Interview with Jodie Rye

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I guess it was a long held desire to tell one of the many stories I had come up with over the years. At first I had not really thought about how my work would be published, it was just an effort to actually complete my first book. I tried what all authors do when they finish a book, I contacted some of the mainstream publishers and perhaps ruined my chances of ever been successfully published. My first book was full of errors and poor editing. I was so excited about completing the book that I failed with the most important thing an author must do after the final sentence is written. That is, to sit on the work for a few months so it can be polished off into a piece of work that can be published. Read and reread the work so that its just right for the reader. I failed with that on my first book, I have since learned from that mistake. However, since I had started with a series, I wish to finish it off. And so, the second book in the series will also be self published as an independent author.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Its early days at the moment. I've had a try with other ebook publishing sites and haven't really had much of a success. The book industry is hugely competitive and reaching out the people who a likely to buy my book isn't easy. I'm hoping that many of the tools that Smashwords make available to independent authors will help me with promoting my book and reaching new markets that I otherwise would fail to reach.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I guess I get my greatest buzz out of writing many of the action sequences in my stories. My latest book was just one complete wild ride towards its end with the heroes running into one mess after another. I guess seeing the smile on my daughters face when she reads some of my work and comes back asking for more is a huge joy also. I'd like to think that since I enjoyed writing it, my readers would enjoy reading it too.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are hugely important to me. Having a readership motivates me to keep working on the next book. So far I have not had much interaction with my fan base. My series is only into its second book and it has only just come out.
What are you working on next?
Lets see, I have Book three in my six book series to work on. I have some of the material already written but there is a lot of work that still needs to be done. I also have another book that I wrote last year that is unrelated to my series that I plan to take another look at. It needs a lot of work to bring it up to a level where it could be published. I have some ideas for some spin off books, maybe a novella or two. The Redemption Series is a lot of hard work, some of the action scenes are hugely complex and I often have to do tons of research to get the action right. For instance, I had to read up about fencing for my second novel to learn enough about it so I didn't sound like a complete idiot when I describe the training the main character undertakes. As it is, any professional fencer will probably have a laugh at my expense, but to the novice, I hope it seems convincing enough.
Who are your favorite authors?
Where do I start. I was inspired by the likes of Raymond E. Fiest, David Eddings, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, Clive Cussler, John Christopher, Arthur C. Clark, Sarah Douglas, John Flanagan and Robin Hobb. Just to name a few. There have also been other works that have inspired me, The Pandora's Stone by William Greenleaf had a huge affect on me as a child and possibly laid down the foundations for my future desire to become a science fiction writer. It was just such a cool story and I wanted to write something like it that captured the same sense of adventure. Timothy Zahn was another inspiring author with his first trilogy of star wars books. It guess to some extent I was captivated by the star wars universe and when I sat down to write my own sci-fi series I drew inspiration from his work. As a writer of sci-fi, you can't ignore the giant franchise that looms over everything. I guess it goes without saying that I try my hardest to be original in my ideas and steer clear of making similarities between my work and others, which is a hard thing to do considering the market in some regards is so overdone. It seems that nothing is original now days, you can write stuff you may think is original and someone points out its been done before.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Can I pass on this question? What, I can't.... I guess if I have to answer, it would be my two children. As a mostly single parent, if I don't motivate my kids to get up and get ready for school, no one else will. Next question please.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
In English we have a word for people like me, Nerd. In Japanese it would be Otaku. I love my sci fi movies, great fan of the Avengers franchise, was a huge fan of the original star wars movies, although it has become diluted with recent additions. I guess in my down time if I'm not watching some Manga or some other Sci Fi series, I'm playing on the X-Box with my kids.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I scratch my head on this question. I have to be honest, I really don't read much anymore, the last book I read was Rangers Apprentice and that was a few years back. The last two years my reading time has mostly been taken up with either social media or working on my novels. I guess I have shopped around a little for something new to read but with my busy life I doubt I have time to do any of the actual reading. Besides, writing just takes up too much of my time. I have to admit though, I am looking forward to reading The Expanse by James S. A. Corey.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No, but I do remember the first story I wrote that anybody actually thought was half decent. It was in year eight back in 1985, we were asked to write a short story about an incident. I wrote about an engineer working at a nuclear power plant and how he narrowly avoided a melt down. I had no idea how atomic reactors worked, all I knew was what I had seen on a television show. So I cobbled some bits and pieces together, worked in a robotic arm and came up with a semi half believable short story that my English teacher loved and read out to the entire class. I distinctly remember that my second story failed to impress her though, she didn't like the idea of an alien metallic spider landing on a primitive Earth roaming the country side killing the inhabitants and harvesting them for food. Nor did she like my fantasy piece about a warrior battling an ice dragon to capture a jewel.
What is your writing process?
Hard work mostly. The important thing about writing if you want to be a professional writer is to keep at it. That is a lesson that took me twenty plus years to learn. For a long time I had a bad case of writers block, I had ideas but just had no idea how to put them down on paper. In recent years I learnt the trick to working around this. Put something down, anything, even if its complete gibberish. Work past the difficult stage and keep writing. Later when you come back to where you were stuck, new ideas will come to you that will make it so easy to work past the block. Its the same rule for character development, so many people I know fuss over describing the character in great detail that it turns into its own kind of block. My approach is to just write the character in and let them develop a little, once you know the character better you can go back and flesh out some of the missing detail. Not every character needs fantastic detail, I mean, who remembers red shirts from Star Trek, you just know a red shirt is going to die. Likewise for transient villains in a book. why go to such extraordinary lengths to describe a villain that may only last two chapters of your book. But then, there are the characters that you introduce that you want to take on a journey with the reader, the not so transient character that may meet a tragic end. Sometimes as an author you want to play with peoples emotions, make them really feel for a character before they have something tragic happen to them. Writing is all about taking the reader on a journey, things have to happen along the way, make it exciting with plot, politics, action and of course the twists that both anger the reader but also keep them reading. I try to make my stories put the characters in the worst possible situation you could think of and then slowly unravel the pieces to get them out of the huge mess they are in.

