Welcome Mark to this third Friday in June! I hope it's sunny where you are. It certainly looks sunny in your picture. I think all of us reading this might be jealous! Let's dig right in and talk about your new book
What is The Rules about? Give the readers a brief elevator pitch.
Ava Rome is a personal protection specialist who follows three rules:
1. A professional doesn't call attention to herself or her principal
2. A professional doesn't leave her principal; and, most importantly
3. A professional doesn't get involved with her principal.
In her profession, to break the rules is to die.
Ava's principal, Paul, is a young man, a graduate student at the University of Hawaii, who is trying to hide from his past and from his family's criminal empire. Paul is attractive to women and to Ava, who soon realizes she could be in danger of breaking the third rule, which, in her experience, endangers them both.
What body of water you set your story near? Is this a real lake/ocean/river, or is it fictitious?
The Rules is set in Hawaii and most of the story takes place in a house near Honolulu. The body of water is the Pacific Ocean.
The ocean provides both safety and danger. Ava uses it to protect Paul by locating them near the ocean in a dwelling that is not easily accessible. However, that inaccessibility also serves to isolate them from help, particularly when a dangerous storm threatens them.
Does water, and specifically the Pacific Ocean have any special meaning for you personally?
I lived with my family in Hawaii for ten years. The ocean infuses every aspect of Hawaiian life because the islands arose from its depths and the people crossed it to reach them.
There was not a day that I did not see the ocean. Weekends were spent at the beach, either on the sand or on the water in our Hobie. Five of those years we owned a house only a few blocks from Kailua Bay, one of the prettiest bays on Oahu. At night, after everything was quiet, I would hear the surf crashing on Kailua Beach. I thought no sound could be sweeter.
Why are you choosing to self-publish? How is the process going for you? What is one piece of advice would you give to authors who are thinking of self-publishing for the first time?
Novellas have gotten short shrift in the publishing world. Periodicals prefer shorter stories and traditional publishers prefer novel-length stories which leave authors having to cut or pad to make sales. The novella, however, has enough length for development of plot, character and setting without unnecessary subplots or excessive exposition. I believe readers are coming to appreciate novellas for these same reasons. The rise of indie ebooks and audio books has created a growing market for novellas among readers with busy lives.
I'm pleased with the process. A professional cover is important for any book and I found an artist who set just the right tone. For the audio version, I found a narrator who has the perfect voice for Ava. Finding both cover and narrator took as much effort as writing the story, but the end result was worth it and I plan to continue with more.
To authors considering indie publishing: Obtaining high-quality feedback is difficult for an indie author. You need to hire an editor. Good editors are expensive, but bad editors are even more expensive in terms of the damage to your career. One book that's not ready to be published will turn readers away from your other works. Get references. Interview editors. Make sure you work with an editor you can trust. Many editors are technically competent, but not all will be candid about the quality of the book.
Thanks Mark! Okay, now for a bit of fun - you are asked to give a Ted Talk. What will it be about?
I would talk to college students and their parents about the importance of having high quality educational experiences such as study abroad, community service, or volunteer work, which we now know, have high impacts on their learning and the quality of their future lives.
That sounds truly intriguing and worthwhile! Where can readers find you and where can they purchase The Rules?
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