Monday, April 25, 2016

Braxton DeGarmo - An Author Interview at the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Braxton DeGarmo. He is the Amazon Bestselling author of the MedAir Series. Braxton writes Thriller, Suspense, and Christian novels.

Author Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Christian

Website: Braxton DeGarmo
Twitter: @BraxtonDeGarmo
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
Braxton DeGarmo spent over 30 years in Emergency and Family Medicine, both in and out of the military, before retiring to focus on writing in 2014. Many of the incidents in his books are based on real occurrences, people, and experiences in his own life, such as learning to escape a water crash in a helicopter. And the technologies described in his books are all current... and possible.

Fortunately, he did not pull the events of the main plots from his personal life, although they are issues that affect us all. Human trafficking, medical kidnapping, the insanity of Washington, DC, and other injustices have become the premises used for his stories.

He writes from a Judeo-Christian worldview, but he writes his stories to reach and entertain people of all backgrounds. Now, he just needs to find a way to fit his experience with the incredible shrinking woman of Ft. Campbell,KY into a story. Hmmm…

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called A Zealot's Destiny. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Actually, A Zealot’s Destiny came out on February 29th. The story, in follow up to my book, The Silenced Shooter, centers on an attack on the British Royal Family. I mean, really, who doesn’t love the Royal Family? Well, a global group called The Assembly evidently. Those who’ve read The Silenced Shooter will know that The Assembly is a shadow organization that controls the economy, media, and governments of the world. Their attempt to disrupt the British Monarchy has its roots in an ancient Biblical promise.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?

Although I have a small platform on Twitter, my main social platform is Facebook. To be honest, I’ve yet to have any readers interact with me on Twitter, which is supposedly its main strength. Perhaps they’re all shy, but until I do, Twitter won’t claim much of my time. Facebook, however, has been crucial to building a following and the reader groups on Facebook have been my main source of new readers as well as increasing insanity. Facebook is definitely a love-hate relationship. However, my book launches, my promotions, and my interaction with readers are focused on Facebook’s platform. Without it, I doubt I would be seeing the level of success I’ve had so far. I’m just shy of four years into indie publishing, and yet, several of my books have made it into Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers lists in the four main English-speaking countries, with two jumping into the Top Ten of their categories and one of those hitting #1 briefly.

Do you do any 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?

I do book signings throughout the year, although most are in the St. Louis area. As an indie author, it’s difficult to travel and set up signings, although I have made it as far away as Washington, Arkansas (pop. 106) for a weekend of signings. [For the sake of full disclosure, there was a festival there. LOL] ... I’ve also attended the Ferguson Farmers Market (yes, that Ferguson) once a month for the past two years, although protesters can be a hard sell. Other personal appearances include festivals, bookstores, and other retail outlets for my books. My event calendar is available on my website, I'm always eager to meet readers and make myself available to book clubs, either in person or via Skype, interviews, and more.

You have great 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?

I work hand-in-hand with my cover designer. In fact, the photography used in several of my covers is my own. I also enjoy getting my readers engaged in my covers, but that has had its pros and cons. In the end, you can’t create a cover by committee and having too much reader input ends up feeling like that. Yet, on the positive side, I held a contest on Facebook for the winner to be on my cover for Rescued and Remembered. Over a dozen women dared to enter, and after narrowing the field to six, I allowed my Facebook fans to vote. Fortunately, they picked the same image we would have chosen, a fact that attests to the strength of that image.

I like the idea of bundling a series of novels. You have put together a set of your novels called MedAir Beginnings. What was the impact on your other sales? What was your main objective in bundling your novels?

So far, MedAir Beginnings has been a disappointment. The idea behind the bundle was to give readers a way to read the first two stories of my series back to back because book two, Rescued and Remembered, has a direct take-off from book one, Looks that Deceive. They really should be read in order. The subsequent books of the series, although playing on the characters and events of the previous books, could be read out of sequence if someone was "forced" to do so. However, readers have not been quick to accept the combo. I hope to change that with a promotion on May 6th through eReader News Today.

