Sunday, November 18, 2012

Indie Author Interview: Joel Mark Harris

Interview with Joel Mark Harris - Author of the Action / Crime Thriller A Thousand Bayonets.

Joel Mark Harris is an award-nominated journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and producer. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, he graduated from the Langara Journalism School in 2007.

After working various jobs in the journalism and PR fields, Harris wrote and produced the award-winning feature-length film Neutral Territory.

Interview with Author Joel Mark Harris

Indie Author Interview w/ Joel Mark Harris
Author Joel Mark Harris
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Joel Mark Harris: I am a journalist by trade. I graduated from journalism school in 2007 from Langara College. It was a great experience and I met some life-long friends. My teachers were the ones who inspired me to write A Thousand Bayonets. I thought journalism was an easy way to get paid to write for a living. I guess I was young and naive because now I realize there is no easy way to get paid for writing.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
How many words did you say I had to write this? I could go on and on about my favorite books and authors, boring everybody to tears. I love any Russian authors: Dostoevsky , Tolstoy, Gogol. If we fast forward to modern times I really enjoy the detective novels by Michael Connolly and the thrillers my Michael Crichton. Both authors are amazing writers and I try to emulate their storytelling as much as possible.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I've always known I've wanted to be a writer. It's a bit cliche but true. When I was a kid I also wanted to be a professional soccer player but I kind of missed the boat on that one so I'm trying my hand at writing. The pay isn't as good but I hope to make up for it in longevity.

"I try to write two to three thousand words a day. "

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?

I try to, but I'm not always successful. I find I work best in the morning when the day is new and bright. I try to write two to three thousand words a day. I plug in my music and try to ignore the large scary world out there. I love listening to Iron and Wine while I write. It also depends too what I'm writing. I'm currently finishing off the screenplay for A Thousand Bayonets so I have a slightly different writing process.

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
I find the first draft is the easiest and then it's all uphill from there on in. Each consecutive draft get's harder and harder and feels more like actual work. Then comes the marketing and the self-promotion and that is hardest of all because you have limited resources and no idea if that ad you just paid a thousand dollars for did any good at all. You find yourself second guessing and doubting a lot.

Joel, please tell us a little about your debut novel 'A Thousand Bayonets'.
A Thousand Bayonets is about a journalist named John Webster who arrives home after spending time in Afghanistan and Iraq and he is looking for some peace and quiet but he witnesses this mass murder which is gang related and he has to solve it. But the further he gets into his story the further it threatens to destroy his fragile psyche.

A Thousand Bayonets (Joel Mark Harris)
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
When I went to journalism school some of my teachers had been to war-torn countries and I found their stories extremely interesting. I was intrigued by the moral dilemma war journalists face too. They are supposed to stay completely neutral and objective but how do you stay neutral in the face of such pain and suffering?

Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
I believe anybody who enjoys a good action, mystery book will enjoy A Thousand Bayonets. You can buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Chapters.

"Sales have been far above expectations."

How would you describe the success of your book so far?
I have been extremely lucky to win the Pinnacle Achievement Award for Best Thriller and nominated for the B.C. Gillar Reader's Choice award. Sales have been far above expectations.

How long did it take it to write the book?
It took me four years and countless drafts but I'm getting the hang of it and the next one should be out next year.

Please, tell us where you self-published the book.
It was with Author Solutions.

How smooth went the self-publishing process? Any issues? What are things to look for when self-publishing a book?
I had a great experience with Author Solutions. They really walked me through the process and held my hand ever step of the way, including marketing and promoting. I would recommend them to anybody who is looking for self-publishing.

Did you hire an editor and/or Cover Designer for your book?
Yes, Author Solutions did that all for me. They were really hands on and very knowledgeable about the publishing industry.

"[...] start marketing yesterday."

Can you give some tips for other Indie Authors regarding the writing and self-publishing process?
Just make the best book you know how to and market the hell out of it and start marketing yesterday. I'm not kidding. The more time you have to market and the more hype you can build the better. I know marketing isn't all that fun but it's necessary if you want to survive in this industry, or any industry for that matter.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
The follow-up novel is called Shame the Devil and this time John Webster has to battle corrupt oil executives who are using their company for their own personal game. John finds himself in over his head as he realizes the conspiracy is far reaching and involves some of the most powerful and dangerous people in the world.

Are you planning to move forward as an Indie author or are you looking forward to have one of your next books to be traditionally published?
That's a good question. I haven't fully decided yet. I will probably test the waters on both and see which bites harder. Ultimately I will do what feels right.

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
I sure hope book stores won't go way of the dodo bird. I suspect they will still be around but will look a lot different than they are today. Book stores will have to rely a lot more on alternative revenue streams to prosper which is already beginning to happen. I see towel sets and umbrellas being sold in the big chain bookstores. I read in the newspaper recently people are still buying books but they are getting them in places like grocery stores or pharmacies instead of going to bookstores. The ramification of this, of course, is only the top five best-selling books get any shelf display. The rest get pushed to the side.

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job?
I have a full-time job managing a coffee shop. I absolutely love it.

How can readers connect with you?
Via my website, Twitter, or Facebook [see Links below]
I always look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you very much for the Interview, Joel.

About the Book A Thousand Bayonets

A Thousand Bayonets (Joel Mark Harris)
Upon returning from Afghanistan, journalist John Webster discovers a gang war in his backyard. Now he must find a way to survive in this Canadian warzone—or die in the crossfire.

John Webster has seen the terrible things human beings can do. He’s an experienced investigative journalist, recently returned from the war in Afghanistan. John saw hell over there; he looked death straight in the face. He is glad to be back to the normalcy of his Canadian home—that is, until he realizes there is a war brewing in his own backyard, and “peace” is a word no longer spoken.

John gets caught up in the battle between two of the most powerful and murderous criminal gangs in the city. Using what he learned on the foreign battlefields, he stays alive, despite the price on his head. The only way to save his own life is to find the man responsible for the brutal neighborhood bloodshed. When the police slap a subpoena on him, though, John finds his only solace on the streets.

Suddenly, John is back in a warzone, fighting for his life. Will he be able to stop the bloodthirsty crime lords? The flashbacks to Afghanistan threaten to pull John into darkness. Soon, the past and present collide, and he can’t tell which way is up or down. The need for redemption may be stronger than the need for survival as John Webster finds himself on his most dangerous assignment yet.

- "Joel Mark Harris has done a remarkable job for such a young author. This book is well-written, page turning and has great characters. Joel is inspirational for young writers because he has really made his dreams come true. Anyone who likes this book should watch his movie Neutral Territory. Stayed tuned for more from this young author, he will only get better." - Reader Review

Links to the Author and the Book

Link to the Author's Website

Connect with the Author via Twitter: @JoelMarkHarris

Link to Joel Mark Harris's Facebook Page

Link to the Paperback A Thousand Bayonets with Excerpt on Amazon

Link to the eBook A Thousand Bayonets with Excerpt on Amazon

Link to the eBook A Thousand Bayonets with Preview on B&N for Nook

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