Monday, October 3, 2011

Interview with Jeffrey VandeZande

Briefly describe your journey in writing your book.
Threatened Species, the novella, started as a flash fiction piece, which is now the first chapter. For whatever reason, I kept thinking about these characters and decided to push forward with them. I held myself, however, to writing chapters of 750 words or less. In a way, that kind of restriction actually made it easier to write the book. Each night, I could write a chapter, and they usually ended up being quite tight. 

What genre are your books? 
Do you write in more than one genre? I would say that my genre in my novels is literary realism. I also write poetry and screenplays. In fact I wrote a short film screenplay based on the opening chapter of Threatened Species. Filmmaker Michael Randolph shot it, and I had the pleasure of starring in it with my son. Even my wife got in on the act. The film can be viewed here:

Did you query agents and traditional publishers?  Did you receive an offer of representation or a book contract? 
I did not go through an agent. I’d heard that the well-established Whistling Shade magazine was starting a press. The editor had published an excerpt from Threatened Species in the magazine, so I queried him about the possibility of the press publishing the novella. He read and like the novella, and the rest is history.

What factors influenced your decision to sign with Untreed Reads?
Whistling Shade Press only does traditional print publishing, and the editor was open to me pursuing another press for the e-rights to the book. I was familiar with Untreed Reads because I’d had a story in their anthology Discount Noir. I liked Untreed Reads’ marketing approach, and I liked Jay Hartman’s down-to-earth and humorous demeanor. He was great to work with as we prepared for Threatened Species’ e-release. 

How involved are you during the creative process for your book’s cover design?
Joel Van Valin at Whistling Shade Press designed the cover. I was involved to the extent that he would send me possible covers ideas, and I could say yes or no.

Do you plan to self-publish any other books or will you stay with Untreed Reads?
I don’t think I’ll ever self publish. I probably will always be a small press writer, though. I did like Untreed Reads and might very well send them another manuscript.

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
That’s the part I really don’t like and yet I know I have to do it. I do have a blog (, and I have a Facebook page. I have had some luck contacting local book clubs. Because Threatened Species has so much fly fishing in it, I was able to get a few fly fishing magazines and blogs to review it. I’m still learning the marketing thing. It’s a fine line between saying too little or sounding like you’re ALWAYS talking about your book, which looks a little pathetic if nobody else is talking about it.

How do you feel about the world of digital publishing?  Do you think it will replace traditional publishing one day?
Experts I’m reading seem to think that the days of the print book are numbered. I hope not. I’m open to digital publishing, but I grew up holding books, and I still like that, too.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned during your journey as an author? Getting a book into the hands of readers (or the memory cards of e-readers) is the hard part. By comparison, writing the book is a relative joy.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Love the writing. If you don’t love the writing, but you’re writing because you think there’s big money in writing. Well… go ahead; I won’t spoil the ending for you.

What’s next for you?
I just finished a new novel that I will probably be revising for the next year or so.