Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jade Kerrion - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Award-Winning Author Jade Kerrion. She writes the DOUBLE HELIX series. Also, she writes a great blog featuring authors and writing.

Author Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Website: Jade Kerrion
Twitter: @JadeKerrion
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Jade Kerrion, an award-winning author, got her start in fan fiction. She developed a loyal reader base with her fan fiction series based on the MMORPG Guild Wars. She was accused of keeping her readers up at night, distracting them from work, housework, homework, and (far worse), from actually playing Guild Wars.

And then she wondered why just screw up the time management skills of gamers? Why not aspire to screw everyone else up too? So here she is, writing books that aspire to keep you from doing anything else useful with your time. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her wonderfully supportive husband and her two young sons, Saint and Angel, (no, those aren't their real names, but they are like saints and angels, except when they're not.)

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called EARTH-SIM. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease. (See below.)

Certainly! EARTH-SIM will be coming out in February 2013. The premise of EARTH-SIM is deceptively simple. Jem Moran has a reputation to prove and a secret to protect. The prestigious world simulation program seems the answer to both her problems, but only if she can succeed in spite of her partner, Kir Davos, and the uncooperative human beings who populate her planet. From the Great Extinction to the Renaissance, from world wars to intergalactic treaties, Jem and Kir's conflicting management styles will either save or doom our planet.

EARTH-SIM was, without question, the most fun I’d ever had in writing a novel. I really enjoyed blending popular culture with history, science, and religion, to create a whimsical romp through Earth’s history as seen through the eyes of the two students and the android assigned to manage our planet. Either way, you finally have someone to blame for the shape our world is in.

You have a great twitter following. How important are the social media relationships that you’ve formed to your writing success?

A social media presence is necessary (which typically includes a website, Twitter, and Facebook).

Quantifying the value of social media is much harder. The value is often indirect, and is frequently based on building online relationships as opposed to just blasting out marketing messages. For example, I’ve had several people tell me that they bought my novel because they enjoyed my “voice” on my blog (which isn’t entirely like the “voice” in my novels, but it’s a start…)

Others have bought my novel because I helped them out with a publishing challenge they were wrestling with. (Of course, they then liked the novel enough to get the sequels too.) My large social media network paid off when I organized my blog tour. During my first tour, my network was small and new, and I had an incredibly difficult time trying to fill 14-stops on my tour. The second time around, I tapped into my much more robust social network, and had no trouble filling in 66-stops on the tour.

Do you do book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when is your next place where your readers can see you?

Most of my interactions with readers take place online through virtual book tours, which are listed on my blog. I don’t have a personal appearance scheduled any time soon, but if anyone wants to arrange one, they’re most welcome to contact me through my blog and I’m sure we can set something up.

You have very distinct covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

First off, let me confess that I failed art in eighth grade. For that reason, I outsource almost all my cover design work. I am very hands-on in the book cover creation process (I blame it on my control- freak tendencies.) My husband and I would brainstorm the key ideas for the cover and then I’d describe it to my cover artist who would head off for a few days and come back with something fairly magical.

My favorite cover is PERFECT BETRAYAL. It is the flashiest cover in the DOUBLE HELIX series thus far. It features curved and concentric rows of dominos arranged in a yin-yang pattern.

The yin-yang symbolizes the interdependence of seemingly contrary forces, and the cover emphasizes the duality of the forces at play; light, dark; male, female; fire, ice. Two hands—one male, the other female (representing the two contenders for Danyael’s empathic power)—are poised to push at the dominos from either end. The dominos will fall; the question is, will Danyael?

What kinds of support groups do you belong too? Do they help with writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I belong to several critique groups. I typically write too fast to run through my entire manuscript with the group before it comes time to publish, but I will typically take key scenes to the critique group and solicit feedback. I also have a group of trusted beta readers who provide feedback on near- final versions of the manuscript before it goes to the editor.

With your busy schedule, how do you have time to keep up with your followers? Between your book writing, blogging, marketing and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

I don’t sleep. J Actually, I’ve found that a systematic process helps. Each morning, I spend about fifteen minutes on Triberr, approving posts to share via Twitter. I then go into Hootsuite and schedule additional tweets that will be released throughout the day. I check Twitter through the day for any personal messages and retweets. All in all, I don’t usually spend more than a half hour on Twitter, and a half hour on Facebook each day.

