Interview with author Colin Chapman

Welcome to another week’s guest author interview. It has been a crazy past few days but I’m glad to be able to be with you all today. And I’m pleased to introduce you to my guest this week. He is an author of Adult fiction and I will let him tell you a little about himself.

Colin:
My Name is Colin Llewelyn Chapman and I have been writing for around three years. I live in Essex, about half an hour from London. My home is less than 100m away from the Thames.

I love fishing, shooting and football….I’m a country boy at heart!

The Writing Piazza:
Most excellent! I always love learning about what other authors like to do in their spare time so I can judge them. I’m totally kidding. I just like hearing about all the different hobbies people have. I think it really helps people connect with an author when they hear things like that. And I believe that connection is something that can really help an author stand out. With all the books being published nowadays and so many new authors getting their work out there, it can be hard to get attention for your book. I honestly believe that showing readers a bit of who you are can make all the difference.

Now that we know a bit about you, let’s hear about your writing. You are the author of the dark thriller Cold Call. Can you tell us all a little about it?

Colin:
I guess I should really start with a stark warning…it is not for the feint hearted. My book comes with a warranted 18 rating. It is both extremely violent and sexually explicit (although I would add it is not gratuitously sexual). The book is set in Southend-on-Sea…a local seaside town, famed for ice-cream and ‘kiss me quick’ hats. The Lead character, Robin Bradford visits numerous massage parlors and Escorts to get his sexual kicks, but leaves a trail of dead bodies behind him. There are several twists and turns, as well as a few sub plots and distractions. The police are hot on his heels…but will they get their man?

The Writing Piazza:
Thank you for that warning. I know I have some readers who are under 18 and I write mostly Young Adult fiction so I appreciate you giving the heads up. And even though your book is for 18+ I wanted to interview you because I think you can give us some great insight into the process of writing and publishing that can be enjoyed and learned from by people of all ages. 🙂

So tell us, is Cold Call your first published novel?

Colin:
Yes, I initially self-published as an e-book, but was found by Percy Publishing and offered a contract to write a further 5 books. So now I am a traditionally published author.

The Writing Piazza:
Getting a book published is difficult, getting it noticed is even harder. That must have felt so rewarding to have your book attract a publisher. And a five book deal is very exciting too! Congratulations!

What made you decide to write this book?

Colin:
I had no desire to write until I read The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. I have always read true crime (which has been the foundation for my dark side), so I was struck by the intricacy of a fictional piece. That was my first fictional book in over 25 years! I love a challenge, so I took to it like the proverbial duck to water.

The Writing Piazza:
Now my blog is all about giving people a look behind the scenes of the writing business so I’d love it if you could tell us a bit about what your journey was like for you when you wrote and published this book?

Colin:
After I finished the first version, I spent nearly a year trying to find a publisher. This was a tough process and it was easy to lose spirit after countless rejections.

One of the hardest things to accept was when a manuscript would come back untouched, despite the publisher saying they were open to approach. Trying to understand where you were going wrong with little if any feedback was horrible. It felt like you were running blind in the fog!

The Writing Piazza:
Have you been reading my diary, this is what keeps me up at night. It’s such a nerve racking time for writers! Oh, the waiting and so little feedback. I know that publishers are going through so many manuscripts but it’s still hard to be understanding when you’re the one wondering where you went wrong. Ok, so you’re waiting and waiting, please continue.

Colin:
I had a glimmer of hope and some good feedback from a couple of publishing houses and was urged to keep trying. After a while, and with morale low, I decided to try my hand at launching it as an e-book.

The Writing Piazza:
Let me just stop you for a moment. I think this is a great topic right here. Some people might think that just because they can’t find a publisher that they should just give up. But I love that you kept going. I think after a writer spends all that time and emotionally energy on writing a manuscript, that they owe it to themselves to keep going and get their book out there. I’m glad you’re here sharing your story. It’s such an inspiration, ok, tell us more!

Colin:
It was well received, with mixed reviews and I sold enough to keep me in bourbon!

The Writing Piazza:
I’m sure many writers would be ok with such an outcome. 🙂

Colin:
I was found by a publishing company who approached me with an offer of contract! The book was then reworked and renamed. I found the whole process of others being involved quite testing, it was after all, MY baby. At times I had to compromise on parts of the book, which was hard to swallow. I consoled myself with the fact that these guys were industry professionals, so I had to place my trust in them.

The Writing Piazza:
I think this is definitely something writer’s need to prepare themselves for when they publish traditionally. We’re artists and we crafted this story with our blood, sweat and tears and it’s very hard to let someone else come in and change things. But like you said, sometimes you have to trust that they are professionals and they know what they’re doing.

