How did you choose the genre you write in?
g: 20 years ago, I thought I was going to write mystery novels. I actually contacted the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and asked if they’d let me complete some of the cases alluded to by Watson in the various Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Stories like, ‘The Giant Rat of Sumatra’ which Watson described as, “a story for which the world is not yet prepared.”
Well … I was gonna prepare it! Haha … except the Conan Doyle people asked me (very politely) if I could provide them with previous literary works that I authored. Of course I couldn’t do that since I hadn’t actually written a full-length piece yet, let alone published any. I have to laugh at my naïveté back then.
That was also around the time I began reading thrillers namely, Tom Clancy’s great Jack Ryan novels, Steven Hunter’s _Point of Impact_ and the author whose works totally changed my life, W.E.B. Griffin and is magnificent “The Corps” series. After reading those novels, my mind began formulating my own thrillers. It’s funny because Griffin’s novels are historical thrillers, whereas this first series of mine is a geopolitical thriller.
I’d like to also mention that I’m seriously considering writing a Fantasy/Adventure series (one with a Christian worldview). I actually came up with the idea for that series, “The Saga of the Seven Seals,” a year before The Watchman of Ephraim series. I even wrote an 80,000 word manuscript and shopped it, getting some interest … but I ultimately decided it wasn’t the story I was trying to tell. <Sigh>
It was my first real attempt at a novel … oh well. The real problem with it was that I tried to write an adventure story using a thriller delivery and structure. Yikes! Back to the drawing board!
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
g: My challenges started before I ever even wrote my first manuscript. My first challenge was recognizing that I was meant to be a writer of fiction. I spent my entire life looking for my one true calling, the one thing I thought I was born to do. Can you believe it was there all along? I’d been inventing and writing stories down from the time I was a little boy and that doesn’t count the volumes of novels and myriad characters I’ve created in my head and never put to paper.
Yet, it still took my wife Lisa, just two years ago, to basically sit me down and say “WRITE THOSE STORIES FLOATING AROUND IN YOUR HEAD ALREADY!” Haha … I call it ‘tough love’ but I really owe my wife a lot. If it weren’t for her support I wouldn’t be telling you this story now.
As for the actual publishing part, I spent a year shopping my first manuscript, the one I mentioned, to 34 agents and about a dozen small publishing houses. I received some interest, mostly in the form of “…be sure to send us your next manuscript!” Haha …
After that frustrating experience, I started investigating other options. A few vanity presses contacted me, but I was starting to think it wasn’t meant to be for me to become a published author. That was, until I came across the now-legendary Self-Publishing Advocate, and prolific author, Dean Wesley Smith and his blogs on self-publishing.
Dean wrote three excellent blogs RE: smashing the myths about publishing on your own and how to do it professionally. Sensei Dean is a tough, take-no-prisoners and except-no-excuses type of guy. I instantly became a devout follower of the ‘TAO of Dean Wesley Smith.’ (grin)
Bottom line … after reading his guides to self-publishing, I’d opened my own indie publishing house, JarRyJorNo Publishing and published my first full-length novel, _The Watchman of Ephraim_ in 30 days!
I owe Dean so much … I told him that I’d gladly pick up his bar tabs whenever he’s in my home town of Las Vegas for the rest of his life … or mine, whichever comes first! 9-) If Dean drinks as much as he writes, I better sell some books! Haha …
g: My upcoming book, _Signs of War_ is the sequel to _The Watchman of Ephraim. It’s Book 2 of The Watchman of Ephraim series and picks up a week after the awesome ending of _TWOE_.
There are a bunch of open-ended situations that didn’t resolve in _TWOE_ that are continued in _Signs …_ including the death of one main character and the introduction of another along with some personal situations of a romantic nature between the lead characters Cris De Niro and Dr. Moriah Stevens and De Niro’s brother-in-law, Capt. Mugsy Ricci and the V.P. of Intelligence for The Watchman Agency, Michelle Wang.
There’s also one nemesis that returns and the return of one character that I had originally written into _TWOE_ as a minor character, David Nicholls, the rich, old, loveable British playboy who’s a long-time friend of De Niro’s. Because of the ‘fan mail’ I received about him, I not only had to bring the Nicholls character back, but I had to proverbially give him a star’s dressing room! Haha … I can’t believe how many people fell in love with him, including my wife!
There’s also a story behind the David Nicholls character … yes, there is a real David Nicholls who, in my mind, resembles DN in the story. In any case, there’s an entire subplot involving him in _Signs of War_.
