Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mike Wells - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Mike Wells. He is an American bestselling author including Lust, Money & Murder and Passion, Power & Sin.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Young Adult, Romance

Website: Mike Wells Books
Author's Blog: Mike Wells Books/The Green Water Blog
Twitter: @MikeWellsAuthor
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Mike Wells is an American bestselling author of over 20 "unputdownable" thriller and suspense novels, including Lust, Money & Murder and Passion, Power & Sin. He is also known for his young adult books, such as The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer, The Wrong Side of the Tracks, and Wild Child, which are used by English teachers in high schools and colleges worldwide. Formerly a screenwriter, Wells has a fast-paced, cinematic writing style. His work is often compared to that of the late Sidney Sheldon, with strong and inspiring female heroes, tightly-written scenes, engaging action/dialogue, and numerous plot twists. He currently lives in Europe and teaches part-time in the Creative Writing program at the University of Oxford.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

What do you have on the drawing board next? Are we going to the world of Murder or another wild child? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

My newest book is a psychological thriller called The Drive-By Wife. Believe it or not, I have been working on this book since 1995. It’s a story about a young, upper middle-class couple who are terrorized by a seedy truck driver that becomes obsessed with the wife and tries to blackmail them into letting him spend the night with her each time he passes through town. My wife called it “Cape Fear” meets “Deliverance.” The character dynamics between these three people was extremely difficult to develop—I attacked the story for a few months about six different times before I finally nailed it. The book will be released in a couple of weeks. It’s a very intense story—I hope readers will like it, but fingers crossed!

I’m usually working on several books at once and am led by a combination of my own inspiration and what readers are screaming for the most. Next up will be Lust, Money & Murder 4, 5 & 6, which should be out by Christmas—that set is half finished now.

You have a great following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

In my case, to say Twitter & other social media “carry over” to my success is a gross understatement—it’s the primary way I promote my books. Without that constant, ever-expanding push, my books would be selling in very small numbers, if at all.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Due to the fact that I live in Europe and am a bit of a rolling stone, book signings really don’t work for me. I also don’t publish on paper, which makes bookstore signings a bit weird. I would love to do more personal appearances, but living abroad makes that difficult.

The best place for readers to keep track of me is on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin, I’m very active on all three. Readers can also sign up to be on my mailing list – I only send out an email when a new book is released (click here).

You have a great YouTube presentation for Wild Child. (See link below.) Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Have you created a book trailer for any of your books to promote them online?

I don’t believe book trailers do much good and I have not had much success with mine (yes, I do have one for Lust, Money & Murder here (LINK)) . I don’t know any other authors who have had much success with them, either.

I think this is for a very simple reason: books are not movies. Promoting books in a style and format in which movies are promoted just doesn’t work very well. I think most people say, “Wow, that will be a really cool MOVIE when it comes out – I’ll wait and see it!”

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

I’m not a member of any writer support groups. I guess my friends and family have always given me all the support I need. Back when I was a beginner, I took writing classes and attended lots of seminars, and there I met lots of interesting and supportive people. But I never joined a support group. I’m sure they’re great for some people, depends on your personality and situation.

Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, your marketing and the relationship with your readers and fans?

This is sort of a moot question for me—again, ebooks are all I publish. Ebooks are the entire reason I’m making a living from my writing now. I had no success trying to publish on paper via the traditional route, just can’t deal with agents and publishers—I’m an entrepreneur by nature, very controlling and hands-on, do nearly everything myself or barter with others who are also very independent. As an author, ebooks are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

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

Giving books away free has been a key part of my marketing strategy and has worked very well…but only for series books. If you publish in several genres I don’t think giving away one book free will create many sales of books you write in another genre, or even in the same genre but with different characters. In general, I think the free tactic has been overused with ebooks, like every other tactic , and has become less effective. Amazon’s Prime program (something I have never joined) has been a contributor.

You publish under several different genres. Does changing hats create any problems? Any tricks you can share with us? Which genre did you enjoy writing the most? Does moving from one to the other give you some breathing room?

