Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Daryl Sedore Interview
10/18/2010 7:40:03 PM
Canadian author, Daryl Sedore talks about his debut novel and the writing life.
LTS: If youíre a fan of the paranormal genre, Iíd like to introduce you to Canadian author, Daryl Sedore. We first met on Twitter and Iím a regular visitor to Darylís blog as itís full of insight into the publishing industry as well as writing tips.
This summer marked the release of Darylís novel called ĎParanormal Precognitionsí, published as an ebook and available in various formats.
Welcome, Daryl! Iíd like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers.
DS: I started my first business at seventeen years of age and went on to own multiple retail stores throughout southern Ontario until late last year. Iíve sold out my interest in those stores and made writing my full time job. Iíve been writing since I was around 10 years old and got serious about it roughly a dozen years ago. My wifeís name is Brenda; sheís also a writer. We spend countless hours, writing and reading together as these are two of our passions outside of each other.
LTS: You, sir, have been writing stories for a long time, receiving much in the way of inspiration for your teachers in school. Did this fuel a desire to become a published author early in your life?
DS: Yes it did. Thereíve been numerous times in the past when I was inspired by comments from a professional regarding my writing but I felt a career in business was where I needed to be. During the opening of new stores I had a lot of downtime in hotel rooms. This is where I found myself jotting down ideas for books and short stories which bloomed into what Iím publishing now.
LTS: Your debut novel, ĎParanormal Precognitionsí has received great reviews. What is the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Sarah Roberts?
DS: I was inspired by all the research I did on the paranormal in the late 1990ís. I studied near death experiences, met Sylvia Browne a renowned psychic and toured ancient crypts in Europe. I found The Other Side to be so fascinating that I decided to write a non-fiction piece on the theory I had started to create on the blueprint of life. Then one day it hit me; I could take those things Iíd learned, those theories and write paranormal thrillers.
Sarah Roberts is a troubled girl who is a victim of trichotillomania which means sheís a puller. Itís similar to a cutter, but this is someone who pulls her own hair out. Sheís also an Automatic Writer who receives messages from the Other Side and must interpret them as best she can. She goes through a series of trials that make her question all that sheís become with an answer she may not be ready to handle.
LTS: Without giving away too much, can you reveal whatís in store for the reader when they crack open ĎParanormal Precognitionsí?
DS: High-energy, fast paced action. The first scene has an intense car accident that leads into a meeting with a warning and that catapults Sarah into a chase that ultimately has her as the victim. Everything gets twisted around as the police are looking to question her when they should be helping her.
LTS: Featuring an eighteen-year-old protagonist, can this novel be categorized in the YA paranormal genre, or is the level of action, story line and language too much for the young adult audience?
DS: That would be a fine line. In my opinion, it is not considered YA. The audience I targeted was adults. Yet my 13 year old daughter read it and loved it.
LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. Do you have any advice youíd like to share with the author struggling to find representation?
DS: The only thing I would say is persevere. I know theyíve heard that before, but truly, that is the only way to move ahead out there. Keep writing new stories and persevere. On the other hand Iíve gone the e-book route where I donít have a literary agent. I also donít have a publishing contract. I maintain all the rights and receive all the royalties. The advice I would give to new authors would ultimately be; research both options and choose the best one for you. I cover a lot of this in my non-fiction book Publishing Exposed: The Sedore Report.
LTS: What made you decide to go indie and self-publish this book?
DS: Some of that came up in the last answer and Iíll add to it here.
Traditional Publishing: You take a year or more to write the book. Then you spend countless hours editing it. Itís your baby, your creation. You research agents, then send out queries. After an agent responds in kind, you do more edits and off to the publisher it goes. You wait. The odds are against you. Time is an enemy. You wait. Finally after three submissions, a publisher picks up your book. You need to sign a contract that gives the book to them. They own the rights. They own the cover art. They own the book. They also get options for the next book you write. The advance is commonly spread over three payments, sometimes four. More edits come your way. After a long haul, a year or two, your book hits the bookstores. You have to do all the promotion. Thereís hardly any money thrown at debut novelists for book promotion. You hustle to sell your book and get it known through social media. In the end you make 10% royalty on the first 10,000 copies sold (thatís about $2-$3) and 15% after that. Your agent receives 15% for their part in editing and selling your novel. The publishing industry makes the rest. Barnes & Noble sells your hard cover novel for $26. They bought it for $13.00 wholesale. They double their money on a book you spent the last few years slaving over.
Self-Publishing: as an e-book, you maintain all the rights. You can do it whenever the book is ready. No agent. No 15% commission. No waiting for a sale. Royalties for e-books are as high as 85%. Barnes & Noble still gets your book(Publit or Smashwords), but you set the price. A $5.00 e-book garners you more royalties per book than a $26.00 hard cover is the traditional method of publishing.
Thatís why I went indie. Thatís why I will always go indie.
LTS: What advice can you share with writers deciding to self-publish their books?