How did you come up with the title?
g: The title for _The Watchman of Ephraim_ comes from the Bible, the Book of Hosea, chapter 9, verse 8 “The watchman of Ephraim is with my God: But the prophet is a fowler’s snare in all his ways, And hatred in the house of his God.”
The title of _Signs of War_ comes from Shakespeare, Henry V, Scene II, King Henry V saith: “Now, lords, for France; the enterprise whereof Shall be to you, as us, like glorious. We doubt not of a fair and lucky war, Since God so graciously hath brought to light This dangerous treason lurking in our way To hinder our beginnings. We doubt not now But every rub is smoothed on our way. Then forth, dear countrymen: let us deliver Our puissance into the hand of God, Putting it straight in expedition. Cheerly to sea; the signs of war advance:
No king of England, if not king of France.”
I’m a devout Judeo-Christian, so the Bible is ‘The Book’ for me …and Shakespeare’s writings just touch my soul!
What project are you working on now? Will you have a new book coming out soon?
g: I’m completing _Signs of War_ as I write this. It’s due out in September (’11). Then I’ll immediately start work on the third book in the series. I have a rough outline for it completed already.
In keeping with Dean Wesley Smith’s teachings that a writer should aim to publish three to four full-length novels per year, I’m gonna try like the dickens to get #3 out by December. If I can’t, then I’ll aim for January ’12 and maybe publish four in 2012.
After #3 in The Watchman of Ephraim series, I might try to introduce that Fantasy/Adventure series, Saga of the Seven Seals … but who knows.
Because I started advertising S7S a little to my following, I’ve gotten requests for it, so we’ll see.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
g: Cris De Niro, the lead character in _TWOE_ is a very special character to me. He’s not me, but he’s who I want to be … and he has sons, Richard and Louis that one day I’d love to see pick up their Dad’s mantle and become the lead characters in the series … like Clancy did with Jack Ryan and Jack Ryan Jr.
Yes, I can see The Watchman of Ephraim series perpetuating twenty years into the future. It deals with current events, so there’s no end to storyline ideas for De Niro and his The Watchman Agency.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
g: I promised Dean Wesley Smith and myself that I would “pay it forward” and do my best to help other aspiring writers as Dean’s helped me.
To that end, let me say, if you’re the type like me that always has characters running around in your mind … that continues storylines every time you sit on the bowl (okay, that may just be a quirk of mine) … that feels an undying need to share the stories and characters trapped in your skull, then let me tell you – nowadays, more than ever before in history, you have the most resources at your disposal, in order to publish your written works. There is a mountain of info on self-publishing on the net and the SelfPubber community is made up of some of the nicest, most generous and helpful souls in the world!
Now, I’ll say this … everyone may be able to write, but not everyone should. Just like … I know the lyrics to every Ronnie James Dio song he ever sang – but should I become a singer like him? Sadly for me but mercifully for everyone else, NO!
Only you can tell if you have the soul of a writer, if you do then whether you learn the art of writing is up to you (from school, courses, books, or just by reading a lot) but as for the craft of being a professional self-published author – I implore you to check out Dean Wesley Smith’s three fantastic blogs – “Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing,” “New World of Publishing,” and “Think Like A Publisher.”
I also write a blog, more from the perspective of the master’s apprentice called, “SelfPubber’s Pub.” I invite you all to stop by my Pub! There are links to other great SelfPubber sites and resources on our sites and ALL of the info is offered for free!
And you’re welcome to reach out to me via email if you have any specific questions with which I can help you. My email is: mailto:g@GerarddeMarigny.com.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
g: Latina … my wife looks like she was born in Madrid! c”,)
The light side or the dark side?
g: The dark side … my wife tans easily! c”,)
Drink of choice?
g: One (or more) preferably bought for me! c”,)
Thanks so much, Jennifer, for this opportunity to chat with you and your posse!
Gerard de Marigny is the author of the geopolitical thriller, _The Watchman of Ephraim_, Book 1 of THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM series. The sequel, _Signs of War_ is scheduled for release in September 2011. Gerard de Marigny resides in the beautiful foothills of Las Vegas, NV with his wife Lisa and his four sons. When not bending an arm with friends at the local pub, he’s putting to paper the stories and characters that are alive in his mind.
Author’s Website: http://www.GerarddeMarigny.com
Author’s Blog: SelfPubber’s Pub
Publisher’s Website: http://www.JarRyJorNoPublishing.com
Publisher’s Blog: Self-Publishing Diary: Author’s Log
Social Networking Sites
Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/GerarddeM