Interview with Steve McManus

What's the story behind your latest book?
A crime blogger is following the story of an arsonist who's setting massive wildfires in drought-stricken Los Angeles. He's got good sources and has become the #1 source on the story, and in an effort to stay ahead of the pack he maybe oversteps the bounds a bit and gets too close to the flame.
Describe your desk
Pretty clean, I can't operate in clutter. I'm organized data-wise naturally so that extends to my work area—an iMac and attendant accessories, and plenty of room for paper when I'm in the part of the writing process where I need to print (sorry Mother Nature).
How do you approach cover design?
Fortunately I had something of a design background coming from being in the band Darling Violetta. I designed album art, show flyers, basically anything the band needed. When it came time to crowdsource Red Flag's cover via 99 Designs I purchased a photograph I thought was visually inspiring, then was specific with the designers as to where and how big I wanted my name, the title, the blurb, etc. I knew I wanted a rich fiery palate, and I know for my next one I'll want the opposite.
What is your writing process?
Every book starts with something I happen to be interested in. In the case of Red Flag it was wildfires, a very real and immediate threat in Southern California. For my next book Seven Devils I wove together two interests, Chinatown and the self-help industry. Red Flag is linear and was plotted out in a single Word document, but the structure of Seven Devils is different, with two different timelines happening at once, and I used index cards to move the scenes around until they got into the right shape.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on Seven Devils, CODA Book 2, the sequel to Red Flag. I enjoyed Ursula's character so much in Red Flag that she earned a promotion and splits the narrative of Seven Devils with Danny.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mysteries and thrillers, same as I write. Love seeing how people who are better than me do something I'm interested in.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
iPad, but I have Kindle envy. It's the best e-reader out there, most easiest on the eyes.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Necessity. I've written several manuscripts and sent them off into the publishing industry crunch. I've had two literary agents. When I finished Red Flag I honestly felt I was sitting on the best thing I'd done, a publishable manuscript, but found I simply didn't have it in me to go back into the churn. I have no compelling platform--I'm just a dude who likes to write stories--so I'm of no interest to a major house. Fortunately the self-publishing landscape had changed dramatically since the last time I looked, years ago, and the quality of the finished product matches a major publisher's. You just have to embrace the legwork or your book will just sit there.
When did you first start writing?
As a child. I think I wrote my first story around the age of 11. I've been writing ever since, even when it took a back seat to years of drumming. It's only recently though that I've reached a publishable quality level. Lot of work.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Endless creation through human interaction. While that's not always peaceful and happy, it's almost always entertaining, and that's enough for me.
What do your fans mean to you?
The positive response Red Flag is receiving makes me want to write more, and write better. Never underestimate your audience, and I'm glad they keep the bar nice and high.
Published 2015-10-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Seven Devils
Pre-release—available December 17, 2018. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 128,760. Language: English. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Two crime reporters follow separate stories which both seem to point to a megalomaniac self-help guru and his remote compound.
Red Flag
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 146,560. Language: American English. Published: August 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
A 30-something crime blogger trails a prolific arsonist around drought-stricken 2019 Los Angeles. He quickly finds himself caught in the middle of his own story—between uncertain loyalties, unceasing competition, and a killer with a homemade flamethrower determined to crown the bone-dry mountains around LA with flames.