Our web-surfer comes up with some gems as she cruises the waves of the Internet. Geralyn Beauchamp’s latest novel was a wonderful find. She is so kind as to grant Yellow30 Sci-Fi an interview and tell us all about her latest creation.
Title of your first novel?
Time Masters Book One; The Call
According to the bio on your website you have your hands in several writing venues. You’ve reviewed books and have experience in screenwriting. Care to elaborate on those?
I got into book reviewing back in 1993 and reviewed from 1993 to 1998. During that time I wrote Time Masters. Along the way I also met a small independent film producer and his friend, (Alan Royce of Little House on the Prairie) who asked if I happened to have any ideas for a western. So I turned an idea for a book series I had into a screen play and optioned it out to him in 2002. Due to budgeting pitfalls (the nature of the beast in film) they put the project on hold and are now out raising money and backing for it again as I write this. In the mean time I’ve had to create eight episodes of the series I call ‘Faith’ in case they suddenly have a taker. In television one has to have eight episodes to submit. They are also raising funds to build a movie ranch out of Jamestown, California based off of ‘Faith’.
How does your job as a wellness and relationship coach add or distract from your writing?
I give a lot of advice to fellow writers on health issues and stress management! The relationship coaching however has enabled me to create characters of great depth and emotion which is one of the things Time Masters is becoming famous for. I’ve recently been asked to speak and teach on the subject of character creation. Coaching is basically the day job for my writing habit!
Again, according to your bio, you wrote Time Masters just to see if you could do it. Is there something more to this story of why you did it that way?
I’ve always loved to create and write stories. Then when you start to review books you suddenly say to yourself as most avid readers do, “Hey! I could do this!” And so I did. Just to see if I could go through the entire process of creating not just one book, but a whole series. Twelve books in all designed in three book sets. And all for fun! I kept notes on what each book would be about and did a lot of “what if” scenarios as far as marketing. Because it was for fun I just had a blast with it but still made sure I did all that I could to produce something I could be proud of even if no one else saw it. And so I created the first book of a twelve book series. That done, I then put the whole thing into that infamous trunk of which I still own. In fact, my feet are right next to it as I write this.
What type of research did you do for developing your characters and situations in your book?
Now that was the fun part! I love history and so researching what I needed for Time Masters was great! Again, as I was doing this for fun I had no pressure, no deadlines, just a voracious curiosity about the past and how I could incorporate it into my story. I went to a lot of Highland Games looking for things to help me with Scottish dialects and to find out more about the Glencoe Massacre which opens Time Masters. I spent a year creating Dallan MacDonald, the lead character and anchor of the series. I developed all the characters first. Then all I did was put them into the different situations and watched what happened. Time Masters Book One; The Call, was the result.
Who was your biggest supporter to get it published?
That is always an interesting question. It was suggested by some friends in 2006 that I pull it out of the trunk and do something with it. And I thought of it, then promptly researched and outlined a regency romance instead! Talk about having a Jonah moment. But Time Masters was more a personal achievement. One I greedily wanted to keep to myself. However, suffice to say I got a really big nudge from the Lord to put it out there. And who’s going to argue with Him?
Why did you choose to go the self-publishing route instead of finding a traditional publisher?
Again, I didn’t want it totally out of my hands. So even with offers from author friends I got to know while reviewing to give it to their publishers, I still did not want to go the traditional route. It came down to creative control. So I began to research self publishing options.
Why did you settle for Cold Tree Press?
That’s a story in itself and goes along with that big nudge I told you about earlier! I just kept coming back to them and after talking to Peter Honsberger, Cold Tree’s CEO, and upon hearing his passion to help and support his authors and his vision for Cold Tree, I thought this is the perfect match! Peter Honsberger was planning on going into traditional publishing which meant I could have a practice run more or less and should the book prove itself, continue on with Cold Tree into its traditional trade press venture. In fact Time Masters Book One; The Call will re-release in the fall of 2008 under Cold Tree’s traditional press. The second book in the series will release in 2009. I wanted a publisher I could grow with as they were growing. Again, I feel I’ve found the perfect home for the Time Master Series.
How much input did you have in the development and design of your book?
An incredible amount which is another reason I love Cold Tree! The award winning designer of my book, Amanda Butler, listened to any suggestions I had for the cover and layout. I was involved in the process every step of the way.
Do you think as a small press author you are limited in your audience reach as opposed to one of the big New York publishers?