Fortunately, for a self-published or “indie author, genre is not an issue. That’s one reason I wasn’t able to thrive in traditional publishing—they try to put a literary straight jacket on you. There, trying to write in more than one genre is virtually impossible without using pen names and getting lots of flack. I kind of chuckled recently when such a big deal was made about J.K. Rowling writing a mystery, as if this was some gigantic leap for her, like a heart surgeon deciding to become a professional runway model. Joanna Rowling is a fiction writer, and switching from one genre to another is just not that difficult, once you study the genre and understand the reader expectations of it. Good fiction is driven by conflict between characters—that’s the main thing—and conflict between characters in a romance and a fantasy and a thriller just isn’t that much different. Yes, I do enjoy jumping around from one genre to another, clears the muse’s palate, so to speak. But, honestly, I hardly think about genres while I’m writing—I just try to tell great stories, and then categorize the genre later…and that’s usually not so easy with my books. What is Lust, Money & Murder?

A thriller? Romantic suspense? Action-adventure? A spy novel? It’s all of those, and yet none of those. Anyway, for me, that’s one of the most attractive aspects of self-publishing: you can publish anything you want, whenever you want. Period. There are no limits except what you impose on yourself.

You have a great blog. 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 and maintain your blog?

Thanks. My primary goal is to be a successful writer and entertain my readers as much as possible. My blog serves that purpose. The information and tips for other writers is sort of a freebie—every now and then I’m inspired to share what I’ve learned and write a post about it. Simple as that.

With the help of a genetic engineer, I’ve actually cloned myself—there are three different Mike Wellses at work now here at my house. We step on each other’s toes. Seriously, time management is a never-ending issue with me. I am a confirmed workaholic and probably spend too much time doing all the things you mentioned, but as I can work from home or wherever I happen to be, I can spend lots of time with friends and family so it’s not so bad. I spend about 2 hours per day promoting (blog/SNs) and answering reader/writer questions, etc. and the rest of the time (4 hours a day) writing & editing.

Living in England creates a unique selling and marketing situation. Where is your biggest audience? Does marketing online help in situation?

I actually don’t live full-time in England anymore, though I do go there when I teach at Oxford in summer , in their Creative Writing program. My wife and I were living in Oxford the past five years while she studied for her Ph.D., but now that she has finished we’re bopping around Latvia (where she’s from) and other places in Europe. As I’m writing in English, my biggest market is the USA, then the UK, and then other English language markets like Australia, Canada, South Africa, etc. Since all my marketing is online and I only publish ebooks, I can reach readers virtually anywhere, and so can anyone else these days.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews or no you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

At first I was sending free e-copies to book bloggers, but now I have enough readers where I can simply publish the book on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, etc., simultaneously, and get a steady flow of reviews from readers.

Author's Book List
Passion, Power & Sin - Book 1
One spectacular financial scheme. One woman alone against the world. Young, beautiful, and yearning for love, Heather Bancroft meets the "perfect" man…and is lured into a game in which she begins to make more money than she ever imagined. Betrayed by her own innocence, she loses all that is dear to her and discovers that she has been mercilessly used. Defeated and broken, but surviving with sheer persistence and ingenuity, Heather emerges from her trying ordeal, determined to punish the ruthless man who destroyed her life. Her thirst for revenge takes her halfway around the globe, to the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, where her nemesis secludes himself in obscene wealth that he's gained from the financial ruin of others. Heather is playing for the highest stakes in a lethal game. Only one man loves her - he's handsome, confident, and just as determined as she is. Only one man can stop her - a criminal mastermind who is intent on her destruction.