How did their suggestions work out for you?

Colin:
The new version was a better polished product. They encouraged me to be darker and push the boundaries more than I had with first cut. I have grown in confidence with my work and place in the literary world. The second cut has storming reviews and has clearly improved! I am soon to be featured to two ‘adult magazines’ where they will do a feature on me as well as excerpts from the book. Also I have reached the finals in the “People’s Book Prize”, which will be televised in May.

The Writing Piazza:
It sounds like it really worked out well for you. And that’s exciting to have your book showcased on TV. I wish there were more shows about books and authors.

I try to change up these interviews so they aren’t just the same old questions each time, but there are some questions I really love asking because I get such a diverse number of answers. One of those questions is, what is one thing you wish you had known before you published?

Colin:
How incredibly high the good points made you feel…and how abysmally low, the troughs would be.

The Writing Piazza: I have yet to be disappointed about asking that question. That is true, although I wonder if those feelings are more because we’re artists and less because of the business we are in. 🙂 But maybe that’s just me. lol

The next thing I really wanted to talk to you about was social media. This industry is changing, and more and more authors are encouraged to start building up a web presence. I am on a number of social media sites and have come across many, many authors out there plugging away. In fact, you and I “met” on Twitter where you have an impressive following. How important do you feel social media has been to your career as a writer?

Colin:
With the explosion of social media in various guises, I think sites like Twitter can play a critical part in the world of an Author. Previously unreachable people and companies are readily accessible. My biggest ‘beef’ is that a lot of people just bang the drum all day long. You have to have a personality and show more than just book, book, book! I have now in excess of 20k followers on twitter, and my reach (when you add up followers, followers) is well in the millions. It is imperative to work the different platforms to gain the most amount of exposure you can. After all, that is how I was discovered.

The Writing Piazza:
I agree, I admit to “muting” some people on Twitter because ALL their tweets are buy my book, buy my book, buy my book. That’s a huge no-no. But I have also seen some authors who do some really exceptional tweets about their books so I don’t think you shouldn’t completely ignore it as a marketing tool. And I couldn’t agree more about your comment about showing personality. I think that’s right on.

Something else I’ve been thinking about lately, I read a lot about authors and publishers with boxes of Advanced Reading Copies (ARC) to send out, was this something you did?

Colin:
My publisher, agent and PR people send out a few copies, but we are very controlled. I have seen and heard of some horror stories of pirated copies just from ARC. That is so sad and unacceptable.

The Writing Piazza:
Yikes! That’s scary, and I don’t think I would have even thought about that. But that’s definitely something to consider when it comes time to send out my own. Thanks for that tip!

Along those lines, how about book reviewers? Did you reach out to any of them or did you just wait for reviews to happen organically?

Colin:
Bloggers, reviewers and the like are so important to a writer. They can make or break you! I haven’t really approached any…I tend to let them come after me. That way you know they are interested in you, your work and chosen genre. But, like all things, it is a balance. What works for me, might not be your choice.

The Writing Piazza:
All excellent and valid points! Balance is key and one size does NOT fit all. This is some good stuff right here.

And of course I have to ask, are you currently working on another book.

Colin:
Book two is well underway (although I have been through a separation, which left me struggling to write) and I am hopeful it will be on the ground around June/July.

The Writing Piazza:
I’m sorry for your hardship, I wish you the brightest of days for your future. I know life can really get in the way of writing as much as it can really inspire writing. I wish you success and that you exceed the goals you have for yourself!

As we rap up this interview, what advice would you give to my readers who are also pursuing or hoping to pursue a literary career?

Colin:
Stay strong, stay focused and just keep going. It is a long tough ride…but the spoils, are well worth the battle.

The Writing Piazza:
Just one more thing before we go, can you please tell my readers where they can go to purchase your book?

Colin:
The book is available on Amazon.uk Buy Cold Call Now

or

Amazom.com in the US Buy Cold Call Now

The Writing Piazza:
You can also connect with Colin on his social media sites like I have, Colin can you tell us where they can find you?

Colin:
My Twitter
https://twitter.com/ColinLChapman

My Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colin-Llewelyn-Chapman-Author/523299844380385?ref=hl

The Writing Piazza:
And that concludes today’s author interview. Colin, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate you sharing with us! And to all my fabulous readers, thanks for being fabulous and I hope you have an absolutely amazing weekend! You totally deserve it!

Until we meet again.

  • I have just finished reading Cold Call by Colin Chapman. It was well paced with characters that one could easily know personally and as such was a believable story. The sex and violence, whilst present was necessary for the story and I particularly loved the way Colin cleverly thought through how each party might react. The novel was entertaining and made me smile more than once too…a real good rip roaring read!

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