My first interview with Chadwick Vee occurred on 6/4/2016. At that time he had just finished writing his first book, Dead Faith. Fastforward to today and Dead Faith is now published and available on Amazon.
The last we spoke, you had just finished writing Dead Faith. Tell us a little about your journey to publication during the past three years.
Well I think like many people working full time jobs it was a lot to juggle. I had put a lot of effort into writing the book itself and then I took some time to educate myself on publishing and getting an agent etc. I sent out over a dozen queries to publishers and agents and carefully tracked them… and when I got either no replies or rejections I honestly just moved forward with work and life, always meaning to try again. I promise this will end up being motivational at some point.
What made you decide to self-publish your book?
This is a great question because honestly I was a bit of a snob against self-publishing. But then I had two things kind of coalesce into inspiring me to do it. First I had discovered a great series of books, the Monster Hunter series by Larry Correia, and after I had read the first several I found out the author had self-published the first one and it had gone top 10 in its genre. And I read an interesting tid-bit were the author saw someone praising his books on a forum, and another guy said something along the lines of, “Well sure he is a New York Times Best Seller, but he is self-published. So how good can he really be?” And I realized what a ridiculous statement it was. Good writing is good writing and his sales prove that.
Also, about this time, I had a friend that I found out had written a history book. It was very niche and he didn’t expect to get a big audience, but what he did tell me was how easy it was to self-publish with all of the online ways to do so today. So as I looked into it I found not only was it fairly easy, there are a lot of peer groups on Facebook willing to pass on what they learned as they went so you have a road map to follow.
Did you find the self-publishing process difficult? Tell us a about it.
It was a little daunting at first just figuring out where to start. But as I mentioned, there are so many resources available today. If anything it wasn’t the self-publishing process that was difficult but instead it was figuring out from all the advice when to pull the trigger. Should I have a mailing list, should I do that before or after I publish my first book, do I need a website of my own? Do I join various websites where you can talk about books? Do I market? If so which of one hundred options am I going to follow? And on and on. I finally pulled the trigger with a bare minimum just to get it out there. Basically just a Facebook page with a sign up for a newsletter. It has been fun to see that with just an initial $5 ad on Facebook I picked up readers and got Facebook fans that have absolutely no connection to me. I mean it’s great when your cousin’s friend likes your page, and Facebook lets you see that connection, but it is just incredible when someone from Minnesota that has zero friends in common likes your Facebook author page. And Kindle also showed me that someone in the UK (That’s Britain, not University of Kentucky for my Kentucky friends. J ) bought my book. So I joke now that I am an internationally known author.
You have a background in art; did you design your book cover?
I did. My art degree is very dusty so I enjoyed designing the cover very much. I was actually between jobs and just didn’t have the budget to pay someone else. But honestly I’m very happy with it. I also did the art for my Facebook banner and I like it as well.
How hard was it to transfer your cover design into a book cover?
Well since I am going through Amazon right now, they give you the dimensions required for the artwork for both a Kindle and a paperback book. So I actually started with that and did my composition accordingly. So actually not to hard as long as you start with it in the right dimensions.
Did you have to hire a formatter?
Again, there are other platforms, but for me, Amazon has made that pretty easy as well. They have an app that you upload your manuscript into and it walks you through the process. I did pay a Beta Reader and paid for and used Grammarly and volunteers for the editing.
What else can you share about your self-publishing journey?
I’ve enjoyed it. And I am working full-time again so it is kind of what you put into it. I’m not currently making a ton of money from the book. I have a plan to slowly do more. I am about to launch a Facebook and Amazon campaign in the next week. I won’t be spending a ton, but I want to begin to gage what works and what doesn’t. I also just published a new short story yesterday.
Tell us about your book, Dead Faith.
Again, I feel like this is typical of a lot of people, at least people that want to write, but this story had been in my head for over a decade in one form or another.
The book is about a pastor struggling with his faith and we find out he has a crisis in his marriage. At a time in his life when he isn't even sure if he is fit to lead a small-town church, he suddenly finds himself leading a band of survivors in a zombie apocalypse. Soon he discovers that faith may hold the key to saving not only him and his friends, but possibly the whole world from the zombie onslaught.
I heard a rumor that Dead Faith Too is in the works. Is there a publication date for it?
No date yet but soon. Next two months hopefully. I got side tracked by a short story I had written after I had given up on traditional publishing. I dug it back out and polished it up a little and that is the story I just published yesterday. “Gunfight at the OK Nebula”. Definitely a different genre LOL. I describe it as ‘Golden Age sci-fi meets Pulp Western Novel’.
I also got side tracked by coming up with a great plot point that unfortunately undid a lot of the writing I had done. The theme and story is still mostly the same but to make room for this idea that I frankly feel really rounds the story out and brings it full circle with the first, I’m redoing a lot of stuff. (Stuff is a technical writer’s term only used by the most professional authors in the business…) I really am confident it brings a new level to the story.
