In less than a month ANOM: Awakening will be released. This week I'd like to answer some of the questions I've received about my book. Of course if I don't get to YOUR specific question, you can always ask me in person at my Launch Party! Not long to wait now.
Q: When and where can I buy your book?
A: ANOM: Awakening will be available for purchase online through Amazon.com on June 25th, 2016. However, you can also pre-order a paperback version of the book beginning on June 14th. This way you can bring your own copy of the book to the launch party on June 25th! And don't worry... I will provide many (MANY) links to the Amazon page where you can buy my book.
Q: In what formats will ANOM: Awakening be available?
A: My book will be available as both an e-book and as a paperback. I would love to offer a hardcover version of the book as well, but currently there's no way to print hardcover books through Createspace.com (Amazon's print-on-demand subsidiary). I hope to offer ANOM: Awakening as an audio book through audible.com beginning in the Fall of 2016.
Q: Will I be able to buy a book at your launch party?
A: YES! But keep in mind that supplies are limited. Vanessa and I ordered 100 copies of the book to sell at the launch party. The BEST (and really, the only) way to make sure you have a copy of the book for the June 25th launch party is to pre-order your copy on June 14th.
Q: Is the book suitable for teenagers/young adults?
A: This is a tricky question to answer as it's more a reflection on what your comfortable with as a parent than the actual content of the book. There is violence and some profanity in the book. To equate it to the movies, I would think the book would receive a rating of PG-13. Basically, if you were okay with your kid watching Captain America: Civil War, you should be okay with having them read my book.
Q: Am I (insert name of friend or family) a character in your book?
A: This is a question I wasn't expecting, but I've actually heard it a lot. It seems that when you write a novel, all of your friends and family automatically start to look for themselves in the characters of your book. The best answer I can give is YES... and at the same time, NO! Let me explain. You are not in my book. In fact, there are no 1:1 relationships between any character in my novel and anyone I know in real life. If truth be known, all of the characters are actually a reflection of me. That being said, as I detailed in a previous post, our relationships form part of our identity. So there are definitely pieces of people I know scattered throughout the entire story... whether its the way someone looks, or the way they speak, or even a gut-reaction to some event in the novel.
We're five weeks out from the book launch and excitement continues to build!
That's a good thing. It's also one of the strangest parts about this whole process. There's a building excitement among my family and friends (and I get excited too), but then I step back and truly wonder what all the excitement is about.
I'm self-publishing my book through Amazon. Literally, anyone else with a computer could do the exact same thing. So what's the big deal?
I was talking about my book tonight after my karate class, and one of the girls in the class told me she was writing a book too. She's only in middle school and currently her book is only 7 pages long, but I can honestly say I was excited for her. I wanted to encourage her. I was probably the same age when I wrote my first "book". Coincidentally enough, it was another superhero novel about a young boy with a passing resemblance to Batman. He called himself the Raven. I wrote it with my two friends at the time, and I thought it was a masterpiece.
Earlier in the day I was talking to one of my colleagues at the high school who is also an aspiring author. She let me read an early draft of her novel, and she was finally steeling herself to start on her revisions. I'm excited for her and I want her to succeed, but more than that, I want her to keep writing. Ten years ago I wrote another novel, and just like "The Raven" I thought it was a masterpiece. Then I got buried in rejection letters, and I stopped writing for a long time.
So why is this any different?
The only change is that now I'm making sure my book gets published. I'm not taking it to literary agents and asking for their approval. I'm putting it directly up on Amazon where there's no one to tell me it's not good enough. And people are excited for the book launch. And I'm excited. But none of that makes me a writer.
Writers write. That's it. That's what it takes. It doesn't matter if you're 12 years old and 7 pages in, or if you're 25 and still working on your rough draft, or if you're 36 and counting down to your launch party. We're all in this writing-life together.
I'm going to enjoy the excitement of the next five weeks, but when it's all over, I'll still be a writer. I've always been a writer. Writers write, and I'll keep writing.
And that's exciting too.
So Vanessa and I went with our friends to watch Captain America: Civil War last night. It was amazing.
After the movie, we all went out to a diner and over late-night milkshakes we talked about what made the movie so good. We touched on things like the dynamic action sequences, witty (often laugh-out-loud) dialogue, and, of course, the inclusion of Black Panther and SPIDER-MAN!
But one of the most important components in making this story a success lies in the excellent storytelling itself.
For those uninitiated, the story of Civil War revolves around the heroes of the Marvel Universe taking sides over a controversial piece of global legislation. The basic question is, "Do the countries of the world have the authority to direct the actions of the Avengers?"
Iron Man says YES. Captain America says NO.
What Civil War accomplished in their storytelling, however, was the equal justification of both of these choices. We, as the audience, understand and expect Iron Man's acceptance of the new global legislation. Likewise, we can empathize with the choices of Captain America. The same can be said for every other character in the movie. No matter where we fall personally on the spectrum of the issue at hand (should superheroes submit their powers to a global authority) we can at least acknowledge the validity of everyone else's choice.
The takeaway from this movie, as an author, is the importance of justified character motivations. Every choice by every character has to be earned within the story. Villains cannot do evil stuff just because they're bad. Within the framework of that character there must be some reason why an "evil" choice seems legitimate. Likewise, when heroes do something heroic, there must exist within the story a justification for their choice (and "just because" is never good enough).
We can contrast this to the turning point of DC and Warner Brother's Batman v. Superman when the two heroes reconcile over the shared first name of their respective mothers. This is a weak motivation that does not justify the subsequent truce AT BEST. At worst, it is the hallmark of lazy storytelling, and the belief that the audience will blindly accept any slop put up on the screen.
This is why DC continues to fail when it comes to movies, and Marvel reigns as king.
Storytelling (and character motivation) makes all the difference.