Marketing is much more labor-intensive, especially if it involves a blog tour, and that can suck up as much time as you put into it. I typically try to write when I’m feeling freshest, and when the creativity starts lagging, I spend the time on the more mundane, administrative aspects of organizing my blog tours.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in other types of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I’ve had one Kindle Select promotion to date, and it was for my award-winning debut novel, PERFECTION UNLEASHED. The promotion was a success. I gave away 9,000 books over three days. At its peak, the book ranked at #22 on the Free list across all Kindle books, and it was #1 in Science Fiction and #1 in Fantasy. My intention was to gain traction as a debut author and to get my book into the hands of readers. If they liked it, I figured they would buy the rest of the books in the DOUBLE HELIX series.

For the most part, the plan has worked. I haven’t actively marketed any book in the series other than the first book, and the sequels have been selling on their own. The biggest obstacle to a Kindle Select promotion is the amount of time needed to do it well. I must have spent hours on websites, listing my free book, and hoping that they would promote it too. I have a list of those websites and other resources on my blog, under the section “An Author’s Journey.”

I’ve participated in a few other giveaways, typically copies of my novels during a blog-related promotional event. With the right tools, e.g., Rafflecopter, those giveaways are typically fairly easy to organize.

In my research, I saw you have had a book tour for each of your books. Do you manage the book tour yourself? What has been the result? Do you get many comments?

I utilized a blog tour company once, but mostly, I manage the book tour myself. I’ve organized four tours to date: a 14-stop tour for PERFECTION UNLEASHED, a 66-stop tour for the DOUBLE HELIX series, and 20+ stop tours each for WHEN THE SILENCE ENDS and EARTH-SIM.

I really do enjoy blog tours. It is incredibly time-consuming up front when finding hosts, writing guest posts, etc, and sometimes, the value is hard to quantify, but it’s always fun connecting with readers.

You blog is impressive. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media, manage book tours and maintain your blog?

My blog evolved gradually. It started out a marketing tool, but then I realized I could only talk about myself for so long before getting bored. If I was getting bored with myself, surely readers were too.

So, I asked myself, what value could I create for others? Hosting authors was the obvious solution. The other was sharing the knowledge I’d gained in the process of writing, publishing, and marketing.

There is no shortage of ideas or contributors at this point. The other authors have really helped make my blog the vibrant place it is. Readers come to read about them and to find new and interesting books.

As for where I find the time…I don’t sleep. J I do put in long hours, but more importantly, I’m organized and I’m fast. Those two traits help me accomplish more than one would think realistic or possible in the time I have. It’s been a massive learning curve for me, and every day, I’m finding new ways to streamline my processes and keep all the balls in the air.

One of your books is a collection of short stories. What is your experience in working with other authors with a common theme? Do you see a bump in your other sales?

The collection of short stories started out as a writing competition. Linell Jeppsen had kindly sponsored a Halloween short story competition, and in so doing, garnered sixteen awesome short stories from various authors. I was one of the authors, and I thought that an anthology would prove an interesting marketing tool, so I took a lead in gathering the stories into an anthology. It’s hard to tell if a sales bump can be attributed to the anthology versus other marketing activities that I’m doing, but it was definitely fun collaborating with other authors to put out a shared piece of work.

Author's Book List

EARTH-SIM is Coming in February

Have you ever wondered who’s really in charge of the world? If there’s a God, He seems accident-prone. How else can you explain the mass extinctions, global floods, and worldwide plagues? Are there days when you want to shout out to the uncaring sky, “Is there an intelligent, well-executed plan behind this mess?

Wonder no more. From Jade Kerrion, author of the award-winning Double Helix series, comes an occasionally whimsical, frequently irreverent romp through the history of Earth, as seen through the eyes of the two students and the android assigned to shape the future of the planet in EARTH-SIM. Seamlessly blending popular culture with history, science, and religion, this crash course in planetary management will charm and entertain as you attempt to decipher just how much is fact and what else is fiction. Either way, you finally have someone to blame for the shape our world is in.
When the Silence Ends
When you choose your friends, you also choose your enemies.

Seventeen-year old Dee wants nothing more than to help her twin brother, Dum, break free from the trauma in their childhood and speak again, but the only person who can help Dum is the alpha empath, Danyael Sabre, whom the U.S. government considers a terrorist and traitor.

The search for Danyael will lead Dee and Dum from the sheltered protection of the Mutant Affairs Council and into the violent, gang-controlled heart of Anacostia. Ensnared by Danyael’s complicated network of friends and enemies, Dee makes her stand in a political and social war that she is ill equipped to fight. What can one human, armed only with her wits and pepper spray, do against the super-powered mutants who dominate the Genetic Revolution?

America, nevertheless, is ripe for change. Exhausted by decades of belligerence between humans and their genetic derivatives, the clones, in vitros, and mutants, society is on the verge of falling apart or growing up. Which path will it choose, and can a mere human, her sassy attitude and smart mouth notwithstanding, light the way to a better future?

