One of the perks of being involved in the indie writing scene is that I get to meet such fantastic people. A great example is S. M. Boyce, who does a great deal to help out indies in addition to writing her own books. In case you’ve been living under a rock lately, S. M. Boyce is the author of the fantasy epic Grimoire Trilogy.
Right now, the first book in her Grimoire Trilogy of fantasy books, Lichgates, is free for Kindle from December 21st through the 23rd.
This may be the last time you see this free offer, so you should snatch it up! If you haven’t read this fantastic book yet, you’re missing out! While you’re at it, you can pick up Treason, book 2 in the series, as well!
In honor of this last chance to get Lichgates for free, Boyce was kind enough to answer a few questions and talk a bit about her experience as an indie author and other things. Here’s what she had to say:
Brandon R. Luffman: First, let me say thanks for taking the time to chat with me. It’s always amazing to see how quick indie authors are to give up their free time to others in the community, and you’re one of the forerunners in that mindset. As a member of the indie author community, what are your impressions of that aspect? Do you think it’s something unique to indie authors? Have you seen this sort of “cooperative competition” in other communities?
S. M. Boyce: Thanks for having me! Well, the best thing about the indie author community is that we’re not really competitors. I know some people look at it that way, but it’s such a limited mindset. People aren’t going to stick with one and only one book.
Most people read tons of novels, so it’s in your best interest to build a network around people with similar styles and genres to yours. Doing so will put your book out there more often while you’re simultaneously helping others. Good karma all around.
BRL: In the Grimoire Trilogy, we’ve seen Kara, the protagonist, go from being a somewhat typical young American girl to taking on this enormous responsibility. She hasn’t done so without reservations and concerns, but she seems to be stepping up to the challenge and giving it her best. Have you drawn from real-life experiences for this? Have you found yourself in similar circumstances, where you were maybe a little out of your depth, but had to soldier on?
SMB: Oh yes. I think we all have, at some point, and that’s why it’s so easy for readers to relate to Kara. For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to read the novel, the main character Kara is thrust into a strange new world called Ourea when she opens an ancient book (called the Grimoire). The Grimoire essentially gives her an incredibly dangerous job: get five warring nations to stop thousands of years’ worth of murdering each other. She can’t escape Ourea, either—it always drags her back.
While I was writing Lichgates, I actually took on a leadership role at my workplace—a role for which I had no training. I often felt in over my head, and I think this subconsciously contributed to Kara’s development through her own new “job” in Ourea.
BRL: Are there any other instances of your own real-life experiences finding their way into your work?
SMB: Definitely. The fun thing about Ourea—the world I created—is that it’s incredibly complex. I borrowed inspiration from much of our world, from politics to natural wonders to people. So yes, there are countless references to my life and the lives of others in the Grimoire Trilogy. There seems to be a little something for everyone.
BRL: If you could take Lichgates and boil it down to one word, what would it be, and why? What about book 2, Treason? The Grimoire Trilogy as a whole?
SMB: Ooh, hard question.
Lichgates builds the world of Ourea and introduces you to a complex cast of characters. You don’t know who’s the good guy, or the bad guy. They shift, and you’re constantly left wondering who Kara can really trust.
The world is built, the characters solid, and I had a lot of room to stretch my legs. I got to experiment with the various types of betrayal, and it’s a whirlwind once you get started.
The Grimoire Trilogy: Adventure.
This is a rich, complex story with a lot under the surface. If you want a breathtaking adventure, it’s here. If you want to explore the deeper themes, motifs, symbols, and literary devices, all that’s there, too.
BRL: Outside of the Grimoire Trilogy, what other projects are you working on? Anything outside the realm of writing?
SMB: I’ve gotten into the habit of wire wrapping necklaces when I watch TV. I don’t even…I don’t even know where it came from. But it’s fun! And I’m not half-bad, either. You can see some of the ones I’ve made here. Funny thing is they’re all inspired by the kingdoms in the Grimoire Trilogy…so maybe I don’t have a life outside of writing after all.
BRL: Bacon – Food Of The Gods, or just the concept of Ecstasy realized in the form of meat?
SMB: I am actually a pescetarian! I know. It came out of nowhere over the summer, but meat and poultry makes me ill. I do kind of miss bacon and the spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s, though.
BRL: What is a day in the life of S. M. Boyce like? Do you have a routine you follow, a certain method to your madness? Are your writing goals to hit a certain word count each day, or just to write for a certain amount of time? What’s your Tao Of Writing?
SMB: Haha! I have no Tao of Writing, though that would be nice.
To get into the zone for writing, I usually listen to music. Every series I write has a “theme song.” It gets me into that particular series’ voice and lets me zone. It sets the mood, and I can take over from there.
For The Grimoire Trilogy, the theme song is Unstoppable by E.S. Posthumus. Just take a listen—isn’t it amazing?
BRL: Outside of your writing, what is the most important thing for you? What matters most in life?
SMB: My family. I have an amazing husband who puts up with my crazy indie alter-ego, and he even helps me brainstorm new plot developments and book ideas. He’s absolutely amazing.
