Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Interview with M.G. Scarsbrook

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.  How long did it take you to finish that manuscript?
THE MARLOWE CONSPIRACY is my first novel. The actual writing of the book took me approximately 6 months, although I had a long planning period before that, and many months of research, too. I stumbled across the subject of Christopher Marlowe while researching one of his plays. As I started reading biographies about his dramatic life and death, I realized it was an excellent story for a novel. Not only was Marlowe a famous playwright, but he was most probably a spy, and a criminal, too. The murder-mystery surrounding his untimely death is fascinating (he was stabbed in a tavern while in the company of several espionage operatives).

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I queried many agents, and after a few months I received three offers for representation. I chose an agent from a medium-sized agency in New York who had numerous NYT Bestsellers on her list. Over a period of about 6 months she approached most of the major houses, and came close to reaching a deal a several times, but ultimately nothing happened.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I like the freedom it offers for both my writing and my career - it allows me to be fully responsible for my life as a writer. I chose to publish with Amazon because it is currently the largest market for eBooks.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
More than anything else, I've learned how much work actually goes into the production of a book (beyond the writing). For example, since deciding to self-publish, I have gained experience at designing book covers, at properly formatting and typesetting a manuscript, converting a novel into various eBook formats, editing a proof copy of a novel, designing an author website, and publicizing / marketing a novel! Phew!

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?

THE MARLOWE CONSPIRACY is currently available at the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo, Diesel eBookstore, Smashwords, and the Scribd Store.

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I have an author website and a Facebook page and I try to main a presence at various discussion forums for writers and readers, such as KindleBoards.com and goodreads.com. I'm also in contact with various blogs and historical societies for the purpose of gaining reviews.

What’s next for you?
I will shortly release my second novel POISON IN THE BLOOD: THE MEMOIRS OF LUCREZIA BORGIA, an historical mystery-thriller set in renaissance Rome during the scandalous reign of the Borgia family. It will be available as both a paperback and eBook. After that, I have plans to venture into a new genre - contemporary detective fiction, and will be writing the first novel of a ground-breaking new detective series set in London. Exciting stuff!

Matthew has a BA in Philosophy from The University of British Columbia, and an MA in Screenwriting from CSU Northridge. As a student, his scripts were twice selected for performance at the cinema department's annual showcase -- an unprecedented achievement in the department's history.

He recently adapted THE MARLOWE CONSPIRACY into a script and won the nationwide Writers On The Storm Screenwriting Contest, placing first out of 1000 entries. This script has also ranked within the top 30 at the Nicholl Fellowships, the most prestigious screenwriting contest in the world.

Matthew now lives in Southern California and is currently at work on a new detective series.