Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Interpreter: Author Interview: ‎Neal James

Shah Sight
Neal James, Thanks for being on our live talk show today. We have a question fromPhyllis Burton for you that I will ask you later, will you please introduce yourself to our members first, and tell us please when exactly you started writing?

Shah Sight The one you just mentioned about, if you could cut and paste a few lines here that would be great, we are happy to wait until you get that, please?

Neal James I'll take a paragraph from the scene where Roger realises that he is falling in love with Madeline - still give me the shiversa when I read it myself.

Neal James ‎'She smiled faintly as their fingers slowly parted, and his eyes followed her every move as she left his bedside for the doorway to the ward. Here she paused only very briefly and half turned to nod her head and then disappear. Roger Fretwell could feel the beat of his heart pounding in his ears and looked down at his shaking hands. The feelings he experienced on the front line in Belgium in 1945 were nothing in comparison to the emotions currently running through his entire being. Was this love? Was the emptiness which he now felt at her parting what his mother had told him about when she had made the knowing observation?

Neal James ‘You’ll know our Roger. When the right girl comes along you’ll know. Don’t bother going looking love, fate will put you together and from then on it’s all up to you. You’ll only get one go at it though, so make sure that you get it right.’

Shah Sight Let me now ask you the question Phyllis Burton has kindly referred to you, 'James, you have obviously had a great deal of success with persuading Waterstones to stock your books. Can you give any tips to the rest of us relating to your success - apart from perseverence of course...'. Can you please answer her question for her and for our audience?

Neal James Hi Phyllis. You're right - much of it is down to sheer persistence and determination, but that alone is not enough. You need a strategy, and without an agent it's something that needs a lot of work.

Neal James I built up a data base of Waterstones e-mail addresses - they're freely available, and also a list of three 3,500 British libraries. I mailshhot them on a regular basis.

Neal James Local radio and newspapers are also favourite targets, and this arm of my campaign is beginning to bear fruit. I'm quite prepared to share tactics with anyone interested.

Phyllis Burton I haven't targeted libraries at all. Perhaps I should in future.

Phyllis Burton Thank you Neal.

Neal James Yes you do. There's also the Public Lending Right which tracks how many times your books have ben lent out. Authors receive payment for each 'lend'. I can share this tactic as well.

Neal James ‎.....and you're very welcome.

Shah Sight Thank you Neal and thanks Phyllis Burton for asking such an important question, Neal, now that you have mentioned 'tactics', please give us some more tips in that regard and also any other promotional tips that you think we should know from you, for instance, with Amazon, or other sites, or any other site that you are involved with?

Neal James It is very important that an identity is established on book sites. Amazon run Author pages, and they're free to use. They take only a short time to complete, and it just gives potential customer a face behind the name.

Neal James Establishing a rapport with local bookshops is another arm of the campaign, and you just have to knock on the door and smile - you'd be amazed at how easy that can be.

Neal James Another thing I do is to write in differnet genres, to avoid the' block' which sometimes hinders a writer.

Shah Sight We totally agree with you in being nice and knocking, when I was in London I went to Selfridges to ask for a book signing, they didn't have the books on their system, but they asked me to come back and talk to their manager to maybe buy my books and then organise the book signing, but it didn't happen because I don't live in London. Neal what sort of a person do you see yourself, and does that show in your writing, you think?

Neal James I'm nothing out of the ordinary - I'm an accountant (lol), but the alter ego of Neal james provides me with the opportunity to write things which would probably not be taken seriously under my real name.

Neal James I'm an incurable romantic, and that comes out in the love story in 'Ticket', but I can also draw on 30 years working in industry to provide a wealth of data for my stories.

Phyllis Burton Me too...!

Shah Sight All right then, there is the influence from the name change, from the personality, and even from what you do as a job, Neal, what are you writing now, you said you believe in writing in different genres, is this a totally different genre from what have written so far, or will your next book be?