I live near my parents, too, which is awesome. We’re a really close family, and I’m lucky to have such amazing people in my life.
BRL: What’s something that no one knows about you? What’s the interesting (or not) bit of data that makes you who you are, but hasn’t been pried out of you yet?
SMB: Okay, I’ll tell, but only because it’s you.
I have a figurine of Dory from Finding Nemo at my desk. Whenever I get low, or upset, or frustrated, I look at the figurine and start humming, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” and I can’t help but smile.
BRL: Socks are a great thing – hard to imagine a world without socks. They keep our feet warm, they let us slide around on the kitchen floor like ninjas. You can put them on your hands and hold conversations with them. Socks give and give of themselves and rarely ask for anything in return. Given how awesome socks are, what do you intend to do to ensure the continued survival of socks and sock-based species?
SMB: I…I promise to…continue wearing socks? Socks for America, 2016!
BRL: Where do you see the publishing world going in the next year? What about further out? Five years? Ten? Will the rise of the indies continue? Will traditional publishers get their ducks in a row or will they fall by the wayside? Will eReaders like the Kindle and Nook continue to become more “general use” products like tablet computers or perhaps be replaced by something new the way Blu-Ray is now pushing out DVDs?
The short version of my theory is this:
On the readers side, print books will become a niche market. More bookstores will close (unfortunately). EReaders will become the primary vessel for reading books. eBook sales and online digital sales for books will become the primary source of revenue because of its low cost and profit potential.
For writers, traditional publishers and indies will start to work together. Traditional publishers will take fewer new authors in favor of successful indies, so indiehood will become the area where new writers are “vetted.” Then, if the traditional publishers can convince them to switch to the traditional method (successful indies make quite a bit), I suspect some authors will take the increase distribution power and sign.
To get there, indies will need to learn proper PR and engagement techniques. They’ll need professional formatters and editors. No responding to negative reviews or complaining on twitter. The major problem with indies is professionalism—even though most of us understand the concept, a few bad eggs keep unraveling what we build. There are blogs who do not take indie books simply because of recent “drama” surrounding temper tantrums. So don’t be one of those authors. Take the high road.
As for traditional publishers, they need to get with the times, lower eBook prices ($14.99 is too expensive; I don’t care what the release price for the hardcover is), and adapt to the changing market. The propensity to shun indies is already dwindling, but it needs to happen at a faster rate if everyone is to win.
So, uh…yeah. The “short” version. In my defense, it is a 30-minute podcast.
BRL: What’s the one most important piece of advice you have for writers out there who may just now be trying to break into the scene, independent or otherwise?
SMB: Hmm. Well, thick skin is probably the most important thing. You’ll be rejected. You’ll be told you can’t write. You’ll be told you need an editor (even when you hire three). But you’ll also have raving fans. You’ll have supportive authors and a great network if you do this right. So a little bad comes with the good. It’s no big deal. Just remember to keep your chin up through the storm.
To tack on: indie authors should network. Find indie how-to blogs like my Guide to Writing and do your research. Buy the books for authors you admire. Read them. Review them (it doesn’t have to be glowing, just honest). Get in touch, and don’t be afraid to say hello. They may not always answer, but you may just find your new best friends—friends who can help you succeed.
BRL: Anything else you’d like to tell us about? What’s the latest? Anything we can get the scoop on here?
SMB: To start, Heritage (#3) is due in the fall of 2013. I’m hard at work on it, promise, and I’m making great progress. I think you’ll be pleased with this finale. You can add Heritage to your Goodreads TBR list or sign up for the ARC if you like to review books.
I’m also going to release the first book in a secret new series—to give you a hint, it will be an urban fantasy fairy tale. In short, it’ll be awesome. I am SO excited. If you want to get the details on when this releases, you can follow my blog or sign up to get notifications for ARCs when they become available.
I’ll also be releasing novels with the full stories of major side characters in the Grimoire Trilogy. So far, the biggest votes have been for Stone, the First Vagabond (Cedric), and Deidre. If you want to know about someone else, be sure to let me know either through Twitter or my blog.
And lastly (I’m a busy girl), I actually will be expanding genres even beyond paranormal fantasy and urban fantasy! I’m developing two paranormal horror series that will be available not long after I finish the Grimoire Trilogy. Stay tuned to updates by following my blog.
Thanks for having me! You all are amazing. Stay awesome!
Let me close by saying thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Here’s to continued success with your endeavors! Thank you!
Buy Your Copy of Lichgates
(eBook is FREE on Amazon!)
About S. M. Boyce
S. M. Boyce—you can just call her Boyce—is a fantasy and paranormal fiction novelist. She’s a sarcastic twit with a gooey center, and she loves life. She enjoys connecting with readers, so feel free to connect with her online or check out more about writing on her blog.
Lichgates (Grimoire Trilogy #1)
Treason (Grimoire Trilogy #2)
Heritage (Grimoire Trilogy #3)
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WIN a guest appearance in Heritage (Grimoire Trilogy #3)