A while ago, I had posted about starting a series of author interviews.
You will read about your beloved writers in two or three installments depending on the time and pain they have taken to withstand my wordy grill.
Today’s spotlight is on Graham-Austin King.
Graham’s latest dark fantasy novel, Faithless hits the market in another few hours (at least in this part of the world) and hopefully, your shelves too. Let’s celebrate his book birthday.
Most of you have already heard of or read his successful and well-loved series, The Riven Wyrde Saga [Goodreads link]. The Riven Wyrde Saga is his first completed trilogy and draws on a foundation of literary influences ranging from David Eddings to Dean Koontz.
Graham Austin-King has a medley of degrees, and he has experimented on writing through journalism, international relations, and law. He continues writing with more passion and vigor surrounded by a seemingly endless horde of children and a very patient wife who can arguably say her husband is away with the faeries.
Men and women, gentle or not, without much further ado, I present before you, Graham-Austin King.
Today’s highlight is going to be your newborn.
Who should read Faithless? Why?
Anyone with eyes and good taste (actually the eyes are optional). My wife informs me that she needs spoiling. The kids, apparently, need to eat too. Money is always good. [Honest man!]
Seriously, anyone who enjoys a good story. I’m quite proud of Faithless. It’s a lot darker than my other books but I’d argue it’s a bit deeper too. If you enjoy fantasy adventure with a darker tone then you’ll like this.
How was this project different from your well-loved series, the Riven Wylde Saga?
This was a slower project for one. I think, start to finish, this book took me more than a year, whereas some of the books in the Riven Wyrde Saga took only six months. The editing process was longer for certain. I used beta readers more extensively this time. That said, the entire process was a surprise as this was supposed to be a novella not a book in its own right.
Do you think the ones who liked Riven Saga will be able to appreciate Faithless?
I do. The Riven Wyrde Saga got darker as it went along and the third book is much more adult than the first. Readers who have traveled that path with me should enjoy Faithless. [Haven’t taken the Riven path but loved Faithless]
How did you feel when you completed the first draft of Faithless? It’s such an intense book that I want to know how it impacted you. Were you satisfied or did you jump into corrections and alterations right then?
I’m never happy with a book. The problem is that you can always alter a book. Once a painting is finished then it’s hard to change anything, a book doesn’t work like that. Eventually, you need to walk away from it or drive yourself mad. So no, I wasn’t happy but I was content that we’d reached a starting point for edits.
Which was the hardest scene to write in Faithless?
The sexual abuse was not easy. It’s an important part of the story, it explains a lot of the character’s motivations and character flaws so it had to go in, but writing it was not fun.
Abuse in fiction: Your take as a writer and a reader.
Abuse in fiction it needs to have a purpose. If it’s just gratuitous and there for no reason then I think most readers will see it for what it is, for an attempt to shock the reader and nothing more. If it doesn’t drive the story then it doesn’t belong there. It’s not different to anything else, to sex, to fight scenes, to descriptions of food – give it a reason to be in the story.
The cover is stunning. Pen Astridge has done an amazing job. Love the stern hammer and anvil modeled against a vibrant red backdrop. Would you like to share the process of choosing your book cover?
I can’t claim any credit for this at all. Pen’s only steer was to include a hammer and anvil and I was amazed at the rough copy she came back with. We tweaked a few things but this is all her imagination. I couldn’t ask for more.
A writer/smithy/miner, you are like a hot RPG character yourself. Did you take some smithy training?
No, I’ve never done any kind of smithing, though I’d love to try it. I did a lot of research online. I also relied quite heavily on Steve Drew (who runs Reddit fantasy) along with his dad, Gerald, both of who do some blacksmithing to make sure things made sense.
What’s your mining experience?
Next to none. I’ve been in a few disused mines on tours but I’ve never worked in one. Again I did a fair chunk of research and pestered an Australian mining expert I know.
Let’s talk about the publishing and marketing business in general.
How did you choose your method of publication?
This is a self-published book. I did try a few agents and attempt to go the traditional route but I am constrained by time. I write for a living and so there is a momentum that has to be maintained. This means I can only send submission packs out for so long before I need to publish in order to keep my income levels up. Maybe I missed the perfect agent and a great publishing deal. Next time perhaps.
What’s your views on social media for marketing?
I think people are more or less immune to social media marketing in the truest sense. Everyone is sick to the back teeth of “buy my book!” techniques. These days I tend to just be myself on social media and talk about the things I enjoy. I obvious post when a blog reviews my books, or when I have a promotion, or a new book coming out, but other than that I’ve mostly moved beyond selling.
Which social network worked best for you?
I’m on most of them but more active on Facebook and Reddit.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
Honestly, no. If I knew what worked for certain I’d be rolling in it. I personally tend to be careful about joining author groups, they can very easily turn into a mutual appreciation society and don’t achieve much. I also don’t do reciprocal reviews, if your reviewer hands you a bad book to then review it can be ugly. I will try to read most books people send me to review but, firstly I need to find the time, and secondly, I don’t post reviews on books I didn’t enjoy.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
I didn’t do a press release, I don’t use Goodreads as much as I ought to. I tend to promote my work through word of mouth, through the readers I already have, via my mailing list, and through services like Bookbub. I should do more but I would rather spend time writing than marketing. It seems to be working, though I’m sure it would work better if I was a better marketer.
Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
No, nobody loves me. [Aww!]
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
Bookbub has been very good to me, taking me to #1 bestseller in Epic Fantasy.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
I was…that guy, for a while. It won’t happen again. Sorry.
Why do you think that other well-written books just don’t sell?
It can be any number of things. Sometimes the word just doesn’t get out. Sometimes publishers don’t put in as much effort into marketing as they ought to.
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I don’t like them. It seems an odd thing to me.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
It can do. It depends on your end goal. Giving away free books can get you some reviews which have a knock-on effect on sales. I think it probably works best if you are giving away book one in a series.
Did you format your own book?
God no! I’d ruin it.
In what formats is your book available?
All of my books are available as ebooks on Kindle, and in paperback.
If formatted by someone else, how did you select them and what was your experience?
I use Clare Davidson. She does a great job, she’s reasonably priced, she’s a writer herself, and she makes fun of me when we attend conventions together.
Let’s revisit Faithless for today’s last question.
Can you give us a general idea (I am sure we don’t mind the details if you wish to share) about the entire series of Faithless? What can the reader look for, from the next in the series? What’s the expected timeline of publishing the entire series?
At the moment I haven’t planned anything. I don’t plot anyway and I find that my stories are always better when I don’t. At this point, I’m about 80% certain there will be a sequel. If you remember The Matrix? (who doesn’t! pfft!) That first film clearly left the door wide open for a sequel, and apparently, all three films were written at the same time, the thing is that many people think it would have been best to end it there. Faithless is the same way. It could easily lead into a sequel, or it could stand alone. I have a couple of other projects I am working on first, I’ll let it churn around in the back of my mind and see how it progresses.
Choose a mine you would have to live in if (and when) everything else in the world goes wrong. Mines of Moria or the Mines of Aspiration?
Aspiration, no balrogs or goblins. [Gah!]
I take your leave here for today. Tomorrow, we will be back with some more personal tete-a tete with Mr. King. Hope to see you again.
Oh, wait. The most important question of all!
Where can we buy your books?
All my books are available on Amazon and any good bookshop can order them in.