Friday, July 1, 2016

Interview with Ian Lewis, GODSPEED, CARRY MY BULLET

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
“Godspeed, Carry My Bullet” is the first of a two-part series. It’s my first full-length novel and was released in April of 2016. There’s a lot going on with this story: it’s a page-turning thriller with dystopian elements, a dash of espionage, action/adventure sequences, and political overtones. Many people shy away from anything to do with the latter (myself included), especially these days. However, the thrust or theme of the book is very much apolitical. It’s born of my frustration with partisan politics and how our two-party system has failed us.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I started with the traditional route since this story is long enough to be in print (my previous three releases, all eBooks with Untreed Reads, are novellas). Plus, the style in which the story is written is more accessible than my previous efforts which were in some cases experimental in nature. If anything I wrote would ever sit on a rack at Barnes and Nobles, I thought this would be it.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
This is something I told myself I’d never do. I changed my stance for a few reasons. One, I didn’t have any luck with hooking an agent. The feedback I’d received for the book was overwhelmingly positive, and I thought it was a relevant story that needed to be out there in the world. Keeping in mind that the publishing industry is a highly subjective business, and having been vetted by a publisher with my previous releases, I felt that I had proved to myself that I could write.

Two, I wrote the book for fun. The basis for the characters started as an inside joke among co-workers, and it was never meant to be official Ian Lewis canon. But I was so pleased with the result that I said what the heck. Three, I discovered I can’t say enough good things about this platform. It was such a seamless, intuitive process to get my document formatted, uploaded, etc. And I don’t know what the best part is, that they get you on all the big sites (including Amazon, without the KDP program), or that they don’t take a cut of your earnings.

How does this book compare with your other releases?
My first two novellas (The Camaro Murders and Lady in Flames) are supernatural thrillers of sorts.  They are both told from a first-person point of view and are somewhat literary. They comprise a loose series featuring an otherworldly character known as the Driver. My third novella (Power in the Hands of One) is a Science Fiction tale that serves as homage to shows like Voltron and the Big O. Though it's also told from a first person point of view, the narrative is a bit more straightforward than the other two because there's only one character to follow. "Godspeed, Carry My Bullet" reads in the more traditional third-person point of view. The story is devoid of fantastic elements and is much more accessible to the average reader. Whereas I wrote the other stories as purely a creative outlet, I wrote this one with a mass market appeal in mind. That's not to say the book is formulaic or cookie-cutter genre fiction. On the contrary, it takes the best parts of the thriller and action/adventure genres and couples them with believable, imperfect characters that are more than just cardboard cutouts.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
Membership in a critique group is absolutely necessary, in my opinion. My group meets once a month. The feedback I’ve received over the years has been invaluable. As long as your group is constructive, they’ll keep you honest with plot, character development, and whether you’re overwriting. It’s not just about mechanics and grammar. And each person has their own point of view, so you always get a fresh perspective on things. Equally as important is the fact that a critique group surrounds you with fellow writers. I needed that motivation to keep at it in the early days.

What inspires you to write?
I once read that art is usually a response to other art, or something along those lines. I think that holds true for me, though it's not always other fiction that does so. It's often things like music, movies, or other media that stick with me. The moodiness, atmosphere, or vibe of an album sometimes gets the creative juices flowing.  Visual media like movies are inspiring not so much from a storyline but from a style and cinematography point of view. The idea for Sheriff Hildersham (The Camaro Murders) came from Tommy Lee Jones' performance in No Country for Old Men. I've always been intrigued by Batman as a character, and though influences from the Batman universe haven't been too overt in my work thus far, they will feature more prominently in a new series that's on the back burner at the moment.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My book can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and Google Play. Check out the book’s landing page for links:

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I reluctantly joined Facebook despite my strong aversion to social media. So far it's been a failed experiment, but I don't really have time to run my page the way I should. So it's kind of an afterthought. I focus more on GoodReads where I host a blog about my work; I do some advertising there as well. I recently ran a book giveaway contest on LibraryThing. And I'm always on the lookout for interview slots or guest blog opportunities. I try to make it a point to contact libraries about my new releases if they’re available on Overdrive; this has actually paid off quite a bit. Libraries have been my best customers.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Absolutely. It takes nearly as much effort, if not more, to market my work as it does to write it. With two small children at home and a full-time job, I have to pick and choose how much time I devote to marketing seeing as I barely have time to write at all. I’ve resigned myself to writing on my lunch break at work and late at night after everyone goes to bed.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently writing the sequel to “Godspeed, Carry My Bullet.” I also have a finished novel that will serve as the next entry in the Driver series. If all goes well, that will be available next year.

Author Bio:
Ian Lewis prefers not to be bound by a particular genre. Though the inspiration for his work varies, it often finds roots in something he dreamt. He strives for a gritty realism and maintains an interest in the humanity of his characters. His hope is that readers find themselves haunted by his stories in the sense that the narrative sticks with them long after they've finished reading, leaving them with a subtle restlessness for more. Mr. Lewis is the author of The Camaro Murders, Lady in Flames, and Power in the Hands of One, all novellas. His first full length novel, Godspeed, Carry My Bullet, was released in April of 2016. He has been writing since 2002.

All buy links can be found on the book’s landing page:

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