I recently did a radio interview with Kevin from Global Talk Radio after they had a promo for five minute radio interviews. What can I say, these guys were super nice and considerate. Because I live on the East Coast, it was sort of a challenge to match my schedule with theirs (west coast), but they made it happen. I’ve posted the questions and my answers below, and hope to be posting the actual radio episode later this week!
How did you get started being a writer?
I actually started as a writer in college, when I decided to write a story that used all of my friends as characters. I got about 7 or 8 chapters in, but then lost interest. For me, one of the hardest things about writing is being self-disciplined enough to actually finish the novel. When I wrote Brass Legionnaire, it helped that I actually wrote down the entire story in a journal I had lying around, rather than sit at the computer and start from scratch. The words seemed to flow more easily for me.
Why did you go the self-publishing route?
I’m impatient and like to be in control! Actually, I had been doing a lot of reading about self-publishing and it seemed to me like it was something that was more practical and doable then trying to get an agent and get my book published by a company. Brass Legionnaire is a good book, and I’ve found great people to back me up on it through my own research. That’s another important part. Instead of having my team picked for me, I could pick my team for the editing, cover art, illustrations, etc. I liked that level of control.
Why Roman Steampunk?
It was actually an inside joke that took off. I’ve always loved Roman history, and studied aboard in Rome and Naples during college. I’m also a big fan of alternative history, and noticed that very few authors had examined how the world would have changed if the Roman Empire was still around, even though it very likely could have. Plus, I enjoyed novels with steampunk elements that are more realistic, so I used my own knowledge to try and create steampunk creations that would actually make sense in a Roman world. This isn’t Victorian steampunk, no canes and zombies or giant guns, but instead a focus more on animal-like machines and gunpowder loaded weaponry that could realistically evolve from the Romans of old. You’ll see the world really expand in Copper Centurion, my next novel.
What advice would you tell new authors?
Plan, save up, and write a lot! Plan out your novel, then your post-novel plan – who will edit, make cover art, format, and how will you publish. Will you go with Amazon KDP or for a more broad spectrum release with Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, iTunes, etc. Save up your money, because you can do it cheap, but in this case cheap is not always good. You want your editor to really help clean up your story, not just do a one time sweep for loose punctuation.
How do you keep in touch with fans?
I have a twitter – @Dottalini, a blog – danielottalini.com, and a Facebook page. I also created a book page – brasslegionnaire.com for my novels, since I sort of wanted to keep that series separate from my author blog when I start writing other novels that aren’t part of this series.
What was your biggest mistake and your greatest achievement (so far)?
So far, I would say my biggest mistake was not writing more. I wish I had been smarter and had at least two stories ready to go, instead of just the one. It would have been fast and simply to make a 10-15,000 word novella and pop that out really cheap next to my other novel, that way I could hook more readers with a low-priced introductory story. My greatest achievement is that my novel – Brass Legionnaire – has been nominated for an EPIC – Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition – eBook award – it’s a finalist (top three) for the action adventure category. That is insanely cool considering that Brass Legionnaire is my first novel.
Round Up: Copper Centurion is coming out this spring, and a short story – Roma Aeronautica, is also coming soon. I’ll be starting work on novel number three, Iron Tribune, next! My books are on sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords.
(P.S – in case you were wondering, this is not a paid advertisement or whatnot – did you really think I would do that? I paid for the interview and simply enjoyed the experience. Ciao!