When Kait Nolan approached me about a blog tour to promote her book, FORSAKEN BY SHADOW, I hesitated, and then I tried to come up with a viable excuse to decline. I had just downloaded the book on my Kindle (a buck, damn it – I’ll check out a fellow Twitter writer for a buck) but I hadn’t read it or more than the occasional blog entry by Nolan.
What if it sucked? What if it read like every other paranormal romance out there? What would I write?
I’ll stop and dig the hole a little deeper. I need to work on my own promo skills, so I had a good excuse to DO the tour.
Watch and learn, little grasshopper. This would be a perfect opportunity to research what you want to do with CRANK when the first arc wraps up this summer.
So yes, I agreed. My curiosity piqued considering how ebooks have grown up and are quickly becoming the popular kids. Okay, maybe they’re not quite there yet, but they’re close, trying or, at a minimum, much more accepted than before.
The thing is, I enjoyed FORSAKEN. Nolan created a diverse and fascinating paranormal world where supernatural beings live in secret among humans. They police themselves and they look out for each other. Mostly.
Nolan’s setting drew me into their world and her opening chapter hooked me to read more from the first page: A man awakes with no memories and horrible burns on his hands. When he seeks help, he learns he’s been missing for ten years. Cade. He had a name. The memories wouldn’t return. Not at first, and not on their own.
Mirus, the paranormal people, have an amazing variety of races. Fae, Drakyn, elementals, seers, Shadow Walkers, and more. We see a glimpse of many of them as Nolan teases us into wanting more, promising something later. Will it be the next chapter? Or the next book?
What is this? I’m not a paranormal romance fan. I read them, sure, I even blow through them, marking them as “easy reads”. While I could do without the long lost love and other romantic tidbits that are found in such stories, I easily ignored my inner tomboy to read about a woman who could generate fire from her very being and her father who walked through shadows as easily as you and I breath. Certainly Kait Nolan has a talent for words. She weaves not sentences but magic, tendrils of illusion drift up from the pages and entrance the unsuspecting but desirous reader.
Speaking of Kait Nolan, she dropped by to visit my dark parlor. C’mon in, Kait, pull up a seat, but check it for demons before you sit down.
I know you’ve blogged about the differences between self-publishing, vanity presses, and the traditional avenue of query/agent/wait. I won’t bore you by asking you to repeat it all for my dear Readers. (That’s a hint, Readers, for you to check out Kait’s blog. For the laziest of you, links to her social networks will be at the end of the interview.)
Tell us about FORSAKEN. How did you come up with this vivid world full of fascinating races such as elementals, shadow walkers, drakyn, and fae?
Well, FORSAKEN didn’t come first. I had this whole complicated book about a clan of wolf-shifters that I was in the middle of when Gage walked into my head and told me I had to find out who he was. He was very persuasive. After that I started thinking about what I’d like to see that was DIFFERENT from all the vampires and werewolves and alleged Twilight knockoffs that seem to have flooded the market. The heroine, Embry, a firecaster, was a bit of an indulgence for me because I’ve always wanted to be able to control fire.
That reminds me of a question I’ve been asked more than once myself. Readers want to know where the characters come from and if our heroes and heroines are a reflection of us. Embry’s elemental side definitely is. Plus it lets her stand out among a genre full of vampires and werewolves.
What is your favorite part of the story? And, was that also your favorite part to write?
The fight scene are always fun to write. I watched a zillion mixed martial arts (MMA) fights as research, and it’s not like checking out muscular men is a hardship :D. My favorite part of the story…that’s hard. I really have a soft spot for the flashback just before Gage gets his memory back.
Oh yes, the fight research must have been quite the sacrifice! Between the fights and the romance with the handsome Gage, you had plenty of reasons to love working on this story. What are you working on besides this series?
Well, I have a YA paranormal in the plotting stages that’s part of a Sooper Seekrit Project. And then there’s my culinary paranormal series, Edible Enchantments, that I eventually hope to launch with a serial on my cooking blog, Pots and Plots. It involves a kitchen witch who lives in the buckle of the Bible belt (aka Mississippi) and is full of hilarity and fun.
A secret? But… but…
Okay, you did distract me with the witch story. Can you tell us when to expect that one?
I don’t know precisely. It depends a great deal on my evil day job situation. Right now I’ve only got time to put out a couple of projects a year and that one’s not on the docket for…well I’m not sure how long. The next 4 projects aren’t that one. But that having been said, Lorelei is very vocal when she DOES choose to speak, so if she lets me know what story she wants me to start with (it’s a series that follows her specifically rather than a new pair each book), I’ll work on it. She’s a lot of fun. She’s allergic to cats, so she winds up with a Great Dane for a familiar. His name is Squish and he’s in love with her sexy laywer neighbor’s lab, B.B. Queen.
That sounds like such fun! I hope she bugs you soon.
Back to FORSAKEN. What made you decide to self-publish? How did/do you deal with the negative connotations that sometimes follow self-published authors?
The decision was a pretty easy one. As authors, we’re constantly told the importance of having a platform. I’ve been working hard at building one the last few years, blogging regularly, tweeting, building relationships. Which is great, except it’s been primarily with other writers. And while writers are always great readers, I wanted to do something that would connect more with them. Some sample of my work seemed like the best way to go. Since short storiesweren’t my forte, I opted to put out a novella, a sort of sneak peak into the broader series world I’m creating. My pal Zoe Winters, who is a huge champion of indie publishing, had had such good luck building an audience with her first novella Kept that I decided it was worth giving a try. When I originally conceived of the idea, I still had full intentions of submitting the novel length stuff in the series to New York. Now…not entirely sure. Since the entire point of this exercise (for me) is ultimately to reach readers and make a living, I’m not sure that New York is the best way for me to go. Particularly with the way the Big Five have chosen to deal with e-books, which are the wave of the future (no matter how much they prefer to stick their head in the sand). One of the really attractive things to me about pursuing an indie publishing career is the fact that other than production time where I’m writing, editing, polishing, formatting, there’s no WAIT. I can reach readers quickly, and while my grassroots following may build more slowly than a New York pubbed author with a powerhouse team of publicists might, I can put out multiple works. I hope to have the sequel to FORSAKEN out later in the fall. If I opted to go the New York route, at the earliest, it would be a year or more before readers would get another taste of the Mirus world. There’s also the added bonus of the fact that NOTHING EVER GOES OUT OF PRINT when you self publish unless you yourself choose to take it down.
As to dealing with the negative connotations, it’s all about education. There are a lot of myths floating around about self publishing. And they exist because there IS a bunch of drek out there that meets the stereotype of shoddy work that someone wasn’t willing to edit or change at all from their “speshul” vision in order to produce a good product. But there’s a growing movement of authors who prefer to maintain entire control over the work, who see that it DOES get vetted (though not by agents, or NY editors) and edited and polished, such that the work rivals the quality of any New York pub. And it’s exciting to be a part of that.
We’ve seen it in music. It makes sense for books to go the same route. Plus, your out-of-pocket costs were significantly less than recording an album. Perfect control and a low cost let’s you offer the story at a great price. Would you like to take a moment to plug all the appropriate links?
What would you like aspiring authors to take away from this interview? (Besides a copy of FORSAKEN for just a buck?)
I’d love for them to take away the idea that self publishing is not scary, it’s not stupid, and it can, in fact, improve your chances at getting a real contract (if that’s what you want), as long as you put forth the effort, connect with individuals who can help you edit and polish and put out a good product. I can’t think of any better way to connect with readers and build an audience than to give them something to read.
Thanks for dropping by today, Kait! Now get to work on the next book. We’re waiting…