Author Open Mic ~ Please Welcome Author P.K. Brent

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I am trying something new for 2012.  Twice a month I am hosting “Author Open Mic.”  The days will spotlight the author’s work or any topic that they want to cover.  It can be off the cuff or customized based on the author’s needs. The goal is to get readers and authors together, throw some questions out there that need to be asked and answered, and most importantly, have fun.  There are no requirements or restrictions.  And yes, this is for mature audiences ;-)

Author Open Mic welcomes P.K. Brent

Author of Starfire: Kingdom on the Edge of Forever.

 

Before we get started with the interview questions, I’d like to introduce PK Brent.  I love her biography, because she is multi-talented and has such a variety of interests that I’m sure each one of us can identify with.  So, let’s get to it shall we?

Biography:

P.K. Brent was raised in upstate NY, next to farms, a cemetery, and an abandoned WWII munitions factory.  She writes fantasy, horror and paranormal romance fiction.

Jean:  Tell us 10 interesting things about yourself…

10 things about me…

1.) I have an M.S. in Information Management.
2.) I worked for many years in the Information Technology field.
3.) I once helped to train horses and taught dog obedience.
4.) I rescue Jack Russell terriers, the craziest funniest dogs.
5.) I still feel bad about Laika, the dog sent into space, and I dedicated my space romance to her.
6.) I play World of Warcraft.
7.) I like Oblivion and Skyrim — metafiction in action.
8.) I’m a voracious reader in many genres.
9.) I split my time between northern FL and upstate NY.
10.) I study Hermeticism.

Jean:  PK, can you tell us a little about Hermeticism because I’m sure there are some out there that are not familiar with this belief system?  I assuming it plays a big role in your writing. Can you share with us how your belief system influences your writing and how you draw some of those beliefs into your writing?

PK:  Hermeticism is the western mystery tradition.  It’s not a belief system or a religion.  It goes back to antiquity, though there have always been groups that study and practice it.  It’s a western Yoga and focuses on raising awareness.  In regard to my writing, the main influence  of Hermeticism has to do with my study of mythology, meditation, magick, and mysticism.

Jean:  You mentioned in your biography that you rescue Jack Russell terriers.  How many do you have?  What qualities does a Jack Russell have that draws you to them? Do you want to share one important fact for future Jack Russell owners?

PK:  I have two Jack Russell rescues, plus my son’s bichon frisee, a dwarf rabbit, a hamster and a beta fish.  I’m not taking in any more Jack Russells now, but I am a volunteer to transport rescue dogs.  Jack Russell’s are extremely active, funny, persistent, and intelligent.  They are not AKC dogs, so they vary somewhat in appearance, and Jacks have more natural canine instincts than other dogs.  They avidly look for opportunities to hunt, kill vermin, and protect the home.  They are definitely not for everyone.  You need a fenced yard.  Plus they frequently will try to kill smaller animals.  Some are same sex aggressive (toward other dogs) and some dislike children.  My oldest one is Little Louie, who weighs 14 pds. and is mixed with Pomeranian (or something).  He was returned twice to the SPCA for being “too active.”  I’ve had him for 10 years and he still has a very high energy level.  My other dog, Delilah, was kept in a cat carrier her first year, unable to stand up, soiling herself all day.  She was starved down to 8 pds. and now weighs 17 pds.   She was so weak and confused  when I got her, that it took a solid year to housebreak her.  But she is fine now and a very good dog.  Jacks are hugely affectionate and loyal to their owner, but you have to earn their trust.

Jean:  Do you have any New Year resolutions you would like to share?

PK:  No.  Sorry!  I didn’t make any.  I’m in the process of moving to Northern Florida so I’ve been focusing all my energies on that.

Jean:  Okay, I am fascinated with your novel, Starfire: Kingdom on the Edge of Forever. I love storylines that bring two races together to fight a common enemy. Can you tell us a little about the book and its characters?

Back Cover Blurb:  Danizar is a young, halfbreed beauty, — illegitimate daughter of the late Roran King and the Valent woman Eluna. She has the self-discipline of a Roran and the unique gifts of the Valent, an ancient wisdom race. Because of her mixed heritage, Danizar is an outsider to both the Valent and Roran cultures, which are distant and strange to each other. Yet it falls to her, to convince the Roran that the threat of the Zunit insect race is real, and to convince the Valent that they must work with the Roran if they are to win against the Zunit. If Danizar fails, the galaxy will be lost.

PK:  Danizar is the main character.  She has always been an outsider, due to her mixed racial background.  Neither of her birth races accept her, so she has had to make her way alone in a hostile world.  Facing adversity has shaped her and made her into a strong, capable woman.

Jean:  Are there any romantic interests for Danizar?  If so, who?

PK:  Eventually Danizar and the Roran Tenaegon fall in love.  That will be a main theme in book 2.

Jean:  Can you tell us a little more about the three races? Roran, Valent and Zunit.

