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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Aug 3, 2018

The feature interview in this episode is with C.C. Humphreys, an actor, playwright, fight choreographer and novelist. Chris has ten novels that were all traditionally published, several of which have been Globe and Mail Bestsellers and his historic novel "Plague won the Crime Writers of Canada's Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel in 2015.

Prior to the interview Mark shares a few personal updates that include being in the Sudbury area to participate in a multi-author event in support of a book launch for his friend Mathew Del Papa for his latest book, Capreol at Bat. He also talks about how he has been slipping in the uploading of his #FreeFridayFrights weekly videos to YouTube as well as an update on how the free first in series sales for the Nocturnal Screams series are going on Kobo and iBooks.

Mark then talks about how this podcast's sponsor, Findaway Voices, has soft-launched a new product called Authors Direct, a platform and app that allows authors the ability to sell their audiobooks directly and keep 70% of the income.

Mark's store that includes four of his audiobooks is live at . . .

. . . and he shares his excitement for what is likely to prove to be a major and game-changing tool for authors to be successful with audiobooks.


In their conversation, Mark and Chris talk about:

  • Chris's new historical thriller, CHASING THE WIND, about a young woman aviatrix named Roxy Loewen and how Chris fell in love with Roxy as well as historical figures like Amelia Earhart while working on this book
  • Writing historical fiction and incorporating real-world figures into the fiction text and honoring who these people were by "fictionalizing real people and realizing fictional ones"
  • The difference between writing "modern" historical fiction (1930s) and writing earlier historical periods (such as the 1450s of the 1600s)
  • The amount of time and type of research that Chris does when working on a historical novel, including the risk that "research" can be procrastination
  • The cedar octagon hut in a luscious forest where Chris does most of his writing (and the back-chat he gets from other authors about this) which is just the right distance from the house
  • The changes to the publishing industry that have changed for mid-list authors, which is what led to Chris's latest novel being a hybrid published book (traditionally published in Canada by Penguin Random House) but indie or self-published by Chris in the US and the rest of the world
  • The Creative Academy that Chris learned from before starting on his self-publishing journey
  • Chris's decision to publish the book to Kindle exclusive for the first three months before going wide with it in 2019
  • The debate of the $4.99 USD price point Chris struggled with (which is far cheaper than the Canadian traditionally published price), or the US price of his traditionally published book
  • The countdown deal that Chris is running this week, the third party services he has used, such as Written Word Media, to help boost the sales and ranking for the title and the great service they provided to ensure that Chris would be pleased with the results of this investment
  • The rights Chris still has and has received back for a few of his previously published novels, such as Plague and Fire and the "soft-launch" he is conducting for Plague
  • Advice Chris offers to authors on the "performance" involved in doing author readings as well as a reminder that the people in the audience WANT the author to succeed and are there to be entertained and engaged with
  • A bit about Chris's parents, including that his dad was a fighter pilot and his mom was a spy, and his intrigue in the world and the drama that brought them together
  • How Chris's father met famous English playwriter Noel Coward and the very frank letter and writer advice that he wrote back on a manuscript his father sent to him which began with "Dear Peter, be prepared, I'm going to be rather beastly to you." but ended with amazingly safe advice: "You must read more, you must write much more, and let your characters dictate your plot rather than your plot dictate your characters."
  • How that advice leads to the oscillation between plot and characters that Chris talks about when teaching other writers
  • Chris's favorite advice to share with writers including removing the words "good" and "bad" from the writing of the first draft of a manuscript


Links of Interest