Welcome Back to Authors Corner
This week My Guest is Antuan Vance who is the Author of “The Catalyst”
I am very excited to interview Antuan, he has become a great friend through Twitter.
The Power of Social Media People, now let’s start this interview!
So Antuan, why do you write?
It is what I was born to do. Since I was a kid, I was fascinated by stories of heroes and villains, comedies and adventure. I watched movies, read comic books, and played with action figures, creating unique stories and characters. Writing is a part of that. In poetry, I can express myself in a way I normally can’t around others. In novels, novellas, and short stories, I can create a new world, or one with some semblance to this one, and entertain myself and someone else the way other stories entertained me. So, I guess the basic answer would be, I write to entertain both myself and others.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I am certain of two things: one, I was born a romantic; two, I was born a writer. The moment I had a grasp of grammar and storytelling, I began to write. I started writing poetry at age nine or ten. I began my first poetry collection at age eleven. I can’t remember the exact age I started writing my first superhero story. However, I knew even when I was a kid that writing would be a major part of who I am and what I did.
What genre are your books?
My first novel, The Catalyst, and the rest of the books in its series, are action/adventure and science fiction. The novel I’m currently working on is a coming of age, Christian teen drama. Most of my early novels are going to be science fiction.
What draws you to this genre?
Science fiction is my life. I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation when it first came out. I watched Star Wars, ET, Back to the Future. Most of my childhood, teenage years, and adulthood I’ve spent watching, playing games, or reading science fiction. Science fiction is the way my mind works. It’s how I see reality. It’s one of the things that’s made me a forward thinker. It even affects my spiritual life. I can see God through the spectrum of science: astrophysics, quantum physics, biology, astronomy, etc.
Give us an insight into your main character.
The Catalyst has three main characters. John Rider is number one. He’s a very spiritual, biblical man. Right and wrong govern him, but what sets him back in this story is his “paranoia”. He doesn’t trust but a handful of people because of the nature and numbers of the enemy. But, where he lacks in numbers, he makes up in tech resources and wisdom.
Where do your ideas come from?
The only answer that comes to my mind is God. Grace. I can have a basic conversation with someone and find a story can be formed from any scenario. Someone can say he/she drove to the market to buy a carton of milk. I take that and think, “Oh cool. What if you went into the market, got the milk, entered the parking lot, and witnessed a woman being abducted? Oh, and on the abductor’s escape path, he sees you, you see him, and you both recognize each other; but you’re not sure from where. Worst off, a day later, you get a letter in the mail from the abductor telling you to keep your mouth shut, or else. Now you’re part of the police investigation.” I hope this doesn’t deter you from having a conversation with me. Hahaha. My story ideas are not always grim. You could have come across someone incredibly attractive, flirted, exchanged information (or not), and days later, bumped into that person again and started something. Being able to grasp story ideas swiftly is a gift from God. Being able to formulate a story and piece things together so easily, that’s grace.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I usually have a story in mind, a reason for things to happen, and a projected outcome. I put together a flexible outline and then write by the seat of my pants. The Catalyst went in a very different direction than I had originally intended for it. I busted that outline wide open. John Rider wasn’t a major player at first. It was originally supposed to be about Abbey, Levi, Violet, and Jeremy.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Hmm. I can see things a whole lot clearer than I used to. I had a lot of blockage. I held myself back a lot. I used to suffer from a lot of writer’s block, as I did more thinking and formulating than actual writing. Now, I hit the page. Much of my writer’s block isn’t there as it used to be because I’ve learned to press on. Pushing and not waiting for inspiration has opened my mind to a lot more. I’ve learned a lot and researched more. Having an open mind helps. Aging, wisdom, experience, and reading expands your mind to the possibilities, improving creativity.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Oh. You used the word “the” about hardest thing. There are so many hard things about writing. In the process itself, one of the hardest things was finding the time to write and overcoming/avoiding distractions. Sometimes, the hardest part of writing is properly prioritizing your time. If you have a full-time job in addition to writing, you have to sacrifice other things to get your writing in between work, cleaning, and eating.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Distractions were my biggest problem. Once I focused and pushed myself to meet a deadline, I was in the zone. I wrote about forty thousand words in a month. I was so proud of myself. You should have seen me when I made it to one hundred thousand.
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
For ‘The Catalyst’, the cover was the simplest part of the project. I had a few ideas for graphics for the cover and inside the book. I passed those ideas on to my big brother, who has always been the artist in the family. I was the writer. He was the sketcher, painter, and graphic designer. He agreed to do the cover. I later changed my mind about having graphics inside the book. He sent me some samples. I gave him my thoughts. He revised. In the end, we had ourselves a finished project. I’m glad he did it. I’ve received some great feedback about the presentation.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Yes. I hate to say it; but I judge a book by its cover. A lot of people do. We’re visual people. However, a story with a great premise, positive reviews, and a well-written excerpt will go a long way, even if a lot wasn’t invested in the cover.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
Not great. Not great at all. I am in a desperate and dire need for reviews. Not having them is killing my sales. I tell you: you never realize how important reviews are until you need them. I’ve spent most of my life not writing reviews. I wish I could go back in time and write a review for everything I read. However, I know; if I wrote them now, I wouldn’t do the stories justice. I’m hoping, pleading, praying for positive reviews.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
Unfortunately, no. This whole process is relatively new for me. I’m not the greatest networker. I know very few people. Most of the people I know don’t read or are so busy that they don’t have time to read. So, I reach out to the internet to strangers who aren’t invested in my writing. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to find reviewers; but I will. Be it the Lord’s will, I most certainly will.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Good reviews sound heavenly. I want as many as is humanly possible, preferably pointing out favorite characters and scenes (without spoiling the suspense for others). Bad reviews are not wanted. If you want to write a bad review, I would strongly encourage you to write whatever pros you can find first. After which, be gentle and precise. Saying, “It was so awful; I lost my mind and strangled my firstborn” is vague and unhelpful. Speak specifics and quote examples (if it’s possible). It’s best to offer constructive criticism (written constructively, instead of destructively) and suggestions for improvement.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
I see a lot more indie publishing in the future. The process is faster. You can write your novel, edit it, and publish it quicker through indie means. Traditional publishing is a long, slow process. Not to mention, traditional publishing requires extra steps and people. Publishers insist upon the middleman (agents). No one wants to be a small voice in a big crowd just to find someone who can knock on a locked door for you. That’s what it feels like trying to get an agent. (That’s also what it feels like when you’re marketing your book.) Indie publishing is walking to the door, opening it, and walking out with a finished product in your hand.
I also think big bookstores are going to budge in the not too distant future. They’re not supporting local writers who print independently. The more publishing becomes digital, and people spend less time physically in the stores, they’re going to make concessions and start letting local indie writer’s books into their stores. Excited indie writers will pull in more local bodies, book signings, book release parties, and other events.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
“John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt! His name is my name, too! Whenever we go out, the people always shout, ‘There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt!’ Lah lah-lah lah-lah lah-lah laaaah!”
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
My first and best suggestion is to get in touch with me on Facebook and Twitter. Interact with me. Ask questions. Have a conversation with me. I’m no longer teething; so, I’ll try my best not to bite.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/antuanvance
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/antuanvance
Thank You Antuan for being a part of this! Make sure to show him some love and check out his work!