I did a chat/AMA for the SIBA After Party. I decided to include the transcript of the impromptu interview. Forgive how small and compressed it is. I've cleaned it up as much as possible for readability.
Kristan Cannon: So, let's get this party started with a few things about the book that was nominated for an award (*woot woot*). I wrote After Oil during NaNoWriMo 2012. Somehow, during that month I wrote nearly 100k words of utter randomness that somehow was drawn into a manuscript later.
Kristan Cannon: I had absolutely no intention of ever publishing it, whether shopping it traditionally or self-publishing.
Kristan Cannon: ... So every character in it is actually based on real people I know. I was just intending on polishing it up, making it reasonably passable as a book, and maybe getting a few copies printed a local print shop and giving it to those same friends as a "Ha, ha, remember that Dark Reign/Beyond the Supernatural game we did...? Yeah, I made a chronicle of it..."
Theo: So what convinced you?
Kristan Cannon: Uh, well, Theo... that's kind of funny. It was an accident.
Theo: XD I love it
Liz C: This I have to hear...
Kristan Cannon: I had another urban fantasy book I was actually shopping around and I had a friend who was working on his MFA come over. I had left out Karasa (the book I intended to shop) and After Oil was actually sitting in a drawer. I was at work, and said friend was a role player like my now ex. So he came over to play D&D with my then husband (now ex) while I was at work. Allan (the friend) asked my then-husband where the book was. Then-husband, pulled out After Oil. He never saw the book I wanted, so went into the drawer where he had last seen something that wasn't fan fiction.
Kristan Cannon: Allan read After Oil. Loved it, and over the course of a year we completely reworked it and published it on CreateSpace. A few months later I joined the indie press I'm with now and they republished it after another round of edits.
Kristan Cannon: Hello Su Echo!
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): Hello everyone Happy Indie Author Celebration
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): Just popped by to say a quick hello and wish you all happy reading and writing its very late here in the UK smile
Kristan Cannon: Hello from Canada! Now there are three books in this series so far--Between Silence and Fire is the third book in this series and it will be out next month. And there's a fourth in the works. I think I'll end it after the fourth, but that really depends on how far my readers want me to take it.
Kristan Cannon: ... however, I'd really like to get that book I was originally shopping to agents and publishers to shelves someday too.
Theo: That's such a great story though. It's like something out of a movie
|The three books in hardcover|
Kristan Cannon: So, that's the background behind After Oil. It's a post-apocalyptic political thriller based in the great Canadian North. No zombies, no nuclear bombs.
Kristan Cannon: Yeah, the story behind the story is, in retrospect, as much a story. In that you're right, Theo.
Kristan Cannon: Holy cow, we're almost at the halfway point already. I think that's time for a short break while I give something away on Facebook.
Theo: Yay, giveaways!
Kristan Cannon: *surprise!
Kristan Cannon: Give me one second while I post that, but in the meantime... by all means... don't stop talking because I did. This is a chat room. CHAT, lol!
Theo: What are all the time zones here? I'm curious what sort of schedule this caused for everyone else
Kristan Cannon: It's actually 6:30pm where I am.
Kristan Cannon: Which is how I ended up so mixed up with the timezones and when the radio show was supposed to be in relation.
Theo: That would explain that one
Kristan Cannon: There, posted in the event discussion is the giveaway and how to win it. I should also point out that those who enter will have their names thrown in a hat and randomly pulled. I'll announce the winners at the end of my hour, and make a post about it then. Anyone have any questions for me? I don't only write. I also format book interiors, and in select situations set up book covers for print, so long as I have the high quality images to work with. Not a cover artist, but someone who would work alongside one in a printshop.
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): OMG so many beautiful and interesting books now on my TBR list and her in the UK it is just after 23:30
Kristan Cannon: I do, however, design business cards, book marks, etc.
Kristan Cannon: Yeah, that's late, Su Echo.
Kristan Cannon: I'll even do an #AMA here. Seriously. Ask away.
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): Wow multi talented Kristan I will be sending a freinds request so I might pick your brain in the future
Theo: I applaud you staying up just to participate, Su!
Kristan Cannon: I look forward to friending, and I agree with Theo.
Liz C: Kristan you know I could pick your brain all day about formatting... Since that's what I'm trying to learn how to do effectively with my own stuff. How did you learn? Internet tutorials or just messing with settings until you got it right?
Kristan Cannon: I'm going to post another thing I do, for marketing. Marketing seems to be the big thing in this group. I find the right paper products that aren't too much, but still attract pro attention, helps getting books into bookstores.
Kristan Cannon: I'm posting an example of that to the event now. It's called a sales sheet, which is usually sent to bookstores so they have a better idea of what your book is about.
Kristan Cannon: One part that, Liz. The other just from working in a print shop.
Liz C: Ah, that explains a lot. smile
Kristan Cannon: I had to learn because that was my day job (until the owner retired and sold the business off piece meal)
Kristan Cannon: To keep up, though, much of it is also working as a front line receptionist in a construction company and having to make, on the spot, stuff for various city officials and others in that business.
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): Wow busy lady Kristan
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): I am a Read-a-holic so anything like this Indie Author Celebration facinates me
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): costs a fortune and I have piles and piles of books all over the place but simply cannot get enough smile
Kristan Cannon: Again, it's another place I no longer work for. They weren't paying enough and I needed something that didn't close down in the winter. I'm now working as a part-time receptionist at an addictions clinic... and I own Lone Wolf Books, which is an online indie bookstore featuring a bunch of indie books.
