Monday, April 11, 2011

Interview with S.M. Jonas

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first or latest book.
I wrote Crimson Leaf because I always liked the notion of creating a murder mystery with plenty of genuine clues, but which would still to keep the reader guessing throughout. The fantasy element allowed me to introduce a couple of unusual features that gave a new twist to the mystery genre. While I had hoped that the fantasy setting would save on research, a great deal of it still proved essential to keep subjects such as falconry, poisons, healing, etc. plausible and authentic. I have since come to love the process of research.

Did you query agents and traditional publishers?  How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract?
Crimson Leaf, being multi-genre (fantasy, murder mystery, romance, coming-of-age) would be very difficult to place with conventional publishers or bookstores. It took a few years, and many submissions, to accept that fact and decide to give indie publishing a go.

Since then, I've changed genre and developed a very different 'voice', and have recently been offered representation for my commercial thrillers.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will publish directly for Kindle?
I have an agent for my thrillers, which are very different novels from the fantasies on which I cut my teeth. There is a second fantasy that followed Crimson Leaf, but it requires a lot more work before I would consider publishing it on Kindle.

Did you design your cover art?
Yes. I used to paint in oils, and in recent years I've designed many pieces of digital artwork for various purposes. I enjoyed designing the cover art and putting together the trailer (see

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner publicity for your book(s)?
As I am using a pseudonym, I'm unable to exploit my established Facebook account so I've concentrated on the Crimson Leaf website - - and on forums such as Kindleboards and Mobileread as well as blogs such as twoendsofthepen.

Besides Amazon, are there other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes, Smashwords, which distributes to a wide range of formats and outlets including Barnes & Noble.

What is the best advice you can offer new authors?
Make sure that your work is as polished as possible, and that it isn't a lack of some important quality that is blocking your access to conventional publishing. Join writers groups, local or online, to find people willing to read and criticize your work in return for you doing the same. You will learn a great deal from both sides of the process.

What’s next for you?
To market Crimson Leaf as an indie while making the changes suggested by my agent to my latest (and hopefully to be traditionally published) novel.

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