I like to feature indie authors or those published by small presses because indie authors can use all the publicity they can get :). This post features talented writer James Neal, whose latest book is Threads of Deceit. Read on to learn about some intriguing stories…
Tell us a bit about your books:
I have four books already published, and A Ticket to Tewkesbury (ISBN 9781905809349) was the first, in 2008. It begins as a love story, back in 1946, and is brought to the present day by the discovery of an old letter written, but not posted. The story then takes you into the dark, murky waters of espionage, as competing parties vie for possession of a set of secret files brought back from Germany by a soldier at the end of WWII.
Short Stories Volume One (ISBN 9781905809608), released in 2009, is an anthology encompassing horror, crime, romance, science-fiction, humour fantasy and adventure. There are 36 pieces varying in length from 1,000 to 3,000 words.
Two Little Dicky Birds (ISBN 9781905809936), 2010’s novel, tells the story of the search for a serial killer who, between 1975 and 1992, terrorized England and took the lives of 18 innocent victims. It also tells the tale of the rise through the ranks of PC Paul Townley and his tutelage under the command of DCI Harrington of the Yard.
In August 2011, Threads of Deceit (ISBN 9781907728266) wove an intricate plot around one, single, five-minute conversation in a northern UK public house which may, or may not, have happened in the early 1980s. It is a story of murder, fraud, embezzlement, deception and betrayal, and in set in the South West of England.
What do you love about writing?
Writing gives freedom to my vivid imagination, and it’s something that I used to love doing at school before the reality of earning a living took a hold. As Neal James, and not Philip Neale, I can swap the personality and go into areas that my life, as an accountant, would never have taken me.
What has your journey to publication been like?
Interesting, challenging and exciting, but tinged with the disappointment encountered by many new writers – the inability to get agents to take them seriously. I have been extremely lucky in finding a wonderful publisher in Pneuma Springs. Not only did they take my writing on board in late 2007, but all along the way, they have offered help and guidance to a complete novice back then, and continually surprise me with the things that they are prepared to do to increase the exposure of my work.
You write in different genres – do you have a favorite genre?
Yes. Although all three of my novels have been crime-related, I have a driving passion to write science-fiction. I wrote a short story some years ago called The Rings of Darelius. Three members of an advanced civilisation find themselves marooned on a backward, hostile world. They need to return home with a cure for a disease ravaging their world and threatening the existence of their civilization. That story was about 3,500 words. It is now a novel of 100,000 in four parts, and 50 chapters. I see it as the beginning of a series – a saga in the mould of Asimov and Herbert.
Who is your favorite author and why?
It varies. From the question above, Isaac Asimov was the greatest Sci-fi writer of modern times. The man was prolific and invented and developed concepts without which the likes of Star Trek and Star Wars would never have seen the light of day. His storytelling has a unique style.
Crime – it has to be James Patterson for his punchy style, short action-packed chapters, and a lead character in Alex Cross who could be the guy down the street.
Horror – masters like Stephen King, Dean R Koontz and James Herbert show the way that the genre should be written. Why should they try to scare you, when you can make a much better job of it yourself?
What’s your best bit of marketing advice for indie authors?
Get stuck in. If you are not prepared to take the initiative and tell the world that you are around, why should anyone else. I remember one new author, pretty much like me, some years ago complaining that although she had been able to get her work published, she was having trouble marketing it. I offered to point her in the way that I had done the job, and even offered to let her have templates of some of the tools that I had used. Her response that she expected someone else to do that kind of work, and she really didn’t have the time. Odd isn’t it?
Thank you James for some wonderful and insightful answers. I hope you all take the time to check out his books, and thanks for supporting indie authors!