (without changing the title) by making ‘Not Priv,’ and the letters ‘NPTK’ and ‘nptk,’ drawn from the title, searchable.
The lesson: Use Easily Spell-able Words.

Q. You’ve called this trilogy ‘The Privileged’ series. Since you ran into a problem with spelling, are you going to use ‘Privileged’ in the next two in the series?

A. No, I’ve decided to change the titles of these sequels. Instead of Privileged Information and Privileged Few, they will now be titled Need to Know and In the Know. The series link will now be the ‘Know’ series. Hopefully, that will solve the problem.
The lesson: Be prepared to change mid-stream, especially if dictated by either readership praise or problems.

Q. What about Heaven’s Conflict, The Rise and Fall of Angels, A Novel? That title is long; how are you going to prevent problems with that title?

A. This is an inspirational novel that required a lot of research. This delayed its publication. While doing the research, I wrote and published my first two novels. So, I had already decided on its title, and didn’t want to change it; however, trying to apply the above principles, the searchable title has become Heaven’s Conflict. The rest is subtitle. I’m a little worried the apostrophe may cause a problem.  So, both Heaven and Heavens are searchable in the title as well.
The lesson: Search for your title in Amazon and other search engines to see what happens, what other books bear that title, and try misspelling some words as a reader might. Then, make those misspellings searchable.

Q. You used the word ‘Novel’ in the title.  You didn’t do this in the first two. Why?

A. I was afraid people might think this book is a non-fiction commentary concerning Angels. It’s not. It’s my (fantasy) story of Lucifer’s downfall from God’s Grace soon after his creation. It’s a Good versus Evil story that I hope is both entertaining, exciting, and inspirational to readers since it involves true friendship, love and forgiveness, hopefully, without being too preachy.
The lesson: Make sure readers receive what they purchased (besides a great story, edited carefully).  You don’t want them misled by the title, jacket info, or back cover summary.

Q. Did you footnote any quotes from the Bible?

A. No, although there are quite a few. I thought footnoting would interfere with the readers enjoyment of the story flow, and might make the book too preachy or seem like non-fiction. In my author note at the end, I explain this, and suggest that, if they want to know where any quote they recognizes appears in the Bible, they should search it in any (Bible) search engine.
The lesson: Most good books I’ve read capture me on the first page, and flow nonstop until the end.  Don’t put anything in the book/story that will stall your readers, or stop them cold.

Q. Are you worried about readers reaction to the religious nature of the novel?

A. Yes, especially since one of my editors pointed this out, stating that I’d better be ready to endure the sticks and stones that will be thrown my way after its publication. He explained that non-believers (in God) will complain about the religious content (for example, that there is a God at all), and the true believers might complain that what I wrote isn’t in the Bible, or that the symbols I used are not correct, or that they might object to the personalities I’ve given to the Archangels, Lucifer, or even God. My simple answer to all these is that it’s a fictional story I created using the Bible’s content for guidance, but it is my (fictional) story, and I wrote it as it came into my mind. I believe in God, and read the Bible, and tried to stick to the first few books of the Bible, drawing some from Revelation as well. I had it checked by two Biblical scholars (Catholic and Jewish) and four Priests (three Catholic and one Southern Episcopal) to ensure that it doesn’t conflict with anything that is stated in the Bible; hopefully, it doesn’t.
The lesson: Be sure any research you do is totally accurate, even if the book is fiction, and use multiple experts, if available. I’ve read novels who have locations or technology totally wrong for that story’s location or time period (poor research and editing). These errors pull the reader out of the story, decreasing both pleasure and credibility as an author.

Q. Are you ready to endure those sticks and stones?

A. Yes, I believe so, or, maybe I should say, I hope so. A little controversy about the novel would actually attract more readers, and, therefore, be good. However, I never acquired a thick skin, so I may have some discomfort coming my way. I’m hoping more readers enjoy the story, and stand behind and enjoy what I did rather than attack me or my writing technique/research.
The lesson: Be brave enough to finish your work and risk public exposure for your story, especially if you believe in it. If you don’t, you will never be published, and only your family will read your story. Most writers, including myself, want more readership than that.

