Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lucifer is a fleshed-out protagonist, thanks to Darcy Town

Author Darcy Town was in the piping-hot seat recently as I interviewed her. Okay, maybe the seat was not that hot. She talked about her books and going indie. One thing I found interesting was that she is an introvert. So am I. I gotta tell y'all, the Internet and e-books are a godsend for us introverts. We can reach out to a worldwide audience from our home offices. (Of course, going out to, say, pride fairs and bookstores in person never hurts. I have done it, and it is fun.)

Without further ado, here is Darcy Town. (She's the gal in the picture.)

Hey, Darcy! So, introduce yourself and your books.
I'm a 26-year-old Seattle native.  I've been writing regularly for the last four years. I recently published Morningstar on Amazon's Kindle.  It's paranormal romance meets religious action/adventure and is the first book in the Morningstar Trilogy.  The story is not weighed down with religious "fact." Lucifer is a fleshed out protagonist, not just a plot device, and the story doesn't take itself too seriously. It's meant to be funny.

Wastes of Space is the first book of my second series.  It is hard science fiction, but I keep the same tongue-in-cheek tone of Morningstar.  The main character, Rake, is a drug-addicted prostitute and former astronaut.  Being saddled with an alien runaway and chased by bounty hunters is the step up in his life that he dearly needs.

What has been your favorite thing so far about publishing a book, and do you plan to expand distribution beyond the Kindle?
My favorite part of publishing has been getting to know new readers.  I'm a bit of an introvert, so this has been a great opportunity to reach out and talk to people that I normally would never have met.

I do plan on expanding into print within the next few weeks, fingers crossed.  I'm working through that formatting process now.  It is definitely a challenge, but I think once I see my story in print that will make up for the stress I'm going through now.

I totally understand what you mean by formatting. You should have seen me trying to whip my first print book into shape (my first e-book too). OK, so no plans right now to get your stuff on, say, the Nook and on the Smashwords distribution network? 
Haha.  I'd say yes, I will look into both of those formats for 2012.  Right now I don't want to see another e-book formatting piece of software for at least a week.  ;)

Gotcha. Totally. With "Strange Bedfellows" (my first e-book), people who didn't buy from BN and Amazon were asking if or when it'd be on Smashwords. I said in a couple of weeks, once I recovered from my BN and Amazon formatting ordeals ;-) The good news is the process is so much easier for subsequent books. So, you're a writer, no easy task. How did you get to be a writer and what was your learning process?
That's good to hear! :)  I know I won't make the same types of mistakes next time.

I've dabbled in writing off and on since I was a kid, but it did not become something that I thought about pursuing seriously until my senior year in high school.  We had senior projects: a paper + presentation + so many hours of work before we could graduate.  It struck me that I could easily get the hours portion from writing, so I built a flimsy project idea around that and went with it.  I don't remember the project that well, but the book stuck with me for years.  I finally finished it after I graduated from college and after that writing became a daily routine.

Daily routine? Wow. So, are you the type of writer who has a set schedule (not the type who writes whenever the mood strikes)? Also, are you writing full time or as a side job/enjoyment?
It's enjoyment at this stage, though I'd love to make a living from it (maybe some day!)

I have a banking job that allows me to work from home full time.  This means that I can use my lunchtime, short breaks, and time saved on commutes to write. I don't think of it as a set schedule, but that's usually how it plays out.

Mood does factor into  productivity, but if I'm not feeling inspired to write something new then I use the time to edit what I've already written.  I also have at least one new story kicking around in my head, so if I'm not feeling like editing or writing, then I use that time to plot out scenes for the next story.

So what are some of your favorite writing challenges and the types of scenes and characters you love (and hate) to write? Do you have a favorite character or scene?
 My biggest writing challenge is consistency.  I love writing stories that can be read a second time through and I drop 'easter eggs' in the text to reward re-reading, but that means I have to plan a lot and know my text backwards and forwards.   I spend a fair amount of time fact-checking myself because no matter how I change something in the first book it better make sense once everything is revealed in the last book.
I love mouthy characters, the kind that seem to write their own lines.  I am a huge fan of dialogue so my favorite characters are inevitably the talkers. The scenes that I dislike writing are fight scenes.  They take the most time and work and require the most planning.  Because of that I dislike writing strong silent type characters.  They don't talk much and they cause fights, two knocks against them.  :)

So, you've gone indie because while you did have interest from agents, they always found a reason to reject, you, right? (Please correct me if my memory is wrong.) What do you think of the indie movement and of so-called traditional publishing?
That's correct, either that or the typical form rejection of "sorry, but I cannot look at your work now, etc."  It is very frustrating!

Traditional publishing definitely gives an author a leg up if they can secure an agent and contract.  But with the internet and growing online communities and tools, an author can reach an audience on their own.  Which is why I think the indie movement is the way things are headed.  It's not an easy course to take, but neither is traditional publishing.

Indie authors face two major challenges to the success of their book: marketing and prejudice.  The former can be conquered with hard work, luck, and some money.  The latter though is harder.  I believe that the average reader has bought into the notion that if your story is good enough that means that you'll eventually get an agent and get published.  Therefore anything that is self-published means that the writer isn't good enough and the story isn't worth their time.  But the reality is that most publishers put out a story because they think it will sell, equating that with it being a good, original story is just...wrong.  

I went the indie route because the royalties are better, and I do not want to wait until the market picks up before I query agents again.  I think this is a good time to be an indie author, we can set our prices and advertise how we wish.

...I could go off on this topic for awhile.  :P  

Finding an audience can be tricky for some indie writers.
There's one thing I wish I could change about myself when it comes to writing, and that is to be satisfied with the craft of writing by itself.  The nagging itch for outside confirmation and approval is a serious writing buzz-kill.   

I would continue to write even if I knew I'd never turn into a success story, because I love doing it.  I love telling stories and sharing ideas with my small group of readers and friends.  Their comments and feedback can make my day.  So I wish I could just drop the need to get validation from some grand third party, an editor, or large audience.  Maybe that need drives authors to write more, to edit endlessly, and proofread until they go blind.  But I would do all of that regardless, because I truly enjoy the process.  

From speaking with other writers it seems to be a common affliction and I suppose it comes with the territory. Even knowing that...it's still  major buzz-kill.

Purchase "Morningstar" on Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WOS448



Anonymous said...

Yes the internet is a godsend to us introverts! No face-to-face, okay!


Anonymous said...

Wow! An author interview that's interesting. Cool. I'm not being sarcastic. I found this dialogue to be conversational yet informative. Go Indie authors!

Q. Kelly said...

I do much better in one-on-one situations than group situations, that is for sure. Of course, I am deaf so that has a lot to do with it.