Interview with David Temrick - Daughter of Vengeance

Can you tell us a little about your books and yourself?

Daughter of Vengeance is my latest book, and I believe the market is begging for a female lead in a fantasy novel that isn't an Amazonian woman or a weakling. Michelle is just an average girl growing up while being trained to be an assassin and spy for the King. She had been kidnapped and forced to be a concubine for a rather sick man and was rescued by a woman who later becomes her closest friend. Ultimately Michelle discovers there's a plot to overthrow the King and destroy the world as she knows it and she has to overcome adversity, set aside the failings of her family's history and rise to the occasion.

Draconis' Bane and Deadly Intentions are my previous novels and at one time were one larger novel. Due to their size though, they were broken down into two separate stories about a spoiled Prince who was brutally attacked by a cult of magicians who want to see the dragon race wiped out. Tristan, the Prince, is the child of a half-dragon and although he looks perfectly normal, there is power inside of him that is released upon his attack. The magical curse placed him in a coma where he lived a life of torture and abuse. When he recovers, he is no longer the spoiled young man he once was. In fact, he has no memories of this world at all. His entire frame of reference is that of an abused human child in our world. Eventually, with the help of his friends and family, he begins to remember who he was...though the lessons he learned while under the power of the curse remain with him. He takes it upon himself to root out the cult who attacked him and threaten his family.

I've been telling stories and writing for most of my life, though up until a few years ago my writing was primarily for my own enjoyment as a hobby. I also love to read, though most of the books I read these days are fables to my three-year-old daughter.

What inspired you to write your books?

What inspired me to write were the authors that I love to read. Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle were my childhood heroes of literature. I eventually, as it seems most fantasy authors do, discovered J.R.R. Tolkien. My modern inspiration came from Raymond E. Feist though. I discovered his novels when I was in college and really enjoyed the range of characters he delivers, each with their own distinct personalities.

However, the inspiration for writing a book came from my wife, who sagely advised "if for nothing else than the experience".

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I shared Draconis' Bane, as I was writing it, with some friends and they insisted that I try to get the book published. While writing Deadly Intentions I began shopping Draconis' Bane around for an agent or a publisher. After two years, I gave up having it published at all and finished Deadly Intentions.

I'd meant to sell them together, but a writer friend of mine pointed out that typically novels of that length are Epic Fantasy and could I see myself writing 150,000+ word books routinely. I took the advice and decided to make Deadly Intentions a sequel to Draconis' Bane. As I shopped them around as a pair, I began working on Daughter of Vengeance. Eventually, I stumbled upon self-publishing and after a lot of research decided on a company and released Draconis' Bane, having no luck with traditional agents and publishers.

I would say the most important lesson I learned though was self-reliance. Even in the traditional publishing world, writing is very much a solitary proposition and sometimes it's very easy to get discouraged. If you work hard, release professional and original material, you will find an audience. As a self-published author, finding that audience took time and a lot of patience. Despite what a lot of the self-help books and website tell us, there are no rules anymore. Audiences are everywhere and all you can do is make your book and yourself available to them.

What are some challenges that you faced while writing?

Remaining motivated. I'll be honest, there were times when I was collecting rejections from agents, publishers and even reviewers and I began to question my own abilities. I've never been at a loss for ideas, concepts or directions for my stories, nor have I struggled with characters or what to do with them. I spent a lot of time learning how to weave a solid story and I have my fundamentals in place. Sometimes though, it's hard to keep that in perspective when you can't seem to get anyone to say "yes".

Marketing. I'm horrible at it. I have trouble talking myself up and I feel silly trying to sell myself. However, as a self-published author I had to learn as I went and I've wasted time and money marketing to the wrong people, paying for silly gimmicks and giving away my work. I've learned a lot from my mistakes. The biggest mistake for me was freebie week. You can climb into the top 100 of your genre on Amazon, or even the top 100 fiction, as I did...but if you can't sell copies of your book afterwards, what's the point? I'm sure it's worked for others, but it didn't for me. Out of over 5,000 copies of Draconis' Bane, I got money for each copy. Out of the 12,000 copies of Deadly Intentions, which was my freebie week book, I got money for 4,500. I did manage to sell a further 100 copies of Draconis' Bane during that week, which was fantastic. But I still view freebies as lost profit and 7,400 copies of lost profit stings. I've had much more success with Facebook, Twitter and my own website than I ever had giving away my work.

Who or what in your life would you say influenced you the most?

I spent most of my life pointing out my father's failings and completely missing the landslide of good advice he gave me while he was alive. Most of what he taught me I still use today. It's hard to say if he would be proud of what I've done over the last few years, but he was an avid reader so I would have had another set of eyes for beta-reading. I know a lot of people have loftier heroes, people they never meet or meet once and then they are forgotten. For me it's the little things. Getting an email from a reader my work has touched in some way fills me with a greater sense of accomplishment than a glowing review.

What are your hobbies and interests away from the desk?

I have a couple of internet radio shows, I curl in the winter and play paintball in the summer. I also like playing video games when I can carve out the time.

What do you get passionate about?

Writing. Seems pretty obvious for a writer to get passionate about writing, but I really am. I love putting words to paper and evoking a response.

What does “success”  mean to you?

If I could replace the income I get from my current job with my writing, I would consider that success. Anything beyond that is a dream.

What are your current projects?

I'm currently working on the next novel in Michelle's world called "Edge of Reckoning". In it Michelle's world will continue to evolve as a new conflict has broken out and I'm introducing a new continent and race to my readers. Michelle herself will also continue to evolve as she's given birth to a daughter of her own and must balance that responsibility against the safety of her nation.

I also spend time updating my fanpage and posting short stories or blog posts to my websites.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Always put out the best product you can. The market, especially on Amazon, iBooks and Smashwords, is saturated with authors who want to make money. They throw a novel every 2-3 months trying to generate as many impulse buys as possible. If you're serious about writing, serious about your work being appreciated and serious about making a career out of it...take your time. Anything worth having is worth putting effort into.

This includes the construction of the novel as well. There are artists for every budget, hunt high and low and get an artist or photographer to do your cover artwork. If you don't feel you can do a cover page yourself, there are plenty of low-cost options out there including most self-publishing services. Edit your work yourself at least twice, more if you think it's needed. Then get it edited by someone else. If you can't afford an editor, find an English major who will do it for pizza or beer. Just make sure you get the editing done before giving them the beer.

Be available. Have a twitter, a facebook fanpage and a website at least.

Chose appropriate marketing. By that I mean, if you're writing a Twilight-style vampire novel...don't try to sell it to Anne Rice fans. Market it to young adults, there are podcasts and radio shows hosted by teenagers for teenagers. Get in touch with them about "sponsoring" a show for 5 bucks. Get creative. Remember that the market is saturated with self-published authors, you need to stand out in a positive way.

Keep writing. Whether you're waiting for your latest rejection letter, or hoping that your latest marketing scheme will pay off...keep writing. Short stories, blog posts, tweets, facebook updates, chapter stories, novellas, a full length novel, it doesn't matter as long as you're writing. Studies have shown that you need to invest 10,000 hours to master something. If you spend 10 hours a day writing, that's still almost 3 years.


Books (newest to oldest)

Daughter of Vengeance

Deadly Intentions

Draconis' Bane

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