Interview with Emile Sissac, Jr

When did you first start writing?
I started writing (really writing!) about two years ago. There were a lot of ideas running around in my head, but I never took the time to sit down and focus. However, once I began to do this, that was the moment when more ideas began to flow.
Describe your desk
Right now, my computer is my desk. I'm finding that it provides for less clutter and more organization.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on the next Forrest Greenley mystery, "The Black Kabuki". I'll stay true to the essence of the word "mystery" by withholding details for now...LOL!
Who are your favorite authors?
Of course, Walter Mosley has been a huge influence in my personal reading and initially inspired me to write hard-boiled detective mysteries. Some other great authors on my list include Valerie Wilson Wesley, Chester Himes, Gar Anthony Haywood, Hugh Holton, Gary Hardwick, Gary Phillips, Iceberg Slim, Ishmael Reed, Phillip Kerr and Penny Mickelbury.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Creativity. An artist's mind never shuts off.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work as a designer and illustrator, where I never run out of things to do.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Today, there are various ways in which I might comes across an eBook that really interests me. surfing the Web, reading certain publications, TV ads, etc. There are innumerable ways in which to generate interest in your eBook.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is a trade secret! Sorry!
What do you read for pleasure?
History books, which are always amazing to me. There's never a moment when I'm not surprised or enlightened by what I've read in a well-written history book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I think it was a matter of timing. I started my writing ventures a few years ago (2010), during the Great Recession and had a deep desire to do something different but also self-satisfying at the same time. Ironically, I came across Smashwords while performing research on self-publishing. Smashwords has a lot to offer any serious-minded author. Much appreciation goes to Mark Coker and his staff for believing in me and other authors, as well as sharing the tools needed to become fully independent publishers.
How do you approach cover design?
A great book cover design is perhaps one of the first basic steps of book marketing. There is undoubtedly a lot of competition out here, and catching a reader's eye requires putting all of the right visual elements together that triggers readers' interest. Remember: our brains are one-of-a-kind computers, and good visual design is key to attracting and retaining your hard-won Smashwords reader. So, I try to incorporate these essential elements into the cover's composition, polish it a bit and review it as I write and edit each novel. The best approach is to go with your gut instinct as far as determining a final cover design. There will be many things that will inspire and stimulate your imagination; but filtering for the right elements is the trick that helps to create dynamic, eye-catching designs.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I would have to say, hands down, that Mark Coker and the Smashwords have been a tremendous help and source of encouragement to me as an independent publisher and writer. As you might know, being your own boss and managing a business while wearing many hats is not as easy as it looks. However, what's great about Smashwords are the available publishing tools, eBook industry data and marketing information that is often provided and invaluable to enterprising authors and publishers.

Mark and his staff help us in incalculable ways with the superbly-managed Smashwords blog (
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Knowing that someone out there in this small world, after all of the work that goes into writing a fictional novel, really likes what I have written. I'm really not hard to please and have always liked being a giver.
Writing is also challenging mentally, and forces you to think, write and produce creatively.
So there's an opportunity to exercise the mind as well sharpen your relative skills during this process.
What do your fans mean to you?
I know there are good people out there who are looking for something different but also exciting to read.
They want an impressionable cover design that catches their attention upon first sighting but nothing tacky.
But they also want an excellent book that engages them in the lives of its characters; a good plot that piques their imagination and keeps them asking the question, "So what's gonna happen next?!"; and a climax that will be unforgettable.
Those are some of the ideas I keep in mind when thinking of the prospective readers and fans of Forrest Greenley Mysteries.
Published 2014-05-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Black Kabuki
Series: Cracks & Crevices. Price: Free! Words: 68,610. Language: English. Published: December 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Forrest Greenley, San Diego's newest fictional private eye, is at it again. This time, he's given the charge of finding the daughter of an ex-Marine. The young and talented college student is mysteriously kidnapped for a handsome but odd bribe by her captors. The tragic ending of the case of "The Black Kabuki" leaves Forrest, again, in wonderment as to why desperate people do desperate things.
The Safe Of Old Lies
Series: Cracks & Crevices, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 53,610. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
"The Safe of Old Lies" should be a good read for anyone who loves a cocktail of deception, predictive dreams and the lines we'll sometimes cross to take desperate measures in desperate times.