Interviews with Gen
Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author:
TR: Good morning, Genevieve, and welcome!
GD: Good morning, Thomas, and thanks for having me.
TR: So, how old were you when you wrote your first piece?
GD: I was 36
TR: What was it, and in what genre?
GD: A full length novel, “First, I Love You”, Contemporary Fiction.
TR: What made you write it?
GD: An author friend who had read my non-fiction work suggested I take my love of writing and research and apply it to the fictional world. I accepted it as a challenge and in the course of writing it discovered how much I love writing fiction. I’ve always had an active imagination and am an avid reader so having this outlet has been an amazing journey.
TR: What have you written since then?
GD: I just finished the sequel, “Second of All” which is the second novel in the trilogy. I plan on publishing it in January, 2013.
TR: Good luck with that. What was the inspiration for your current book?
GD: I have always had an interest in Organized Crime and law enforcement, but even more than these I am trained as an Anthropologist and have always found fascinating the human mind’s ability to rationalize choices based upon cultural and social underpinings. There’s nothing I enjoy more than the dialogue between two warring philosophies. I’ve always been drawn to the concept of love versus rationality or morality. So, in this trilogy I am writing the overarching “love story” centers around a detective who has a retired gangster for a father. In each of the novels there are the love stories that stem from friendship, family and romantic love.
TR: Tell us a little about it, and where it’s available.
GD: The first novel is really a character sketch as it is told alternately from the point of view (though in 3rd person) of the six main characters all of whom have some direct stake in this relationship between Detective Tommy Gates and his gangster father Mickey Downey. Tommy and Mickey are about as far apart in how they view the world as it’s possible to be, and though Mickey has never stopped trying to have a relationship with the son who was kept from him, Tommy has always held him at arm’s length. But, for the first time in his life Tommy is going to be working a case in the same town as his father. His various family members see this as an opportunity to try and mend this estranged relationship. Meanwhile, in an effort to further their trafficking case, Tommy’s DEA partner tries to manipulate the situation by making a pact with Tommy’s sister. What results is the usual bit of chaos that happens when professional meets personal and two very different worlds collide. The second novel is very much the typical Act II, all twisted up and tangled with what the first novel sets in motion.
TR: Sounds great! Is there a particular place or setting where you get your writing ideas?
GD: Not really. I tend to get ideas whenever, but some of my best solutions for plot problems have come during my daily walk.
TR: What made you choose either traditional or independent publishing?
GD: I chose independent because I researched the publishing industry a little bit and found the hit or miss nature of it to be rather like gambling. It seemed to me, and perhaps I am wrong, that the major publishers neither have the time nor inclination to take a chance on something that isn’t in the favored genres. They’re interested in a sure thing. So I asked myself if I would rather spend the time it would take to continuously research and pitch to smaller prints while I write the second novel or take that time to promote myself which seems to happen anyway even when you are with a smaller tradpub. Because I am an unknown author writing a trilogy that doesn’t fit neatly into one genre and definitely not in a topic that seems to sell like hotcakes (erotica, fantasy, young adult) I calculated the risk and decided to go indie. I certainly have nothing against the traditional route, I simply view it in a realistic manner that they are a business who can’t take a chance on every new author that comes along. Added to that, I had a story I wanted to tell and it didn’t (doesn’t) fit neatly into a pigeon hole. Maybe someday it will fit with the goals of a publisher, maybe not, but to me, self-publishing my novel and continuing to work on more is possibly the best resume I can put out there.
TR: Sounds reasonable to me. If you had to choose the most important element in an author’s platform, what would it be?
GD: Word of mouth. Whether that is online or in person, actually to be blunt, it simply has to be both. It’s time consuming and happens faster for some than others, but it’s necessary to get people talking about your book for you.
TR: What mistakes have you made in regards to publishing and marketing your work, and what will you do differently in the future?
GD: I think one aspect I am weak in is being aggressive with promoting. To me it’s really important that I not alienate any friends or family members so I tend to be timid in my approach, and frankly that just doesn’t get the word out. Another is underestimating how much people want a physical book in their hands before they go out and help you promote your book. I think in the future I will have dual approach, traditional and digital and get the book out to more places that will help with tweeting and marketing on my behalf.
TR: Do you have an idea for your next book?
GD: I am already framing the third novel of the Downey Trilogy in my mind as I edit the second one. Currently I am also writing a short free holiday story that tangentially ties into the Downey universe. I do have some other story ideas that run around my brain that have nothing whatsoever to do with the universe I’ve created so I’m going to keep writing for sure!
TR: Sounds like you have plans to stay busy. Best of luck, and thanks very much for coming by…
GD: Thank you, Thomas, for taking the time to interview me!
Downey Blog Tour Interviews June 2013:
1. What inspired you to begin writing? Did you like writing as a child?
A friend of mine from college challenged me to start writing fiction. I have written non-fiction before as an Anthropologist and I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of the research process. When I was teenager I would have fun writing stories with my best friend, so I guess I’ve always had a little bit of a writer in me. At the time I never considered making a career out of it, though.
2. Do you have a daily writing goal or do you stick to an outline?
No, I don’t have daily writing goals and I usually only outline once the story’s started just to make sure I’ve blocked chapters correctly. I only write when I have the characters and scenes clear in my head. I don’t believe in forcing it. On those non-creative days I edit or proofread.
3. Where did you get the inspiration for all your lovely characters?
Well, they are little bits of me, family, friends and history. I think that’s the case with most authors. And it’s strange but sometimes they just come to you like they have a life of their own.
4. Tell me why you love Chicago so much! It’s apparent that you have such a love for that city in your books.
My whole family is originally from there! I have very fond memories of visiting my grandparents there before they retired. I loved hearing stories my dad would tell me of his family and when he and my mom were in college at Elmhurst. I also enjoy reading about organized crime, and you can’t do that without learning the rich history of Chicago. It’s an amazing city built on grit and ingenuity—not all of which was criminal, ha!
5. At what point in your life did you realize that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
Just last year, actually. I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I do when I started, and frankly, had no expectations that anyone else would enjoy my writing as much as they do! It still amazes me on a daily basis.
1. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Yep. I usually take a walk, read a book, play with my kids or edit when that happens.
2. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Everything I’ve written so far I’ve self-published. After I wrote First, I Love You I went looking for publishing companies and 98% of them were very clear that they weren’t accepting submissions for a mixed genre contemporary fiction book. Since it’s not Erotica, or New Adult, or Fantasy, I just figured I wouldn’t waste my time, or their time, and went with Smashwords and Amazon. I have ideas for some stories I haven’t written yet and don’t know if I will submit to a publisher or just continue to go Indie.
3. How does your family and others ‘in the story’ feel about the book? Do your family members have a favorite character?
Well, the ones who have read it tell me they enjoyed it, but I’m reasonably certain they have to say that. Ha! Most family members like Tommy best. It’s odd, but there seems to only be two camps with James, love him or hate him.
4. If you could describe The Downey Series in three words what would they be?
Three! Have you met me? I could never be so concise. Alright: It’s about love. (contractions don’t count right? ;P)
5. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Oh, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “As an author I reserve the right to put anything you say or do in my next novel.” It’s impossible not to infuse your own life a bit into your writing. But mostly, it’s all made up.