Today, TNL presents an interview with the author of Big Bad Bumps in The Night and Tales of The Werebear, Skye Eagleday!
Why did you choose to self-publish vs. going the traditional route?
I started in traditional publishing with my short stories being bought by Marion Zimmer Bradley for her Sword and Sorceress Anthologies. One of my moments of horror came from receiving my author’s copy of my first story to go into print, only to discover they had printed the last word incorrectly, which destroyed the entire build-up and “pay off” structure of the story. When that happens with traditional publishing you just live with the fact readers think you’re an idiot, lol. With epublishing, yesterday I discovered in an anthology about to go live the cover artist had me listed on the cover as “Sky” rather than “Skye.” One email and it was fixed—you just can’t get that kind of turnaround time in conventional publishing. Self-publishing also gives me a great deal more control over what I do as well as a much higher royalty return. I think it’s important to also recognize this is the 21st century where I don’t know if you can really define “traditional” very easily. For example, the Marion Zimmer Bradley anthologies I’m in are being reissued this year in ebook and audiobook forms, which means I’ll get a new set of royalties, but when I wrote the stories back in the 20th century (I love the idea I can tell people I span centuries) there was no way of knowing how we’d even define what a book could be. In terms of circles, I was delighted to get an email last month inviting me to be part of a new on-going annual series for the Marion Zimmer Bradley Foundation. It will be out in 2015 and the title is “Stars of Darkover,” reflecting her science-fiction universe.
Did you set out to be an author as your profession?
When I was ten years old I wrote a letter to one of my favorite authors at the time—Isaac Asimov. He did a monthly column that left me in awe of his wisdom and depth of knowledge. I let him know how much I admired him, told him I wanted to grow up to be a writer and asked him how he became an expert in so many things. Remember this was way before the Internet. He sent me back a postcard letting me know he was not an expert in everything but simply appeared to be so. He also encouraged me to become a writer.
Which authors have inspired you the most?
In addition to Isaac Asimov and Marion Zimmer Bradley, I’d definitely include James Branch Cabell, Lewis Caroll, J.M. Barrie and then other modern writers like Terry Pratchett, Peter S. Beagle, and Ursela Le Guin. I’m proud to say I’ve had the honor of calling Peter and Ursela friends after meeting them through writing events in the Pacific NW. I also wanted to say some artists—like Ursela and Isaac—have also done really brilliant essays that may have gone unnoticed by fans who are more familiar with their fiction. Part of my inspiration with those listed is they almost always provided teachings with their work—integrating their wisdom with their stories.
What have you written lately?
Oh, gosh—the one that just went up is so not reflective of what I normally do. I’m best known for paranormal romance and contemporary BBW romance. But I’m currently involved with a “bundle” or anthology of Dark Fantasy. It’s a much, well--darker and grittier genre than I would normally do and I tried hard to include the more standard tropes readers associate with Dark Fantasy. The title is Eating Your Heart Out.
What is the book about?
It’s ultimately a Zombie Erotic Romance, and one thing I always try to do in my romances is to have my female characters assert their own power. But that ends up meaning something different where in this case the heroine is a “cured” zombie. I also wanted to stay away from the classic “apocalypse” setting where something terrible has happened to the world as we know it. I wanted everything to be normal in the background with an unexplained return of a group of people who resurrected. Then after being rehabilitated from the nasty habit of killing and eating humans—being rehabilitated and returned to that normal society. How does society react and how do those returning to it interact? I also wanted to emphasize that while classic zombie stuff focused on the zombie as monster, that for my “cured” zombie the greatest danger she faces are normal humans who fear her.
What is your favorite part of the book?
Overall I’d say what I personally enjoy is how it explores not only how the love the husband and wife have for each other reaches beyond the grave but also what the cost of love can be. The wife is the one who resurrected and her husband has been at her side to support her rehabilitation that allows her to rejoin his world. But there is always going to be a price to pay for what one truly wants.
Where do you see the self-publishing industry going in the future?
I suspect we’ll continue to redefine what a “book” actually is. I think we’ll always have people who value a more conventional paper product. But I was struck by a different book I wrote under Ty Nolan. It’s Coyote Still Going: Native American Legends and Contemporary Stories. It received the 2014 BP Readers Choice Award for Short Stories and Collections. The book is about my many years working as a traditional Native American Storyteller. It looks at not only someof the legends I would use in performance but also why I chose a particular story for a particular situation, or how I might adapt a story for a different media or for a different audience. I have an academic background and used a lot of hyperlinks in the place of footnotes. It was a great way for me to link readers to examples of Native American or First Nations artwork where I might not have been able to get permission to share, or links to published articles. Just so if I write, “we have proof this happened 16,000 years ago,” I can then link the reader to the source of that statement on a university site. But when I got ready to also offer this ebook as a paperback it was rejected. You can put a ton of links in an ebook but they don’t really work in a paperback. I ended up going back to slides I had made many years ago to use in academic lectures to convert into digital images I could use in the paperback version. But to return to the original question—to me the future is very much tied to even an individual ebook being its own mini-internet of providing a reader all sorts of supplementary information—even allowing them to read other books the author has done. I can see a point where interactive software can expand some version of an ebook not just into audio, but for that matter—animate it the way Douglas Adams described his Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy. But even he didn’t foresee the day when we can integrate a display screen into flexible material. Douglas Adams recommended you should always travel with a towel. We are at the point where we can see building our latest Guide to the Galaxy into a functional towel.
Who designed your cover art?
I do most of my own covers. My first professional job was as a graphic illustrator and copy writer for an advertising agency. I also financed my undergrad degree working as an graphic artist and editor for various campus publications. The professional artists I use most are Aubrey Rose, Willsin Rowe who is an artist and author in Australia, and C.L. Smith, a British artist and author who did the cover for Eating Your Heart Out. I often turn to pro artists when I want something really unusual or when I’m looking for something I don’t know how to do very well, such as the “3D” effect where the cover of an anthology can show the names of contributing authors on the “spines” of the “books” being displayed, or when a “flat” cover I’ve done needs to be turned into a “wrap-around cover”for a paperback version. I just noticed the three people I use as cover artists are also authors themselves. I think also being a writer gives them very useful insights into creating a cover.
Readers, you can get your own copy of Eating Your Heart Out right now at one of these fine ebook retailers:
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