Interview with Shaun Whittington

What do you read for pleasure?
I mainly read horror/thrillers, but strangely enough I'm just getting to the end of 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' by L Frank Baum. Since discovering Smashwords, I've been reading a lot by self-publishers and I think it's fair to say there's a lot of talent out there that I would have never have heard of, if it wasn't for the rise and the popularity of the ebook.
When did you first start writing?
In school mainly. When I was ten years old I wrote a lame 123 page 'novel' called The Caribbean Tragedy about a Hammerhead shark killing bathers at a holiday resort. It was a complete rip-off from Jaws (my favourite film) and was what would you expect from a ten-year-old.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I like to read off my phone, and I have an iBook and Kindle app. This helps with monotonous bus journeys and lunchtimes.

I have never purchased a full price paperback in years. In fact, the last paperback I had bought was 'The Green Mile' which only cost me 50p at a Church fete.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Freebies! Simple.

The problem with me is that my first dozen novels were standalone books in different genres (horror/thriller/supernatural). It's quite hard to get a decent following with standalone novels. A series is definitely the way to go, which is a road I'll go down from 2014 and onwards. My first six standalone novels will all be free by Christmas to boost my audience, before I start pricing my future work.

I think it even suggests in the Smashwords Marketing Guide book that a series is definitely the way to go, and that is proved with self-publishers. Even the greats, like Dean Koontz (Odd Thomas series), Tess Gerritsen (Rizzoli and Isles), etc, seem to have more success with serial books, which is the way I'll be going from now on.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The latest offering is called 'Snatchers.'

It's a zombie book and will be the first book in a series. The first book is 117,000 words long and will be free. The second is already finished.

I'll also be starting a series on a police procedural book once I've released my last standalone novel, The Prison Diaries.'
What motivated you to become an indie author?
To tell you the truth, I became an indie author because I had been rejected by the publishing companies.

I had written five novels from 2002 to 2007 and then gave up and wrote short stories for a few small publishing companies. Those five novels stayed in my attic for years. Then I discovered Smashwords, took out the dusty floppy disks from the attic and began putting out short stories to test the formatting on Smashwords as well as the meatgrinder, before putting out a full novel.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think when you start and get emails from people who have read your work, and they've gone out of their way to write you a positive message, that certainly gives you a lift. When you're a writer based in Glasgow, Scotland and someone from Brisbane, Australia has read your books and have emailed you, that can put you on a high for the rest of the day.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Stephen King, Lynda La Plante and James Herbert.

I've started reading a lot of self-pub authors as well. The last three books I've read were:

DJ Molles-'The Remaining'
AR Wise-314 (1 and 2)
JD Nixon-Blood Ties
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My alarm clock.

Seriously, I have two kids under the age of seven. Lie-ins just don't happen in my house.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading.

If I'm not writing, I'm reading. Or going to the gym.
What is your writing process?
I write whenever i can. Unfortunately, I only have a two hour window to write everyday.

When I was at work, the company were going through a dry patch with the whole credit crunch thing.

Now, when you work in an office and there's little to do and you have a PC, you can either play solitare or write. In that year, at my desk at work, I managed to write four books (Black Hour, Misty Falls and Snatchers 1 and 2).

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Describe your desk
It's wooden. (Sorry, I couldn't resist).
Published 2013-09-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Black Hour
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 67,100. Language: English. Published: November 9, 2013. Category: Fiction » Horror » Crime
If you was a lecturer and found that you were in the middle of a school shooting, what would you do? For John Boardman, this predicament has turned into reality. Does he run for his life, or does he feel it is his duty to stay behind and search for fellow pupil survivors? The nightmare has just begun. Not for persons under the age of 18.
Snatchers (A Zombie Novel)
By
Price: Free! Words: 115,630. Language: British English. Published: September 15, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Snatchers, is a horror, which sees the slow destruction of mankind in the UK as well as other areas across the globe. The story focuses on a variety of individuals, including the Pointer family, Nurse Karen Bradley, Jack Slade who is searching for his son, and
Misty Falls
By
Price: Free! Words: 61,450. Language: English. Published: June 16, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Todd Seaward is a widower at sixty-nine years old and feels blessed to have inherited a handful and colourful set of friends in his new residential home, Misty Falls. This suddenly changes when a new carer is employed, and a road of verbal and physical abuse begins to make his life a misery by Joseph File.
The Monkey Wing
By
Price: Free! Words: 80,220. Language: English. Published: April 2, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
In this paranormal prison thriller, Peter Moore is in a job he hates. During his rare days and mornings off, he befriends a peculiar individual called Ivan Mates, who has valuable information about the prison, as well as what had happened in cell D10 six months ago.
Billy (a novelette)
By
Price: Free! Words: 19,160. Language: British English. Published: February 5, 2013. Category: Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
This is a revised and extended version of the short story, 'The Third Anniversary.' It's been nearly three years since the school killings, and Billy Jones is still haunted by what happened and struggles on how to deal with an episode that will scar the town for a long time.
Demons
By
Price: Free! Words: 80,120. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2012. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
After spending years away from home, Tristan Thomas is persuaded to return by his sister, Bobby. Tristan has ghosts that need exorcised and now it's time for the damaged 31-year-old to try and deal with them. Not for persons under the age of 18.
The Woods of Red Hill
By
Price: Free! Words: 94,330. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2012. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
This thriller is written as seen through the eyes of an adult, and that of three children. No matter the age of the characters, a blanket of fear is around them and they find themselves in exactly the place where the macabre stories were born, in the woods. Packed with developing eerie stories, innocent friendship, and scenes of terror, this is not for readers under the age of 18.