Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
PERFECTION UNLEASHED is a dystopian/science-fiction novel that offers a “fascinating and compelling view” into a possible future.
The Genetic Revolution has transformed the world, giving rise to human derivatives—clones, in-vitros, and mutants—that are arguably better than humans. Toss Galahad, the “perfect” human being, into the mix, and the volatile environment explodes.
PERFECTION UNLEASHED is loaded with fast-paced action and character growth—it is a journey of self-discovery for Danyael Sabre, an alpha empath, who learns that he was used as Galahad’s physical template—but underlying the novel are questions that society has wrestled with for centuries. What does equality mean in the face of unequal talents? How does society deal with people who are different from the norm? What does “perfection” in a human being really mean?
How are your story ideas born?
From movies in my mind! Several reviewers of PERFECTION UNLEASHED have enjoyed its highly visual scenes and compared the novel to an action movie, anime, and graphic novel. Their feedback thrilled me because that’s actually what happens behind the scenes. I describe and write the movie I see in my mind. As the movie’s director and producer (and scriptwriter), I manage all elements of the story—its pace, its perspectives and points of view, when and where tension crests, and of course, its characters. I’ve found that thinking about the novel as a movie helps eliminate the slow scenes or interludes that some authors tend to write into the novels but that two-hour movies on a tight budget cannot afford to do. When I watch my mental movie, I’ll sometimes think, “I need a cut scene there,” or “That scene doesn’t work. It needs something…else.” And that’s how story ideas are born: What do I need to do to make this movie in my mind a tension-packed blockbuster?
Do you have a favorite line or scene from your latest release?
In a pivotal scene, Jason Rakehell, president of Purest Human (a pro-humanist organization), points a handgun at Galahad, the perfect human being, and Danyael Sabre, the physical template for Galahad. Jason then demands that his father, Roland Rakehell and creator of Galahad, to choose between Galahad and Danyael. The issue isn’t that Roland can’t tell Galahad and Danyael apart—he can. The question is whether Roland will choose his precious creation, Galahad, over Danyael Sabre, the son whom he believed died many years prior…
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
For a few months, I dabbled with the traditional publication process (querying agents, etc.) Three agents were intrigued enough to ask for the full manuscript. Two eventually turned it down. The third one has probably not read it yet (and I sent it to her in September 2011.) Enough said. Time doesn’t stand still while the wheels of traditional publishing slowly turn. I researched my options in self-publication and found that Amazon (and its subsidiaries, Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing) have really made the publication effort as seamless and easy as humanly possible. Furthermore, Amazon is the gorilla in the room and the largest single generator of sales for most self-published novels. For me, Amazon was the natural choice.
What is your writing process?
I can usually complete a first draft in three months. I don’t work off a detailed outline but I typically have a sense of the overall story, the large arcs and plotlines, before I start. I also know where I want the story to end up. Once the first draft is done, I turn it over to my husband, my most trusted beta reader, to tell me what doesn’t work. With his input, I typically get to a second draft by the fourth month. From there, I start self-editing for sentence flow, missing punctuation, style, etc. Other beta readers typically get a third draft, which is the same version I send to my editor.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes, I do. I work with Bobbie Christmas from Zebra Communications. She is expensive, but I’ve learned so much from working through her edits. With her help, my style has improved tremendously between PERFECTION UNLEASHED and PERFECT WEAPON (Book 3). I’m planning to send PERFECT WEAPON to her shortly for editing, and I hope it will come back much less red than PERFECTION UNLEASHED did… J
What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
Anyone can self-publish, but it is best suited for the organized control-freak (like me.) To actually have a successful, self-published novel that is generating healthy sales, one must manage a dozen steps and myriad details that extend far beyond just having a completed manuscript. It’s a journey that fortunately offers many partners (e.g., Amazon, other authors, book bloggers.) It’s all about finding friends to accompany you down that (increasingly crowded) road.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Oh, yes! I recently started getting active on Twitter. Has there ever been a larger killer of productive writing time than Twitter? (Even Facebook is a distant second.) I’m also busy with a blog tour for my September 2012 promotion of PERFECTION UNLEASHED. I try to carve out dedicated chunks of time for writing and marketing. I find that it doesn’t help to fluctuate between activities within a single hour. I get almost nothing done that way.
What’s next for you?
PERFECT BETRAYAL and PERFECT WEAPON, books two and three in the Double Helix series, will be released in late November 2012, and I’m planning a large promotional event in December to launch those novels. Meanwhile, I’m working on the next novels in the series, including a YA/crossover spin-off. You can check out my website here at: http://www.jadekerrion.com
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