Hi everyone, Jess here :) I’ll be posting more often now that the A-to-Z Challenge is over.
Today, I have the pleasure of posting an interview I did with new Space Opera Science Fiction writer, K.J. Blaine! In a series that started with the release of Gynocracy (although it’s not the first book, chronologically), Blaine pulled readers through an epic space opera series with heart wrenching moments, terrifying villains and nonstop, adrenaline-pumping action. More of a fantasy fan? Don’t worry! Blaine also has a fantasy trilogy published under the name Caprice Hokstad, which can be found here.
Telepaths & Traitors, available on Amazon.com.
The year is 2042 and mankind has colonized the solar system. The International Space Alliance has emerged in response to the lawlessness teeming in the new frontier. The ISA's most advanced ship, the Phoenix, has a mission of both peacekeeping and scientific research. The Phoenix's power is unmatched by any other vessel, but can her crew withstand the threat of mind control and betrayal from within?
Thank you for the chance to interview you!
1. What made you decide to make the move from fanfiction to original fiction with The Phoenix Chronicles?
Audience. I think the stories are better as fanfiction. The plot twists were more organic. The characters and settings were much more alluring. However, as SeaQuest has been off the air for nearly 20 years, there's just not much fanbase there to have interest. Worse, the rights are in Hollywood and by all accounts the executive director thought the TV series was a flop. It's doubtful he would ever let anyone, let alone a no-name author, ever have authorized novel rights that would put his "failure" back in the public eye again.
The only way I could see my stories getting any readership at all was to publish them myself, and to do that, I was forced to take the seaQuest elements out. It hurt to do that. I know people think I'm just being dramatic, but even the act of changing Nathan Bridger to Jason Armstrong makes me cringe inside. Murdering bigger darlings like the beautiful trimaran in "Hard Time" and the cool Panama Canal gambit in "Not on my Watch" were hard too. I did it to try to gain some readers and maybe--well, I had hoped--a little cash. I happen to think all of my novels are worth at least the cost of a movie ticket. However, it's not really making much money.
2. There seems to be a sense of taboo surrounding authors making the move from fanfiction to original fiction. Why do you think that is?
A lot of people consider it cheating or plagiarism. I don't agree, but that's a long explanation. E.L. James wrote erotica and because she's the most famous example of doing this, others also assume that anyone who does it is also changing something well-loved and familiar into kinky sex. They'd probably not like any kind of erotica, whether it came from fanfic or not. People may also think it's selling out, because fanfic is purely for love. If I could eat electrons and make house payments with Facebook "likes" then maybe I wouldn't have to trade my writing for cash. Sorry, but I need money just like everyone else. I put in a LOT of time and effort, and yes, I put out a hat for pennies. You don't like that, don't throw a penny in.
3. Did you have any nay-sayers when you made the move?
A lot of people didn't know because I kept the whole project a secret. When I did tell, the most common reaction was indifference. A few of my fanfic fans wrote me off as a sell-out and stopped talking to me. No one ever said anything mean in private or in public, so I guess that's good.
4. Regardless of genre or background, do you have any advice for writers who want to try self-publishing?
Get at least two sets of eyes besides your own to read and give honest critique. LISTEN to them. Paying a professional editor would be even better, but I know people tend to ignore that advice because of cost. If you want a career in writing, you've got to invest in that career. A good editor is an investment.
5. Do you prefer one method of publishing over the other?
By method, do you mean self vs. small press vs. large publisher, or do you mean paper vs ebook vs audio? I would prefer a Big Six house with a huge advance and a marketing budget and shelf space in B&N and Wal-Mart. While I'm dreaming, maybe I should ask for the ability to spin dog poop into gold too. You do what you can with the cards you're dealt. I sell more ebooks than paperbacks--like on the order of 500:1, so yes, I love Kindle publishing. I haven't tried audio yet, but I may one day.
6. What are you currently working on?
I'm trying to start a "regular" business, something completely outside of publishing. I'm also working on another children's book, because they seem to do the best for me, money-wise. If I can ever get to the point that I'm not worrying about money so much, maybe I can start writing novels again.
7. Lastly, if there was one piece of writing or publishing advice you wish someone had told you, what would it be?
Writing ability isn't nearly as important as storytelling. Readers will put up with a lot if they love your characters or your stories. That said, don't neglect the writing, just realize it's not as important as story.
Follow K.J. Blaine on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorKJBlaine