After answering a tweet in the autumn of 2009, I agreed to assist Graham Storrs’ virtual book tour (blog tour), on the release of his new book “TimeSplash”. At that time I also asked for two interviews with Graham; one to cover his feelings and findings before the start of the tour, and the second one after the tour to ask how, for him, the tour went.
As is the nature of things, we quickly realised that a single after-the-event interview, could not do justice to what was occurring during the tour. So we chatted together after each event, whilst the tour was running, and this has resulted in a post of seven and a half thousand words.
This is now too big, so to help the weary reader I have serialised it over a few days. I hope you keep coming back to see what Graham did next.
Today we join Graham clearing the half-way mark in his tour. (Click here for yesterday’s post.)
Now I happen to know that Merrilee pressed you to write the short story that she posted and as anyone reading my blog will know, I strongly believe in short “bubble” stories to promote a larger, related, piece of work. What I would like to know is how you and Merrilee worked together in getting this story produced.
Well, ‘worked together’ wasn’t really what happened, Merrilee said she wanted a story, I naturally grovelled and obeyed. The setting – the kitchen of the guys who actually invented time travel – was an image I already had in my mind from working on the background for the book. The story itself and the characters came unbidden from that scene. So it was a prequel to the novel. I wrote it within a couple of weeks and sent it to Merrilee. I’m very pleased to say she liked it! If she hadn’t it might have been a moment of some awkwardness. Unfortunately, she liked it so much she wanted to know what happened next and demanded a sequel to the prequel. Seeing no end in sight to this and not wanting to do a George Lucas and start having to call TimeSplash “TimeSplash IV: The Rise of Sniper”, I decided to call it a day and hope that one would be enough.
Here I disagree with you, not only because I loved “Party Time” but also because I am a huge fan of ‘bubble stories’ to promote the work it/they derived from. However, the middle of a tour is not best to find the time and take on writing a quality extra.
Now speaking of time, how have the time demands of the tour varied as the tour progressed and do you have any words of wisdom for other blog tour interested authors?
That’s actually no small consideration. I’ve just finished revising and editing my next book and I’m knee deep in writing synopses and query letters for agents. At the same time, there is my ‘regular’ blogging, my book promotion blogging, a much-increased level of social networking. (Since the start of my book promotion activity, I have gone from 0 to about 1,000 Twitter followers, which I find barely manageable. I was following nearly 2,000 people too but I recently cut that back by over 600.) I’ve started planning another novel now and I’m still writing blog posts for the tour. It’s a busy time and I just don’t have any spare capacity at the moment. If I had one piece of advice for someone doing a virtual book tour, it would be to do as much as possible up-front, before the tour starts. Some of the tour dates may seem a long way off, but they tend to rush at you and you discover you suddenly have three pieces to write in a week. And if you’re striving to make each piece different, interesting, and high quality – which you should, as someone’s guest – three, on top of your now-elevated workload, can be quite overwhelming.
Previously you said that you “loved” the Sniper interview and the more colourful pieces, I must admit doing the Sniper interview was a real blast. After an initial headache of just how to stage the interview of a fictional character it became a joy to imagine playing with him, the interviewer and the setting. I had a lot of fun doing that interview and I was convinced it could be made to work, but did you have the same conviction when you read my proposal?
As soon as you suggested it, I knew it would be fun. I’d lived with Sniper for a year by then and knew him well enough to chat ‘in character’. I could probably have done it live! And, even though he’s a heartless and cruel SOB, he’s a colourful character. The only lukewarm review I’ve had so far for the book objected to the fact that Sniper was so thoroughly bad. I think there’s a view these days that even the worst villain is kind to his mum, or loves his kitten, or whatever. But I’ve known people like Sniper. Some people have no ability to empathise with the emotions of others, they just have that bit of their psyche missing. For some, it is hard even to believe that other people have emotions like they themselves do. It doesn’t stop them being fun, or charming, or clever. They seem to be very emotional people – because they feel their own emotions as keenly as we all do. They just have no feeling for anyone else, which makes them very, very dangerous.
Did any of the other hosts have any suggestions that gave you an empty “I’m not sure this is going to work” feeling?
