It's Indie Author Sunday! Every other Sunday, we're posting an interview with a different indie author along with posts about them on all our social media accounts. This week it's Shawn Scuefield, the author Short Days, Long Nights.
WW: Tell us about your experience with Indie publishing?
SS: It's certainly been a learning experience. First of all, understanding all of the options available today pursuing the non-traditional publishing route, weighing the pros and cons of each, in addition to learning about the different aspects of the publishing process itself. There's more to writing than just getting the story down on paper. I also learned a lot about the editing process and just how important that is to putting out the best possible version of your work.
WW: Tell us about your book.
SS: My book is titled Short Days, Long Nights. It's a collection of six short stories involving ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. While each tale is a stand-alone story, and each has it's own main character/s, the over-arcing theme is that the actions and beliefs of these characters in the given circumstances have consequences, not only for themselves, but for those around them as well. The stories touch on aspects of human nature that are prevalent today in our society, and while the consequences are fictional, the behaviors are very real.
WW: What made you want to write in the genre of your book?
SS: While I definitely wouldn't limit myself to writing in one genre, the impetus behind this collection of stories without a doubt, was The Twilight Zone. I grew up loving the show and still watch it to this day. I've always been enamored with what Rod Serling was able to do in thirty minutes (most episodes), creating varied and complex characters, introducing the scenario they fell into and taking us on that ride. I look to take readers on their own journey in short story form with a host of interesting characters and the scenarios that befall them.
WW: What has been your favorite part of being an indie author?
SS: I would have to say just knowing that my project was going forward and all of the decision making was up to me. Cover design, marketing copy, editing preferences--I was in control of all of it.
WW: What do you wish you knew before going the indie-publish route?
SS: Probably just how much patience would be needed. I've always agreed with the assessment that instant gratification takes too long. Patience is needed to do research so that you're not taking the first option you come across, patience is needed to learn all aspects of the editing/publishing process and it's also good to be patient with self so as not to rush the writing process. While I'm not sure that would differ going the traditional route, given that I was new to this process, I think that would've helped me out a bit, but I learned as I moved forward.
WW: What books or authors have inspired you?
SS: There are several authors whose work I admire, but at the top of my list are Stephen King and James Patterson. I think both are master storytellers and while their styles are different, I think they both are adept at drawing the reader in and not letting go. It's interesting to note they both have very different creative styles and processes, but both have been inspirational to me in my pursuit of my writing career. One of my favorite King books is Four Past Midnight. I love the short story, The Library Policeman. As for Patterson, I've been a big fan of his Alex Cross series for some time now. The stories never get stale and he has been extremely successful creating characters that you want to follow and learn more about as they go on.
WW: Are you working on anything now?
SS: Yes. My next project is a detective series titled, The Retired Detectives Club. It follows three retired Chicago Police detectives that find retirement just doesn't suit them at all as good cop instincts die hard--if they die at all. They become private investigators and in the first installment, See No Evil, they are hired to take on the case of a Louisiana college student that has mysteriously disappeared. Her disappearance, they find, bears an eerie resemblance to an eight-year old cold case. The clock is ticking as they race to unlock clues to the young woman's disappearance in hopes of finding her alive ... and before they become targets themselves! The Retired Detectives Club will be a series of page turning thrillers with characters that readers will enjoy following and getting to know.
WW: What does your writing space look like?
SS: I type away in a little corner of my living room on my desktop, however, I have tons of notes and outlines, character profiles and the like all around me. I'll grab any piece of paper, mail, receipts and the like to jot down a plot detail or character when it pops into my head. I try to keep them right next to the computer but sometimes I do have to hunt for them!
WW: What is your writing process like?
SS: Random at best! I have ideas floating around in my head all the time whether its from bits of a dream I remember or phrases that I may hear and I'll jot them down, not quite sure of what, if anything it's going to be just yet. As I continue to build with an idea with bits and pieces that come to me, sometimes that's enough for me to get an outline going, or in some cases, I'll sit right at the computer and type out a few chapters and then outline the remainder and build from there. It's why I make sure to keep paper and pen handy. After my rough draft is complete, I'll do as many revisions as necessary to get the story where I want it to be--after harassing close family and friends to read, re-read, and read again.
WW: What advice would you give writers looking at indie publishing?
SS: Research. Research. Research. If a writer has determined he/she will go the indie/self-publishing route, I can't stress enough how important it is to research any company, editor, publisher that you are looking to work with. Be certain of what they offer, what costs are involved and what exactly they can do to help you in your publishing journey. There are definitely many unscrupulous companies out there looking to take advantage of someone's dream to be a published author, but with a healthy dose of research, a writer can navigate these waters and make certain that the publishing experience is a pleasant one. I'd also highly recommend joining the Author Learning Center. They have a variety of workshops available among many other helpful resources that any writer should take advantage of. For me personally, it has been one of my best moves.
WW: How connected are you to the indie publishing community? What is that experience like?
SS: I'm really just getting started but my goal is to form as many connections as I possibly can.
WW: What platforms do you use to promote your work?
Currently I've been promoting my work through Facebook, Instagram, BookLife, and PW Select (Publisher's Weekly). I'm always looking to expand my ability to get the word out about Short Days, Long Nights and the upcoming Retired Detectives Club. Short Days, Long Nights is currently available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as through ArchwayPublishing.com/bookstore