Monday, October 15, 2012

Author Interview and GIVEAWAY: Charles Sheehan-Miles

Today I'm excited to have author Charles Sheehan-Miles stop by the blog to tell us exactly what "new adult" is, how he relates to his character Dylan, and how he's used a typewriter in the past! 

From Goodreads: "Alex Thompson’s life is following the script. A pre-law student at Columbia University, she’s focused on her grades, her life and her future. The last thing she needs is to reconnect with the boy who broke her heart.

Dylan Paris comes home from Afghanistan severely injured and knows that the one thing he cannot do is drag Alex into the mess he’s made of his life.

When Dylan and Alex are assigned to the same work study program and are forced to work side by side, they have to make new ground rules to keep from killing each other.

Only problem is, they keep breaking the rules.

The first rule is to never, ever talk about how they fell in love.

Ebook publication August 30, 2012. Paperback publication scheduled for November 12, 2012."

It seems like "new adult" has become a new trend in the realm of literature, can you tell us a bit about the genre?

The publishing industry has a big gap between categories. Basically, in the publishing world, YA means the characters are up to 18 years old, but it cuts off at the end of high school or possibly the summer after. While there have always been titles that could be classified as new adult, they’ve been very difficult to bring to market because the publishing industry didn’t really believe that a significant market existed for them.

The last year, the success of Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire and other indie authors with New Adult titles has shown that not only does the market exist, but it’s pretty hot.

Describe JUST REMEMBER TO BREATHE in five words or less.

Soldier and his girl reunite.

You now have a number of books under your belt, do you find that you have an easier time writing a book as you gain more experience?

If anything, it gets harder. I’ve become more critical of my own work, and find that as time goes on, I’m reaching pretty deep into my own fears and emotions as I write. Just Remember to Breathe was something I finished writing very quickly, but the life experiences and emotions that went into it had decades behind them.

What are some upcoming projects that you're working on?

I’m currently writing a companion book to Just Remember to Breathe, which centers on Alex’s sister Julia. She has some tangled history, including a scandal that seriously hurt her father’s career, so she’s struggling with massive parental disapproval, pushing back against her own inner restraints, finding out who she is as a person.

Fans of ___________ will enjoy my book.

Trish Doller, Colleen Hoover, Tiffany King. I’m not nearly as good as they are though.

Can you tell us a bit about how you came to be published?

For about 2 years back in 2001-2003, my agent shopped around one of my books to just about every publisher on earth. We got nowhere. She really believed in the book, but the response was universal: there’s no market. I folded my tent and went home. Finally, in 2007, I decided: why not just go for it? So I set up my own tiny microscopic publishing house and released Republic in paperback. And I was stunned, because within the first year I sold 10,000 copies. Not big numbers for the publishing industry, but really big numbers for me. And the reader reactions were amazing and gratifying. Especially the personal and touching ones.

What impact (if any) have book bloggers had on your career?

Huge. I wouldn’t have a writing career at all if it wasn’t for book bloggers. You make my world. Seriously.

The publishing industry is changing so fast now that no one keep up. And the biggest part of that change is that anybody can slap together a book of dubious quality and have it published in about five minutes. Book bloggers in many ways function as the new gatekeepers, but in a way that is very inclusive of great books, not just books that have market potential. Book bloggers connect authors and readers, which was once a function reserved for acquisitions editors and booksellers. That’s huge.

Where did your inspiration for JUST REMEMBER TO BREATHE come from?

When I was a senior in high school I went on a foreign exchange trip and fell passionately in love with a girl from San Francisco. After we got back home, our lives drifted apart, and we haven’t spoken in about twenty years. So, I was thinking to myself, wouldn’t it have been an interesting story if … and then I started writing.

Main character Dylan returns home after a time spent in from Afghanistan- did you have to do a lot of research about the military/ how such an event impacts soldiers when they return home?

No research.

I was in the military and served in Iraq during the first Gulf War, and I’ve spent most of my adult life working with veterans who were injured or ill during their war experiences. Dylan’s experiences in Afghanistan, and especially the damage to his psyche as a result of those experiences, were simply written from the heart.

Do you read reviews of your book? If so, how do you respond to negative (or not-so-nice) reviews?

Yes. All of them.

As for negative reviews: all writers get them. All books get them. That’s the reality of life when you put something out there. I’ve had a couple of really nasty reviews over the years, things like “the author is a complete idiot” and I never, ever, respond to those.

Thoughtful negative reviews, I try to learn from, so I can become a better writer. On extremely rare occasions I’ve written negative reviewers to thank them for taking them time to review it and ask their advice for what would have made them enjoy the story more. Those have always been positive interactions, because I always learn something.

I know there’s a lot of controversy these days about authors who blow up and make spectacles of themselves in public over reviews that hurt their feelings. That’s foolish and unprofessional and above all, it damages the relationship with the people who connect authors and readers. Really bad idea. It’s the equivalent of running a restaurant and spitting in your customers’ food. Be nice. Be professional. Above all, be grateful people are taking time out of their lives to read what you wrote. There are a million other books out there they could have chosen to read instead.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Don’t read reviews of your work.

Seriously: if you are an aspiring author, I’d recommend: invest the money in a good editor. Put out a quality product. And go for it. A low selling indie author nowadays is on equal economic footing with a mid-list traditionally public author, because they aren’t losing 95% of the cover price to six layers of middle-men. You’d be crazy to wait twenty years, sending out query letter to agents year after year for a $5,000 advance that may or may not earn out and six weeks on the shelf of a bookstore before your books get yanked. I always suggest: put it out there and see what happens. If your books are good, the audience will develop.

This or That

Unicorn or Sasquatch? Unicorns.

Dogs or cats? Cats are actually aliens from outer space, trying to take over the earth. Seriously. I have two of them, and they constantly try to practice mind control.

Coffee or coke? Coffee. All of it.

Music while writing or no music? Have to have music! I set up playlists for books, which match the tone I’m aiming for.

Typing on a computer or writing in a notebook? First three books, two of which are mercifully tucked away in a drawer, were handwritten or typed on an old manual typewriter. Everything since? Computer.

Reading a book or watching TV? I don’t watch TV. Except Glee and Doctor Who.

Young adult or adult? Both. This year, for me, it’s mostly been new adult.

About the Author: 
Charles Sheehan-Miles is the author of several novels including Prayer at Rumayla: A Novel of the Gulf War, Republic: A Novel of America's Future and college romance Just Remember to Breathe

Charles has been a soldier, nonprofit executive, short order cook, IT manager and run a restaurant. He doesn't believe in specialization. He is a former President and co-founder of the National Gulf War Resource Center and has served on the board of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center. Prior to becoming executive director of Veterans for Common Sense in August 2004, he was director of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC. He currently works as a communications and outreach specialist for a law firm representing disabled veterans.

Charles lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife Veronica and their two children.

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1 comment:

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I really appreciate it!

Though I appreciate awards I have decided to make my blog an "award-free zone". Unfortunately I do not have the time to hold up my end of award-giving. But again, I appreciate you thinking of me!

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