The greatest joy has got to be when my readers form their own relationships with my characters. Whether they like or dislike them doesn't matter to me but what does it that they can relate to them as real personalities.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has very high standards in terms of the quality of the manuscript and cover to be uploaded so the specific and always encouraging feedback has been really helpful to me in the steep learning curve that is self-publication. Often, after uploading to Smashwords, I go back to my other self-publishing platforms and change details on the manuscript to improve its quality. It's also been great to be able to reach other readers who shop at Barnes and Noble, download Apple or use Nook, etc.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm just dead chuffed (that's 'totally buzzed' in US English!) that my stories are travelling all over the world, as I've been lucky enough to do. I have friends in Brazil and in China who are reading about Bruno and his friends. And those are just the ones I know about! Readers (it seems immodest to call them 'fans') mean that a book has connected with people. Otherwise it's a personal, fabricated, diary.
What are you working on next?
Having just published Tir nam Ban, I'm going back now to do some consolidation and quality control on the previous 4 Bruno books. I know that doesn't sound terribly exciting but it really helps with continuity and also puts me in a different frame of mind so that I'm listening to the characters tell their stories and questions may arise, such as 'Imogen's always been a go-getter, what does she want to get next?' Because well-drawn characters come right off the page and surprise you!
Who are your favorite authors?
I would say that my two most immediate inspirations for the Bruno Benedetti Mysteries are Armistead Maupin (creator of the Tales of the City series, set in San Fran) and Iain Banks for his Scottish novels (and incidentally for the name change between Alan McManus and Alan Ahrens-McManus, as he is Iain M. Banks for his Sci-Fi novels). I like Maupin's short snappy sentences and sense of the ridiculous, as well moral nature of his celebration of life and liberty that's completely not uptight. In reaction to the 'tartan shortbread' or Brigadoon view of Scotland, there has been an emphasis on gritty Glasgow (or ugly Edinburgh, as in Trainspotting) but Banks has something of the transcendent in his Scottish novels, even with his feet firmly on the ground, and that inspires me.
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