Monday, November 19, 2012

Author Interview: Helen Boswell, author of MYTHOLOGY

Author Interview: Helen Boswell, author of MYTHOLOGY

I met Helen Boswell in our writers group, the Author’s Think Tank, when I asked for help with a submission that was not getting good feedback. Helen was one of the first to volunteer help. Since I’ve read here fantastic book, MYTHOLOGY, and jumped on an opportunity to interview her. If you haven’t yet read MYTHOLOGY, I highly recommend it.

Let’s get to know Helen Boswell:

Helen Boswell: Every child is gifted in some way. For me, I was always walking around with my nose in my book. Reading naturally led to writing by the time I was eight or nine. I started with fantasy stories, dabbled in contemporary fiction and even a bit of romance, and finally published my urban fantasy MYTHOLOGY this year -- the first fiction story I ever finished. I've lived in several places throughout the U.S., including upstate New York (the setting of my novel), but steadily moved out west to my current hometown in southwest Utah. I work part-time teaching at a university and lead a very fulfilling life with my husband, two little boys, and dog.

I can tell you did a lot of research with MYTHOLOGY, especially with the demon/angel names. How do you feel research relates to writing and can you give any tips on gathering research?

Helen Boswell: I had a lot of fun doing research for MYTHOLOGY. Despite it being a fantasy and taking obvious liberties with aspects of the storyline, I wanted to make it as authentic as possible. Examples of where I did this were with locations, names I chose, and being the biology nerd that I am in my other life, incorporating as much of scientific explanation as I could into the supernatural world. Tips on gathering research? Start with writing what you know and as you expand from that, don't be afraid to consult others for help. For instance, I actually called Shea's Buffalo Theater and spoke to someone about their theater layout and program schedule so I could write about it. I spoke to someone in the music industry about what it's like to be a concert promoter. No writer is an island. ;)

MYTHOLOGY is terrific with the stakes you play with the characters. Will you please share your tips on creating good conflict in a story?

Helen Boswell: Thanks, Mikey! In my opinion, conflict is necessary for character development and growth. In the story, Hope has all of her powers that she's had most of her life. At most, she sees it as an inconvenience, and she honestly has no idea what to do with them until she's faced with fairly stark circumstances. It's not until this point that she truly realizes her full potential and becomes that feisty heroine that my readers seem to love so much. Micah faces lots of conflict in the story, inner conflict with himself, and the conflict also peaks when he finds out who he truly is. I'm going to work on Micah's development a lot more in the sequel.

Okay, I’m switching it up a bit now. Let’s talk about the publishing side. You chose to become an indie author with MYTHOLOGY, do you feel there is more liberty in indie publishing? Can you share you experience in getting your book published?

Helen Boswell: I initially tried the traditional publishing route and spent about six months or so querying agents. At the time, MYTHOLOGY was written as an adult urban fantasy (Hope and Micah were in their early twenties and in college). I did get several requests for partials and a handful of full requests. Of those interested, the resounding feedback was that I should either increase the violence or write it as a YA novel. Ultimately, I decided to rewrite it as a YA novel, and in retrospect, I am very glad that I did. But by then, I had decided to go the indie route. There are definitely pros and cons to indie publishing, and while some would say that liberty/autonomy is one of them, this can backfire on you if you take the stance that indie means that you go at it alone. Ultimately, an indie author needs to do what traditional authors do: get critiques, utilize beta readers, editors, and the marketing is all on you.

Can you give any tips on creating a book launch? I know that you had Mythology go on kindle for free for a few days, did you find that helped boost your sales?

Helen Boswell: Get your book into as many hands as possible! I did a local in-store book launch at Braun Books in my hometown of Cedar City, Utah (now Main Street Books) that was very successful and to date, has generated the most sales of my paperback edition. I've done a few promotions for the eBook, including a free promotion and a .99 cent promotion. I'm also currently doing a giveaway on Goodreads of a signed paperback. Sales have increased slightly due to these promos, but really, I think the most significant result I've noticed is a sharp increase in number of people adding it on Goodreads and reviews increasing. Word of mouth is key and part of the marketing process.

This question I ask to most of my interviewees, what advice would you give to a novice writer?

Helen Boswell: Finish writing that first draft! And then get enough guts to actually give it to people for feedback. I had so many half-completed drafts that are currently languishing in drawers or on old hard drives, and I may go back to them someday (meh, but maybe not). But MYTHOLOGY is the first novel I ever finished, and it wasn't until I passed it around to some people and received feedback that I got my wild hair to actually publish it. It still needed a lot of work at that stage, of course, but it was the start of the process.

Last question, besides Mythology, what book would you recommend every writer/illustrator have on their bookshelf?

Helen Boswell: That's a tough one, and I may answer it a little differently than you intended. I would say that every writer/illustrator should have a good collection of the books in their particular genre. I read mostly YA these days, and my shelves and Kindle hold books from Kendare Blake, Heather Brewer, Brodi Ashton, Ally Condie, and indie authors now like David James and Amy Harmon. Oh, and I love the Harry Potter series :)
Any shout outs?
Helen Boswell: Shout outs to Betsy Bancroft (a friend and avid reader) and Chris Farnsworth (author of Blood Oath, The President's Vampire, and Red, White, and Blood), who were the first people to really keep pushing me to get MYTHOLOGY out there into the hands of readers. And the biggest shout outs of all to my readers and supporters!

Thank you so much Helen! That was a great interview. Can you give info on where to find you?
Helen Boswell: Like me on Facebook:
Book Trailer: 
Friend me on Goodreads:
Follow me on Twitter: @HelenBozz

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments. Please share: