Interview with John Reinhard Dizon

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY, and my experiences and extensive familiarity with the NYC community, its neighborhoods, society and culture are reflected in my novels. Part Four of my upcoming novel, "Generations" (available through Alpha Wolf Publishing) features NYC as the historical backdrop. It's like Lou Reed said, New York City eventually becomes part of your DNA. It's something you never grow out of.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first novel in sixth grade, a train wreck called "Enemy Ace" about a German WWII fighter pilot turned British Secret Service agent. I hijacked my father's Smith Corona typewriter, and have been at it ever since.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Here's the blurb on Amazon for "The Standard", published by Tenth Street Press:

In the not too distant future, a coalition of international groups is planning a return to the gold standard in resolving a global recession. A criminal network of drug cartels and financial speculators are plotting to convert their holdings into bullion before launching attacks against major gold depositories in three countries to give them a monopoly in the new market. MI6 assigns William Shanahan to disrupt Operation Blackout with the help of Jack Gawain, a Ulster Defense Association volunteer serving a life sentence in Northern Ireland. Their target, Enrique Chupacabra, is an assassin for the Medellin cartel who is coordinating a nuclear attack on the American mainland.

The morality theme resonates throughout the novel as Shanahan struggles with the complexity of legal and moral issues presented by the mission. It gives place to the action/adventure main event pitting the UK and the USA against the criminal enterprise. The team must foil Operation Blackout lest the cartel gains control over the global economy by destroying the Anglo-Americans’ financial infrastructure.

Here's the Amazon link:
Do you feel that your material is different than traditionally published authors?
Most certainly. For one thing, I deal with issues that most authors or publishers won't touch with a ten-foot pole. "Tiara" is about the UDA kidnapping a Princess Diana knockoff to stop the Good Friday Peace Agreements in Northern Ireland. Most people don't even know there's a UDA, and I haven't seen anyone fictionalize Di's life yet. "Cyclops" is about a dysfunctional 21st century KKK group being framed for a string of serial killings. "Wolfsangel" is an action/adventure story about the Das Reich Division en route to the D-Day battle at Normandy. "Penny Flame" is about a military investigation into war crimes of a decorated Cavalry unit during the Indian Wars.

Keeping in sync, the major issue that comes up in "The Standard" is how far society would go in preventing a mini-nuke attack on American soil. Jack Gawain has no compunction in exceeding the moral standard in preventing a holocaust, while the crisis destroys William Shanahan's world view about what liberty and justice are really about. I think most readers are going to try and find a safe middle ground.
Do you deal with issues that traditional publishers don't normally touch?
Along with the forementioned, I've got "Generations" coming up with a study of Irish history and heritage the like of which I don't think we've seen since Roots. "Stxeamtown" is a YA steampunk novel that has a deep discussion of Judeo-Christian tradition and its resurrection in a post-apocalyptic society. "The Fury" takes a hard look at the voodoo culture of the Caribbean and its origins in the brutal slave trade system. "Wolf Man" skims the surface of the international human organ black market. If I'm not including a controversial issue or world event in a novel, then I may well be wasting the opportunity of the writing platform.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Getting thrown under the bus by the major publishing houses and literary agents over five hundred times (and counting) had a lot to do with it. Publish America did a wonderful job in putting my work in print, but they kept all the money. I'm waiting to see how things progress with Tenth Street Press. I've also got an upcoming deal with Alpha Wolf Publications, and I've got a great feeling about how "Generations" will be marketed and accepted on the market.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give someone just starting out in self publishing?
Write, write, write, and query, query,query! You should take any open call on any topic as a fresh challenge to your writing skills. I kept seeing agents and publishers looking for steampunk, and I didn't have a clue. I did some research, took a shot, and sold the manuscript weeks later. Querying is a never-ending process. If you don't find a publisher, your book will never go big-time. If you find an agent, you may be on your way to stardom. I've actually turned it into a hobby of sorts, which is the mindframe you need to keep an arduous task from turning into drudgery.
Who are your favorite authors?
As a postmodernist writer, it's Franz Kafka. For suspense/thrillers, it's Ian Fleming. I discovered Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian series and found a whole new spin on action/adventure.
What is your favorite part of indie publishing?
When "Tiara" arrived in the mail, it was like my first Golden Gloves fight, my first pro wrestling match, my first adult league ice hockey game. I felt like I finally crossed the threshold from dreams to reality. Only it's actually the first step along the road, and it then becomes a question of how far you can go. I really enjoy watching the quality and style of my work get better and better.
How important are reviews to making sales?
There was an interesting discussion on one of the writers' websites about that. I've been fortunate to be getting nothing but rave reviews on T"he Standard". Most of those on the blog agreed that if the book was getting slammed because they didn't like your viewpoint, then undoubtedly you expressed it very well. I'm one who relies heavily on reviews before I buy anything online, so if I can get more people to take a look at the Amazon sales, I should see some decent figures down the line.
If a publisher came knocking, would you make the switch from self-publishing? Why or why not?
Well, they have (in a sense) and I did. Of course, I knocked first and they knocked back. I heard one author claim that he was paying all his bills with his self-publishing royalties. With an average e-book list price of $1.99, that is no mean feat. I came very close to going that route with "Generations" and praise God that I didn't. Alpha Wolf Publishing came to the rescue, and that leg of the journey starts next month.
Published 2013-08-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Destroyer (Abaddon)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 51,770. Language: English. Published: January 29, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic
A retired Special Forces operative avoids a Homeland Security dragnet in bringing a refugee across the border after a 'dirty bomb' attack in Mexico City.
The Empire
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 46,310. Language: English. Published: September 22, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
A Federal agent competes with an Imperial starship captain to rescue the President's daughter from kidnappers. They are forced to pursue the captors into uncharted regions in a remote territory where danger and death await.