Steel Diamonds Publishing is an eBook publisher
This interview may also be found on their site http://ebookpubs.blogspot.com/
Q: What was the inspiration for your novel “The Cobra and Scarab”?
A: Watching a television documentary about the beautiful Egyptian queen Hatshepsut and her questionable rise to power as “King” and Pharaoh, I became intrigued by the gaps within the story. She supposedly stole the kingship from her stepson, the rightful heir Thutmose III, and announced she would relinquish control once he reached an adequate age. But she didn’t and hatred grew between them. She suddenly died; he became Pharaoh and then had her name and any references to her smashed from everything in Egypt. Thutmose III went on to become one of Egypt’s strongest military rulers—and the documentary ended. There was no further information about the cause of Hatshepsut’s death except hints of treachery and murder. Now hooked, I continued to research that period of history and kept finding the same basic storyline. It was then I realized my novel, “The Cobra and Scarab,” lay within those historical gaps.
Q: In looking over your work I find it difficult to place them in a certain genre. What category would you say best suits your work?
A: My novels are a blend of action adventure, historical fiction and suspense. I will probably always have some aspect of history as a foundation for my books, but believe readers of almost any genre will find interest in my writings. I say this with confidence because I’ve had several readers tell me that there is something for everyone in my books.
Q: Your book “Solomon’s Men” has been published in print, but not as an eBook. Is this a marketing strategy, a dislike for eBooks, or the publisher’s decision?
A: As I answer this question, I am awaiting the online arrival of “Solomon’s Men” as an eBook for Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, and Apple iPad. When “Solomon’s Men” was originally published, there were no eBooks. My writing career came to a screeching halt at that time due to cancer, which is now in remission, and the events of “9-11.” The demands of my security manager career with a global oil corporation magnified ten-fold and never slackened until I retired. Having been asked for years by faithful readers when another novel would be coming, upon retirement I chose to renew my writings. I found the publishing world had drastically changed and discovered eBooks were a new avenue. From the beginning then I wanted “Solomon’s Men” released as an eBook. It just happened to fall as the latest book to be released due to the volume of work involved with publication of multiple novels. “Year of the Ram” and “The Cobra and Scarab: A Novel of Ancient Egypt” were recently released in print form. “The Cobra and Scarab” is also out as an eBook.
Q: The Amazon.com shows only 1 of your books left in stock. Are we to assume they have been selling well?
A: I recently saw that on Amazon.com and was quite pleased. With my return to writing there has been a resurgence of interest in my novels so I hope this is an indication of the future for all my writings.
Q: While you have a limited number of reviews, you have received nothing but the highest marks. As a writer, how does this make you feel?
A: “Solomon’s Men” has truly been received well. It has all the reviews at this time because the other novels have just come out. I know readers have begun ordering them so hopefully more reviews will be forthcoming. As for receiving the highest marks, it is an excellent feeling! It gives positive validation to my overall creative efforts as an author. I want readers to undergo a roller-coaster ride of emotions with my novels, and the great reviews to date tell me I have been successful.
Q: How much research have you done for your books?
A: I generally spend three to four months performing intense research for a book such as “Year of the Ram” where I included actual ancient war devices invented by the Chinese. During those months I am also mentally perfecting the overall storyline I want. Once I actually start writing the novel, the beginning to end process is over one year. My office becomes a disaster zone due to books, magazines, notes, photos and drawings scattered throughout the room. My wife looks in, shakes her head, and walks away.
Q: Your other new book “Year of the Ram” sounds very intriguing. It also sounds very violent. Would you say it is suitable for all age groups?
A: My novels are written with a historical foundation and history is often far more cruel than I write in my books. “Year of the Ram” is set against the backdrop of a savage war after the Mongols captured China as its own. It is an epic novel of a man torn between his allegiance to his father—the Great Khan, the struggle to save their nation against the onslaught of a massive greed-ridden army, and the discovery of a son he never knew had been born.
I do not write children’s books or for young adults, but I find it odd that a historical fiction novel is thought violent while novels and movies of paranormal, horror, gory zombies, blood-sucking vampires, and throat-ripping werewolves are so widely acceptable for today’s teenage youth.
Q: Do you feel the ability of authors to publish independently without the use of an editor has in any way degraded the overall quality of books in the marketplace?
A: There is a definite need for quality filtering of some form, whether it is an editor or an author’s well-disciplined pre-publication review process. The degradation in quality of books due to a flood of indie published works, especially free eBook publishing, has become a major heated point of discussion on many book seller forums, such as Amazon. This is creating an unjustified backlash against all indie authors. On almost every forum you read postings which state indie writers should be filtered/separated from “the good books” (referring to major publishing houses) because of their poor writing skills. Based on the volume of irate comments, you realize all indie authors, good or bad, are being lumped into one pile labeled: “Stay Away.”
Q: What has been your most successful marketing tool/strategy for your novels?
A: Social media networking is a tremendous tool. But I also find simple word of mouth recommendations from one reader to another, giving those reviews about your novels that you will never know of or hear, is the strongest marketing tool.
Q: Where do you see yourself as a writer ten years from now?
A: I see myself writing, still trying to feverishly get the hundreds of ideas out of my head and into books. I want to develop a strong readership and following that will be anxiously awaiting my next work. I definitely see myself demanding that the next novel be even better than the last.
My website, book excerpts, and blog is http://GlennStarkey.net
I can be contacted through the contact page on my website.