Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Interview with Caddy Rowland

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
My latest book is the 2nd book in the Gastien Series, which came out in December 2011.  The title is Gastien Part 2: From Dream to Destiny.  In it, Gastien is now living in his studio in Montmartre.  He is an artist during the nineteenth century bohemian art era of Paris.  Here is the formal blurb:  
"I am Gastien Beauchamp, artist and lover. Any Frenchman would tell you that a peasant could never own property in nineteenth century France. Yet here I am, in my very own studio. The personal cost was horrendous. I barely survived the choices I made, and my sanity was pushed to its limits.

Still, I finally now have security, peace, and freedom. For the rest of my life I can spend time "making love to the color", making love to beautiful women, and enjoying the wild nightlife of bohemian Montmartre. What more could a man need or want?

Then, one night, I see her. One look at Sophie, and my heart wants to betray me! I try to tell myself that I know better. Who needs love, anyway? I am already married-to my art!
No woman would ever understand and accept my lifestyle; nor am I about to give that lifestyle up. Not when I paid so dearly for it! Besides, I am too badly damaged to ever open up my heart...and if Sophie found out about my past she would not want to even know my name. I can't take that chance. I have had enough pain to last me a lifetime."

Because this is a series, I think it is important to start with the first book. Although book 2 can be read on its own, it is much better if the reader knows about Gastien’s past. Book one is Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream.  That first book is the story of Gastien’s coming of age.  It follows him from leaving his home on the farm, under the heel of an abusive father.  His struggle to stay alive on the streets of Paris is horrendous.  Both books are very steamy.

In this first book of the Gastien series, young Gastien Beauchamp begins his journey from the farm to Paris with two goals in life. The first is to become an artist with his own studio, following his own rules. That is an almost impossible dream for a peasant with no money or formal training. Paris spits out talented men into the gutters every day. “Good” gets you nowhere. “Great” maybe gets you a bowl of soup.

The second is to become the greatest lover in France. That should be easy. With his stunning looks and willingness to learn, the women of Paris are about to be awakened in a way they have only dreamt about in the nineteenth century!

Gastien also has focus, drive, and raw, natural talent. With the dream burning inside of him, he is determined to succeed at any cost. Poor Gastien. If he could only know in advance what brutal struggles await him, he might turn around and go back home.

Sometimes the “impossible” is possible. But the cost can be extremely high.
This series has adult themes and is historical fiction/family saga.  Both book are very steamy.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
No.  I had been self-employed in sales for several years. I like calling my own shots.  I also did not want to waste several months waiting for a publisher to pick me up, only to find out I would still have to do the majority of marketing and take less of a percentage than I would get on my own.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
Not currently.  I have been invited to one and may possibly join.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
The things I mentioned above.  Also, I liked the fact that my voice would be heard in the way I wanted and when I wanted.  So many books used to go unpublished because the genre was not popular.  Today, if you don’t write about vampires and werewolves you are in the minority.  I want to write what I want how I want and when I want.  Indie publishing has lost a lot of its stigma.  It is now quite “cool”…kind of like indie films.  There are still some traditional authors that knock us, but perhaps that is because they feel threatened. I don’t know.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
No.  I did my own editing and proofing, but I also have a half dozen beta readers that are very good.  The editing takes longer than the writing.  Each book is over 400 pages.  Both of them took me 4 months each to edit and format.  I will be faster with the formatting now, but the editing needs to be done carefully.  I am aware that there is a lot of crap out there by people that self publish.  They think spell check is editing.  Some don’t even use that!  It really angers me when I see indies that put out sloppy work.  A few mistakes I can forgive in a full-length novel.  I even see that with books that are published by major publishers. However, to have several words spelled wrong, poor punctuation, and awful formatting is unacceptable to me.  At some point I hope to be able to afford a good proofer because it takes more time than writing the book.  I could double my output if I did not edit and proof.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
That I can use the left side of my brain when I need to!  Formatting for publishing is very left brained.  I am fully right brained.  I thought at times my head would explode!

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes.  They are on BarnesandNoble.com for NOOK.  They are also available as paperbacks at Createspace.com.    Here are all of my links:

 Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream
Available in Paperback at https://www.createspace.com/3664944
Available on Amazon.com for Kindle http://tinyurl.com/3ecu8ku
Available on Barnes&Noble.com for NOOK http://tinyurl.com/3ue4a7h
Gastien Part 2: From Dream to Destiny
Available in Paperback at https://www.createspace.com/3749863
Available on Amazon.com for Kindle http://tinyurl.com/bv9zosn
Available on Barnes&Noble.com for NOOK http://tinyurl.com/cx87deq

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I tweet some, but need to improve. My handle there is @caddyorpims.
I have a fanpage for Gastien on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Gastien.Beauchamp.

I also update friends on my personal page.  I do author interviews and guest posts, have done Pixel of Ink (which was very good for Gastien Part 1), and blog about five days a week.  My blog is called Writer of Fiction, Painter of Life & Energy.  I blog about writing, painting, men, women, life, love and whatever else I feel like on a given day.  Here is the link: http://caddyrowlandblog.blogspot.com I am constantly looking for more reviewers for my book and contacting them.  Yes, I know you are closed!  J

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes, definitely!  That is the hardest part of all.  Another difficult thing is marketing a series.  You want to market the later books in the series as they come up, yet you want people to start at book 1, so you also need to keep marketing that one.  Plus, when I ask for reviews, I always ask for book 1 to be reviewed.  Book 1 will always be the biggest part of my marketing.  Readers will buy the others because they love book 1. Any of the books can stand alone, but they are best read in order so that the reader understands the life experiences of each character and why they do what they do.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Just do it.  It seems overwhelming, but if you want it bad enough you can do it. Trust yourself.  And trust me when I tell you that you WILL get through the formatting.  There are forums with people to help you through it.  Every question I posed they answered. Most importantly: If you are not REALLY GOOD at grammar and proofing, pay someone.  And I mean REALLY GOOD.  If you are that good, then spend months doing it.  My books get a dozen read throughs by me after they are in the final draft and one of those is out loud.  It is amazing the mistakes you find when reading out loud. 

What’s next for you?
I am halfway through the first draft of book 3 of the Gastien Series. It is titled Tristan Michel: Bloodline of Passion.  I took a break to do this interview and then I will be back at it. I hope to have it released in late spring.  Emphasis on the word hope!  J 

There will be at least 4 books in the series, possibly five.  I hope to have book four released by August.  Book 5-if it happens- is targeted for December.  It all depends upon how I feel about the first draft of each book, how much rewriting is involved and then those weeks and weeks of editing. I also paint and I hear my favorite brush calling…