Today on my Spotlight I have fellow Brit Craig Evans...
I live in South Wales with my fiancée Teena and cat Millie.
I have always loved reading tales of strange beings and dark worlds. I began writing my own stories and finally took the plunge, entering an unknown world of my own in the form of self-publishing.
My background is heavily based around design, so I was able to utilise these skills to develop my book covers, website and all other promotional material along the way. I find myself becoming more and more involved in the fictional world I have created, to the point that I want to stay there and practice my own supernatural abilities!
To date I have published two books in the
'Way Family Saga' series.
So let's have a looksy at the interview...I think this may be good
Do you write as yourself or under a pseudonym? Why?
Firstly thank you for this opportunity, as a self-published author exposure is everything! I write under my own name – I am currently working on building my author platform and have already linked various social media sites to my own name. If I ever branched out into different genres later on down the line I may consider using a pseudonym though.
What made you want to be a published author?
I have always been interested in creative writing from an early age. I used to love painting pictures (both with paint and words actually!) and create vivid scenes with my writing. Last year I had an idea about a supernatural group of families and how they interact with each other, so I jotted down a few thoughts. Then I kept adding to it until I had practically plotted out an entire story! I started to flesh out some of my ideas and soon became fully involved in the process, to the point that I wanted others to hopefully enjoy my imagination as well.
What genre do you write in and why?
I have released two books within the supernatural/paranormal genre. I have been heavily inspired by the television series’ ‘Heroes’ and ‘The Walking Dead’, as well as films such as ‘X-Men’ and other Marvel blockbusters. I enjoy not only the plethora of different species depicted in these stories (with the exception of ‘The Walking Dead’ that simply tells a brilliant survival tale) but also the way they interact with one another. In my own work I always try to strike a balance between good and evil, and try to get the reader immersed in the struggles between the two.
If you could talk to your 12 year old self, what advice would you give?
From a writing and publishing point of view, I would tell twelve-year-old Craig to start now! I entered the writing world rather late, so I would tell him to continue writing short creative stores about monsters so that even more people could enjoy them in the years that followed! Oh, and not to drink so much beer when he’s older, a pot belly is never a good look…
Have any other authors influenced your writing through theirs?
I have been influenced by many authors over the years. The first writer that I really connected with (and still do) was Chuck Palahniuk. His style was so different to other books I had read before. His style has heavily influenced my own, especially the technique in which he will drop down a line and isolate a single sentence on its own for more impact. I also love Iain Banks’ very poetic descriptions of his surroundings, and am just finishing off Hugh Howey’s first novel ‘Wool’ at the moment. His character development is spot on and really engages the reader, as well as inspiring me to do the same thing with my readers.
If you are a self-published author what made you take this route and what was your experience (good or bad)?
I am indeed self-published! I became inspired by reading articles about other self-published authors such as Amanda Hocking and the aforementioned Hugh Howey. Although the financial rewards struck a chord, it was the creative control over the product that interested me the most. Working to my own deadlines seemed very appealing, as I have a busy career as a designer and a creative yet hectic lifestyle to contend with! I am currently planning my wedding with my partner so I’m glad I don’t have the added pressure. I have also been able to design all my own promotional material, work at my own pace and build my own fan base through self-publishing. There are obvious benefits with going with a publishing house, however thus far self-publishing suits me a lot better.
How would you rate your writing?
I think I have a distinctive style, and have been told that I paint a scene rather well. In my series of novels I am coping with dialogue better than with previous unpublished work as well. I enjoy making characters interactive with one another and seeing what they do during tense and stressful situations… I put my characters through a lot that’s for sure! It’s very difficult to judge yourself; I am just so pleased that other people have engaged in my writing.
How do you react to poor reviews of your book?
I’m not a suspicious person but I’m going to knock on wood as I answer this! I haven’t received any yet! That isn’t to say that my work will appeal to everyone, and I absolutely welcome constructive criticism. If we don’t get regular feedback on anything we do how can we grow and better ourselves? This isn’t a challenge for someone to write a one star review of my work, I would just take it on the chin and try to adapt.
What influences your choice of book covers?
My own ideas mainly. As I said I am fortunate enough to be able to create my own covers, so I try to pick key moments in the story to depict on the front cover. I try to create emotions in all the artwork I create, book-related or not. The book cover to ‘Harm’s Way’ for instance pulls Kieran (the main protagonist) and Sky together in an empowered stand against their own confusing abilities and adversity. I wanted to make a point that we can overcome anything we set our minds to.
How do you balance your writing with your real world responsibilities?