PK:  The Valent are an ancient wisdom race that seeded the galaxy.  All other humanoid in the galaxy evolved from Valent seed, but they are all far more primitive.  The Roran are very conservative, factual, and rigid.  Danizar is half Roran and half Valent.  Both look down on her and consider her to be improper and inferior.  The Zunit are the evil insect people.  They look like large preying mantises and talk in a high pitched squeak.

Jean:  What was the hardest thing about writing this book/series?  Research, character or world development? Cover?  What was the easiest?

PK:  It was really easy to write this book.  I wrote 14,000 words in one day.  I wrote it while my son was playing chess tournaments.  I drove him, so had several hours at a time to write, while he was playing.  The cover was tricky, because after the fact I realized that I should have bought rights to the medium size image, not the large.  So the font is smaller than it should be.  I’ll redo it eventually.  I’m an indie author, so I don’t have a copy editior, storyline editor, publicist, or graphic arts department.  I’m working to improve in all these areas.  I think the marketing is really the hardest part for me.  Putting myself “out there” is unnatural for me.

Jean:  Now Kingdom on the Edge of Forever is the first book in the Starfire series. What can we look forward to next? 

PK:  The next book is tentatively titled, Starfire: When Worlds Collide.  This will show Danizar on the Planet Roran, where she was raised and treated like a slave.  Now she comes back successful.  Plus the battle with the Zunit insect race will become serious.  There are a few people from her past who make an appearance.  Also, she starts to fall in love, but there are complications of course.

Jean:  Where can readers find out more about you and your series?

PK:  They can visit my website at pkbrent.com, and my books are available on Amazon.

Website: www.pkbrent.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/pkbrent

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pkbrent

Jean: Where can readers purchase your book?

PK:  On Amazon.com

Amazon link:  http://www.amazon.com/Starfire-Kingdom-Edge-Forever-ebook/dp/B006AUN1DM/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2

Jean:  Are there other novels you would like to share?

PK:  Yes, I also have a young adult paranormal series titled The Witch of the Western Gate.  This is full of action and paranormal characters.

Open Mic can’t work without some shot from the hip questions or comments, so don’t delay….  Post your question below!

I want to thank P.K. Brent for taking the Open Mic and sharing her book, Starfire: Kingdom on the Edge of Forever.  Look for more on this author.

Have a Happy New Year!!

Your humble host ~ Jean Murray

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12 Comments

Filed under Author Open Mic, Events, Guest Author

12 responses to “Author Open Mic ~ Please Welcome Author P.K. Brent

  1. Fascinating interview – I learned some things I didn’t know about you (full disclosure – PK & I are in a writing group together). Great job Jean and cool new feature!

  2. Elizabeth Cheryl

    Hi, I was wondering if you feel that your writing has changed or grown with each book you write?

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Not yet. :)

      I’ve only written 2 books, and I wrote them at the same time. Since I’m a new author, I’ve been experimenting with genres. One of my books is a young adult paranormal and the other is a space romance with paranormal elements. I find that I like writing in both of these genres. The common theme for me seems to be paranormal elements.

      I see areas where I need to improve, and I’m working on that. I also am working on book 2 in each series. I have a 3rd, very different series in mind that’s more modern gothic.

      Thank you for your interest.

      P.K. Brent

  3. PK, this sounds like a LOT of world-building. How did you approach that part of the writing? I loved the fact that you wrote during your son’s chess tournaments – I used to write during soccer practices, so I know where you’re coming from, lol!

    The book sounds fascinating! Off to tweet about this now…

    • Hi Christine,

      The world-building is a daunting task. Paranormals are a sub-genre of fantasy, thus require the world-building. If I had tried to do world-building all at once, I never would have gotten anywhere. But how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

      I think being a pantster by nature (writing without a clear outline) helps me. When I start a book I just write individual scenes that happen to pop into my head. Later on I try to link them together and add any missing scenes. So I world-build bit-by-bit.

      This works for me!

      Thank you for your interest.

      P. K. Brent

  4. Nice interview! Congrats on your books, PK. I’m with you on the marketing aspect. That’s been challenging for me as well. Have you found any marketing techniques to be particularly useful in getting your book out into the world?

    • Hi Cindy,

      I’m an indie author, so I don’t have a publicist, copy editor, editor, and graphic designer. I have complete control of my rights and book, but I do everything myself — including the marketing. I struggle with the marketing. I think marketing as an indie is different than marketing under a publishing house platform. Writers with a publishing house have some instant marketing in place, via the company website and other connections, whereas I do not. Yet, authors with a publishing house are expected nowadays to actively and energetically market.

