Friday, June 12, 2015

Interview with Auden Johnson, CHAINS OF THE SCIELL

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Chains of the Sciell is Book 2 of the Merging World Series. The series surrounds a family of beings called Sciell and Miners who pull Energy from Darkness, store this Energy inside themselves and use their bodies to mold it into electricity, shields, weapons, attacks, almost anything they can think of. They also feed off and manipulate a person’s inner Darkness.

In Chains of the Sciell, certain members of this family had their memories altered. They still have their power. They don’t know their past. They’re kidnapped and trapped in this mansion that feels familiar though they have no memories of the place. The enemy wants to break them. They want the power the trapped Sciell possess. The Sciell’s memories slowly return. They become better at controlling their power. The enemy always watches. The mansion poisons them while it feeds on their power, keeping them trapped and weak. The trapped group needs to remember their past and their powers in order to escape.

Do you have a favorite character?
I can feel my characters glaring at me over my shoulder. I’d say Divine and Josephine are my two favorites with Blae as a close third. But, I also really like Aliceanna’s tartness. Kaige’s devotion to his sister is so sweet. This is so hard. I can’t chose just one. The characters’ personalities make them so much fun to write. They’re all extraordinarily loyal to their family. They totally spoil each other.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Bel (Belial) Styne was supposed to be a small character. I didn’t intend to give him any chapters. Towards the end of Book 2, Chains of the Sciell, and all of Book 3, I found myself writing more chapters from his perspective. I don’t know why. It didn’t change the novel.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
I’m working with a small press publisher, Aubey LLC. It’s been a tremendous help. I’m not big on the whole networking thing. My publisher talks with people to get me speaking engagements. Because of Aubey LLC, I was able to do two book signings at Book Expo America. Since it’s a small publisher just starting out, I design my own book covers and interiors and I put my books online using BookBaby and Amazon KDP. I handle all the online marketing and promotion. So, I’m a hybrid author. I have a publisher but I still self-publish my books, sort of. I like it this way. Designing a book is so much fun. I enjoy being elbow deep in the publishing process.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I usually start with a “what if” question. My current WIP started with “what if some creatures ate people soul’s while they’re leaning against the subway doors?” The Merging Worlds Series started with “what if the monster who eat people, weren’t actually monsters?” Then, I just start writing. I stop along the way to do some world building maybe consult Pinterest for some setting inspiration. Sometimes, I have music or Netflix on the background. When I’m in the zone, I don’t hear anything. I can work with or without background noise.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
Trial and error is the name of the game. You come across book marketing advice and try it on your book. It doesn’t work. You start the process all over again with another marketing technique. There is no one size fits all when it comes to book publishing and promotion. That’s incredibly frustrating, but that’s the way the industry is. Research book promotion then use that as inspiration to create your own unique way of marketing your book.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
You can find Chains of the Sciell on Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest. I also have a blog, which I update 2-3 times a week. Google+ groups helped me meet a lot of interesting writers and get some useful advice. Funny enough, I did not want to get on social media. I thought it would be a pain. As soon as I started one, I was hooked. I just kept signing up for more. Being on social media is actually a lot of fun.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Do your research. Far too often, I come across poorly formatted books or a cover that screams self-published. People still judge a book by its cover. Also, don’t get discourage if things, sales, don’t go the way you expect. They never do. You have to keep moving forward, keeping trying new things. Hold on to why you decided to self-publish.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I recently got into nature photography. Don’t know where it came from. I had this low-tech camera and it irritated me because I couldn’t take the kind of pictures I wanted. Then, I bought an awesome Cannon, a real camera, and that was all she wrote. I have thousands of pictures on my computer. I don’t know what it is about photography that I find so…inspiring. I love strolling through the park with my camera around my neck, ready to capture the perfect picture.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Auden is a dark fantasy writer. As a kid, she created her own books by folding several construction papers in half and stapling them down the middle, adding her own illustrations. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get away from writing. 

She holds a B.A. in English, a M.S. in Library and Information Science and she studied Creative Writing in England. She is a Research Assistant for Aubey LLC and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY- working towards her Masters in Publishing at NYU. Her short stories, No Vacancy, Clipped Wings and Welcome to My World and her novellas Visible Through Darkness and Shadows under the Light are now available through Amazon. The Sciell is her first novel. Chains of the Sciell was released June 2.

Find her at:
Instagram/ audenjohnson
Twitter @audendj

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