Kristan Cannon: I have loads of fellow NaNo's in my own catalogue.
Liz C: I know what you mean, Su! So many books, so little time!
Kristan Cannon: Su, that's why I own a bookstore. I figured if I was going to buy the entire catalogue, I may as well feed other read-a-holics addiction too.
Kristan Cannon: (That, and it gives me the warehouse discount on new books... but shh... I didn't just say that out loud)
Theo: I used to dream of owning a bookstore as a kid because I figured it meant I got free books.
Theo: How wrong I was...
Kristan Cannon: Free books, no. Not even cheap books. Although, I have accounts with plenty of used wholesalers and networks I didn't have before.
Theo: Wholesale is awesome!
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): Wow great idea to own a bookstore
Kristan Cannon: I am utterly amazed no one has entered my contest for free books yet.
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): Unfortunately the UK lot are either out on the town or in bed reading LOL
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): Are you posts open until the end of the festivities
Kristan Cannon: At this point I have two names to put into the hat.
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): I put ours open until Monday
Liz C: I already have the ones you have out. Just haven't had a chance to crack them open y et.
Kristan Cannon: All of them? Even Between Silence and Fire?
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): I think I have 7 names now for my random draw
Kristan Cannon: (which isn't even out yet, lol...)
Kristan Cannon: If I have two names, that basically guarantees two winners.
Theo: Usually I think giveaways do just a little better if they're left open until the next morning at least. Gives people in other timezones a chance to wake up
Kristan Cannon: Yeah, I'll extend it until Monday then. I'm in no hurry.
Kristan Cannon: Extended.
Liz C: So that would be a no
Kristan Cannon: There was a reason I mentioned trope-breaking, however.
Kristan Cannon: I figured, Liz.
|Personal Insignia of Derek Moss, |
the Master Ranger of Walden.
Kristan Cannon: I love breaking tropes in my writing. It's the best way to kick start the creative juices. After Oil (and the subsequent series) is no different.
Su Echo Falls (Rose English): smile
Kristan Cannon: While it is an ensemble cast, the one that sticks out to people the most is Derek Moss. Derek is sort of the unlikely hero, without even falling into that trope.
Kristan Cannon: Actually, he's the "Obi-Wan Kenobi" trope (the ageing mentor, who was once a hero, but now trains the protagonist and dies)... only Derek doesn't seem to understand that as the "Obi-Wan", he's supposed die/retire.
Kristan Cannon: And usurps the protagonist/young hero's role for himself. He still trains young heroes, but as the mentor. You see them come... and then you see the young ones finish their training and go and the end of each book.
Theo: *grabby hands*
Kristan Cannon: Or they stick around and develop their own story (ie: Gina & Aidan), but numerous others (Jabe, Nathan, and others) all leave Derek after he's trained them.
Kristan Cannon: Yeah, there's a reason I think it ended up nominated... it's different. Especially with dystopia which sees a lot of very young heroes who are coming of age.
Theo: That's one of my favorite things with indie books - how *different* they're allowed to be
Kristan Cannon: Aidan would have been one of those young heroes, just slightly older than Cedric in Harry Potter. Nathan is, at the beginning, the same age as Harry.
|Insignia of the Rangers of Walden|
Liz C: ^^Me too, Theo
Theo: I was getting to a point with trad published books where I didn't even need to read much more than the first chapter to be able to accurately predict everything that was going to happen
Kristan Cannon: Gina is older than Aidan, and is closer to being an actual young adult (late twenties), and she's also a trope breaker herself.
Kristan Cannon: I think that's why indies are doing so well, Theo. People like to read indie books because they are often produced to the same quality (or better) than Big Five trads, and they don't all fall into the repeating formula.
Kristan Cannon: Gina is an Australian, and she often jokes that she was on Walkabout (she's Aborigine) but she wanted to see the whole world, not just Australia. When the end came, it meant she was stuck in Canada.
Kristan Cannon: She also, in the third book, decided to "tell me" (as characters do) that she's also got a girlfriend in Japan that she knows she will never, ever, see again, so she's also LGBT. I was trying to set her up with Dane... yeah...
Kristan Cannon: She's not the only Aboriginal character, but Sheridan is Native Canadian (as is her grandfather's side of the bloodline, Lorraine, her grandmother, is Scottish)
Theo: XD Characters.
Kristan Cannon: Sheridan is the doctor that becomes a Queen, and Derek's ward & goddaughter, so she's very prominent.
Theo: Can't live with them, can try to horribly maim and injure them... but it only goes so far.
Kristan Cannon: Yeah, they do what they want. But if they do something you didn't exactly predict in a situation but it's still in character, then you did your job in making a unique, living & breathing entity to your readers too.
Kristan Cannon: Theo, that leads to the other funny thing. Derek was supposed to die. I told the person I directly based him on that he would be the "Obi-Wan" of the book, but Derek decided to break that and live... much to my amusement... and his wife's delight.
Kristan Cannon: But it worked out in the end. He's alive, and the hero people didn't know they wanted but got... and then really like.
Kristan Cannon: Oh shoot, my hour is up. I didn't even notice. I am now going to turn the stage over to James Baldwin, who is doing a Livestream. See everyone there!