JENA @ PURE TEXTUALITY [JENA]: Welcome to the 2014 edition of Indies In Their Undies, a month-long interview series with 31 indie authors! Today we are sitting down with Rick H. Veal!
[JENA] We have readers all over the world and I am always curious to see where our favorite authors are from. Where do you call base camp?
RICK H. VEAL [RICK] I live in the upstate of South Carolina and have spent most of my life there.
[JENA] A common trend as of late is cross-genre authors. It has become relatively uncommon to come across an author who only writes in one specific genre. It seems there are a lot of writers who like to dip their toes in all sorts of pools. Which genre or genres do you write?
[RICK] I suppose that I will be the odd man out on this one! I only write paranormal romance and I do that because as Col. Sanders once said (back when he owned KFC) “Do one thing and do it right” so I try to follow that advice.
[JENA] Writers get inspiration from all over the place. Movies, books, music, people in their life, their own life, etc. Who or what is your most common muse?
[RICK] I have two favorite authors who have inspired me over the years, Anne Rice and Clive Cussler. Both of them have a way of bringing their characters to life so that you feel as if they are not just characters in a story but personal friends and a part of your life.
I love Cussler’s storytelling ability. He has a way of spinning a story that will draw you in from the very first page. He will take you deep into the lives of his characters and their adventures making them become a part of your life. It’s difficult to put down one of his books once you start it.
Anne Rice tells a sweeping saga while paying great attention to detail. She has a special way of getting into her character’s lives and surroundings. She brings them to life with such sharp detail that you often feel like you are in the room with them.
I think that if you have read either of those authors you will see their influence in my writing. I have tried to emulate both of these great writers in bringing my characters and their surroundings to life for my readers. I want all of the characters of the Whitehall family to become a part of your life and numbered among your friends. The greatest reward for me would be for someone to tell me that they laughed, loved and cried with Katelyn, Lexi, and Dale as they related their stories in “The Master of Whitehall”, “Lexi’s Legacy”, and “Dale’s Descent”.
[JENA] Are you 100% independently published or do you have traditional contracts as well? If you are 100% indie, would you ever consider a traditional publishing contract? Why or why not?
[RICK] I am currently 100% self-published – I do everything from the writing to the distribution – the only things I outsource are the cover art and the printing but I would look at a traditional publisher primarily for the greater distribution that a traditional publisher has to offer. But, my books are my babies – and I tend to be a control freak when it comes to how they look – so any traditional publisher would have to be willing to give some lee-way in the final product.
[JENA] Writer’s block sucks. What do you do to overcome the blank stare when it hits you with everything it has got?
[RICK] Sometimes I have to stop and back away for a couple of weeks (It usually take me about a year to write a book) and clear my mind. After that I will begin reading at the beginning and see just what I do have so far and then it’s easier to go forward. I keep a copy of a quote from Anne Rice about writing,
“If you want to be a writer, write. Write and write and write. If you stop, start again. Save everything that you write. If you feel blocked, write through it until you feel your creative juices flowing again. Write. Writing is what makes a writer, nothing more and nothing less.”
close by me and read it over and over if I have to remind myself what I’m doing. I have been known to be woken up at two or three in the morning by one of my characters who suddenly decides that they are ready for me to take some dictation!
[JENA] Let’s gab about your books. What fictiony goodness have you already unleashed on the general populous?
[RICK] I currently have three books published. The first, “The Master of Whitehall”, was published in June 2012.
The second, “Lexie’s Legacy”, was published in July 2013.
I just released “Dale’s Descent”, the third book of the saga in April. While all three books can be read as stand alones – I hate, hate, hate cliffhangers – it does tie up some remaining loose ends from the first two. But if you were to read all three, you would have a better understanding of what is happening as the story moves along.
[JENA] What’s next for you and your writing? Any new titles coming out?
[RICK] I’m taking a little break from writing although I am getting some notes, ideas and groundwork, down for the next two books. I actually have the beginning of book four and the ending of book five written and in the can – all I have to do now is fill in between them! In the meantime, I am focusing my efforts on pitching book one “The Master of Whitehall – Katelyn’s Chronicles” to a couple of producers and directors I know in the film industry and trying to get some interest going in that area.
