Interview With Mystery Author Kathryn Lively

Kathryn Lively is an award-winning writer and editor, and executive editor of Phaze Books. She is an EPIC Award nominee and has edited EPIC Award nominated titles for Phaze Books, Whiskey Creek Press, and FrancisIsidore ePress. She also maintains a pen name, L.K. Ellwood, for other mysteries. Her latest work, Dead Barchetta, was released in late December.

About Dead Barchetta

Music tutor by day and tribute band guitarist by night, Matt “Lerxst” Johnston doesn’t have an enemy in the world…so he thinks. One night a pretty young woman tries to smother him in his sleep, and it’s not for the usual reasons a woman would have for wanting to inflict harm upon him! The dream he enjoyed at the time quickly spirals into a nightmare of mistaken identities and nosy investigators who threaten Lerxst’s freedom, to say nothing of coming close to discovering his grandmother’s secret “herb garden.”

Armed only with a guitar and endless questions, Lerxst escapes the discomfort of his beach home and hides out in New York City to learn the true identity of his would-be assailant. Instead he learns more about himself and what he needs to do to survive the next attempt on his life.

And what a long, strange trip it is…

1. How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published

I have had novels published with small presses in the past. My previous mystery novel, Pithed, is available through Mundania Press, and I will continue to seek publication via traditional houses as I see it.

As for how I came to self-publish, my first attempt happened in 2002 with the eBook release of my first novel, Little Flowers. I had contracted the print rights with a small press that didn’t see the value of digital rights, so I maintained them and decided to give self-pubbing a try. At the time, I knew very little about publishing, and we didn’t have any of the resources like Kindle publishing, etc. that exist now. Needless to say, the first round didn’t go well.

Fast forward a few years. Four mysteries I’d written were released from their houses, and spent some time building a readership for a romance pseudonym. When I decided I wanted to get back into mystery, I considered peddling these out of print works but worried no publisher would be interested in reprint rights. By then, of course, I discovered I could put out the books myself through All Romance eBooks, Kindle, and other vendors. So I registered with Createspace for the print versions and created my own house, DLP Books.

2. What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?

I have used Createspace for my prints – with the exception of one with Lulu. I prefer Createspace for that. For my eBooks, I use everything I can find – Smashwords, All Romance, Kindle, and Nook among others.

3. What avenues have you taken to market the book? Have you gotten reviews, interviews, TV, print media coverage?

I have relied mainly on social media to promote – Twitter and Facebook, plus I blog frequently. Lately, I have worked to schedule interviews on blogs and have even experimented with PPC.

4. What drove you to write this particular book?

Dead Barchetta is the result of nearly seven years of starting and shelving, over and again. I had wanted to write a rock-themed mystery for a while, and while hanging out with friends a convention for Rush fans I came with the idea of a protagonist who played in a tribute band. Only one thing: in the beginning my main character was a woman, but for some reason it didn’t suit the story. It wasn’t until last year that I was able to finish – I had spent the last five years writing romance, and while I enjoy it I wanted to return to my first love. I would steal free moments writing scenes on my iTouch to get it done!

5. Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?

Some may think Dead Barchetta is more of a thriller than a mystery, because it’s not really a standard whodunit. It is quite humorous as well.

6. Who are your greatest writing influences?

Different writers: Carl Hiaasen, Lewis Grizzard, Dick Francis, Carrie Fisher, Dave Barry…each has a unique wit and voice that I remember long after I’ve read their works.

7. What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?

I work full time and have a little one to take care of. Basically writing is like my mistress – I sneak off to enjoy her when I can! Those of you with busy schedules, I’d advise to set an hour or two to devote to writing and stick with it, or else learn to adapt to any environment.

8. Would you self-publish again?

I believe I would. Not every book I’ve pubbed independently is a home run, but I am doing okay. It would depend on the story.

9. Any final words of advice for those looking to self-publish?

Hire a good cover artist, because for many readers that does determine the sale. Have a beta reader to go over your work and help correct typos and other errors. Also, make some time every day to promote yourself. Marketing by word of mouth is king, and sometimes you have to start talking to get it to work.

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