Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do? Or is it something that you started fairly recently?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It’s how I entertain my creative side. It wasn’t until maybe ten years ago that I started pursuing publication. I love history and so began writing in the historical genre. But when an archaeological story took root in my brain, I began venturing into the thriller genre and loved it!
Tell me a little about your books.
My first archaeological thriller, Effigy, was released in 2010. When researching Mesoamerican cultures and cosmology, a story took hold and I set everything else aside and emersed myself into the research. I wanted the story to stay as true to the history, science and mythology that I incorporated into an adventure and I am very pleased with how the story turned out. However, Effigy is just the tip of the iceburg to a much larger story that I am continuing through Deity.
Both books explore the calendars and cosmology of ancient Mesoamerica. Effigy is specifically centered upon the Toltec Calendar Round and their mythology. Here’s the back cover blurb:
A serial killer is on the loose, depositing his victims’ hearts amid the Toltec ruins of central Mexico. Meanwhile, a priceless Mesoamerican artifact is stolen from the University of Utah, sweeping archaeologists Anthony Peet and Lori Dewson on a desperate recovery mission south of the border. Accompanied by a reluctant colleague, an enthusiastic young journalist and a Yaqui woman in mourning, the team must decipher clues hidden within the Aztec sunstone, mystical Toltec Pyramids and astronomical calendar rounds to find the priceless effigy of Quetzalcoatl. They suddenly find themselves in a race against the coming solar eclipse, all the while dodging a corrupt Mexican police force still on the hunt for the sadistic murderer – a killer who’s chosen one of them for his next human sacrifice.
Meanwhile, Deity focuses on the Mayan Long Count Calendar and the mythology centered upon that. Here is Deity‘s back cover blurb:
While on the hunt for two missing colleagues in Mexico, anthropologist Anthony Peet barely escapes a cenote collapse with his life while his student, Lori Dewson, is lost to a watery grave. Reeling from the tragedy, he is forced to continue his search which quickly leads to the trail of a stolen reliquary cross rumored to have direct access to God. Little does Peet realize he’s centered himself between two opposing paramilitaries gridlocked in their own clandestine war.
Combed from the land where even gods are known to fall, subtle clues sweep Peet from majestic Mayan pyramids to Izapan mythology to the Long Count Calendar’s cosmology. Secrets are as entangled as the tropical forests and unraveling them requires wading through the emotional jungle of his own heart. In this world, truths are distorted every step of the way and Peet must determine which friends cannot be trusted, which enemies to befriend, what finds were never lost and which losses should never be found.
Are there any authors who inspire you?
Many authors, and in many different ways. I really enjoy the elements of a good western, so Larry McMurtry is probably my first love. But I have favorites in a variety of genres, from Willa Cather and Cormac McCarthy to Dan Brown and Michael Crichton. But perhaps the most influential author I’ve come across to date is James Rollins. I can’t get enough of his books!
How do you write? Do you make yourself write a certain number of words per day?
My writing is a constant adjustment to the rest of my life. As hard as I try, I just can’t seem to get into a consistent, day to day pattern, and when I do, I lose my muse. Right now, I write when I can, and that’s when I’m not researching for the next book. It may take me a little longer to finish a book, especially depending on the amount of research involved, but somehow, it all comes together.
Did you try to get a conventional publisher or agent interested before you opted for self-publishing?
I queried fifty agents with Effigy and after the fiftieth, I started sending out to small publishers before I resorted to the self-published option. Fortunately for me, the first small publisher I queried, Whiskey Creek Press, picked up Effigy. I went back to them with Deity and the rest is history.
What goals have you set yourself? Do you want to sell a certain number of books in 2012? Is there some way you measure success, on your own terms?
My writing goals are fairly simple – find time to write and the rest will follow. Because I am published through a small publisher, much of the marketing falls into my hands and so I do what I can to promote the books. That’s not easy when time is limited to begin with. But that’s how you learn to get creative!
How have you marketed your books?
Truth be known, I wouldn’t be on any social networks if it weren’t for promoting my books. Having said that, the social networks have been a great opportunity for a no-name from the middle of nowhere to market my work. I’ve discovered that having a website is an absolute must and I am on Twitter and Facebook and a number of ning networks. I pay very little on advertising due to my limited resources. I do pound the keyboard looking for interview and book review opportunities – anything to get more of a presence on the web. When Effigy came out in paperback I also began pounding the pavement going to bookstores and utilizing signing opportunities whenever and wherever I can. I’m sure I’m going about this the hard way, but right now, I’m just trying to get established as a writer. I’m hoping these first books will get my foot in the door to something bigger in the future. I don’t expect much more than that right now.
Away from Amazon, have you had much luck with other outlets? Do you use Smashwords, Barnes & Noble etc?
My publisher uses Amazon and Fictionwise as well as selling directly through them, but unfortunately I don’t see how well these individual outlets do in sales. There’s no breakdown on my royalties statements. Having said that, aside from the sales I’ve made on my own, e-book sales have been decent.
Do you worry about Amazon gaining a monopoly in the ebook market?
Not so much, especially in light of Barnes and Noble signing on with Microsoft. I still wonder if the full potential of the e-book market is yet to be met.
What’s next? Are you working on anything at the moment? Do you have anything new coming out in 2012?
With Deity coming out in July, I am currently working on the third and final book in the series. From there, I have more ideas turning in my head. I just need the research to help flesh them out!