A couple of weeks ago I invited everyone to send in their questions regarding my newest novel, Kira and the Rat Queen. I received a number of responses and I'm going to try to answer some of the more common questions today.
Q: When will Kira and the Rat Queen be available?
A: This is far and away the most common question I've received since announcing the Kira sequel. Unfortunately, at this stage of the writing process, it's still impossible to specify an exact release date. That being said, I'll be happy to talk through the remaining hurdles as we work towards publication.
On Monday, October 9th, I will send my third draft of the Kira manuscript to my editor, Liam Carnahan, at Invisible Ink Editing. Liam will spend the next 2-4 weeks picking my writing apart, and eventually, he'll send me back a much better novel. Then it's up to me to review Liam's proposed changes and put the finishing touches on my fourth and final draft. At that time, I'll be comfortable settling on a release date, even as I work to get the cover designed and the novel formatted for Amazon.
The good news is, Kira and the Rat Queen is on a very similar schedule to Kira the Rainbow Princess from last year. Hopefully the novel will be ready for release by Thanksgiving, and we can plan on a launch party in early December, just in time for Christmas.
Q: Do you need to read Kira the Rainbow Princess to understand Kira and the Rat Queen?
A: Kira and the Rat Queen picks up three days after the end of Kira the Rainbow Princess. I've tried to include a brief backstory about what Kira is doing in this magical world (she's there to rescue her parents), but it's really just enough so that a reader won't be completely lost if they haven't read the prequel. All of Kira's friends appear in this novel, and not a lot of time is devoted to introducing Snugg, Fred, and Ben. So the short answer is, it's not necessary... but I think you would like Kira and the Rat Queen much more if you're familiar with the events and characters in Kira the Rainbow Princess.
Q: Are you still available to visit schools/give talks about your writing?
A: After the publication of Kira the Rainbow Princess, I had the opportunity to visit a number of local schools and classrooms to talk about my novel and the writing process. Honestly, it was probably my favorite part in the entire novel writing experience... getting to share my passion and excitement for these characters with young people who were just as invested in my story as I was. Hopefully, I'll get to visit again this year. I'll include a link to my One Sheet (a single sheet of paper with my background and contact info) and I'll post the One Sheet to the "Media" page on the site. Feel free to share this information or to reach out if you would like me to arrange a visit to your student's classroom.
I know I promised a Q and A about Kira, the Rainbow Princess over a week ago, but things got pretty busy . . . We announced a launch date and a launch party last week, and now we're less than a month away from launch. There's a lot of information to cover so this is actually the perfect time to answer some of your questions.
Q: When and where will Kira, the Rainbow Princess be available?
A: Kira, the Rainbow Princess will be available through Amazon.com on Friday, November 25, 2016! An electronic version of the book for e-readers as well as a paperback version will be available - just in time for Christmas!!!
Q: Who is the intended audience for Kira?
A: Kira is a middle-grade, fantasy adventure novel. It should be suitable for children of all ages, and is intended to appeal to both boys and girls. One of my hopes in writing Kira was to offer a modern fantasy adventure (in the same vein as the Chronicles of Narnia) with a strong female protagonist.
Q: You mentioned a launch party... Any details?
A: Our launch party will once again be hosted by Alaura Kitchen and Candy in Pitman, NJ on December 10, 2016. We plan on having a "signing table" as well as live-readings by the author. We'll also have raffle drawings throughout the launch party and of course we're giving away FREE ice cream.
Q: Will I be able to purchase Kira, the Rainbow Princess at your launch party?
A: Yes, we will have a limited supply of paperbacks available for purchase at the launch party.
That covers a lot of the details about Kira's launch in November and our launch party in December. We should have one more Question and Answer blog post before launch, so if we didn't get to your question this time, hopefully we can answer things the next time around. Check back early and often for all your Kira information!
As I said last week, this is going to be my final ANOM: Awakening post for a while. It's been a great summer watching my debut novel climb the Amazon charts, and I'm excited to see what happens next. . . but I have another novel in the works and in the coming weeks, my focus is going to shift to promote this newest project. All that being said, I thought a final Q and A regarding ANOM: Awakening would be a great way to cap off this opening chapter of my literary journey. So, without further ado. . .
Q: Will there be a sequel to ANOM: Awakening and when will it be ready?
A: This is far and away the most common question I encounter regarding my book. I'm happy to report that there will ABSOLUTELY, 100% be a sequel to ANOM: Awakening! I started writing the second installment this summer and I estimate that I'm about 1/3 of the way finished the first draft. So, when will the sequel be available? It's too early to even take a guess at this point, but I'll be offering regular updates as the story progresses.
Q: Why does ANOM: Awakening end on a cliffhanger? The story feels incomplete.