When I do begin writing again, books four and five – Charlotte Ann’s and James’ stories – will be more of a prequel with backstories of the two and lead the reader back to book one.
[JENA] The latest trend with the indie author world is massive book signings and conventions featuring anywhere from 20 authors to 200 authors. What has your experience been at these events? Do you enjoy them? Or do they make you twitch and sweat?
[RICK] My first large signing will be Derinda Love’s event – Believe, Hope, Live ‘Ribbons for Cancer’ – in Augusta, Maine in August. Other than that I haven’t attended any of the other signings. I have worked trade shows in one form or another for over 25 years so I have watched with interest some of the Cons that have been put on lately. I’ve noticed the one thing the promoters of those events are going to have to learn is that they must spend some big dollars on advertising – billboards, radio and television, and local newspapers – in order to be successful and get the public through the door. Talking about your event on Facebook just isn’t going to cut it – the local folks where the Con is located must know about it, too. It doesn’t matter if you have one author or one hundred authors, or how good your intentions as a promoter may be, if the public doesn’t know you’re there you can’t get them through the door.
Another thing that most authors never stop to consider in their eagerness to attend a Con is the actual cost of being a vendor at one of these shows. While I don’t mind not making any money at an event, I don’t like losing money either. In order to figure the cost of an event, one has to account for table cost, transportation, lodging and meals, and the cost of the books you take with you. Then you must take that total and double it – that’s the amount, as a vendor, that you must take in just to break even and before you ever make one dollar of profit on an event. So let’s say the average cost for an event is $1200.00, how many books must one sell, along with a hundred other authors, to take in $2400.00 just to break even. That’s why I prefer to schedule and set up my own signings at indie bookstores, small local festivals, and other trade type shows where there is usually a large turnout of public to see what I am offering.
[JENA] Do you have any appearances coming up? If so, tell us when and where (provide links if you have them).
[RICK] I will be at the S.C. Book Festival, May 17 and 18 in Columbia, South Carolina. Then I will attend Believe, Hope, Live, ‘Ribbons for Cancer’ August 22 and 23 in Augusta, Maine. This is a charity event to raise money for the local Children’s Cancer Research Hospital and all proceeds from the event will go to the hospital. I have several smaller local events lined up between now and the end of the year.
[JENA] Now it’s time for some just-for-fun questions! If you were digitized like Tron and put on the internet what site would you visit first?
[RICK] Mine of course and then I’d have to go the site of The World’s Greatest PA, Kim Shaw, Little Red’s Book Reviews next. And she’s probably going to kill me because I didn’t visit her site first!
[JENA] Have you ever Googled yourself? If so, were you surprised or shocked by any of the results?
[RICK] Let’s just say that I’m happy I did all of my really stupid stuff before the invention of cell phones and the internet.
[JENA] What would you do with a million dollars?
[RICK] I would buy another book store (yes, I have owned and sold one book store already) and reserve the “Primo Shelf Space” real estate for indie authors.
[JENA] If you were trapped on a desert island with one CD that you could listen to for the rest of your life what would it be?
[RICK] Riverboat Jazz by The Dukes of Dixieland, the house band on the Steamboat Natchez in New Orleans.
[JENA] How do you consume – read the book then watch the movie or watch the movie then read the book?
[RICK] I much prefer the book to the movie.
[JENA] If you could live forever, would you? Why or why not?
[RICK] As long as age had no effect on me, yes. Although I think the most difficult part of immortality would be adapting to the times in which I lived.
[JENA] If you were faced with the zombie apocalypse and had to pick five people to be on your survival team, who would you pick?
[RICK] Kim Shaw (The World’s Greatest PA), followed by Samantha Truesdale, Bree High, Darlene Gross and Heather Alexander (all of whom make up the team of The World’s Best Beta Readers) Zombie’s wouldn’t stand a chance against a crew like that!
[JENA] Imagine the concept of reincarnation is real, who or what would you hope to come back as in your next life?
[RICK] My cat – she absolutely has it made!
[JENA] Thank you for participating in Indies In Their Undies!
[RICK] It’s been my pleasure, thank you for having me, I’ve enjoyed it. Is the coffee and doughnuts ready now?