DS: Again, research and perseverance. In any business you must be as knowledgeable as you can be about the direction youíve decided to take. Itís all out there on the internet. A couple hours of research a day and a few months later you could almost be an expert on the subject of indie publishing.
LTS: For those who are not keen on ebook reading devices, will ĎParanormal Precognitionsí be available as a print book any time soon?
DS: Absolutely. By the first week of November the book will be available in print at Amazon.com
LTS: Iím curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
DS: I used to set writing goals. I found myself missing them at times as business called me away and then I felt pressure to make up the quota, the word per day amount I had set. After a while I learned to just write when I had time. I felt less pressure and enjoyed the process more. There are days when I donít write at all because life takes me away and then there are days when I write over 5000 words. I prefer this as I feel zero stress regarding my process. Itís almost like eating: itís something I have to do and on certain days, finding the time is daunting.
LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
DS: I free write and for me that means I basically sit down and ask my characters where theyíre going to take me today. I take the original idea and jot out two to three pages to cover the idea completely and then I sit down and write the story. I have never outlined or made notes for future chapters. I never know how a book will end. I just know whether I will kill my main character or not and thatís it.
LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
DS: The only ritual I have is music. When writing ďcatch your breathĒ scenes, which are the small ones between intense action scenes, I will often listen to classical music or Diana Krall or Michael Buble. When Iím writing intense action scenes I will always listen to heavy metal like Slipknot or Machinehead. Oh and itís metal while doing all edits. Heavy metal fires my veins as it thrashes out of my speakers, screaming into my ears. Iíve found in the past that my scenes are much more dramatic and tension filled this way.
LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writerís block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
DS: To be completely honest, I donít think Iíve ever had writerís block. I wrote a piece on this topic in April for theurbanmusewriter.com as a guest post. I describe writerís block as something that happens to writers who arenít writing what is in their heart. If you arenít passionate about your topic, your voice will have difficulty at times. Itíll struggle through something that isnít really you. Since I only write paranormal thrillers, which I live and breathe, it all comes naturally to me. If, and thatís a big if, I ever was stopped in a project, I would move to another story and either revisit the first one or leave it alone altogether. I have at least five story ideas at any time in my head so Iím never at a loss for writing material.
LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
DS: Iíd say my favourite is Stephen King. I started reading his work in the days Cujo was released around 1981 area. By 1984 I was reading The Stand and deciding that I too wanted to write thrillers with paranormal twists or as they called it in those days, supernatural. He has inspired me like an uncle (He even calls himself Uncle Stevie to his readers in his Entertainment Weekly column). After reading ďOn WritingĒ about ten years ago I turned the writing machine into high gear. I would say he takes most of the credit for firing me up.
LTS: What is the most profound discovery youíve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
DS: For me, the closest Iíve come to touching the lives of others has been through fan mail. I received my first few letters of fan mail around 2004 when I was contracted by a magazine in Northern Ontario to write a monthly short story. A woman wrote to me telling me that she loved all my stories and that every month she waits for the magazine to come out and turns right to my story. I also have dozens of people who have sent me their true stories of paranormal events that happened to them; A dead sister coming back with a message, a dead parent sitting in the back seat of their car telling them to stay home the next day. Things like that that proved true and saved lives. I still have all these letters in a special file.
LTS: What is the most important lesson youíve learned on the road to publication?
DS: Probably it was: grow a thick skin. In my previous business I did what I wanted. I bought from whatever supplier I wanted. If they couldnít price match or didnít want to work with me on bulk deals I could get my product elsewhere. Not so in publishing since it moves at its own pace. In publishing, not only did I have to learn the ropes, I had to learn to deal with things that werenít in my control.
LTS: What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
DS: Iím reading The Passage by Justin Cronin. Itís an apocalyptic tale about a vampire virus. One of the reasons it made it into my to-read list is because of Twitter as it was all over Twitter about three months ago. Another reason: Stephen King read it and not only loved it, he recommended it.
LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from paranormal into other genres? Can your fans expect a sequel to ĎParanormal Precognitionsí in the near future?
DS: The future for me is simply more stories. Iíve got two other full length books already written. They only need editing. Iíve got three other ideas jotted down that I want to write and yes Paranormal Precognitions will have a sequel. Iíve already started it and expect its release by the summer of 2011. In November, Iím releasing four paranormal short story collections and Publishing Exposed: The Sedore Report which is my non-fiction book on the industry and all that I found out about publishing regarding which way to go whether it be indie or traditional.
At this point I would say that I will probably always write paranormal thrillers and sometimes Iíll dabble in crime thrillers, but outside of a fast paced thriller wouldnít be a territory I would want to venture.
LTS: Thank you for taking the time to share in your writerly wisdom and for telling us about your exciting new book, Daryl! Iíll see you at a future writing conference one day and weíll definitely chat on Twitter in the meantime.
DS: Thank you for inviting me to do this. It has been a pleasure and I appreciate all that youíve done Lorna. Thanks again.
For more information about Daryl and his novel, check out:
Follow Daryl on Twitter: .darylsedore
Where to buy the book: Amazon.com and at Smashwords.com
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