Interview with JC Phelps

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I generally read Kindle books on my iPad.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth is the best form of marketing for me for the long run, but having one book free in my series is a great push for readers. They will be more apt to pick up a free book from an unknown author and if they like the book they go on to buy the rest of the series.
Describe your desk
My desk is MESSY!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the midwest. I think it has influenced my writing by keeping it simple and to the point. Midwesterners are, generally, straight forward, honest, trustworthy people. I think this is because we live in smaller communities and there is not much in the way of anonymity. Someone in that crowd of people will know who you are and will tell your grandmother what you've done.
When did you first start writing?
This is a hard question. I first started writing in grade school. In my teens I wrote for a local newspaper for a time, but I didn't write any fiction I wanted to share until I was in my late 20's.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is titled Holly Hunderson Moves In. It's a children's chapter book, meant for children between the ages of 7 and 12. The story behind it is a fun one. I home-school my two youngest daughters and my oldest is a senior in high school. The two youngest aren't terribly fond of writing (middle daughter), or reading (youngest daughter.) I was trying to come up with a way to get them both more engaged in the aspect of the world I love so much. This prompted me to suggest the three of us write a book together. Then, my oldest announced she had chosen self-publishing as her choice for her senior project, so we included her in on our adventure. The four of us collaborated and came up with the character Holly Hunderson and the pen name Janee Wise.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
What motivated me to become an indie author was the business side of books. It just made more business sense to create the book myself rather than query various publishers and agents. I didn't like that I might have to query hundreds, if not thousands of times over a period of years before I could start earning back what I put into my books. I decided to print and bind all of my books from my home, using a professional binding unit. Of course, that meant I incurred all the expense, but more importantly, it meant I pulled in all the profit. When I first published, ebooks were not really a thing yet. My books were available as paperbacks for several years before I was able to upload them to Smashwords or the one other outlet available to me. Since then I've done better than I ever expected to and have never questioned my choice to go indie for more than five minutes at a time.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been great for my books. Way back when I first uploaded, I was looking for a way to promote and used Smashwords to make my first book free for a limited promotion. This meant it went free on all platforms for a time. I found a great audience at Barnes & Noble through this method and eventually, Amazon price matched and my audience grew. I chose to keep my first book free. If Smashwords hadn't given me the opportunity to control my books the way I saw fit I would have never sold more than five books a month without an expensive ad running. Smashwords has given me the freedom to choose what I think is best for my books and my brand and that has been an amazing boon for my series.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy of writing is the same as the joy I get from reading. For me, it's all about the story. The difference between reading and writing is that I have some control of the direction of the story when I'm writing it. Still, I am surprised at the directions my characters want to go from time to time and sometimes I let them lead the way.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean the world to me. Honestly, I don't like to call them fans. It's not me they like, it's my stories I tell. They are fellow readers and friends. Everyone who has contacted me via email or social media about my books has become a friend to me. They are all very supportive and amazing people. I'm very fortunate to be able to talk with people who've read my books and my books are only a door to those conversations. Emails and chatting on social media are one of the best things that have come about because of my books.
What are you working on next?
Currently, I am working on a stand-alone book about a man who was shot several times by a hitman. It's a big leap from The Alexis Stanton Chronicles and an even larger leap from Holly Hunderson. It's slow going and I don't know if I'll ever be able to finish it at this rate, but I am also working on another with the Holly Hunderson character and my daughters, as well as trying to flesh out side stories about Alex and the colors.
Published 2018-03-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Alexis Stanton Chronicles: Collection Two
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 218,510. Language: English. Published: January 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Adventure » General
Books Four, Five and Six in the Alexis Stanton Chronicles. Traces of Grey Fragments of Grey Edge of Grey
The Alexis Stanton Chronicles Collection One
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 221,510. Language: English. Published: January 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Books One through Three in The Alexis Stanton Chronicles Color Me Grey Shades of Grey Reflections of Grey
Edge of Grey: Book Six of The Alexis Stanton Chronicles
Series: The Alexis Stanton Chronicles, Book 6. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 96,790. Language: English. Published: January 30, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
When you take away a woman's soulmate, you take away her purpose. When White is taken from Alex, she finds a new purpose. Cast aside by her former partners, she will hunt down everyone responsible for her loss and Make. Them. Pay. Harder… darker… at the edge of sanity. But still the world’s most notorious assassin. Penumbra will have her reckoning.
Fragments of Grey: Book Five of The Alexis Stanton Chronicles
Series: The Alexis Stanton Chronicles, Book 5. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 58,240. Language: English. Published: November 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit
The fifth installment of the Alexis Stanton Chronicles. Alex battles with her need for revenge and want to return to White and Associates.
Traces of Grey: Book Four of The Alexis Stanton Chronicles
Series: The Alexis Stanton Chronicles, Book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 63,770. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Nursing White back to health for the past two months has prevented Grey from taking on any new projects. She's more than ready to get back to work when White offers her a simple surveillance job. The basic op turns up something from the past, putting extra pressure on White, and cutting Alex off the elite need-to-know list. Everyone has secrets, but some are more guarded than others.
Reflections of Grey: Book Three of the Alexis Stanton Chronicles
Series: The Alexis Stanton Chronicles, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 66,630. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit, Fiction » Adventure » General
(4.50)
Alexis Stanton returns as Ms. Grey, to take on her first undercover job. Working with White and Associates is everything she dreamed it would be and more. Adventure, training and excitement abound. But what it ultimately leads to might not be what she expects. Follow along as she learns the truth about the people around her as well as her own past and future.
Shades of Grey: Book Two of the Alexis Stanton Chronicles
Series: The Alexis Stanton Chronicles, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 75,830. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage, Fiction » Adventure » General
(4.00)
New job. New name. New assignment. When Alexis Stanton, a.k.a. Ms. Grey, is assigned to uncover the true identity of the infamous sniper Penumbra, she's also expected to protect the business mogul next on the assassin's hit list. The one person who holds the key to the sniper's true identity warns Alex not to dig any deeper. Penumbra has never missed his mark and will take out anyone who gets in
Color Me Grey: Book One of the Alexis Stanton Chronicles
Series: The Alexis Stanton Chronicles, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 79,450. Language: English. Published: July 5, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
(4.20)
...exciting, highly paid position for person with specialized training... Recently unemployed after quitting a boring office job, Alexis Stanton finds a mysterious ad in the help wanted section that might prove to be the answer to her desire for excitement and adventure. After an intense application process, including actually fighting with her competition, she gets the job of her dreams.