Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Hidden Gem Awards: Meet the Winner

Introducing the winner of Scookie Review's Hidden Gem Awards, Jason P Crawford, and his supernatural novel, Chain of Prophecy!


How does it feel to win the Hidden Gem Awards?

Fantastic! I really didn’t think I had a chance at it when I got a good look at the competition. I watched the final countdown with my heart in my throat…for five days!


What inspired you to write Chains of Prophecy?

Like a lot of my books, I wrote Chains of Prophecy after being inspired by a role-playing game. Ars Magica is a magical-European-medieval period game, and in it God is an objective reality. My book doesn’t use the mechanics presented in Ars Magica, but several of the concepts are borrowed from the same origin.


What was the best part of writing it?

Chains of Prophecy was my first published novel but my second written. The best part of writing it was that I had the same fire of creativity, but more confidence in myself as a writer because I knew I could finish a book.


The hardest?

Patience. I wanted everyone to get my book NOW. I didn’t want to wait for editing and cover art and revisions. Lesson well learned. :)


What made you decide to self-publish?

See the answer to 4. J Seriously, I didn’t want to wait for six months to a year to get an agent, then however long it would take to get a publishing contract and for the books to hit the shelves. This way, I already have two published books on my schedule.


Take us through how you prepared your book for publishing.

A lot of my process here comes from reading On Writing by Stephen King.

After my first draft, I sat on it for thirty days, then went over it myself as if I had never seen it. Then I gave it to my primary reader, who chewed it apart for discontinuities, clich├ęs, or unlikeable characters. We sat and edited the work together before I gave it to several beta readers. I took their feedback and discuss it with my primary reader and make necessary changes, then another several proofreading rounds to catch typos.

For the cover, my wife makes those. She decides on a theme for each series (The Samuel Buckland Chronicles are ethereal, whereas the Essentials is more photorealistic) and creates the cover herself. She’s very picky and always looking for errors in her own work.


Are you part of any writing communities – and do you bite?

I am! I’m on the Independent Author’s Network and a member of several groups on Goodreads, most especially the Fringe Fiction group. Fringe Fiction is dedicated to helping “hidden gem” authors and readers find one another, but it’s a promo-free zone designed to encourage discussion rather than push sales, which is wonderful.

In all interactions, I believe in respect and kindness. Being mean or condescending helps no one and hurts you


Are you happy with your decision to self-publish?

Extremely. I find the indie author community to be welcoming and full of talent. I’ve read so many fantastic indie books recently and have gotten so much support and encouragement.


Would you consider traditional publishing in the future?

Now that I have an established book list, possibly. . . It could increase my branding and exposure. But I’m not planning on querying, so it would have to fall into my lap for me to take it.


Can you give me a hint to where the Samuel Buckland series might be heading?

I released the second book, Bonds of Fate, on April 30th. A huge crisis hits Heaven, and Sam has to investigate the Host…but Heaven and Angelic society aren’t exactly what he thought they were. I’m working on the third book, tentatively titled Doom of Light, presently.


What is your favourite novel/author?

Neil Gaiman, hands down. Not only is his writing exceptional (and American Gods is my favourite novel), but he is a wonderful human being: down to earth, active in causes he believes in, and humble about himself.


What character from fiction would you say you are most like?

Interesting question. I wrote another novel, Seeking the Sun, and the main character is a young woman who Apollo becomes interested in. I specifically patterned her after myself, except as a female – the things I like, she likes; the attitudes and beliefs I have, she has. At least at the start of the book. ;)


What is your best piece of advice to aspiring authors?

BE PATIENT. You will not be an overnight success. Take your time and do things right, because poor quality and poor behaviour will weigh you down long after you’ve forgotten you did them.


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Jason P. Crawford is as friendly as authors get. You can follow him via facebook, twitter, or his blog, or sign up to his fortnightly newsletter.  Don't forget to check out this list of sellers to get your hands on a copy of Chains of Prophecy