Between your book writing, marketing, family 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 you sort of play it by ear?

I’m definitely a seat-of-the-pants writer who writes primarily in the winter months when I don’t have as many commitments. Now that I’ve retired from clinical medicine, controlling my time is much easier. Easier? Did I just say that? I haven’t been this busy since running a trauma center in the Army. Anyway, since I’m an indie author, my deadlines are also my own to set. Some days I write an entire chapter, while other days I might write nothing at all. Still, my goal is to complete a book in three months and then start the editing process with my editor and proofreaders. As for marketing, I’ve recently simplified that process and typically spend less than 30 minutes a day working on it. And family? They always have priority.

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?

I’ve had a great experience in giving away books. I’ve given books to reviewers, libraries, and more. Obviously, my goal for doing so was to improve my discoverability. I’m new to the publishing scene and I self-publish. Few readers have ever heard of me, so giving away books is part of marketing. The first book of my series, Looks that Deceive, has been “perma-free” since July 2015 and has remained in the top fifteen of free medical thrillers on Amazon ever since. The only obstacle I faced in giving away books was doing the end-run required to get Amazon to price match my $0 cost for that first book. Leave it to Amazon to add more hoops to jump through than is necessary.

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

If by reader list, you mean do I know where they all live, well, I have a close working relationship with the NSA. Beware. If by reader list you mean an email list, then yes, I maintain one and I use social media to build that list. My newsletters are sent out only when there is news of an upcoming book or new events. So, yes, it goes out at least often enough to remind people of who I am.

What is the objective for your newsletter? Do you try to build a list of readers? Do you see a carryover to the sales of your novels?

My newsletter’s objective is simply to inform my readers of new books, events, contests, and such. The newsletter itself hasn’t been a way of building that list, and I can’t say that I’ve seen a direct correlation between a newsletter going out and a sales spike. My list is still small and hasn’t reached a “critical mass” for generating returns like that. But then, that’s not my reason for sending out a newsletter anyway.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I sought professional reviews in the past and Publishers Weekly turned me down both times, lol. What can I say? I’m an indie author and it was a long shot. I do look for reviewers in a couple of Facebook groups and have been pleased with the results. I ask for and expect total honesty, and have been pleased that my stories have been well received. Other than that, however, getting reviews has been the hardest and most perplexing aspect of my marketing efforts. I have thousands of copies of my books out there, with over 5K copies of just my perma-free book in readers’ Kindles. Yet, using that book as an example, it has only 67 reviews (with a 4.4 star rating). No, I won’t pay for a review, but if anyone has another surefire way to garner reviews, I’d love to hear about it.

Author's Book List
A Zealot's Destiny - MedAir Series Book 5
Who is trying to eliminate the British Royal Family? And why? After all, the monarchy is largely ceremonial and symbolic.

What does the Stone of Destiny have to do with an ancient Biblical promise?

Where is the Throne of David? After all, God promised David that someone would sit on his throne throughout eternity. It’s that earthly throne that Christ will claim upon His return. And yet, where did it go after King Zedekiah was overthrown and exiled to Babylon in 585 BC?

Why would a new world leader, who waits in the shadows to assume his role in history, want to claim the Throne of Promise as his?

When The Assembly is tasked to fulfill this leader’s wish, will they succeed in thwarting God’s plan?

Based upon a mix of Biblical prophecy and current events, A Zealot’s Destiny, Book 5 of the MedAir Series, is a political thriller that will take you on a breakneck roller coaster of action. An explosion at a royal residence in England leads to a small town in Missouri. Is it terrorism, an assassination … or both? Agents of the Royal Protection Service, FBI, and Secret Service … some, or all, could be corrupt. From Westminster College back to Westminster Abbey, Lynch Cully doesn’t know who to trust. In the end, his life will never be the same.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Wrongfully Removed - MedAir Series Book 4
What would you do to protect your family? Would you stand up to the government?

Sinead O’Malley and her husband, Jameson, fight to reunite their family after the State of Massachusetts tore it apart and ignored their right to due process. Now, as he sits in jail, she has a choice to make. It’s a choice that could lead to losing her eldest daughter forever. Yet, Sinead can no longer watch her daughter, Ruth, deteriorate. She is left with one option, no matter the consequences.

