IndieView with Jack Messenger, author of Farewell Olympus

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? I have the prospect of an endorsement from an internationally bestselling novelist. And so is my wife. I have never been able to outline or plan ahead or know exactly what to do beforehand. Publishers want a sure thing. Plus there’s the enormous benefit that your book doesn’t have to find its audience within two weeks of publication or else be pulped. Learn from everyone, help other writers, write reviews (it helps other authors and it hones your skills and may get you noticed). I think one can only write for oneself and hope that it strikes a chord with readers. And when I decided to be independent it was tremendously liberating. I’ve also made dozens of requests for book bloggers to review and put up profile pages everywhere at online retailers. There are very few gatekeepers any more because most of the gates no longer exist. Now he can live cheaply while he translates articles for shortlived websites and doomed art journals nobody reads. Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? Follow where it leads. Serge himself is implicated in wrongdoing, while Giles, an Englishman abroad and seldom sober, knows more than he’s prepared to tell. – but I don’t consciously write with them in mind. Should Howard forgive Eugene for being better looking? So that saves time and money. When characters develop their own personalities like that it is extremely rewarding. Farewell Olympus is about an ambitious young man living in Paris who has his life turned upside down when his half-brother arrives unexpectedly. Do you outline? Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? It took around six months in total, but stretched over the entire year, as I had some health problems that stopped me writing for six months. I am lucky. End of Interview:
For more from Jack, visit his website and follow him on Twitter. It seemed sensible to pursue both options, even if one of them looked inevitable. That was the extent of my planning. About the book
What is the book about? Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? The covers Dave came up with really zing. Don’t be dictated to. I review books, and I can tell you that the ones full of errors don’t get reviewed. Marketing is a marathon and I expect to be selling this book for the rest of my life but, after a while, I hope that it will take off. The resulting turmoil involves farce, love, and mystery, but the book is mostly concerned with relationships and how they change or endure. Will Eugene ever help him with the housework? It was always a twin track: I presumed I would publish independently but I always submitted my work when I could. He hasn’t read it yet, so I hope I’m right! I have a friend named Dave Pettit who is a professional designer. I always struggle with plot, but this time things worked out nicely. I tend to come up with a lot of half-baked ideas, so I am extremely wary. Where did you get the idea from? Going back ad nauseam is part of my process. Fortunately, I am a professional editor! About Writing
Do you have a writing process? As far as I am aware they are entirely fictitious, but who knows? Be true to your vision. I didn’t write with him as my target reader, but it often occurred to me that he would enjoy the humour. Novelists sift and mix their experience until a character emerges. Off-the-shelf designs all look the same. It’s hard for me to progress if I think what I have already done is not as good as I can get it. Once I know I have the idea I need, I start to write and see where it leads. When characters develop their own personalities like that it is extremely rewarding. I suppose I do, but it’s rather slow and unremarkable. Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) When a patron of the arts named Serge loans him a luxurious penthouse apartment in central Paris, Howard can’t believe his luck. Beginnings are important for setting the tone and point of view etc., so I spend an awful lot of time trying to get it exactly right. Was it a particular event or a gradual process? My career has always been in conventional publishing, so I know how things are. I got the ten chapters but they came in at around 65,000 words. First, I have to live with an idea for a long time before I am confident that I can write about it. Can Howard and Eugene overcome their mutual antagonism long enough to survive? However, with Farewell Olympus, I found myself thinking of a friend of mine. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? No, I have to have absolute quiet, which can be difficult living in a city. When did you start writing the book? Be yourself. I admire authors who can do that but, for me, it is the death of creativity. He now teaches design at a university. Every book I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way. Pay no attention. There is a plan based on maximizing early reviews by using a giveaway for the chance to win a free Kindle. Honestly, I don’t know. I admire his sureness of tone, his confidence and daring. Something that really is a load of rubbish is likely to remain a load of rubbish, in my view. So he has designed the covers for Farewell Olympus and Four American Tales (my free ebook) for free. I think books are like experiences: we can’t recall everything that’s ever happened to us, but all of it made us what we are today. I could be in charge of everything. On Farewell Olympus, I was aiming for around 50,000 words and ten chapters. As I write, incidents and scenes come to mind and I write them more or less in chronological order. I tried a few agents and publishers, but I didn’t have much expectation of success. People are suddenly not what they seemed, and danger lurks in every restaurant. When the time is right, the book reaches its end. Most of the characters and situations came very easily. You can’t cut corners and hope no one will notice. He’s worked on all sorts of campaigns for major retailers and what have you. Above all, will they ever agree about anything, particularly women? Abruptly, Howard’s uneventful life is plunged into mystery and farce. Did you hire a professional editor? And whether you are independent or conventionally published, the hard work of marketing is left to you, so why not be independent? They will. I know quite a lot about what sorts of people read my work – overwhelmingly women aged 30 and over etc. It is as if they are doing the writing. If a writer merely tries to give readers what they want or expect, he or she will probably disappoint them and then no one has the chance to discover something new. I think it must have been at the start of 20017. It started with the setting – Paris – and the thought of Howard living there in borrowed luxury. If that materializes, I shall use it on the cover. If so can you please describe it? It is as if they are doing the writing. About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? I reached the end of chapter four and was pleased with what I’d written thus far, but then had no idea what to do next. Otherwise, I would definitely hire a copyeditor – it is a grave error not to. If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? I envisaged a completely different path to the one I eventually took. Then, disaster strikes, in the shape of Eugene, Howard’s half-brother and personal nemesis, who sows chaos and discord wherever he goes. One often hears that one should never go back to read what one has written until one has finished, but I don’t hold with that either. Farewell Olympus is about love and rivalry, ambition and morality, Armageddon and the quest for the perfect croissant. I edit as I go along, and I constanty reread in order to correct and improve. I don’t hold with those who say just keep writing even if it’s a load of rubbish. Do you listen to music while you write? Jack Messenger – 9 June 2018
The Back Flap
A long, hot summer in the capital of the world. Get your copy of   Farewell Olympus from Amazon US or Amazon UK. If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? Amateur covers look awful. I suppose I have always been interested in doubles or shadows, so the idea of two antagonistic relatives fits with that fascination. Then the half-brother – Eugene – popped up, and I took it from there. As a reader and reviewer, copyediting and covers are important for creating the right impression. Not really. If it is right, the book grows from there. Authors I admire include Dickens, Tolstoy, Capote – there are hundreds. Once the paperback is ready, I shall try to see if I can get it in the shops. Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? We all know how important it is for writers to read. Witty, intelligent and entertaining, it will make you feel you are too, even if you have no experience of volleyball. What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? I must have read Farewell Olympus a hundred times while writing it, which means my first draft is more or less my last draft by the time it’s finished. What came easily? If I didn’t know him, I would definitely get a professional cover design. Much of that process is subconscious, so it’s hard to say what is borrowed and what invented. Only then will you come up with something worthwhile. Howard and Eugene simply took over and I followed where they led. There are plenty of ‘experts’ who will tell you to do this or that, that it’s essential you write their way, that you must focus on x, y or z. I am delighted to be independent. Besides, why give up the marketing potential of an excellent cover? How long did it take you to write it? Do you have a target reader? And he’ll have more time to devote to his inscrutable French girlfriend, Delphine, a trainee lawyer. Gore Vidal has had a huge impact on my writing.