Friday, September 10, 2010

Interview with Noah Mullette-Gillman

Continuing my author interviews, I’d like to welcome Noah Mullette-Gillman!

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.
Some artists start first with characters. Some start with plot. I have written stories that started either way, but the ones that excite me are the ones that begin in my mind with an image.

Sometimes these half-understood blurry visions will haunt the back of my mind for years and I won’t know what to do with them. I won’t understand what I’m looking at until I’ve lived with them for a long time.

This was how The White Hairs came to me. I’d had an idea that wasn’t quite right in my mind for a long time. It involved magicians traveling outer-space, not on spaceships, but by leaving their bodies.

Now, that’s good, but it’s not quite there. I turned it over and over in my head trying to wring out the final piece until I finally saw the picture in my mind of a great being covered with white hair leaving that body and going out to explore the universe.

I imagined what it would be like for a creature in that culture, learning for the first time how to leave his flesh and wandering the sky. That quickly became Farshoul, my protagonist, and the story wrote itself in a little over a month after that.

The deeper issues in the story bubbled up from my own psyche where they had been lying for a long time, waiting for a place they could escape to. Yes, The White Hairs is fantasy, but if you read it right, it should not be light reading. It begins at the beginning of a spiritual quest, and it follows that quest through the decades of Farshoul’s life until it is resolved. You can tag along with him and experience that journey for yourselves if you allow the story to possess you at that level.

Did you query agents or traditional publishers before publishing on Amazon?
Not for this story. I had written another book after The White Hairs. It had a major problem. I had misunderstood formatting. I’d thought I had a 500-page novel, but it turns out that 250,000 is about double that! I did present it to some agents and they were very complimentary, and then said that they wanted to see my next book.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?
As Morrissey said, “How soon is now?” I don’t want to wait forever for my life to start. I’m on this planet to be an author, and I could well die of old age before I figure out how to satisfy the traditional publishing system. And I don’t think I’ve burned any bridges. Who knows what the future may bring? Perhaps, this will become the way of querying the establishment – by initially self-publishing!

Will you try to garner a traditional publishing contract for any future books?
I’m honestly not sure what to do. I’d be happy to work with a traditional publisher who appreciated my work. I think, like any young author, when I got that offer I’d feel like I was Superman finally defeating Lex Luthor for the last time… but the process is so slow and so cold. I don’t want to spend months begging and praying again that they will be so merciful as to look at my work and consider whether or not to allow me to be a writer. It’s a process that I think destroys most authors. It’s set up to discourage and break us. And no, I don’t think only the best get through. It’s not evolution, not survival of the strongest. It’s more like the meteor that killed the dinosaurs. We lost the Brontosaurus. We lost the most magnificent life forms in that devastation. The survivors might have been our ancestors, but they were less than what was lost.

If another meteor hit today and only the cockroaches survived, the world would never be the better for it, not in a billion years.  This is the current state of literature in our society.

Did you design your cover art?  If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information?
I have been friends with artist Dana Black since I was 15. When we were in high school we dreamed of being the next Wolfman & Perez or Claremont & Byrne. He’s grown into an amazing artist, but has had a hard time up until now of ever believing anything he created was good enough.

I called him and told him that I was planning to publish The White Hairs. He dropped his life for a week and a half and we worked together to design the cover. He executed it. The back cover was a painted sketch he sent me. I changed the color, and blew it up and transformed it into what you see. When he got his copy of the book in the mail, it was like a new picture he’d never seen before!

All of the interior photography is my own work.

I didn’t ask Dana for help with the cover to The Song of Ballad and Crescendo for two reasons: First of all, I quickly came up with that beautiful cover myself! Secondly, Dana is hard at work creating a fully-illustrated version of a children’s story of mine, and I don’t want to tear him away from that for a second!
No, Dana doesn’t have a webpage, but he spends a lot of time at The White Hairs fan page on Facebook.

How did you feel when you got your first sale? 
Impatient. I didn’t want one sale. I wanted a lot lot lot more than that… But, I understood from the beginning that I wasn’t about to sell a million copies any time soon. What I’m doing now is laying the groundwork for a career. The White Hairs has ten strong reviews on Amazon, and was recently given a fantastic appraisal by I’m slowly building a reputation. Selling copies would be great! But I can’t be short sighted.

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
Twitter: Noahlot is my webpage. I have a blog there, and I am also running a weekly author interview series. Each week I interview three authors. These can be pretty meaty interviews. I make sure to read at least the free previews of each author’s work before interviewing them, so the questions are specific to their actual work!

I spend a lot of time at the Kindle boards. That’s a great place for authors to gather and, frankly, help each other!

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
And, if you Google me, it seems you can find The White Hairs from vendors I’ve never heard of in India, Kenya, and Japan!

What’s next for you?
After having hard a time writing for a year or more, publishing The White Hairs has been fantastic for my writing! I am currently working on two new novels. One is about magicians in the modern world. But the one I’m writing today, the one I expect to publish next is a survivalist story. It’s sci-fi/horror. I’ve always loved zombie stories, and post-nuclear stories, but I have a fundamental problem with writing a book about either of them myself: I didn’t come up with it! Someone actually thought up zombies. Someone dreamed up a post-nuclear world….not me! So, for a long time I’ve been looking for an idea of my own that lets me tell a story like that, one just as good as zombies or the post-nuclear world. I have it! I’m half-way through writing it, and crazy optimistic enough to think I may be able to publish it in a few months!

I’ve already even done the cover art!
I’m also working with White Hairs cover artist Dana Black on an illustrated children’s book. He is the artist, but I am deeply involved with the design work. We’re calling me the “art director!” I’m not sure how long it will take Dana to draw it, but he’s doing what’s easily the best work of his life right now. Publishing this one will change everything!