Questions for Author EJ Chadwell
Book: How the mighty fall
Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
(I am answering this question very vaguely because I don’t want to spoil the story for you. I will tell you the actress’ name and book titles before you write your review, but after you read the book).
I must confess, I like to read biographies and autobiographies of powerful people. In this particular case, I read an autobiography of an actress active from 1917 to about 1953, who hid a powerful secret that could destroy her life and career. This stimulated me to think about how many things could have gone wrong, and how a secret like this could literally destroy the many people involved.
How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it?
This story took about six months. During that time period, I wrote detailed descriptions of each character, and then proceeded to write diary entries for the main characters. I imbued each character with major virtues and flaws that could either help them or destroy them. I gave each of the main characters a motive to kill.
Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?
Yes, I use a notebook (which I carry in my handbag in case any ideas pop into my head while I am out and about), index cards, and also write my thoughts on a file on my laptop. This way nothing can get lost.
I choose to write this story first because the characters developed quickly and easily. In essence they told me their stories.
How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?
This is my first book, and the research took me 6 months.
What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?
I spent many hours on Google, in the library, reading books, and on the phone talking with NYPD public relations office, which was extremely helpful. Also, I belong to writer’s groups such as: Mystery Writers of America, Sisters In Crime, International Thriller Writers, and found if I had any questions they were happy to assist in answering them.
How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?
I called the NYPD public relations office countless times, and I told them I was writing a book and I had some questions. They were patient and helpful. I find if you call the public relations department they are always willing and able to help. I find being upfront about being a writer is the best way to get your questions answered. Generally, if I am calling any authority I always call their public relations office. If they can’t answer the question, they will find out and follow-up with me.
How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?
About 15 times, I made the short list on my first submission to a publisher, but not the final cut. This gave me encouragement. Then I was told by another publisher to rewrite the last chapter and then they would recommend it for publication. Another publisher said, he would publish it, if I rewrote the book from a specific characters point of view, etc. So even though I received several rejections, there were encouragements along the way.
Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?
No, I just kept sending it out until Jaffa Books made me a publishing offer.
Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher?
I think the publishing industry is rapidly changing and the old ways of publishing are dying.
Although I did not self-publish, I would cautiously recommend self-publishing.
If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?
Here is why: you are immediately paid a good royalty rate; you are in control of all decisions about the book such as price, layout, design. Also, if a major publisher decides to publish an author’s books, it is still up to the author to market the book. The publisher does nothing to help. Building an audience before approaching a publisher will certainly help get the book published.
Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?
Not yet, this is my first book.
What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?
I haven’t done a book tour yet.