Today’s author spotlight features Robert Lalonde! This author got his start as a mild-mannered reporter for a local newspaper. I bet he writes under an alias and that his real initials are C.K…without further ado, here’s…Robert!
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
How did you get started on your writing journey?
Like many people who enjoy reading, I’ve had the urge to write for many years. I wrote a few articles for a local newspaper in Toronto a few years back and I suppose that was when I started thinking a bit more seriously about writing a book.
Are there any poets or writers who influence you? How so?
I’ve read and enjoyed so many writers over the years it’s hard to narrow it down. I particularly enjoy the suspense/thriller genre and a number of authors like John Grisham, Lawrence Sanders, Robert Ludlum, James Patterson and many others have a great influence on what I write and how I write it.
Let’s talk about your novel! What is it about?
Nick Borman is an elite specialist in corporate espionage. The book starts with the murder of a reporter who happens to be the son-in-law of Bill Piermont – a client and a friend of the Borman family.
The investigation is stalled; police have no witnesses, no leads, no motive and no suspects. While this isn’t the kind of work Nick Borman usually does, he takes the case and agrees to find the killer and bring him to justice.
His investigation implicates a major land developer who builds skyscrapers and office buildings worth billions of dollars and the trail leads all the way to the mayor’s office. I’d love to say more but…
Where did the inspiration for the book come from?
Many people enjoy reading books that are part of a series and I’m no different. Lawrence Sanders for example wrote a few books featuring a tough New York city detective named Edward X. Delaney. Lee Child has a number of books featuring Jack Reacher. I’m hoping readers will find Nick Borman interesting and look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Tell us a little bit about the characters? What are they like and how did you come up with them?
I started out writing a detective story but I wanted to make Borman a bit different. I came up with the idea of a character whose father was one of the first and main designers of computer chips at intel corporation. One day, a prototype chip was stolen and the company feared they might lose everything.
To make a long story short, a security consultant was brought in, recovered the stolen chip and saved the day. Nick’s dad praised this security consultant and made him out to be a hero. From that day, Nick Borman knew he wanted to be a security consultant in the high-tech world when he grew up.
Who do you think would like your story and what kind of readership are you aiming for?
Anyone who likes a fast-moving story with characters in tension will like The Borman Factor. I like to create characters and put them in a path where there will be a collision.
I have a quote from John Le Carre I keep on my desk “The cat sat on the mat is not a story; the cat sat on the dog’s mat is the beginning of an exciting story, and out of that collision, perhaps, there comes a sense of retribution”
What is the message you are trying to get across in your book?
The Borman Factor is a suspense/thriller novel. It is written for entertainment pure and simple, no message intended.
What is your writing process like?
I start with a simple three to five act novel outline. I don’t spend too much time on the outline but I do create the main characters before I start writing. The story tends to take on a life of its own from that point and I have no idea where it is going to end until I get around to writing it.
I don’t sit and write every day unless I have something to write. Inspiration comes when it comes although I do manage to create some scenes by using problem solving techniques.
I cut a lot of material out when I edit. I don’t like a lot of detail for the sake of detail. If I find sections that slow or impede the flow of the story, I cut them out. To me, characters, story, pace and momentum are what really matters. Everything else is incidental.
How do you go about editing your story?
I step back after the first draft to take a look at the big picture. I have a list of questions I ask as the first step in the review process. Does the story make sense? Does it flow? Do the characters come to life? I have several other questions of that nature.
If I don’t like the answer to any of those questions, I make changes. Why waste time editing something that isn’t going to work.
After making changes based on my list of questions, I do the first major edit. Then it goes off to a couple of readers who look for mistakes like spelling errors etc. The second edit is based on suggestions made by this first group of readers.
Then the book is sent to a few beta readers along with a questionnaire to collect their thoughts on certain issues. I don’t let anyone edit my writing style.
I always make sure that at least half the beta readers are not writers. Some writers forget to take off their writer’s hat when they read and they end up focusing on issues that have no importance or relevance to readers.
Where did you find your cover artist and what was the process like?
I’ve used an artist who works on fiverr for some work. I’ve also done some of it myself. Time will tell whether or not I will need to have my work redone.
How did you go about getting published?
I self-published through Amazon. I use Scrivener, Excel, OneNote and Calibre.
What was your self-publishing experience like?
As with anything, it gets easier as you go along. My first book was non-fiction and it was the most difficult to format because it contained many images. That’s when I learned to use Calibre.
What are the pros and cons of self-publishing?
It’s not for everyone. You do need some basic skills to end up with a product that has a professional look and feel.
What were the surprises? Good or bad? If so, what were they?
I think most new authors are surprised to find out how much work is needed to market a book. It’s an ongoing process and you need to make a bit of time for it each and every day.
How do you go about promoting your book as a self-published author?
I do most of my promoting on social media. I do a bit of paid advertising but the jury is still out on whether or not it is cost-effective.
Is there something about the whole process you wish someone had told you before? Good or bad?
I didn’t realize how much work was involved but I’m not sure it would have made any difference if someone had told that before I got started. Some of us get the bug and it’s just something we have to do.
Do you have any advice for writers who want to self-publish?
The most important thing is to know what genre you want to write and identify your audience. Read tons of books by top-selling authors in that genre so you get a good feel for what it is readers want.
You’ll find a lot of people giving you advice on writing but if that advice doesn’t reflect what you see in books by best-selling authors, you might want to ignore it. Once you’ve done that, give it your best shot.
What plans do you have for the future of your writing?
I am writing Unrecoverable – A Nick Borman Thriller Book 2
What are you social accounts if people want to connect with you?
Although I have accounts on other social media sites, I am most active on Twitter and Facebook. You can connect with me here:
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