Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
Q1: Thanks for participating in our Authors.com Spotlight Interview series Barry! Please introduce yourself and your book to help our readers get to know you.
A: I’m Barry Silverstein, a professional freelance writer who lives in Asheville, North Carolina (a wonderful town with a big creative vibe in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains). I primarily write business and marketing articles, blogs and book reviews. I have written a number of business and marketing books as well. Back in 2003, I decided to write fiction as a recreational pastime. Since I enjoy reading thrillers, I thought I’d try my hand at writing one. The result was my first novel, “The Doomsday Virus,” about a hacker who unleashes a computer virus on America’s financial system.
I’ve just self-published my second novel, “Water’s Edge,” which is an environmental thriller about a case of water pollution that turns into what appears to be domestic terrorism. (Of course, things aren’t always what they appear to be!).
Q2: Please explain how you came to be a writer, what inspired you to write your book(s) and how long it took.
A: I have loved writing since I was a kid and found that I liked moving words around on a page more than moving blocks around on the floor. I held jobs in public relations and advertising that always involved promotional writing. I started my own direct and Internet marketing agency, built it around my copywriting skills, and ran it for twenty years. I wrote non-fiction marketing books during this time. I decided to become a full-time freelance writer about six years ago and have never regretted it. I still write non-fiction for income but I get a kick out of writing fiction too.
Q3: What did you enjoy most about creating this book?
A. I really enjoy building believable characters and seeing what they will do next! "Water's Edge" was fun because I wrote it in first person and had to imagine what the main character would say and do. I also liked using a dog as a hero, since I am a dog lover.
Q4: What facets of your life, both personal and professional, are woven into your book, if any?
A. “Water’s Edge” is narrated by the protagonist, David Samuels, who is a retired baby boomer. He is a former environmental investigator who relocates to Asheville with his black lab, Blackout. David taught Blackout to sniff chemicals as part of his professional life. Now they get involved in a perplexing case that kind of brings David out of retirement.
To create David and Blackout the dog, I used my own experience as a baby boomer. I own a dog who is in some ways similar to Blackout, and I did indeed relocate to Asheville, so that part came easily to me. However, I knew nothing about water pollution, environmental investigation, or chemical-sniffing dogs, so I had a lot of learning to do. My dog and I were just the starting point for David and Blackout.
Q5. How did you get published?
A. My first non-fiction book filled a real need because it was the first book to cover the topic of business-to-business Internet marketing. I wrote a book proposal and a small, specialized publisher bought it. I also sold a second book to this publisher. For my third non-fiction book about branding I again wrote a proposal and a large publisher published it.
I sent my first novel to a number of agents and got nothing but rejections. I decided to self-publish it instead. I was very happy with the end product and I liked having creative control over the entire process.
I decided to self-publish “Water’s Edge” also, but I went a step further and decided to test the concept of publishing it only as an eBook.
Q6: Did you have any surprises or hiccups along the way during the book writing and/or publishing process?
A. As I was writing “Water’s Edge,” I realized that the characters would sometimes pull me in directions I hadn’t anticipated. That was a surprise, although I experienced the same thing writing my first novel. It's interesting how characters seem to take on a life of their own.
Publishing was a very different experience doing “Water’s Edge” as an eBook rather than preparing it for print. The requirements for eBooks are not standardized across platforms. Thankfully, I used Smashwords, which led me through the process and made it a lot easier to get it published through a number of channels, although I still had to publish it with Amazon separately.
Q7: What one thing did you wish you'd known before you started this project?
A. I wish I’d known how challenging it would be to get a piece of fiction noticed, reviewed, and mentioned anywhere if you’re not a recognized name!
Q8: You're a fly on the wall when readers are discussing your book. What would you hope to hear them say about it?
A. I’d love to hear one reader say to another, “I’m reading ‘Water’s Edge’ and it’s so darn good I can’t put it down at night… and I can’t wait to read the next one in the series!” (I hope to do a series based on Blackout's adventures.)
Q9: Tell us one thing about you that most people don't know or would surprise them.
A. Most people would be surprised to learn that my wife and I own four dogs and almost continuously foster cats in our basement!
Q10: What single piece of advice would you give new authors?
A. Never ever give up. Write that book, if that’s your dream, and publish it yourself if that’s what it takes.
Q11: Share a short summary of a typical day in your life with us please.
A. A typical day for me involves juggling a number of writing projects and writing blog posts for my own blog. I make it a point to walk at least two of my dogs every day. It clears my mind... and the area where I live is just too beautiful not to take advantage of it!
Q12: Describe where you do most of your writing. What would I see if I was sitting beside you?
A. I work in a combination office/den. If you were sitting beside me, you'd see me typing away furiously, surrounded by a pack of dogs. You'd be able to look out the window at the trees and mountains.
Q13: What's your motto or favorite quote you like to live by?
A. I like this quote from Louis L'Amour: "There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning." That keeps me motivated.
Q14: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us in closing such as your website, an imminent book launch or what you're working on presently?
A. I'd encourage folks to visit the blog for "Water's Edge" (http://www.blackoutthedog.com) and if they're interested in marketing guides, they should take a look at http://www.123eguides.com as well. These are my latest projects. My website is http://www.barrysilverstein.com .
Authors.com profile: http://www.authors.com/profile/BarrySilverstein
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