This is quite difficult, but not because I don’t find time for my writing! I need to strike a better balance between writing and home life I think, because hours and hours will go by while I type away without me realising it! Writing becomes a very consuming world, so I have to me mindful of the fact that I am needed in other areas from time to time as well! It’s difficult but I’m working on it...
Do your characters drive the plots of your stories or do you plan out your plot?
I start out with an idea. Then I develop the key characters before thoroughly plotting out the novel itself. Other authors let the idea develop into a full story as they type, but I find that no matter how long I’ve been away from my writing, I know exactly what the next chapter has in store and can pick the story up fairly easily. I control every part of the process so that I never get writer’s block!
Do you ever write what you dream? Give an example.
No, not really. I do wake up at stupid times in the night some times with a new idea to add to my latest novel! I will quickly jot it down on my phone and add it in the next day. If I didn’t do this then it would most probably get lost in my mind, I have a lot of thoughts and ideas rattling around in there!
Do you market yourself or pay a professional?
I started this self-publishing project with zero budget. To date I have only spent a tiny amount of money on hosting my website. The site itself uses a free web design site so everything has been done without spending a thing. I know they say you have to speculate to accumulate but I just don’t have the budget that others do. Everything is done in-house and I’m proud of how much I’ve achieved without dipping into my pocket.
What are your tips for editing?
Again I have another process in place for this! After each chapter I read through it and make amendments before continuing. Then I re-read the first half of the book to see how the story flows. Then I carry on until I reach the end before reading it all again. Then I pass it onto my partner who is an avid reader in my genre and she gives me pointers of what to change. Then guess what? I read it again! I have a few people close to me that also give great feedback so together it’s a well-oiled machine!
What inspired you to write your current WIP or current published work?
My current WIP is the third book in the series, so the actions and after effects of books one and two dictate what happens to my characters in the third installment. I have an overarching plot in place for the series so I know where each book is going. I am working on book three with plans for a fourth book and don’t plan on stopping there! Hopefully people who have already invested time in the first book will be curious to find out what happens to my characters in the following installments.
Do you prefer to write stand-alone novels or a series? Why?
A series! I do have plans to release a few stand-alone novels slightly outside the genre in the near future. All in all I’m just enjoying the writing process on the whole. I won’t limit myself to a specific series or genre if I have a strong enough idea to turn into a completely new project. As long as people want to read my work I’ll carry on writing!
If you could change one thing in the publishing process what would it be?
I think my biggest issue to date is finding large groups of readers in my genre. I have dabbled with Goodreads and other forums but don’t want to come across as a spambot. As I said at the start, exposure is everything. I wish there was a free support service for self-published authors that don’t have the might of a big publishing house behind them or indeed a huge marketing budget. It’s very very tough to be seen and get noticed in a crowded book market saturated with free books. The independent author has to constantly fight for space and persevere.
What advice would you give to a new author?
Don’t do it for the money! Rich authors, self-published or not, take years to get that way. Be prepared to put in the time and hard work, take criticism on the chin and adapt. Don’t ignore your fans either, if someone messages you about your work answer them! You wouldn’t be where you are without them.
Share a favourite quote from your book.
“You have to stare death in the face in order to embrace life. It is not until we reach rock bottom do we know how to pick ourselves up and start again.” - O51, mind-reading representative of the Almighty FreyaI don't think people believe me when I say Indie Authors are humble but I think Craig proves this. We all start out small and get a little disappointed when the book we've poured our heart and soul in has limited readers but I have to admit it get's better and the key is to never give up....and to his books....
Harms Way -
In the small town of Northville all is not right with intelligent outsider Kieran Way. After discovering something incredible about himself, Kieran goes on a journey of self-discovery through self-destruction. However, once he meets the girl of his dreams things get even more chaotic, as family secrets threaten to tear them apart forever.
'Harm's Way' is the first book in the supernatural Way Family Saga series. The eagerly-awaited sequel 'No Way Out' is out now!
No Way Out -
Everyone feels her power. Every single family belonging to the network knows her name. Now Kieran and Sky have to live in the house that Freya built, a facility run by a group of mind readers called the Order that was created to rehabilitate supernatural criminals. Follow the personal journeys of the bonded couple as they learn new skills, meet new people and try to find a way out. See how far others are willing to go in order to grant them release.
Welcome to the Control Centre, where every action has a consequence.
'No Way Out' is the second book in the supernatural Way Family Saga series.
I know I say this all the time but I'm holding all these great Authors responsible for my one click addiction and these are two new additions! I got a teeny bit obsessed with tv series like Heroes and Alpha's and mourned when they got cancelled but it looks like I've found my substitute.
As for the covers...one word...Awesome! Your are very talented Mr Evans.
You can buy these books here:
And you can stalk him here:
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/CraigEvansBooks