As for process, I write out a number of two line briefs for several chapters that help plot out the basis of the story. Then I begin to flesh out the chapters, develop the characters and progress the plot. I often have to be mindful of events happening from multiple angles and need to work on consistency to make sure that all the ends tie up neatly together. Anyone who has ready my novels will know that I often tell events from multiple angles, which can be tricky at times. Timing is often important, how do the events slot together, does this happen before that and so on. When I need a break from writing, I'll go back to previous chapters and re-read and make any corrections that need to be made. When I wrote my second novel I had an idea of what was going to happen but after pacing out the plot it soon became clear that it was going to far be longer than I thought, hence why I chose to split book two into two separate novels. Once the shorted book two was finished, I moved on to editing by rereading the entire novel and making corrections, altering some paragraphs that did not sound right and sometimes adding extra description where it was needed. I then left the book aside for a month while I worked on something else before coming back to it for a final edit.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I can't remember the title of the first book I ever read. During in primary school I had no interesting in reading. It wasn't until a friend of mine in grade six tried to interest me in reading a book he had just finished that I decided to give it a try. Thanks to him, I was introduced to the magic of the written word. The first book I read I can't remember the name of, but it was about a boy who develops the super power to hear people's thoughts after an accident at the dentist. He then uses the power to be the football hero of the school team. It was an interesting start to my reading future. Next I read every Roald Dahl book I could find in the library, then John Christopher and so on. I don't think I stopped reading books until after I got married in my thirties.
How do you approach cover design?
In this I actually have some natural talent to exploit. Before starting down the path of being an Author, I worked in the IT industry (and still do from time to time). In my time, I have picked up many skills with various applications including paint.net and ms visio. When I was nearing completion of my first novel, I reached out to a company that promised to make me a cover to my exact specifications. So, rather foolishly I paid a significant sum for a cover that was nothing like what I had asked for, not even close. Unhappy with the result, I tried another vendor and received something that was significantly better but still not what I wanted. After that, I decided to give it ago myself. I carried out my research, found out what size I needed to make the file, the dpi required and set about finding appropriate artwork for what I had in mind. I spent several days combing the Can Stock Photo website for just the right pictures for my book cover. I then paid for a license to use the stock art (very reasonable prices) which grated me use of the art work for my book cover. It was then a matter of using Visio and Paint.Net to produce my book cover. It took a bit of experimentation but after a few tries I hit upon a style that worked for me. Now I doubt I will ever pay for another cover, except maybe if I was picked up by a major publisher, but that's another story.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Raymond E. Fiest's The Magician is at the top of my list. At a young age it was a fantasy book that was so impressionable upon me. I loved the characters, the action, romance and the political intrigue. It was full of plot twists and often kept me up late at night reading madly to find out what happened to the main protagonist.

William Greenleaf's Pandora's Stone takes my number two spot. This book more than any other inspired me to write science fiction. It was perhaps the first scifi novel that I had read that wasn't dry and boring. It kind of proved to me that the whole sci-fi theme could be done in such a way as to really exciting. I mean, as great as Star Wars was, the book was little too dry for my liking. The idea of mysterious alien technology left behind on a forgotten Earth really appealed to me and as you can guess, I have worked that theme into my own story.

Timothy Zhan's Last Command (third book of his first Star Wars trilogy) takes my number three spot. The forgotten republic Dreadnaught fleet they find was a really cool idea and I absolutely loved it.