When an unexpected storm cell takes down MedAir 724, Amy Gibbs, RN, finds herself rescued at the hands of an “angel of mercy.” But who is this woman? And who is she, along with her handicapped daughter, hiding from? Amy, too, has a choice to make: help the woman who saved her life, or follow the law.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Silenced Shooter - MedAir Series Book 3
Tired of federal deadlock? Do you trust our federal government anymore? Does it seem to you that the “elites” in Washington have an agenda that doesn’t exactly fall in line with the best interests of our country? Is it time to “Take Back America?”

Picking up where “Rescued and Remembered” left off … Lynch Cully has found that recovering his memory might be the easy part of “coming back from the dead.” His job is gone. His relationship with Amy Gibbs is on the rocks and the status of Danijela is smeared by a huge question mark. As he recovers from his wound, anxious to leave the hospital, an old friend, Sgt. Seamus O’Connor, picks up the slack on the Major Case Squad in response to a 9-1-1 Code 1000 call – all available units respond – to a shooting at a private Christian school. Automatic gunfire reported.

Meanwhile, Bradley Graham, the keynote speaker at the American Patriot Conservative Caucus, has sent a shockwave through the political “circus” in this country. In announcing the successful formation of a new political party, the American Party, and its record number of both grass roots membership and fund raising, he has challenged the mainstream political world unlike the Libertarians or any other group before it. In doing so, he might just as well have tattooed a target on his forehead.

Has God finally turned His back on America? To the point where He would allow a shooting to occur in a Christian school, a school dedicated to his Glory? Or, will the boldness of the American Party begin to re-chart the course of society back toward those God-given rights that so many Americans have fought and died to preserve? Perhaps more than a few guardian angels are working overtime.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Rescued and Remembered - MedAir Series Book 2
The past three months have been hard for Jusuf. Fished from the river, nearly dead, he had lost his memory, could barely walk, and needed assistance simply to feed himself. His benefactor, Danijela, lives in fear in the remote river cabin owned by Ibrahim, whom she believes to be dead. His killer has put a price on her head, too.

For Amy Gibbs, RN, that time has been equally difficult. Suffering from PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, she has been battling the emotional demons of losing her “on-again” boyfriend, Lynch Cully, to the same monster who twice attacked and nearly killed her three months earlier. Yet, enter Richard Nichols, an Army vet recently returned from Afghanistan. His charm and confidence entice her, but is it an act?

In a series of twists and turns of events, the four become embroiled in the “industry” of human trafficking. The results will affect not just their lives, but those of dozens of women caught up in the horrors of this modern-day slave trade. Like Danijela, these women are “undocumented aliens” brought to the U.S. under the promise of jobs and an education, only to be forced into slave labor and prostitution. Human trafficking is like the many-headed Hydra of Greek mythology, but it just might lose a head.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Looks That Deceive - MedAir Series Book 1
The press calls “him” the L.A. Rapist, a misnomer in all ways for this serial assailant whose attacks on legal assistants leaves them in a vegetative state. Now, the deaths of two prominent medical malpractice attorneys have put authorities in an uproar and detective Lynch Cully is under extreme pressure to find the perpetrators. Or should that be singular? Has the L.A. Rapist upped “his” game?

Amy Gibbs, RN is a newly recruited med-evac flight nurse who left the E.D. and its stress behind, along with memories of a certain detective who “dumped” her. On one fateful call, she hears the deathbed confession of a man who police are seeking as a person of interest, perhaps the killer’s accomplice. Within hours, the lives of Amy Gibbs and detective Lynch Cully again intertwine in a story that unravels a web of identity theft, electronic eavesdropping, and stalking amid a confusion of identities.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Family. Belonging. Relationships. Something we all long for. But it’s the late 1960’s, you’re a teenager, you find yourself pregnant out of wedlock, and your alcoholic father tells you not to come home.