From Jayne Lockwood Reviews
This is another enormously enjoyable read from Mr. Wells. Heather is young, beautiful, living and working in New York City. There she gets involved in a dangerous game which seems to be the answer to all her financial worries. AND she meets her perfect man. Life is going swimmingly until she loses everything and has to claw it back, pitting her wits against an elusive millionaire whose get rich quick schemes have resulted in the ruination of countless other people. There is intrigue, tension, international travel, glamour, gleaming yachts, designer clothes, beautiful women, peril on the streets of Paris, murder and sex. It's all in there, a luscious mix of Sidney Sheldon and Shirley Conran, updated and fresh enough to stand tall in the 21st century. I could not put this book down. It was a huge amount of fun but more than that, it has stayed with me and is definitely one I will be recommending to anyone who wants a more than just a sexy romp through a millionaire's playground.

Brilliant. Reviewed by David Savage, What's Good to Do Magazine
A story of money, greed, scams, revenge and love! A 24 year old PR assistant, Heather Bancroft, is one of the people caught up in an elaborate scam. She starts to receive strange emails predicting the outcomes of things she can bet on…and these bets take her around the world to Japan onto Istanbul… A very well-written series of books where the pace does not let up from Book 1 to the final pages of Book 5. Filled with twists and turns that grab your attention and keep you reading…suspense and thrills and keeps you on the edge on your seat wanting more. A highly entertaining read, it has to be one of the best stories I have read in years.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Amazon UK
Lust, Money & Murder - Book 1
This book begins with a young and naïve Elaine Brogan as she initially pursues her dream of a career as a photomodel. After becoming entangled with a sleazy modeling agency, she decides to become a Secret Service agent, struggling through the arduous training academy. After her first disastrous assignment, she is transferred to Bulgaria. There, she meets Nick LaGrange, the love of her life.

"Revenge, determination and love fuel this thoroughly enjoyable fast paced thriller." - Samuel's Book Reviews.

From the Guardian Express, reviewed by N.M. Lorde For those who are fans of the late Sidney Sheldon (in particular his latter works) then may I suggest Lust, Money & Murder - the first in a three part series written by Mike Wells? The novella possesses most of the components that made Sheldon's books so captivating. A fast plot. International intrigue. And a beautiful heroine with a troubled past who uses her inner resolve to climb her way to the top..Wells does his research…readers will get a detailed account of what it takes to join the secret service, how to detect counterfeit bills as well as what the reality of life is like for young women living in Bulgaria.

I will be hooked! Not since Sidney Sheldon has a male author captured a woman's perspective so well. It has it all -- intrigue, love and realism. - Kathleen Bursaw "bookster"

Book Trailer: Lust, Money & Murder - Book 1

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Amazon UK
The Wrong Side of the Tracks - Book 1
14 year old Stephen moves into a tough neighborhood and soon finds himself in love with Kristine, one of the prettiest girls in his class. Kristine appears to like him, too, but Stephen learns she “belongs” to a big, mean football player who’s three years older. Despite warnings from his best friend, Stephen moves ahead anyway. All hell breaks loose. Will Stephen allow himself to be shoved into the background, or will he win the girl he truly loves?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes - Amazon UK
The Mysterious Disappearance of Kurt Kramer - Book 1
17 year old Rachel is crazy about Kurt, but she's not sure the feelings are mutual. When his parents invite her and his best friend on a family vacation in Aruba, they encounter a strange object on the beach. Kurt disappears. He begins communicating in bizarre ways that shake his family to the core. Rachel realizes that he's stuck between worlds...and she's the only one who can bring him back.