Q. Are there any other books about the Archangel Lucifer presently available?

A. Yes, both books and films, but most concern Lucifer’s exile to Earth and his conflict with God through Humans. I wrote about his initial hate for God and his lust for God’s Throne before Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, concluding with Lucifer’s condemnation to Hell.  Everyone knows the story in general, but the Bible doesn’t give great detail to this event.  I took this idea and expanded it into what would have been the most significant confrontation ever with the sovereignty of God’s Throne at stake. As I said, I hope it provides an entertaining (fantasy) story for my readers, as well as being inspirational, whether they believe in God or not.
The lesson: Again, research the story to find what’s out there. I may have missed a story, or one might have come out after my final edit, but I’ve tried my best, and this story is mine. If you find a similar story about your topic, you can still pursue your idea, but don’t plagiarize any of the other story. Make it totally your own.

Q. What does the future hold for your writing?

A. All three of these novels are the first of trilogies. I need to write the next installments. Currently, thanks in part to you and other bloggers who posted blogs concerning my Zompire novel, my second novel, Not Privileged to Know, is selling very well. The next story I turn my attention to will be determined by my readership. All are outlined, and ready to be fleshed out.  I have another murder mystery already written and in the editing phase. It should be ready in late 2015. The second volume of one of my trilogies will then appear in 2016.
The lesson: Keep writing, no matter what problems confront you. For me, I’ve written my entire life. I am always working on my ‘next’ novel, even if it never reaches publication. Writing is like any art: the more you practice, the better you become, and the more you learn. Write every day, even if only a few lines, and always keep a pencil and paper by your bed and in your pocket (yeah, I’m one of those nerds with pen and paper in my shirt pocket at all times) to write ideas, outlines, or a few words that might be spoken by one of your characters in a future novel.

Q. Where can readers find out more about your novels and order them?

A. Information on my books (summaries and first chapters) can be found on my webpage: http://billrockwell.net 

They can also order the books from amazon.com and at any bookstore. They are available in both paperback and for all E-Book readers. The audiobooks should be out later this Fall.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Featured My Mystery- and Upcoming Audio

The Fussy Librarian features A Memory of Grief today-- only $1.99 on all ebook platforms.

And-- we've just picked up a terrific narrator for the audio version of A Memory of Grief-- soon to be out on audio on Audible.com!
This is the first of the Zack Taylor mystery series, and it's going to be BIG!

To commemmorate this auspicious day, we're giving away a free version of the audiobook when it's released (likely a $25 value).

Send me an email (daletphillips@comcast.net) with the phrase "I bought it," (ebook or print, doesn't matter) and we'll enter you into a drawing for the free audiobook version.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Connie Johnson Hambley at NEMBF

Met some fellow writers at the booksigning by Connie Johnson Hambley at the New England Mobile Bookfair last Saturday.

(To find out more on Connie, read her interview here.)

 
Connie is touring to publicize her debut novel, The Charity.
 
 
And there were buyers! Nice to find new fans.



 
Posing below is Connie's husband (her Support Crew), along with fellow author Ursula Wong, who also has her debut novel out, Purple Trees.

 
And here's writer Vlad V, who's got a trio of works out, coming to buy her book and support a fellow author.

 
So they asked me to join in the posing fun, since we were all color-coordinated.

 



Friday, September 19, 2014

Appearance by Hank Phillippi Ryan

At the Groton Library, we had a lovely night hearing our special guest star, ace investigative reporter and mystery author Hank Phillippi Ryan. She graciously took time from her busy schedule to come chat with us and tell us great stories about her life and work.


Our Mystery Book Club had been interested in getting her to visit and tell us about The Wrong Girl and other books of hers. She regaled us with anecdotes and insider information, then answered a number of good questions about the work she does and the characters and stories within her books.