A: One of my inspirations for ANOM: Awakening comes from my love of comic books. When you read a comic book, it's usually one part of a larger story arc. That's exactly how I envisioned my book. Some of the conflicts that start in my novel get resolved by the end, but other questions never get answered -- these are part of the larger story arc. They set up conflicts that will be resolved in future novels. And that's one of the exciting things about ANOM: Awakening. It's more than a single story. It's the start of a bigger world that can support multiple story arcs. So just like you, I can't wait to see what happens next.
Q: What's up with Major Ellison? Is he supposed to be the bad guy?
A: Major Ellison is a complex character (and hopefully one of many in this novel). Just like in real life, characters exist on a spectrum - very few are 100% good or 100% evil - and based on the choices they make, they are constantly sliding up and down that scale. What complicates matters for Ellison (and Jeremy) is that large portions of the novel are told from their point of view. . . and no one thinks of themselves as being the "bad guy". So, in a very real sense, I can't answer that question. A better question might be, "Do YOU think Ellison is a bad guy?"
Q: Tell me more about Kate!
A: I've previously written about being surprised as a writer. The character of Ellison was a surprise. When I started writing, I never intended on creating Ellison but as the narrative progressed, Ellison evolved into one of the main characters of the novel. Kate was a very different surprise. All through my writing, I considered Kate a very minor character, but a number of readers feel a deep connection to Katie - my brother Michael and my mom included. So, never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, all I can say is Kate's story is not done. Hope that's enough for now.
And that's it for the final ANOM: Awakening Q and A. Thank you again for all the support. The ANOM series will still get lots of love on this page and information will keep trickling out, but in the immediate future, our focus is shifting to a brand new book. I hope you'll be just as excited as I am regarding this new project. Check back soon for updates!
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.
I want to start this week's article by saying THANK YOU for the continued interest in my writing career and support for my debut novel, ANOM: Awakening. I launched this website just over a month ago, and the positive responses I've received have been nothing short of overwhelming. With each new week that passes, when I read your comments and questions, I become more and more excited to finally share my book with all of you!
Speaking of questions, I received a lot of good ones leading up to today's post. So, if I don't respond to your question today, take heart -- in a couple of months we'll have a "Questions and Answers Part 2". In the meantime . . .
Q: When will your book be available for purchase?
A: When I started writing ANOM: Awakening over two years ago, I had no idea how much work (beyond the actual writing) would go into "creating" a novel. I finished writing in November. Since then, I've shared the book with a small and trusted cabal of "Beta" readers. I used their feedback to edit and revise my original manuscript. Then, on February 11th, I sent the book to professional editors at Invisible Ink Editing. It should still be several weeks before they complete their read-through. Then it's another round of re-writes. In addition to all the writing, I still need to format the book for publication through Amazon.com, find a cover artist to design the cover, and send out advanced reader copies to solicit reviews and endorsements for the novel. All of that takes time. My best GUESS is that ANOM: Awakening will finally be available for purchase in late June 2016 . . . but that's just a guess.
Q: How will I be able to purchase your novel, ANOM: Awakening?
A: My novel will be available for purchase through Amazon.com. The electronic version for Kindles will be available exclusively through Amazon, offered through a program called KDP Select. A paperback version of the book will also be available for purchase on Amazon. Once the book is released, you will be able to search Amazon and find my book's title, ANOM: Awakening. I will also provide (many) links through my website to take you directly to my book on Amazon.
Q: Did you consider "traditional" publishing (as opposed to self-publishing on Amazon)?
A: Not too long ago, traditional publishing -- signing with a literary agent and selling your book to one of the big publishing houses -- was viewed as the only legitimate way to bring your book to the market. However, with the advent of Amazon and e-books, this is simply no longer the case (one report in October 2015 claims Amazon might enjoy up to 74% of the units sold in the e-book market).
From a more philosophical standpoint, I appreciate the freedom offered by self-publishing through Amazon. When I started my novel two years ago, I was consciously writing for my own enjoyment. Now that it's finished, I refuse to present it as a tribute to some literary "gatekeeper" who gets to decide if it's "good enough" to share with the public. I love my book, and my sincere hope is that others will love it too. For more information on Kindle Direct Publishing, you can check out this link.
Q: What is your book, ANOM: Awakening, about anyway?
A: This is a tough one to answer because I don't want to give anything away. You can find the best description of the book here, but from a broader perspective, ANOM: Awakening is an action/adventure superhero novel. I've often described it as a graphic novel without the pictures.
Q: Can you give us insight into your main character? Who is he and what makes him special?
A: Like the previous question, this one is difficult for me to answer. I think so much of my novel is devoted to "discovering" who these characters truly are. I can tell you that my main character is a young man named Jeremy Cross. Jeremy is an ANOM -- a genetic anomaly -- who possesses a tremendous amount of power. This new-found power throws Jeremy into a world that's very different from the one he's known. At the same time, Jeremy is not really special at all. What he experiences in the novel -- his struggles and fears, and the choices he's forced to make regarding identity -- will all resonate with the reader.