. Do you have any other books in the works you can tell us about?
I’m actually working on a Young Adult novel. It is about a teenager whose parents mysteriously disappear and he ends up in a Children’s Home and attending a brand new high school. If that wasn’t bad enough to go through in the teen years he finds out he is a werewolf even though he was never bitten. He soon learns that there is a much bigger world out there that is sometimes magical and sometimes scary. It is tentatively titled: ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ but that could change.
Thank you for joining me Chadwick.
Excerpt from Dead Faith:
Jon glanced up, a little surprised at the change in tone from his long-time friend and pastor.
"Shelly left me last week. That's the real reason she hasn't been at Church the past couple weekends."
Jon was stunned. "Oh, man, I'm so sorry to hear that."
"I don't know what I'm gonna do Jon." Pastor Gabe paused as he considered whether he should say anything else. "I feel like I am just going through the motions at work… Like I've lost my faith.". Gabe stopped and looked at Jon, who wore a look of surprise on his face. Gabe knew it wasn’t a look of judgment, but more of a deer in the headlights look. "I'm sorry to just spring this on you, but I just don't see how I can spend my life dedicated to God, and my wife would leave me…" Gabe looked away from Jon before finishing his thought, "… for another man."
"Gabe, man, I don't know what to say." Jon finally responded with sympathy and kindness in his voice.
"I'm thinking about asking the Church board for a sabbatical. I don't know. Maybe I'll just quit and get a real job."
"Gabe, you have a real job, a lot of us look up to you, and a lot of people count on you."
Pastor Gabe finally looked back over at Jon with a tight-lipped smile, nodded his head, and abruptly changed the topic.
"Geez, it’s almost midnight. I think those ambulances that came in a little while ago were probably from a pretty serious accident." Gabe got up from his seat. "It looked like a lot of doctors and nurses met the ambulances when they came in. Let me go see if I can find out how much longer it’s going to be."
Pushing the curtain aside, Gabe headed down the hall. As he approached the nurse's station he hoped to see a familiar face. He had visited church members at Saint Booth Hospital numerous times, and for a while, when one of the members, who just happened to be a big tither, had developed lung cancer, he had become a pretty regular visitor and had gotten to know many of the nurses and staff. But Pastor Gabe was surprised to see no one behind the counter. Looking around, he saw several people down the hall going in and out of a couple of the rooms at almost a jog. They looked gravely serious coming and going, carrying different instruments with them that Gabe didn't recognize.
Being only human, Gabe wondered in that direction.
As he got near the end of the hall, he heard a male voice declare, "That's it, stop all attempts, call it, 11:59 pm". Pastor Gabe knew what that meant, and suddenly he had mixed emotions, he was a man of God, and even though he doubted his vocation, he wished there was something he could do to help, but being protestant he didn't even follow the tradition of offering last rights. But still, he felt the need to move closer and see what was happening as a silent prayer sprung to mind.
Approaching, he saw the curtains between two of the rooms were open, making one large room. The front curtain was only partially pulled to allow free access to the hallway. Standing where he could see in, it was apparent to Gabe that the person on the table to the left was the one that had ‘coded,' as they said on the TV hospital dramas. There was blood all over the patient, which Gabe assumed was from whatever accident had sent him to the hospital, and he was bare-chested with miscellaneous wires still attached to him.
The focus now seemed to be on the person on the table to the right who was obviously in bad shape as well. The room was full of nurses and doctors all busily doing things to the patient or the machines attached to him.
And that's when it happened; Gabe saw something that at first he couldn't believe. The accident victim on the left gave a complete body shudder. Gabe immediately thought it must have been some kind of normal dead person thing, random electric pulses going through the brain or some such. But then he saw the guys hand start to reach up and over towards one of the medical people working on the other guy.
"Hey, he's, he's moving, he's still alive!" Gabe finally blurted out.
Everyone in the room immediately turned to look at Gabe, and then their eyes followed his gaze to the other table. The closest person, who Gabe assumed was a doctor, immediately grabbed the hand that was reaching towards him and started feeling for a pulse.
"What the crap," The Doctor blurted out, "These fricking machines aren't working." He punctuated his statement by giving the closest machine a small punch.
The guy on the bed was starting to lean-up while pulling the doctor closer to him.
"No, save your strength buddy, don't try to speak." But the doctor began to lean downward, turning his ear towards his patient so he could hear any whisper that he might get out.
With sudden ferocity, the patient pulled the doctor the final few inches towards him, and Gabe was shocked to hear the doctor let out a terrible scream of shock and pain. The doctor yanked himself upright and Gabe could see a deep bite mark on the doctor’s neck as blood began gushing down his chest and spurting into the air.
Check out Gunfight at the O.K. Nebula by Chadwick Vee.
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