So for today, we have Stephen Hise, author of Upgrade. I first encountered Stephen in my facebook group, Book Junkies. He was and still is one of the funniest and most engaging people I’ve met there. He’s also a person who devotes his time to helping other authors get the word out.
Stephen Hise: I can’t really identify a recognized genre for it. I call it a bodice-ripper with a Twilight–Zone twist. It is the story of a wealthy computer geek who has everything going for him but looks. Rather than pursuing plastic surgery, he undergoes a procedure that makes microadjustments in his facial contours, counterbalancing asymmetries in his face. This has the effect of distorting the metric used by the human brain’s hard wiring. He looks the same after the procedure, except people subconsciously register him as appearing attractive instead of unattractive.
Terry C. Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?
Stephen Hise: I was home-schooling my teenaged daughter. One of her subjects was creative writing. We had watched a Twilight–Zone marathon, which gave me the idea for a writing assignment for her. I told her to write a short story that she thought would be a good Twilight–Zone episode. She challenged me to do the same. I started writing what I had intended to be a short story, but it just kept coming, so I went with it.
Terry C. Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?
Stephen Hise: I liked the early works of Stephen King, and practically everything by Michael Crichton.
Terry C. Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?
Stephen Hise: The main character is Brent Schoenfeld, the computer software designer who has the procedure. He is intent on getting what he wants in life, and because he had no experience of a romantic nature before (even though he is nearing 30 years of age) he has trouble. My favorite character though was Marcy. She is so deliciously flirty and manipulative.
Terry C. Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?
Stephen Hise: From pillar to post on the first draft, I’d say about two months.
Terry C. Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?
Stephen Hise: I pretty much only knew the framework. All the character development and little twists and turns developed as I was writing the story.
Terry C. Simpson: What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?
Stephen Hise: Well, I want them to enjoy the book, but I also hope that it provokes some introspection and discussion about the nature of self-image. I would like them to reflect on that and then buy a dozen copies to give to their friends. (Ahem.)
Terry C. Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?
Stephen Hise: I guess I’d have to say I had concerns about how people who know me would feel about it. The book could not be classified as erotica by any stretch, but it has some pretty steamy stuff going on. I had reservations about how my family, in particular would receive it.
Terry C. Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
Stephen Hise: I just can’t make myself a slave to word count. I’ve tried that approach and just end up very unhappy with what I write. I just have to write when the muse is upon me. I never prosper by trying to force it.
Terry C. Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?
Stephen Hise: I was just so very pleased and surprised by the warmth and mutual support in the indie author community. I had an image of a bunch of people with tweed jackets and condescending attitudes. It just isn’t like that at all.
Terry C. Simpson: What advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Stephen Hise: I’d advise anybody starting out to get engaged early on with social media and to connect with the indie author community. Neophytes will find a lot of help and encouragement among the indies.
Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?
Stephen Hise: I’m not sure of what works or works best, but I do know people do not liked to be spammed. If you join Facebook groups, show up and participate every once in a while, don’t just drop by once a week and remind everybody to buy your book.
Terry C. Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
Stephen Hise: I’m on Facebook and twitter. I have over a thousand followers on both my Facebook page and on twitter, but the best way I’ve found is just to connect with people, let them get to know you. You do not have to be your book. I think if people find you interesting, they may think perhaps your book would be interesting as well. That’s a theory, anyway. I’m still trying to find someone who thinks I’m interesting.
Terry C. Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?
Stephen Hise: “If everybody was reading right now, all this unpleasantness could have been avoided.”
Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books
Stephen Hise: I am also a contributing author to a short-story anthology with my daughter and my youngest son. The title is “Creepier by the Dozen.”
Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?
Stephen Hise: On my website: http://stephenhise.com/
Buy Links : Amazon