This depends on the book I think. Books are sold by word of mouth. And word of mouth begins with the author. A big New York Publisher gets into more book stores at the on set. But it is still that word of mouth spread that gets the book going. I could have a copy of my book in various book stores across the country (of which I do by the way thanks to Cold Tree’s relational marketing) but if people aren’t talking about it, then it has no more chance of moving off the shelf than any other book. I know authors who are with the big New York publishers who still have to do just as much work to get the word out as authors with small press publishers.
Your blog is really a blast to read. How important is the blog to getting connected to your readers and/or potential readers?
A blog is very important! I blog on different sites including amazon.com. Readers want to know us not just as authors but as people and a blog is one of the best venues to do that!
You had a National Time Masters Giveaway. From your blog post it appears to have been very successful. Do you plan any other such events?
The national book give away was actually my publisher’s idea! The book stands on its own but like anything, no matter how good it is, if people don’t know about it, how are they going to read it? As word of mouth is the best publicity he decided a national book give away contest would be a perfect way to better spread out the readership and talking! Isn’t my publisher nice? I am blessed to have them! And yes, there will be other fun things in the works for the readers!
What other marketing techniques do you use to get the word out about your book?
Teaching and speaking are great! I’ll be teaching and speaking on a Christian Writers Cruise which is coming up next spring. This is something that will involve a lot of blogging with the attendees months before the cruise and is a wonderful chance for them to get to know me better and about what I write. And it’s just as fun for authors to get to know their readers as it is for them to get to know us! Book signings, author nights, any time you can get out into the public and get to know your readers is fantastic! In marketing of books it’s all about the marketing of the author. We are really selling ourselves and our books are a wonderful extension off of us!
As a Christian author do you steer clear of certain subjects to write about?
Well I haven’t steered clear of anything as yet! Time Master’s is all about purity and commitment in relationships. It does contain some things other authors might steer away from though. My antagonist is especially nasty, but that certainly added to the tension in the story and there haven’t been any reviews or readers who told me he was too over the top.
Does your writing focus on Christian readers, or readers in general?
Readers in general though the Christian readers love it as they catch all the spiritual themes woven throughout the story. And as it promotes purity, it has had some great affect on the non-Christian readers as well. Some have even given their lives over to Christ which is the best thing any Christian author, or Christian for that matter, can hope for. That their words be it on the printed page or from the mouth, can be used of God to save someone.
Edgar Rice Burroughs! I got my hands on some old Tarzan books years ago and loved those cliff hanger chapter endings! What page turners! J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis of course and I loved reading Terry Brooks Shanara Series over the years. Basically I wanted to create something people would want to read over and over again such as these authors had done.
Book Two in the series is called, The Prophecy. How close to publication is that?
It will release in the spring of 2009. March or April would be my guess. Book Three; The Legacy, I haven’t been given a target release date yet.
Advise to new writers.
Everyone hears this but it can’t be said enough. Write the best book you possibly can! Ideally you should research publishers who would be a good fit BEFORE you start writing your next project. Look at their guidelines and adhere to them. This targeting approach is just good business sense as writing IS a business. Not just a fun hobby. And you will notice that word counts and such are very similar per genre amongst most publishing houses. If you want to take more or less a practice run then you might think about self publishing. But if you’re really serious, go for the gusto and use a traditional press.
Having chatted with Geralyn a few months back we learned that her publisher, Cold Tree Press closed it’s doors in May of 2009. She lost two full book contracts with their traditional publishing imprints Hooded Friar Press and Cold Tree Publishing. ZIP! Gone! Shock is probably a very mild world for her at this point. But, that little set back has not derailed her from pursuing her writing and a publisher. Right now Geralyn is working on a book for Mills and Boon out of London. Basically Harlequin’s London office. They pay well, and once in with this monster, you are IN. This is what she said when asked about it. “It was a plan myself and Cold Tree’s CEO Peter Honsberger came up with while CT was still alive and well. Infiltrate and take over! In other words, I’m after their fan base. Time Master’s has enough romance in it to appeal to the hundred of thousands of fans of the giant Harlequin. Peter and I stay in touch and he said, heck, go for it! You’re good enough! And so I am. They have a full Christian line but I’m targeting their line that releases in Europe and America and that sticks with just good old fashioned romance. No sex at all.” Good luck Geralyn with this new venture.