The Title of Your Work or Group:
CALL ME ISMAY
Where are you from?
I'm a California native, but I live in Wisconsin.
In what genre do you write?
My work tends to be suspenseful, but to be honest I don't want to be identified as a genre novelist. I don't ever want to write the same book twice.
In your own words, what is your book about? If you were not the author and trying to explain this awesome book you just read to a friend, what would you say about it?
In one sentence, it's about vampires on the Titanic. That was actually going to be the title at one point- Vampires on the Titanic- but I decided that I wanted it to be taken seriously; this is historical fiction, it's not a spoof or some goofball attempt to shoehorn the vampire genre into a story that everybody already knows. I asked myself very serious questions about the premise: Vampires? On the Titanic? How did they get there? What did they do?
What is your writing style? Do you follow all guides and rules? Synopsis, outline etc. or do you just sit down at the computer and type to see what happens.
For CALL ME ISMAY, I had to create a very intricate timeline; the story starts about six months prior to the Titanic disaster, then it goes to just a few days after the sinking, and then back again. I wasn't sure if the threads were all going to get tied together, but they finally did.
Have you ever written anything and thought; " The world has got to see this!"
To be totally honest, yes. When one of the major characters in CALL ME ISMAY finally lays eyes on the ship, it goes into a description that I couldn't possibly be more proud of. I've had a lifelong love of anything related to the Titanic- I was a Titanic buff long before it was cool- so it was thrilling and rewarding to be able to express how I might have felt if I'd been the one to actually see the ship.
Do you have an editor and Cover Designer or do you do this yourself?
I have a super-secret panel of editors (seriously, no joke) from all over who have vetted both CALL ME ISMAY and my previous novel, THE WIZARD MURDERS. They have a wide variety of experience in both writing and education, so I'm very, very fortunate to have them. My friend Kate Kersten, who is a professional graphic arts designer, has created all of my book covers- and how ridiculously lucky am I, to have a friend who just happens to do that sort of thing for a living? And I LOVED what she came up with for CALL ME ISMAY. It's simple and it captures exactly what I was setting out to do, in terms of historical fiction: if you think you know the story of the Titanic, think again. What you know is only the tip of the iceberg- literally and figuratively.
I should mention that my first work, a short story called THE VELVET SOFA, had its cover designed by a fellow author and friend, Feath Pym.
Who is your favorite author. Not just someone that you read allot. I wanna know whose book you read that made you suddenly know that if you didn't do this for the rest of your life then you would never be happy.
Ray Bradbury. "R Is For Rocket," his collection of short stories. That's all I can say. His work is invaluable to me.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I tend to demand a lot from myself in terms of detail, so at times the writing process can be like sloshing through mud- slow, slow, slow. It's ultimately quite rewarding, but at times it just seems like it's going to take forever. (It took me six months of work on CALL ME ISMAY just to get all of my characters onto the ship in Southampton!)
Do you write your characters or do they write themselves through you?
Sometimes my characters surprise me. This is when talking about writing sounds like some form of voodoo. I'll think I know who they (the characters) are, but then they turn right around and say, No, THIS is what I am. My lead vampire is a member of the House of Commons, named Edward Lyons. I had no idea that he would turn out to have at least some morals and standards in his own weird way. His right-hand man, Bartholomew Gidley, was a revelation. I had no idea he would turn out to be so funny. (In a very dark and cruel way, but still funny.)
Do you ever write yourself into the characters?
Sure. Kerry Langston is a London newspaper reporter who uncovers the fact that Edward Lyons is a vampire. I at one time was a radio news reporter, so over the course of time I sort of found myself seeping into his sensibilities. I initially envisioned him as Malcolm McDowell in his younger days, eager and idealistic, but eventually I started to find more of myself coming through him. And there's actually quite a bit of me in the detective in THE WIZARD MURDERS, although that character is much older.
Is writing your full time job or are you "Keeping your day job"? So to speak.
My day job is just that- a job. Not a career, just a means to an end. It's a paycheck. My real passion is in writing and in acting. Of course, I have the same dream of about 100,000 other writers- I WISH it was my full-time job.
If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be?
William Shakespeare. What was his voice like? How did he move? How did his words sound when they came out of his own mouth? We'll never really know, it's all conjecture.
There are millions of new books released every year. What in your mind makes yours stand out from all those millions in your genre?
I can honestly say that I poured all of myself into this project- it's a lifetime of interest and a labor of love. In some ways, I feel may have been fated to write this book. To me, the big lesson about Titanic is all about inevitability. When you take that whole story in -the biggest ship in the world, making what turned out to be her only voyage- there's simply no other way it could have ended. And I think that the book successfully demonstrates how some destinies are inevitable.
In the world of Indie, marketing is very difficult, especially if you don't have the funds to pay for it. Have you found a great free way to market your work that you think other Indies will benefit from?
Social media. Facebook, Twitter- both absolutely vital. You simply will not get anywhere without them.
Links to find and follow Sean's work:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CallMeIsmay
Call Me Ismay Preview:
Book trailer for CALL ME ISMAY: http://youtu.be/pAYCJ6zVB0o
Book trailer for THE WIZARD MURDERS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AfIJjyyQDg&feature=share&list=UUmqVPfpojwnYQp3OFDieCyg