Today’s guest post Jesse Giles Christianssen, author of the literary fiction magical realism novel, Captain Shelby. Jesse is an American author who writes compelling literary fiction that weaves the real with the surreal. He attended Florida State University where he received his B.A. in English literature, and holds an M.A. in philosophy from Georgia State University. He is the author of Pelican Bay (book one in the Captain Shelby Series), an Amazon #1 list bestseller, outselling Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway. One of Christiansen’s literary goals is to write at least fifty novels, and he always reminds himself of something that Ray Bradbury once said: “You fail only if you stop writing.”
Thank you for this interview, Jesse. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Sure! I’m from Miami, FL, growing up on and around the beach. I fell in love with the sea as a boy, which may explain my first published book and series being based on it. I began writing lyrics at 15, then short stories in high school and college, where I received a B.A. in English Lit. I wrote my first novel at age 26, JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTIC.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
CAPTAIN SHELBY is the prequel to the Amazon list bestseller, PELICAN BAY. It delves into the history of the mysterious fisherman from Pelican Bay, explaining how he became Captain Shelby, focusing on his adventurous during early manhood, as well as a dangerous love triangle he becomes involved in when he’s hired to help a group of Irish settlers who are fleeing the tyranny of King Henry VIII. When he takes them across the North Atlantic to the Newfound Land, he falls in love with the group leader’s fiancée, Laura Hodges. Facing overwhelming challenges such as the great sea, the Little Ice Age, and the vicious natives of Greenland, the Skraelings, the plots escalate until the formidable truth about the fisherman is finally revealed.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I didn’t. It chose me. My novels dance between historical, romantic, mysterious, and paranormal story lines, but my style, at its core, will always be literary fiction; it’s just how I write. I always include strong plot, but also character development, tensional description, simile, symbolism, truth, etc., elements that I feel lead to more surviving and beneficial books for my readers.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
The biggest challenge was trying to create a logically consistent prequel to a bestseller while at the same time making it stand on its own. Also, there was a lot of research involved because the prequel, while occurring mostly in the 16th century, goes back as far as the 7th century!
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
The Captain Shelby Series is published through a small press that acts like a traditional house in its marketing clout and savvy (Imajin Books, a mighty small press!). However, JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTIC is self-published, as well as my Christmas novella, GOTH TOWN, coming out Nov. 6th of this year.
Was it the right choice for you?
It depends on the reach and marketability of the novel, as well as my particular goals for it. I believe the hybrid author of the 21st century has opportunities writers never used to have.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
My publisher does promotional events and author promo packages, and is always supportive of all author promotional ideas. I use social media as well, including events, creative posts, and blog work. But one of the greatest things I’ve learned (from bestselling author, Jeff Bennington) is that the best promotion is working on another book. In addition to having four books by the end of this year, I already have two books planned for next year.
How is that going for you?
I don’t have the book sales I would like yet. But my readership is expanding nicely, so I think very well. I was in the top five for my publisher last year, which I’m very proud of because there’s a ton of talent with Imajin Books, and I’m a new author.
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
Creative Facebook events. Through them I find new readers and see small boosts in ranking. The KDP program for Amazon has brought me the most sales (especially their Hot New Release Program). Finally, blog tours have also really helped boost sales. I want to do far more blog work next year.
Do you have another job besides writing?
I’ve been a musician and a teacher most of my life. However, January I become a full-time author for the first time. Wish me luck!
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Don’t be afraid to do creative promotional events online or in person where you can interact with new readers. Also, work on that next book!
What’s next for you?
Next year I’ll be completing a novel based on historical facts surrounding the RMS Titanic. I’ll be traveling to England to do research for it (my first on location research/writing; very exciting!). I also hope to be working on the third installment in the Captain Shelby Series.
Thank you for this interview, Jesse. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Thanks for having me!
Please visit my Website at www.jessegileschristiansen.com and my Amazon author page at www.amazon.com/Jesse-Giles-Christiansen/e/B005I59DXW/ref