Review by Rae Smith, Book Reviewer *Possible Spoilers Ahead* Kurt Kramer is good looking, athletic, smart and off to MIT a year early. Though technically not his girlfriend, Rachel, was ambivalent about their being separated. Now she realizes she may never see him again. Rachel is a thinker. She hears as well as listens as she observes what is going on around her. At his father's request two trusted fellow scientists try to assist them in retrieving Kurt from the unknown. Kurt is the main priority for one of them, but the other has a hidden agenda. Throw in a couple of nosy island cops, Kurt's guilt ridden and jealous younger brother and his alcohol dependent mother and Rachel has her hands full trying to keep the peace. Especially, when all she really wants is Kurt back. But, does Kurt even want to return? Mike Wells' followup book is an amazing blend of human frailties, including the ever present man's inhumanity to man. He shows us how taking our family members for granted can lead to addictions and co-dependency. He also shows us that even in these modern times there is a possibility that mutual young love can last a life time.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes - Amazon UK
Secrets of the Elusive Lover - Book 1
Every woman knows an Adam. He's a "player," the type who professes true love, but with eyes that never stop wandering. He always has the perfect excuse when you find that long strand of blonde hair stuck to his collar, and fidgets whenever you get near his computer. Adam can't fool Bethany, who, despite her better judgment, falls head over heels him. Bethany is far more intelligent and strong-willed than Adam bargains for, and he finds himself smitten, too. Hilarious at times and poignant at others, Secrets of the Elusive Lover explores the age old challenge of obtaining the unattainable man, and the paradoxical issues surrounding monogamous relationships. As you turn the pages faster and faster to see if Adam and Bethany will ultimately get together, you will find this book another truly 'unputdownable' Mike Wells read.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes - Amazon UK
Baby Talk - Book 1
In this creepy horror novel, Neal Becker is convinced that his 5 month old baby daughter can talk. But that's impossible…isn't it? Except that Neal didn't really want to get married in the first place - the pregnancy was the result of a one-night stand, and he preferred an abortion. Now, Baby Natasha knows it, and she's out to get him! Or so Neal believes…join the two in a terrifying battle for survival that will make your blood run cold.

Review By Adventures in Reading Blog (Book 1)

After recently being disappointed with a book that had claimed to be of the horror genre,I was a little apprehensive about picking this one up. However,once I did pick it up,I couldn't put it down. It was everything I could ever want in a horror book. It had that creepiness factor that I love…I will be buying book 2 in this series because I am dying to see how it turned out.

Review by Before It's News/Books4Tomorrow (Book 1)

I finished this book in about three hours, and loved it from start to finish. The prologue gripped me and the rest of the book had me turning the pages as fast as I could…. There are quite a few shocking surprises in this story and even though it's a quick read, it is apparent that the author put in effort to create characters with depth and keep the suspense building throughout the plot… I'll definitely be reading more books by Mike Wells!

Excerpts from Reader Reviews

"A fantastic book, but don't read it at night. It gave me some very weird dreams." -- Theresa K., Boston

"Any parent who has ever reached his wit's end with a toddler will appreciate this terrifying story!" -- Jennifer W., Atlanta

"A nanny's worst nightmare!" -- Veronika P, Manchester, UK

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes - Amazon UK
Wild Child
Briana Fox is the wildest girl in school. She and Kyle have been close for a long time…almost lovers. But Kyle is afraid that if he pushes her, he'll have his heart broken and lose his best friend. When Briana challenges him to a swim across the lake, she's injured in a horrific accident, but she discovers a mysterious substance in an underwater cave that saves her life. What seems to be a magical yet harmless "power drug" invokes superhuman abilities, and Briana soon becomes dependent on it for her very survival. When two government agents learn of the discovery, they will stop at nothing to find the source and turn Briana into a human experiment. Is Kyle willing to risk everything to protect his love?

Readers of all ages will enjoy this gripping, fast-paced story.

Book blogger reviews:

"Worth a serious read…incredibly gripping and heartwarming." - Halinor Everdeen Cipriano, Assortments

"A fast, suspenseful thriller with an ending I never saw coming." - Jessica Willis, The Tales Compendium

"Very exciting and gripping, leaves you wanting more." - Becky's Barmy Book Blog

"If anything, you should read it for the unique ending." - Rachel's Book Reviews

"You should give it a try. It's really different and interesting." - Brielle, Awesome Bookworm

Book Trailer: Wild Child

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes - Amazon UK
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle
Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

1 comment:

  1. Terrific interview. I am reading my way through Mike Wells' current offerings and am very happy to hear we can expect some great new additions.