Yes, when Merrilee asked for a story. Not every story one writes is worth publishing, and Merrilee is one of those people who has a keen critical eye – the perfect crit. partner. I had visions of writing half a dozen before Merilee found one she thought was good enough for her blog. When Kristy Thompson agreed to host a post I felt quite daunted too. For anyone who doesn’t know her blog, ‘How Did You Get There?‘ it is a set of interviews (with some quite famous people – I’ll be in good company!) that are deliberately funny. Essentially, Kristy plays comic and the guest plays straight man. It’s a great formula and I enjoy it a lot. However, I set myself the goal of being funny right back at her – and immediately wished I hadn’t. Trying to be funny is one of those endeavours that I normally shy away from since the chances of slipping on a banana skin are pretty high. However, we’ll soon see if it worked when the post comes out.
On the 15th of March, we had the chance to hear your first radio interview, and you sound very self-possessed, hardly any noticeable nerves. Considering with a radio interview you can’t pop back and edit it if you mess up, was all that apparent composure just ‘front’? And did you do any prior preparation with the host?
Nanci Arvizu, who did the interview, was very professional about the whole thing. We agreed the questions beforehand and she gave me plenty of time to prepare. I was quite nervous – I’d never done anything like this before, and I think of myself as fairly slow-witted and inarticulate when it comes to actually speaking – the kind of guy who thinks of a witty thing to say five minutes after everyone else has passed on to another topic – so I wrote myself some notes and prayed that Nanci would stick to her script. Fortunately, she did, and I didn’t look as much of an idiot as I might have done. For which I am very grateful.
After the radio show the next tour stop was different. On Marianne de Pierres’ Journal there was hardly any promotion about TimeSplash. Instead, it was mostly ramblings about the science fiction genre, all from the depth of Graham Storrs head. From my perspective it made a nice break from a diet of “this is the book you must buy”, it gave readers a little more insight into the author and how he thinks. Was it a deliberate change of pace away from the book and a move to growing the Graham Storrs brand?
Yes, it was. I was quite shocked when I appeared on Emma Newman’s blog that there were almost no comments. Emma’s own posts attract lots of commenters but mine seemed to scare them away. I felt I had let her down terribly and I felt awful. I had done a ‘straight’ interview with Emma and it made me think that maybe people were getting a bit fed up of hearing about me and my book. I’ve never really understood why anyone would be especially interested anyway. So, when it came to Marianne’s stop, I decided to do something quite different. Marianne is a leading light in the Australian science fiction scene. She has two very successful series out and has started a new series of humorous crime novels. She has been very kind to me over the past couple of years – she is someone who ‘gives a lot back’ to the genre. I definitely didn’t want to let Marianne down too, so I came up with the introspective piece about where the genre is going and why. It’s something that interests me and I supposed there would be a lot of sci-fi fans reading Marianne’s blog. It was actually quite refreshing not to talk about the book for a change! It was so refreshing that I also did something similarly non-book-related when I visited Janette Dalgleish and Little Scribbler. It was like taking a short break – for me and, I hope, those following the tour.
The next stop on the tour was with the lovely Joanna Penn when you shared your Nine Marketing Tips For Authors, I will admit to being a great fan of Joanna and of all the brilliant advice she gives out. That post was completely in line with the focus of Joanna’s blog, being based on marketing, and I wonder if you would talk a little on the selection of post topic and its relation to host blog focus?
Continued tomorrow, when Graham talks about being promoted alongside Nathan Bransford and Barak Obama.
TimeSplash Virtual Book Tour (Blog Tour)
This interview is part of the virtual book tour running from 16th of February to the 5th of May. To find out more about the book, characters, Graham, publication and inside information about writing the story, go to the virtual book tour schedule page at “TimeSplash – The Blog Tour 2010″
About Graham Storrs
Graham Storrs is someone who thinks a lot about the future. It’s a place we’re all going, whether we like it or not, a place where we, our children and their children will have to deal with changes we can barely imagine. Some of us can’t wait to get there, to see what it’s like, and how we will cope. That’s why Graham writes science fiction – he wants to know what happens next in this amazing story we’re all living.
After a career in research and software design, Graham has turned his gaze firmly to the far horizons and now lives and writes on a remote mountain-top in rural Australia. Surrounded by gum forests and wild animals, he relies on his wife, Christine, and their Airedale terrier, Bertie, to keep him anchored in the present.
Released: February 15, 2010 · Lyrical Press Inc.
Purchase: TimeSplash can be bought as an eBook direct from the publisher, by clicking on “Buy now”.
e-Book: All six popular formats supplied with each purchase
Price: US $ 5.50,