Monday, August 29, 2011

An Interview With Author Scott Nicholson

We asked Scott Nicholson if he would allow us to ask him a few questions about his writing and he was happy to talk to us. Enjoy!

1. Where did you get the idea for your book, The Skull Ring?

I’d done some research on False Recovered Memory and Satanic Ritual Abuse, and while “Satanic Panic” was largely a phenomenon of the early 1990s, I figured the belief in Satan never went out of style. But it’s more about the psychological battles we fright instead of the larger Good versus Evil.

2. Do you have a favorite author? Book?

It changes from time to time, but I’ve probably read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “The Old Man and the Sea,” and Ira Levin’s “This Perfect Day” more times than any other books. Generally I like Stephen King and William Goldman and Dean Koontz.

3. We know you used to go the traditional publishing route. What was the major influence that made you decide to become an e-pubber?

Equal parts inspiration and desperation. I was still writing steadily but my market prospects seemed to grow ever bleaker, and I felt I was a better writer. I got the rights back to a couple of books and decided to put them out as e-books and maybe pay the light bill. A year later, it was my job.

4. How long does it usually take for you to produce a book from concept to completion?

I find that four months is a good gestation period, with a month or two for revision. I had a stack of books saved up but I’ll probably be releasing about three or four new novels a year from here on out.

5. What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received? You’ve ever given?

The best writing advice was Bentley Little’s “Keep your head down and write.” But that’s harder to do these days when we have such great opportunities to connect with readers and one another. My advice gets worse and worse every day but in general I say “Be prepared to change your mind and get better.”

6. You have written a ton of books…which one was the most difficult and why?

Probably “Disintegration” because I was purging some of my own psychological junk. I was my own evil twin when I wrote it, so all that came out in the mix.

7. We understand you just signed a two-book deal with Amazon’s imprint Thomas & Mercer. First of all, congratulations. What makes them different from other publishers?

Thanks, I’m delighted. We all see what is happening to bookstores at the same time that e-books are exploding. Amazon has more data on book consumers than anyone at any time in history. I fully expect they will be the biggest publisher on the planet by 2014, if not sooner. They’ve been the leader at every turn of the digital book era, and I am happy to be part of this new venture. “Liquid Fear” and its sequel “Chronic Fear” will be released on Dec. 20, so I hope there are a lot of Kindles in those stockings this year!

8. With so many writers taking the self-publishing route versus traditional publishing, what can a writer do to separate themselves from the pack?

Be more like yourself. That immediately moves you out of the pack. Avoid the pack.

9. Can you tell us of any newcomers to the writing world who have captured your attention?

I have way too many friends writing to go into a list, because I wouldn’t want to inadvertently leave anyone out. Let’s just say I’m very impressed by the diversity of talent that has been artificially suppressed by the traditional publishing system, even though the system could only function with a very narrow gate.

10. Bookstores are closing left and right, but e-book sales are soaring…where do you see the industry in 5 years?

People hate me when I say this but I see 99 cents as the standard price for most e-books, edging toward free with sponsorships. In the same way you sit through a 15-second ad to see your favorite rock video, you will have to flip through ads or tolerate product placement inside the story, but it will be a fair exchange. This isn’t just theory. Amazon already has its ad-sponsored Kindles at a lower cost. It’s just a question of where, when, and how, not “if.”

11. Do you think people will read less with fewer bookstores around or is reading coming back to the limelight because it’s so much more convenient to buy book online?

I resent the whole notion that somehow we’re getting dumber as a nation just because we don’t want to spend $5 in gas and an hour of our time to pay $30 for a book when we can get the same book or its equal for $2.99 with one click, delivered right to our fingertips. This is the Golden Age of communication and literature. Virtually unlimited access to almost anything you want. I can’t see a downside to it, unless you happen to own a bookstore.

12. You’re stranded for the rest of your days on a remote island, what three things would you bring with you?

My wife, my daughter, and her puppy. If you mean “material goods,” I will go with a fishing pole, an ax, and a lighter.

13. If you could chat with any author, dead or alive (although the dead ones may be harder to talk to) who would it be and what would be your first question for them?

Mark Twain, and the question “So, is the devil everything you thought he would be?”

14. There are a lot of authors out there, us included, who look to the Scott Nicholsons, JA Konraths & John Lockes of the literary world for not only inspiration, but for information. Any pearls of wisdom?

Be prepared for change. Stay open-minded. And always give only your best. Don’t assume the other person is right, or that someone knows more than you do. Take chances.

15. What is the one thing no writer should be without?

Faith. There’s a weird place where goals and dreams intersect. Go there.

Thanks so much, Scott. We really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to stop by and answer some questions for us!!