Monday, January 20, 2014

Interview with R.S. McCoy

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Sparks tells the story of Lark, a young man from a desperate life who has somehow managed to be able to read minds and sense emotions. The trouble is that he has no control over whose thoughts he can read and when those thoughts come crashing into his mind. Lark ends up at a school that trains students in their abilities, or ‘sparks’, but his mentor is determined to see him fail and he struggles to progress despite his rare ability. Currently, Sparks is a standalone novel but I hope to have the sequel Spirits out next year.

Do you have a favorite character?
Oh yea. Avis mentors Lark at school, but hates him and loves him at the same time. He’s mysterious and moody but somehow still brutally honest. In my mind he’s also devastatingly handsome.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Yes and yes! When I wrote Sparks I knew I wanted to introduce Micha, a character who was essentially the opposite of the main character Lark. Micha grew up without struggle; he wanted success to keep his family honor rather than for survival. Somehow I fell in love with Micha despite his easy life and he wriggled his way into the rest of the book.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Only for a day or two and then I thought better of it. I sent out two query letters to agents after doing massive amounts of research. While researching how to put together the perfect query letter, I came across a lot of information comparing trade publishing and self-publishing. In the end, I decided self-publishing was the better route for me, and I haven’t looked back.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book?
My friends and family will tell you that I am a totally nutty hyper-organized control freak, so I think self-publishing suits my personality. I wanted to have complete control over the cover art, content, marketing plan, publication date and all the other little things that publishers might try to change. I’m way too stubborn to let someone else tell me how I need to write or what I should write about it.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I participate in critique groups and forums, specifically Writer’s Beat, Mythic Scribes and Scribophile. Overall, the forums and critiques provided invaluable feedback about inconsistencies and weaknesses in my writing style, which helped to strengthen my writing style and voice. I even met a few people who became important to the progress of Sparks, including the editor JK Loveless.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
Amazingly, this process is not impossible. Even more unbelievable is the fact that I can do it. I did do it! A year ago, publishing a book would have seemed like an insurmountable task, something for the Stephen Kings and JK Rowlings of the world. A lot of time, research and hard work have gone into it, but publishing and marketing a book is completely possible and a lot more fun than I would have ever expected!

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book?
I started out with just the Big Fish Blog to document my journey from total inexperience to self-publication, and hopefully pass along my hard earned lessons to the next authors looking to try it. The forums came in somewhere and are a lot of fun to participate in. Mythic Scribes caters to fantasy writers, and those guys have some wild ideas! More recently I have opened up a Facebook page, Twitter and Tumblr to connect with other authors and bloggers. And what girl doesn’t love Pinterest? Getting to know everyone has been a really great experience!

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
No. Ha! Joking… I will always love science, specifically the life sciences. Animals are a big part of my life. I love baking despite my husband’s disinterest in anything sweet. And I love being a mom! My kids are addicted to anything with books, fish, trains, dinosaurs or music and we spend a lot of time catering to their interests. I can’t wait until they are old enough to appreciate the Natural History Museum!

What’s next for you?
The sequel of Sparks! Lark still has a lot to learn and some unresolved issues with certain villainous types. Hopefully Spirits will be released sometime in 2014. I’m so excited!

Contact Links:

 Big Fish Blog