Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Jak Hartlen, 19, the son of William and Mary, will face many thresholds of flesh and mind on his road to reaping the Whirl Wind; seeds of grief and guilt only now coming to fruition. If only they’d know what they were doing... The Gan and their Areht who shape the world behind the scenes will hate him, because he's a threat they're not sure can be chained.
The Pillars and their Faithful who spread the world's leading religion will fear him, because his existence, once known, will challenge Ages of dogma and accepted history.
The Crimson King and its Servants who seek to return to power, destroying all that remains of The White, will hunt him, because even in death, they're not sure he'll ever bow to the Dark.
—They All Should. For as One of Five with the power to shake the world, they will hollow his heart and mind through countless sacrifice and vengeful selfishness.
Back Cover Blurb:
After a year of laborious solitude and a conflict brought to the doorstep of his father's house, Jak, a Southlander of meek circumstance, will come to accept the future isn't set. Through abilities unnerving to any Areht, against enemies rising in every corner of the planet, he’ll be forced to resolve his destiny as one of five that can change the world. Such selfless transcendence isn’t easy, nor simply the heroic result of dark revelations shielded from him since childhood now exposed; rather, it's because of what’s undeniable, even to him. Like all great forces collected at the tip of the spear, the truth of his purpose and the price of his existence has a cost and there's no getting around paying it
Do you have a favorite character?
I have a favorite Main and Secondary Character. My favorite main character, is, of course, Jak—the hero of our story. My favorite secondary character is a two-way tie, though not between Jak’s trusted friends along the way of his epic journey: Palomeer, a guardian of sorts, who remains much in the background and Üllrik, a force-unto-himself, who doesn’t appear till nearly the end of the story—for reasons I can’t explain without giving things away.
Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
It happened all the time. As it should. Outside of Jak, every character is a minor character. The story is about HIM; however, as the plot moves along, people join the hero and thus their story/background expands. The world grows. Now, since mine is an epic world, the blending of Fantasy and Science Fiction, I’ve got tons of room and time—if my will holds—to expand all these characters in ways that flow back and forth through the plot. A common saying in my story is “And the World Turn(s)ed” which is a soft reminder that as the pages in your hand are turning, w/e you’re not reading about, is also moving forward. A great example of a minor becoming a major is the focus of my prologue, which outlines a brief moment before the story and focuses on Mr. Black. I hope everyone checks it out.
Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes. It felt like forever, though my wife was constantly reminding me it’d only been a handful of months. I quickly gave up on Agents and began reaching out to Publishers directly. A few were interested, some had me on stand-by—email conversations taking weeks at a time—when Black Bed Sheet Books grabbed my attention and without haste made me an offer over a live chat on FB. Second best feeling in the world.
What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
I’ll be honest. Like every author, you want the best for your book. You want that big deal. You want to be seen everywhere. However, it’s a business and the big guys play rough and despite how much they might like your book, if they can’t sell it FAST to make their ROI—meaning one of a hundred things, not all bad—they’ll pass. We all understand that: Publishers and Agents, for the most part, are about What’s Hot; What’s Selling: What’s now and how much are you like that. I like Black Bed Sheet Books and other small/medium press because, well, I see the passion there. Also, I like breaking new ground and with me, BBS, which did only horror, was reaching out into new territory. I liked that.
If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I used Angela R. Sasser http://www.angelicshades.com/ for my cover and my world map and if you’ve seen them, you know she did an amazing job. I was as hands on as I could be, but I’m no artist. I sent her drafts from my work, detailed descriptions and we talked a lot over email. With all that, she took my world and ran with it. Only once did we revisit something. Everything she did for me was amazing. Without her, my book wouldn’t look as good as it does.
What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I take a hack’n’slash approach to writing. I know the beginning, middle and end, points in-between, then I start writing. I outline here-an-there, but only for a few chapters ahead. When I’m all done, I reread a dozen times, putting things in, taking things out. It’s kinda messy but I feel better about an organic process rather than spending so much time banging outa fully realized outline without making a single keystroke. No, I don’t often listen to music, but at times I do. Mostly I take breaks walking around my house, outside, talking to myself—which is funny when I’m caught doing it.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I did that long long ago. It was horrible. Not only did it cost a lot $$$, but the editor/book Doctor—makes me mad to this day—wanted me to rewrite it to HER ideas of what my book should be. Then I spent some time shopping it around town to people in-the-know, contacts and such. Finally, the last thing I did was take it to the street. Me and a buddy took my work, a few pages, to a local bookstore (one of the big guys) and started asking people what they liked or didn’t like in books and if their taste fit mine, we showed it to them. Now, both of us said we weren’t the author, that he/she was outside and we were telling them our opinion of the work was that it wasn’t ready for publication and this was our friendly way of trying to get an unbiased read on readers so he/she wouldn’t be hurt by any rejections. However, to our amazement, 9 out of 10 people liked it and a few asked when it would be published, what was the writers name so they could look it up in a year or so. Sometime after that, I did take one more crack at a “professional” evaluation, someone I’d read about, double checked and felt would give me an honest reading. He did and with that confidence, I worked on the few things he mentioned and quickly began pursuing publishing.
What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
Sometimes I feel like I spend too much time doing this. But, I use my blog Wade Garret’s World wjgarret.blogspot.com; Twitter @wadejgarret; Facebook WadeGarret and a handful of others, including Goodreads, Booklikes, LibraryThing, Dieselpunks and I’m a member of countless blogs and sites where I rarely frequent...I say this not because I don’t want to visit or post there, but because you can spend away hours doing this and feel like it didn’t get you anything that day. You’ve got to be specific. Best, link your twitter to everything and make one post and it goes everywhere.
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Well, if you don’t have to self-publish, don’t. This is to say, it’s really hard, takes a ton of time and money. Remember, once it’s published, a publisher might not republish it...also, it’s very easy to get lost in the pile of free/cheap books out there. Ok, enough of that cause I don’t want to discourage people from publishing their works, I often thought about giving up on writing for awhile if I didn’t get a publisher. So, to my new authors just striking out, I say this. CAUTION!!!!! Wear a helmet, cause life sucks some times, but in the end, if you’re not writing what you want to write, what only you can write, why are you doing it? Don’t be someone else. You’re far more interesting.