Welcome to #LetsReadIndie! Every Wednesday, RaeAnne and I spotlight an indie author in hopes of inspiring you to pick up their book! Today I am interviewing Michael Seidelman author of No One Dies In The Garden Of Syn. You can check out an excerpt of No One Dies In The Garden Of Syn on RaeAnne’s blog!
Interviewing Michael Seidelman
Welcome to As Told By Tina! Thank you so much for being a part of #LetsReadIndie. Could you tell us a little about yourself and your book “No One Dies In The Garden Of Syn”.
MS: My name is Michael Seidelman. I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada, where I was born and raised. “No One Dies in the Garden of Syn” is my debut novel, a Young Adult Fantasy that allows a sufferer of a terminal chronic illness to be the hero and take part in an adventure. The story follows Synthia “Syn” Wade, a teenage girl with cystic fibrosis. One day she is pushed into a pond by an unseen stranger and finds herself in a world where illness and death don’t exist. But this apparent utopia holds many dangers and dark secrets, including an ominous figure who has sinister plans for her.
If you could describe “No One Dies In The Garden Of Syn in ONLY three words, what would they be?
MS: Adventure, Mystery, Discovery
Could you tell us a little about what inspired “No One Dies In The Garden Of Syn”? The setting, the time frame, the genre.
MS: My favorite stories growing up were about secrets worlds, like Alice in Wonderland and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Since I was in high school, I have wanted to write my own tale about a character discovering a secret world. But it had to be the right story – one that is inspired by the tales of Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum and C.S. Lewis, but at the same time is very different than anything published before. It would be geared towards an older audience and one that holds all the answers for the origin of the secret world and all the strange things the protagonist encounters. The whole thing being a dream wouldn’t cut it. After years of wanting to write this type of story, a few years ago, I became determined to write a book. However, I had yet to come up with the right idea. So I completely immersed myself in nature – walked in gardens and into the woods and just let the ideas flow. And they certainly did. When I put my ideas on paper (or keyboard) I knew that I had the story I had wanted to tell for so long!
“No One Dies In The Garden Of Syn” is such a unique book title, how did you come up with it? Did you already know the title before you started writing or was the title the last thing you came up with?
MS: I’m glad you like it. The story certainly came before the title, though I will admit I purposely named my protagonist “Syn” to make the title work once I came up with it. The story takes place in a world with a large garden surrounded by a mysterious fog where illness and death don’t exist. I came up with the “No One Dies” portion of the title first based on this premise and the “Garden of Sin” portion flowed so perfectly, not only with this book but with the first part of the title I had for the second and third books, as well as for the name of the series. But I wanted the name of my garden to be original and not associated with the biblical tale, so I christened my protagonist “Synthia” (Syn for short). And that spelling of her name actually led to some conversations and interactions in the book that I’m really happy with, so everything fit perfectly into place with that title.
Could you tell us a little about your writing process? Do you outline or do you just sit in front of the computer and let the story come alive? Do you set certain word goals per day/month/week?
MS: I start writing notes as soon as I come up with any ideas, usually long before I write a book. I have notes written for books I may not get to for years. When I’m ready to begin writing I start off by using those notes to plot out the story for the entire book. This includes detail of every chapter. A lot of the story points get moved around, especially parts where characters are fleshed out, as finding the perfect, authentic moments for this is extremely important and can’t feel forced. However I don’t begin writing the manuscript until every chapter is plotted out. Things do evolve as I am writing the book and sometimes things change, become more complicated or I find out something doesn’t work well once I’ve included it in the story. But I’m a planner in my personal and professional life and am as well with my writing. Sometimes though the power of a good writing session something magical and unexpected gets written and that’s always a great moment! I also do have goals for every day, week and month of writing, based more on chapter goals rather than specific word count. They don’t always get met and sometimes they are exceeded but they keep me on a path of continuous writing ensuring that the book is completed in a reasonable timeframe.
What was the easiest part about writing No One Dies In The Garden Of Syn? The Hardest?
MS: The easiest part was coming up with the story and writing my first draft. The story was pretty fleshed out in my head and in my notes before I began plotting each chapter. And writing the first draft went rather smoothly for a first novel. But as every writer can tell you, that’s far from the end of the journey. Many edits and rewrites followed and it’s challenging to get every sentence, every word as perfect as can be. It seemed like a never-ending journey because each time I thought the manuscript was perfect, I re-read it or had someone else read it and there were always things I wanted to improve. At some point letting go is tough but necessary.
No One Dies In The Garden Of Syn” is your first book, what advice would you give other debut authors? As far as publishing and marketing.
MS: My first bit of advice would be to get a completed ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) out to reviewers and bloggers as far in advance to the book’s release as possible. It’s best to have reviews up before the book is released. You need to give the reviewers time to read your book as they have lots of them in their queue and you can’t expect them to read it as soon as you send it to them. And you can’t take it personally if they don’t read it at all. Most reviewers do it for enjoyment in their free time and you need to respect that. You also must accept that not every person will love it. No matter how good a book is, there will always be people who don’t like it. It’s all a matter of personal taste and opinion. My other main bit of advice would be to set out time in your schedule for marketing. I held off writing for the three months after my book’s release and focused on marketing, social media and interviews 100% of my time. And then slowly I dedicated more of my time to writing and eventually dedicated 75% of my time to writing and editing and 25% to marketing. Consumers have so many books to choose from so you really need to do everything to get your book in front of readers’ eyes and catch their interest. Interviews, contests, social media, etc. Even the biggest authors in the industry – J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, etc. – spend a decent amount of time conversing with their readers on social media and they already have a massive built in audience.
What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of being an indie author?
MS: The main advantage is that you have more control of elements such as the cover, release date, price, etc. As well, because the majority of the marketing is the author’s responsibility, there is something to be said that your book’s success or failure is in your own hands. That said, even though authors who write for the big publishers are responsible for many of the same marketing elements today as indie authors are, with over 3000 books published a day (!!) advantages a large publisher can provide are large publicity tours, possible print and online advertising, as well as being included in retailer catalogues with the biggest books in the industry. These things can only help make a book stand out against titles by indie authors. So there are definitely both pros and cons, and success and failure can be had no matter which publishing route is taken.
Could you tell us a little about what you’re working on now?
MS: I’m finishing off the second book in “The Garden of Syn” trilogy. It’s titled “Everyone Dies in the Garden of Syn” and will be released early next year. The first book is an adventure of discovery and solving the mysteries of this new world. While the second book also has new mysteries for Syn to solve, it’s more of an epic adventure. And while the first book has numerous twists, I think I have outdone myself in that department and can’t wait to hear readers’ reactions to the second installment.
Where can readers discover more about you and your work?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Seidelman/e/B01EA3N03Q/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
US Amazon – http://a.co/4hR7Rxg
UK Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-One-Dies-Garden-Syn/dp/0994969503
Canada Amazon – http://a.co/9iG6UOB