In her quest to help her brother become normal, Dee will learn what it means to be extraordinary. When the silence ends, the celebration of life, love, joy, and hope will inspire feet to dance and hearts to sing.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Short Story Strands: Halloween 2012 Edition
Come celebrate Halloween in ways both spooky and fun in this collection of sixteen short stories spun by talented new voices in science fiction and fantasy.

Insecurity Complex, by Jade Kerrion
Empty Glass, by P.L. Blair
The Red Card, by Sheenah Freitas
Chanceus, by L’Poni Baldwin
My Soul To Take, by L.M. Boelz
The Nest, by Linell Jeppsen
The Medusa Touch, by Sam Kates
Skinshade, by T. Jackson King
Little Girls Squealing in the Yard, by Lalo LaFleur
Tender Moments, by Massimo Marino
Blood Relation, by Patrick Ottuso
Grandma to the Rescue, by Sharon L Reddy
The Power of Spirit, by Ch'Kara SilverWolf
Dominique, by Edwin Stark
In Space No One Can Hear You Scream, by Lisa Williamson
Spoils of Earth, by Michael Youngblood

Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Perfect Weapon
Double Helix series - Book 3
Don't fear the army of genetically engineered perfect killers. Fear the cripple who leads them.

An alpha empath, Danyael Sabre is powerful, rare, and coveted, even among the alpha mutants who dominate the Genetic Revolution. Betrayed by his friends and abandoned to a life sentence in a maximum-security prison, Danyael receives freedom and sanctuary from an unlikely quarter--the Mutant Assault Group, an elite mutant task force within the US military. Physically crippled and emotionally vulnerable, Danyael succumbs to the warmth of friendships and the promise of love he finds within their ranks.

Friendship and love, however, demand his loyalty, and Danyael rises to the challenge of training and leading the assault group's genetically modified super soldier army. The super soldiers are faster and stronger than the military's human soldiers; their animal instincts spur ferocity and fearlessness in battle. Who is the perfect weapon, though, the super soldiers or Danyael, the alpha empath, who can, with a touch, heal or kill?

Adversaries swarm like vultures around carrion; the pawn is once again in play. The threads of betrayal that sent Danyael to prison spin into a web, ensnaring him. When a terrorist group strikes Washington, D.C., how far will Danyael go to defend a government that sent him to prison to die?

PERFECT WEAPON is the third novel in the award-winning Double Helix series.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Perfect Betrayal
Double Helix series - Book 2
You can defeat your enemies, but can you defeat your friends?

Danyael Sabre, an object of desire, would much rather not be. An alpha empath by birth, a doctor by training, and an empathic healer by calling, he is stalked by the military that covets his ability to kill, not heal. Bereft of two days of memories, he goes on the run under the protection of an assassin, Zara Itani.

The more he uncovers of his lost hours, the more he doubts everything that once anchored him. He knows only that he endangers those around him and that he is falling in love with Zara, who hates him for reasons he no longer remembers.

As forces--both powerful and ruthless--threaten those he cares for, Danyael has only two options. He can betray his values and abandon the path of the healer, or he can wait to be betrayed, not by enemies, but by his friends.

PERFECT BETRAYAL is the second novel in the award-winning Double Helix series.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Perfection Unleashed
Double Helix series - Book 1
Royal Palm Literary Awards 2011, Winner * Next Generation Indie Awards 2012, Finalist * Hollywood Book Festival 2012, Honorable Mention

What would you do if you came face-to-face with perfection, and it looked just like you?

Two men, one face. One man seeks to embrace destiny, the other to escape it.

Danyael Sabre spent sixteen years clawing out of the ruins of his childhood and finally has everything he wanted--a career, a home, and a trusted friend. To hold on to them, he keeps his head down and plays by the rules. An alpha empath, he is powerful in a world transformed by the Genetic Revolution, yet his experience has taught him to avoid attention.

When the perfect human being, Galahad, escapes from Pioneer Laboratories, the illusory peace between humans and their derivatives--the in vitros, clones, and mutants--collapses into social upheaval. The abominations, deformed and distorted mirrors of humanity, created unintentionally in Pioneer Lab's search for perfection, descend upon Washington D.C. The first era of the Genetic Revolution was peaceful. The second is headed for open war.

Although the genetic future of the human race pivots on Galahad, Danyael does not feel compelled to get involved and risk his cover of anonymity, until he finds out that the perfect human being looks just like him.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight plus the blog: eBook Author’s Corner. Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

1 comment:

  1. Dear James,

    Thank you so much for hosting this interview. It was a pleasure answering the questions. :-)

    Best regards, Jade