      Also, it seems to me that authors with a publishing house have a short WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY immediately before and after the release of their book. After the initial print run, well, the book might be hard to find on shelves, and the publisher (not the author) makes most of the $ on the ebook rights for quite a while. As an indie, I’m not on that sort of timeline, which suits me, so I can afford to take a more laid back approach. Any books I publish, I’ll be marketing for years, maybe decades. I like a more holistic process that fits well into my everyday schedule and builds slowly — as I grow as an author. I can even go back and tweak things in book 1, as I write book 2 — and just republish on Amazon with a new edition number. Thus right now I’m in the experiment, ponder, and evaluate phase of my marketing plan.

      I’m learning new things. I learn the most from my dumbest mistakes. But I’m frustrated that I cannot assess the direct value of my marketing activities. I don’t think anyone can! I don’t want to spend oodles of time and energy on things I don’t enjoy, when I don’t even know the value. LOL!

      As a result, I’m mainly doing marketing activities that I find to be fun, or at least not boring. Specifically:

      1.) I’m pondering the value of the social media forums for marketing, but I have not found a method to assess the value. I attract many writer friends, but few readers. I do value social media for the information other writers post about craft, publishing issues, and their writerly lives. Plus there is a networking aspect that opens doors. But I don’t expect other writers to buy my books. I do far better on Facebook than twitter, because I don’t post often, so I don’t attract many twitter followers. On Facebook people add me because I’m friends with 100+ of their other closest friends.:) I have a Facebook author page also and I make announcements there, but I really need to attract more readers to it.

      2.) I’m not doing a blog tour, though I could schedule one. I don’t want to get into a time-consuming commitment, where I post blather (not that other people blather on their blog tours, but I’m sure I would burn out and blather). I’m just doing the occasional interview or blog on sites that appeal to me (like this one). I also find it difficult to assess the value of blog tours. I’ve looked at lists of the most frequented blogs on the internet. But who is visiting them? Readers or other writers?

      3.) I have my own blog and I’m trying to feel inspired to post more information there on paranormal topics, so that it becomes a resource (and thus indirectly a marketing tool).

      4.) I am compiling lists of sites that could be useful to me… Places to make press releases, get a list of top blog sites, sites to list myself for free, etc…

      5.) I’m analyzing traffic that goes through my website. (I am a techie after all). Most people find my book via Amazon directly, but I do get website traffic. I keep track of where I make announcements and then I look at the traffic I receive.

      6.) I signed up for the Amazon KDP Select, which means that my books are available only on Amazon. I can’t publish them on Barnes & Noble or Smashwords etc… I’ve been using the KDP Select features to advertise my book and get the word out.

      7.) I signed up (and paid for) Book Trailer Showcase, which is a new venture started by a published author. I like supporting people in their unproven entrepreneurial adventures.:) I think BTS is doing very well. They paid for ads in some expensive places. I’ve been very pleased with the management. I will be asking the owner to share her website statistics, which I expect are impressive. The cost was low and it’s the only marketing activity that cost me $. Again, I can’t directly assess the value to me, but it’s something I enjoyed doing.

      8.) I listed myself as an author on sites where it is free to do so.

      9.) I occasionally post on Goodreads or the Amazon forums, but not often, since I try to be informative not actively hawking my books (which we are not supposed to do anyway).

      10.) I make short announcements in various places where it is free to do so. I even visited the seamy side of the internet and made announcements on the Usenet forums (which were entertaining and informative 20 years ago). I’ve visited the Undernet as well.

      11.) Link farms nowadays don’t do much for SEO, but since I own some domain names anyway, Iive made some sites that link to mine (and have lists of informative links).

      12.) I update information on my website regularly, and I list valuable keywords, which I evaluate at Google adsense.

      13.) I experiment a bit with print materials at Vistaprint or Zazzle when I get coupons. So I make business cards and little calendars.

      14.) I set up my own boutique publishing company (boutique as in I publish only me), and I bought the domain name. :)

      Eventually, I’ll compile all my lists and notes into a spreadsheet and I’ll set up a schedule of what to do where and how often. But I will try to keep it both fun and low maintenance.

      P. K. Brent

  5. PK, wow your world sounds totally amazing, lots of stuff going on. I too think Jack Russells are a hoot. Love the cover of Starfire!

  6. TY Hildie,

    A friend of mine did that cover for me! She used to make jewelry and lingerie in the Second Life game, for her store there, so she is very good at graphics. Plus she’s Department Chair of English at a college, so she enjoys watching my writing adventures and the publishing industry.

  7. Hi PK!
    The book sounds very interesting! I’m also interested in the Hermeticism. I will have to look more into that. I am aware that getting your novels out there to the public is a hard thing to do. Talk to Jean and have her give you my info. Maybe we could help you in that a little bit by doing a really neat interview on the blog. We’re always wanting to help out those authors who don’t have all the resources that others do. Let’s get together and see if we can get your book some more publicity!
    Kimberly

    • TY Kimberly!

      I’ll do that, but first I better spend a month putting more material on my blog. So far I have only 2 blog posts. Not enough!

      So I’ll chat with Jean about it, and will start putting up more material.

      Thank you for your support!

      PK

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