What would you do, if you woke up one morning to find your baby missing? Who would you turn to? Where would you go?

What if you witnessed a murder, too? … And the murderer wants you silenced.

"Indebted" is a story of hope, perseverance, and redemption that begins in the backwoods of western North Carolina in the late 1960's. Alice Cummings comes home with her baby boy, whose disappearance starts her on a search that is filled with ups and downs, twists and turns.

But there’s another story to be told. Fast forward to the present day. Myra Mitchell is the mega-bestselling author known as the "Diva of Disaster." Yet, calamity is about to befall her this time.

How would you react to the news that you have only months to live unless your get a liver transplant? The Catch-22: you must remain alcohol-free for six months to qualify, but you might not live that long.

It's a race against time to write one last book. She sets her sights on the story of her favorite cartoonist, Betsy Weston, who at the summit of her success, disappeared from the face of the earth. Myra puts everything on the line to uncover the rest of that story.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Militant Genome
A master gene for race? Geneticists say such a thing doesn't exist. However, the Colonel, founder of the Missouri White Alliance, has devised a genetic weapon capable of devastating dark-skinned peoples globally. He is only weeks, maybe days away from implementing his viral version of racial cleansing's "final solution." There's only one threat to his plan -- a hotheaded member of the MWA has become the target of a nationwide police search for murder and the kidnapping of local celebrity Della Winston ... and the unwanted attention risks bringing federal scrutiny to the previously unknown white supremacy group. Sarah Wade, MD, has enough stress as a senior Emergency Medicine resident. She never expected that her discovery of a murdered medical student would inadvertently jeopardize her career. Or that the next-day murder of a Nigerian diplomat would lead to the kidnapping of her best friend, Della Winston. The cascade of events pull her -- and Seamus O'Connor, the detective assigned to the high-profile medical center murder -- into a life-threatening conspiracy of murder, kidnapping, and rising racial tensions.

"The Militant Genome" is a medical thriller set is St. Louis and written from a Christian worldview. Woven into the story are themes about the evil of racism, the threats of biotechnology, and one's eternal destiny. The story begins as Sarah Wade, MD, a senior resident in Emergency Medicine, takes her Advanced Trauma Life Support credentialing course and discovers that her surrogate patient, a medical student, is a real stabbing victim. Sgt. Seamus O'Connor and his partner draw the case and begin their investigation. Within twenty-four hours, Sarah's life is turned inside out -- her career is threatened by false charges from the pompous, egotistical Chief of Trauma; a visiting Nigerian diplomat is murdered outside a popular restaurant on the riverfront; and the only witness to see the killer's face, Sarah's life-long best friend, Della Winston, is kidnapped outside a local club. Meanwhile, from across the country, the events in St. Louis are being followed with concern by the Colonel. He is part of a university medical research team presenting their work on Alzheimer's Disease to a major symposium. During the day, he has helped discover a major breakthrough in the cause and potential treatment of the disease. Outside the lab, he leads a previously unknown white supremacy group, the Missouri White Alliance, based in the Ozarks. With his like-minded technicians, they have found a way to re-engineer a promising treatment for the skin cancer melanoma into a viral weapon that attacks dark-skinned peoples. By combining that virus with a virulent strain of influenza, he hopes to cause worldwide racial genocide to honor his grandfather, a Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard during his life, and to avenge the murders of his wife and daughter at the hands of black home invaders. However, he has received word that the man who killed the diplomat is not just one of his men but his nephew. The intense police and federal investigation into that killing threatens to unveil his group and derail his plans. The story explores the issue of racism not just via the major plot line about racial genocide, but also through the unexpected relationship that develops between Sarah and Seamus. She is African-American and he is as white and Irish as they come. They have their Catholic backgrounds as common ground, but nothing more. The potential threat of biotechnology in the wrong hands should be apparent. The definition of genome is "a full set of chromosomes; all the inheritable traits of an organism." The genome is God's blueprint for life. Leave it to man's "tinkering" to lead to trouble. The theme of eternal destiny becomes an important turning point in the story. Let's not spoil it by giving away anything more.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

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