J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets takes my number four spot. This book by far is the best of the Harry Potter series with a challenging villain, an awesome flying car and wonderful flashbacks. Plus it has Quidditch, who can argue with that. And spiders, don't forget the spiders.

I had to think a bit for my number five slot, there are a number of contenders, The Hobbit, Earthsea, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, 2001 A Space Odyssey and many many more. But after careful thought I award the fifth spot to Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic. The book is such a great read and Terry was a wizard at creating fun humor out of the fantasy tale. I didn't start reading Terry's books until my early forties and I found myself kind of sad that I had not read them at an earlier age.
What do you read for pleasure?
That is now a difficult question as I don't read much anymore. I'm too focused on writing to have time to read, sorry but that is the honest truth. I guess if I have answer that question, I'd have to say one of the many Clive Cussler novels I have in my personal library. I love a good action novel and Clive is one of the kings at creating a fantastic wild ride of adventure and action. But I do have to admit, when I find time I'll pick up my battered copy of Magician and start reading it again.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My android phone. I do everything except write on it. Its my social media hub, my games platform and my ebook reader when I feel like doing some reading.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
A hard question as I haven't had much success at all. Facebook is a great way to reach my readers, just expensive to advertise with. As I'm new to Smashwords, I have tried online adds with another ebook distributor but they had limited effect. My plan is to pay for my book to be listed with a few publications to see if that generates some interest. Promoting my work is hard, I often don't know where to start, but fans help. I have a growing fanbase in India which has been surprising to me. Word of mouth seems to be working well there.
Describe your desk
My desk is wherever I place my Microsoft Surface. From the kitchen table, to my computer desk and even my bed, the surface goes everywhere with me. All I need is a place to sit down (or lie down), my type cover and a mouse and I can work on my novels. As for my actual computer desk, which I think I have only sat down at twice in two years, it's a mess of paperwork and forgotten junk.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in country Victoria, a state of Australia in a little place called Main Ridge. To go anywhere I had to ride my bike as we lived miles from anything. All around us were apple orchards and open pasture. My parents owned a one acre plot of land and it was often like a hobby farm with a horse, multiple dogs, chickens and ducks and cows in the next paddock. I had a pretty wild youth, roaming the neighbors paddock, climbing trees and riding my bike everywhere. My childhood was a huge influence on the second book I wrote, "Normal" which is an as yet unpublished work. Perhaps the reason I haven't published Normal yet is because it's a little too close to how I wished my childhood had gone.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in 1985 after a year 8 emergency English teacher encouraged me to keep a journal. I continued to write in that journal all the way up to university before I fell out of the habit. It wasn't until twenty years later that I started writing again after going through a turbulent period in my life, writing was a way to focus my mind on other challenges.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is The Rising Swarm, the second book in my Redemption Series. The novel follows the adventures of Bethany Sommers, a girl who has bonded with an alien construct and through an accident, is frozen in cryosleep for a long time before being found by the crew of the Cassandra's Redemption. I guess at its core, the story is about a fourteen year old girl with super powers living in the future. The first novel in the series introduced the characters and had a small side plot in which the crew get in trouble with a para-military group called the Collectors, a group of ruthless criminals who stop at nothing to collect rare artifacts from Earth. Bethany becomes the hero when she and the alien Xartax come to the rescue of the crew and save them from being captured or killed by the Collectors assault team. The second book in the series starts off with Bethany learning to better control her powers. A distress call from the planet Horst leads to the crew rendering assistance, only to fall into a trap set by the Narzrim corporation, the major villains of my series. Bethany must once again harness her powers to save the members of the crew from the evil plans of Captain Scythe. And just when it looks like she is about to prevail, another corporation arrives, searching for one of her friends. It is then a wild chase in their bid to leave the planet Horst with the ultimate secret behind the base being revealed along the way.
Published 2017-07-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Swarm Awakens - Book One of the Redemption Series
Price: $4.00 USD. Words: 123,560. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » Action
A routine trip to Mars, ends with Bethany Sommers being trapped in Cryosleep. Centuries later, the crew of the salvage ship Cassandra’s Redemption, led by Captain Johnathan Stark, revive Bethany from her long slumber. Trouble brews on a side trip to the planet Lowdros and Bethany is forced to unleash a powerful weapon to save her new friends.
The Rising Swarm - Book Two of the Redemption Series
Price: $4.00 USD. Words: 213,640. Language: English. Published: July 26, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » Action
Bethany and the crew of the Redemption set course for Gala Prime in the hope of finding a way back to Earth. A mysterious distress call finds Bethany and the crew of the Redemption rendering assistance to an Alliance controlled base. Will Bethany and the crew evade the cunning trap set by Captain Scythe? Or will the Kaliko corporation see to their destruction.