Neal James The next one is a crime casebook with a back story linking a number of cases together. It is at the fianl writing stage, and I am invloving our local school arts department in illustrating it.

Neal James One student will get the job of providing six or seven original sketches to go into the final proofs - his or her name will go into the book, and it's another way of publicising my work.

Neal James After that will come the sequel to 'Ticket' (2014), and then my first venture into sci-fi with 'The Rings of Darelius' (2015).

Neal James On the drawing boardd is then 'Dreamer' - a paranormal thriller.

Neal James Genres to date have included: crime, sci-fi, romance, horror, fantasy, espionage and humour.

Phyllis Burton When do you have any time for sleep?!

Shah Sight Impressed with the variety of your genre and this amazing and in a way very mysterious way of promoting your books, we wish you more success with that, now can you answer Phyllis's question please?

Neal James Haha - every single night.............not burning out is another tactic I value, Phyllis.

Neal James The way I write is to get down 500 - 1,000 words at a sitting and then rewview them a day or so later. Lunchtimse can be highly productive.....

Shah Sight Neal, what is your message to new authors, like myself, for instance, what did you do right or wrong when you first published your book, tell us about the ups and downs of those first days please?

Neal James ‎'Ticket' was not edited independently, but as a first effort was very well presented by the publisher. Always get a fresh pair of eyes to edit your work. You will read what you want to see, and not what is actually there.

Phyllis Burton Or have a daughter who is a copy-editor, like me...

Neal James Forget about agents - they simply are not interested in new, untired talent. Find other ways - Lulu, Createspace, Smashwords.......or be very lucky as I was when I found Pneuma Springs.

Neal James Indeed, Phyllis - thatwould do the trick. My son-in-law is absolutely ruthless!

Neal James That first day I saw 'Ticket' on Amazon and Watersones sites sent an electric thrill right throuh me, and it is a feling that you never forget.

Neal James Take your time, and don't be in a rush to get to the market. Polish, polish and polish again. It does no harm.

Neal James I do apologise for the typos - fingers have had a hard day at the accounts (lol).

Shah Sight Thanks, Neal, this is our last question for this interview, and we would love to have you on this show once again, do you want to add to the things you have kindly said to us, anything that you think we should know, be it about yourself or about your work, or anything else, we will post the links to your work later, so don't worry about that?

Neal James Never lose faith in your ability as a writer, but accept the fact that you cannot be all things to all readers, and some will simply not like your writing because it doesn't fit in with their reading style.

Phyllis Burton A good one to remember!

Neal James Stay away from writing sites unless you have a very thick skin - there are subscribers there just waiting to tear you limb from limb, and it can be very disheartening unless you can point to a library or shop shelf and say ' 'Look there!'

Neal James I'd be delighted to return, and thanks for the opportunity to showcase.I'll let you have the links when you're ready.

Neal James Phyliis - remember where the help lies.

Shah Sight We thank Neal, Phyllis, and all those who accompanied us throughout this interview by reading this interview. Here is the links to Neal's books:

Threads of Deceit Neal James FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General FICTION / Thrillers -
James Poynter is a young man out for revenge. Set up for a crime which he did ...See More

Phyllis Burton Thank you Neal.

Shah Sight

A Ticket to Tewkesbury Neal James FICTION / Espionage / Thrillers - ShahSight Home Literary Book
When Julie Martin discovered a fifty year old love letter, little did she know that it would trigger a chain of events which had its roots in the death throes of Nazi Germany. Revelations in the secret files to which it led, threatened the very foundations of democracy in Britain. The...

Neal James Thanks, and good night.

Shah Sight

Two Little Dicky Birds Neal James FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural FICTION /
On Saturday 8th April 1975, in a fit of rage, Paul Townley took the life of his father, Harold. The significance of that single event was to affect the rest of his life, as he resolved to make it his mission to rid society of the kind of person that the man had become. The first killi...

Phyllis Burton As usual Shah, thank you for making conversations like these, possible.

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