 
I've heard her speak on several occasions, and she's always professional, prepared, engaging, entertaining, and charming. Perhaps it has something to do with her many years of top-quality television reporting. As she says, it's a job where you have to be right all the time, and perfect whenever you appear. Talk about pressure!

 
She thanked us all for being readers, and for attending a writer event, and people got to get their books signed and chat with her a bit more.



When I mentioned a fellow mystery author, Daniel Friedman (Don't Ever Get Old), she had nothing but praise for him and his book.

So if you want to see her somewhere besides a television screen, check out her appearance schedule and drop into one. 
 
Our thanks to the library, the staff, and mystery lovers for arranging this.



My Second Trip to Granite State ComiCon- With Pictures

I took another trip to an alternate universe last weekend, where I sold and signed books at the Books and Boos table and walked around in wonder.

Wrote about in in an article at Jason Harris Promotions, and its got a ton of pics.

Here are a few others:
Don't let the Dalek into the Tardis!
 

 
At the Decimated Designs area, with their cohorts, Zombie Leader

 
Robbie the Robot at the Thrifty booth

 
This purple giant is over 8 feet tall.

 
Scott Goudsward, of the NEHW, enjoying his cupcake.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sisters in Crime Blog Hop

The Sisters in Crime have deemed the month of September as SinC-Up for bloggers.

They asked us to answer the following questions and blog about it-- and mention some other blog that you might like.

Which authors have inspired you?
They really do number in the hundreds. I've been a voracious reader for 50 years, and been inspired by so many good books and writers.
Mystery-wise, the line of writers from Dashiel Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson, Patricia Highsmith, John D. MacDonald, George V. Higgins, and Ellis Peters, through to the modern day, with Walter Mosely, Robert B. Parker, James Lee Burke.

Other writers: Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, Edna Ferber, Dorothy Parker, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Shirley Jackson, Cordwainer Smith, Harper Lee, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, and two of my favorites, Stephen King and Harlan Ellison.

Which male authors write great women characters? Which female authors write great male characters?
Male authors- Have to give a nod to Stephen King. In the movie versions of two of his books, Kathy Bates played both Dolores Claiborne and Annie Wilkes (from Misery) and you won't forget either of those characters!

Female authors- Of course Harper Lee, who gave us Atticus Finch. The Ideal Man- as noble as Lincoln. Lesser known is Edna Ferber- the range of her characters was incredible, and both genders rang true, with all the strengths and weaknesses.

If someone said "Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men," how would you respond?
Give them a copy of Jo Bannister's Deadly Virtues and a couple of other good examples.

What's the best part of the writing process for you? What's the most challenging?
When the words sing, and characters come alive. The most challenging thing is making that happen, day after day, story after story. Anyone can type, but it's an enormous task to put words on a page that matter.

Do you listen to music while writing? What's on your playlist?
Classical only, no words, softly in the background.

What books are on your nightstand right now?
We're having Hank Phillippi Ryan come to our Mystery Book Club night in Groton, so I'm in the middle of The Wrong Girl.

If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?
It's a business, so you have to understand that side, while trying to create art. It's tough, extremely difficult, you'll likely be underpaid and underappreciated, and you'll get a ton of criticism, no matter how good you get.
If that doesn't scare you off, you have a chance to create real art and make your life matter. It is a fine thing to give light to new stories of quality. Write something they'll read a hundred years from now, for people that haven't even been born yet.

*****

Now for the other blog mention. One is Connie Johnson Hambley, who I interviewed here.

And if you're not following the Maine Crime Writers, you're missing out. This is a collaborative site from the top names in Maine crime fiction, and is chock-full of great stuff and news from all of them.
http://mainecrimewriters.com/

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Audiobook Monthly- Interview and Review- Free Audio!

I'm interviewed in the current issue of Audiobook Monthly, out today. I get to talk about writing in different genres.

And they did a review of the audiobook version of The Big Book of Genre Stories.

To celebrate, I'll be giving away several copies of the audio book, a $24.95 value.
To win, send me an email to say you'd like one, and several winners will be selected at random.


And they have an interview with Fred Wolinsky, who narrated several of my books.