Self-publishing is what you make of it: an interview with the author of The Artemis Effect

A couple Fridays ago, I featured a book cover from a new author, Kasia James. She’s also a blogger, and I’ve been following her writing pretty much ever since I started this site. That gave me the perfect opportunity to reach out to her and ask about her experience, her creative process, the pains of self-publishing, and what aspiring writers can learn from it.

Kasia James (author)Misprinted Pages: Is The Artemis Effect your first book? What is it about, in a nutshell?

Kasia James: Yes, it is, although I have a couple more — which are quite different — in the pipeline. The Artemis Effect follows the stories of three groups of people based in America, Australia, and Britain as they struggle to deal with the breakdown of society sparked by mysterious changes to the moon. It’s fast-paced, character-based science fiction.

You’ve been working on this for about 9 years. During that time, you wrote the book, sent it off to publishers, and then finally chose self-publishing. To get started, let’s talk about your experience writing the book. What inspired you to write this particular story?

Well, to be totally honest, much of the science fiction I’d read up to that point dealt with ideas and technology very well, but rather shallowly with people. I thought that I’d like to have a go at doing something different. I read very widely and eclectically, so it seemed to be a possibility within the genre that could have been more fully explored.

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Interview with Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One

Ernest Cline interview

Mini update time!

So you’ve probably caught on by now: I’m a busy gal.

My boyfriend and I are settled into our new apartment, but it’s a lifestyle change, and that means a lot more responsibility around the house. Plus, a MILLION little things have been going wrong all over the place! I’m super exhausted and sleepy from all the stress as I type this.

My job prospects are looking up, even though I took a small hit this week. So that’s good news. I’m still working hard. :)

Book reviews will return soon! I’ve been swamped with stuff for Kirkus, so A Clash of Kings has been mostly put on hold.

Anyway, I wanted to share my latest editorial for GamesBeat. This time I talked to Ready Player One author Ernest Cline (you remember my review) about his book, his contest — he’s giving away an actual 1981 DeLorean, whoa! — and what comes next.

Check it out, share, and let me know what you think!

Women in games: Buffy Summers vs. Juliet Starling

I wrote another piece for GamesBeat — this time questioning who the real Slayer is, Buffy Summers or Juliet Starling. I interviewed Lollipop Chainsaw story writer James Gunn, voice actress Tara Strong, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer enthusiast Lily Rothman (she contributed to Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion, which I reviewed awhile ago). The article deals with misogyny and the quality of lead female characters in video games.

Let me know what you think. I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July!

Sex and vamps: Andy Gavin talks The Darkening Dream

So The Darkening Dream is on sale this week (June 25-29) for 99 cents, and to help with the promotion I interviewed author Andy Gavin. If you read my review a few months back then you already know how I feel about the book, but I wanted to give Andy a chance to speak for himself.

Misprinted Pages: Hi, Andy! Thanks for chatting with me. Before we talk about The Darkening Dream, which is on sale for 99 cent this week, I wanted to say that I’m a HUGE fan of your video game work. The first game my parents ever let me pick out myself was Crash Bandicoot 2 (love, love, LOVE jet pack Crash!). So thank you for being awesome!

Okay, down to business! This interview for my blog might surprise some readers, as I wasn’t too crazy about your book. But when I was contacted about the opportunity, I knew I wanted to give you a chance to defend yourself. As someone who loves games but is also interested in book writing, myself, I know what hugely different mediums they are. What made you want to write a book, and what was it like transitioning from one major industry to another?

Andy Gavin: As a serial creator (having made over a dozen major video games), it was interesting how similar the process was to any other complex creative project. Video games and novel writing are both very iterative and detail-oriented. They use a lot of the same mental muscles.

I’ve always been a huge vampire fan, and I’ve read and watched a large percentage of the oeuvre. But also as a history buff, I wanted to write a supernatural story that was more grounded in real history and legend. I’m always thinking, “That could have been so much better if they didn’t make up the historical backstory,” so I started with the villains. What kind of ancient evil creatures might still be around? What do they want? And what legitimate human reason would they have to destroy the world (Buffy-style)? I don’t exactly answer the question in TDD, because the motives of 5,000 year old baddies should be mysterious. But trust me, they have a plan, and the sheer audacity of it will literally shake the foundations of the heavens.

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A little T&R!

Midnight update!

Whoa, it’s been busy around here. I’ll have another fancy book cover for you tomorrow, and another comic book pick soon. But I wanted to take a second and share a piece I’ve been working on for what feels like ages. It took awhile to put this editorial together because of the interviews, but two wonderful volunteers stepped up and helped put a lock on this thing when no one else could (or would).

Maybe you’ve heard of Tomb Raider—the video games, the movies, the comics, etc. Or maybe you’ve always favored Indiana Jones and want to know more about his legacy and the characters he’s inspired. Then again, you could have a burning crush on Nathan Drake of Uncharted. Whatever your preference, kindly take a moment to read my first submission for GamesBeat, the gaming division of VentureBeat. You might just learn something about your favorite characters.

And thanks so much to Hal Barwood and Stellalune (who mentioned me on her site’s blog, Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere) for lending their voices to the article. It wouldn’t have been half as good to read without their input.

I hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Interview with Dana Fredsti on Plague Town

Yesterday I reviewed Dana Fredsti’s Plague Town—out today from Titan Books. I was offered a chance to speak with the author about her new zombie book and how her exclusive background in horror influenced its writing.

Misprinted Pages: Hi, Dana. Thanks for sitting down to chat about Plague Town. Can you tell us what your upcoming book is about?

Dana Fredsti: Hi there, and thank you for having me here! Plague Town is my take on the  start of the Zombocalypse experienced from the point-of-view of a twenty-something, divorced liberal arts major who has no idea what to do with her life until she’s attacked and bitten by zombies and discovers she’s one of a very small percentage of the population who is immune to the virus. This puts her and her fellow “wild cards” in the unique position of being able to fight the undead hordes without fear of infection. Wacky—and gory—hijinks ensue.

There’s a lot of zombie stuff out there—from movies to video games to television shows. What made you want to write a series of zombie novels, and how is Plague Town different from its peers?

Oh, I could go on at length here … First of all, I am not one of those people who think that zombies have “jumped the shark.” Folks like me (people who have been total zombieholics since the early ’80s) have been waiting a long time for zombies to get even a little of media exposure of their hairier and fangier cousins. And I don’t see any end to werewolf and vampire novels any time soon. Not even taking into consideration the variations writers and filmmakers have been coming up with on the original flesh-eating ghoul “theme” started by the Father of All Zombies, George Romero. The best of the books and movies are as much (if not more) about the characters and human relationships as they are about people getting their intestines pulled out. So … maybe I should answer your question now.

I was approached by Lori Perkins with Ravenous Romance to develop a series of books that were “Buffy … except with zombies. And different.” I said yes ’cause … well, zombies! The series was then sold to Titan Books, and I worked very closely with my Dark Editorial Overlord, Steve Saffel, to tone down the romance, tighten up the pacing, and bridge the gap between readers of paranormal romance and the zombie genre. Plague Town is unique in that it probably has more humor than your average zombie novel, and has one of the few female protagonists in the genre to this point. I think my narrative voice (okay, Ashley’s narrative voice) makes it stand out as well. There are some other elements I think are unique, but talking about them would be major spoilers at this point.

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