Devin Madson

Devin Madson is an Australian SF writer in the midst of releasing her first series, The Vengeance Trilogy. To get a feel for the stories, here’s a Confucius quote Devin used in the first book:

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

A great hook. Having flown through The Blood of Whisperers and its follow-up The Gods of Vice, I’m really looking forward to the conclusion in The Grave at Storm’s End (forthcoming in 2014). In the meantime, Devin was generous enough to give up her time to answer a few questions for the City of Masks blog, so thank you again, Devin!

Here’s Part 1 of the Interview, and below is Part 2! You can (and should) read more about Devin and her work here.

AC: You crowd-funded your trilogy through Pozible and raised 8k off 55 backers, which is marvellous [Devin writes about the stressful process here, here & here]. What sort of advantage do you feel you had with 3 books ready before you launched such a successful crowd-funded project?

DM: I think if you are going to crowd-fund books, you need to have finished them, unless you have a name you can trade on. For me that is just professionalism. A lot of books are strong ideas in their author’s head, but never get finished. And of course it leaves you with the advantage of having at least one thing you can be confident of. If I’d had to deal with the stress of the campaign as well as the niggling fear I wouldn’t finish the books, I probably would have ended up in a straight jacket.

AC: What other benefits did you enjoy having 3 books written before the first was released? What was the hardest thing about sitting on 3 pretty much ready to go books?

DM: For me I consider having the whole trilogy finished more of a necessity than a boon. I don’t write my trilogies as individual stories, but as one complete piece. That way it flows without dead-end foreshadowing and if something changes in the third book I can go back and fix it in the first. It also means I can release them close together so people don’t have to wait long between books. The only hard thing about it is having to hide my grins when I hear people guessing what is going to happen, because I already know and it’s already set in stone. Although my editor is sure I deliberately kill off characters as soon as she tells me that she likes them.

AC: Being an author-publisher [to borrow a phrase from Chuck Wendig] is a colossal amount of work, what is the hardest thing about it, and the most rewarding aspect of the dual role?

DM: Author-publisher is a great phrase because it forces separation between the two professions. You have to do that, you have to be two separate people or you risk losing the professionalism of both. It is definitely a colossal amount of work, but I’ve formed a great team around me and I’m a workaholic, which is in my favour. The hardest thing is carving yourself a readership, because without the hype engines of the big publishers and all their media contacts, you’ve got to start from nothing. But that means that every small victory, every new fan, every review, means more. I can squee when I see my book in a store because not only did I write that, but I commissioned that art, I chose that designer, I organised that print run. And I got it into that store. That gives me a lot of satisfaction, but it is never untempered by doubts and fears and the ever-niggling jealousy that I have no one to hype for me.

AC: It seems that in all realms of publishing, both traditional and self publishing, the onus of promotion is being pushed onto the author. Do you resent this, perhaps in terms of it ‘stealing’ your writing time? Or is it more of an enjoyable challenge?

DM: Again it is good and bad. Bad in the sense that I have less time to write because I have so many other things I need to do, but good that it forces authors to become part of the conversation, to interact with their readers or risk sinking into obscurity. I thought I would resent it more, but having the opportunity to engage with people who love my work, or just love fantasy and geekiness in general, has been nothing short of amazing. I’m looking forward to continuing that part of the adventure and meeting lots of great people in the process. I want to be an author that always has time for her readers, and I hope that no matter how busy I become that will be true. If you write to me via any sort of media, I will write back.

AC: I think your future plans for a serialised story will increase that fantastic audience interaction quite naturally, can you tell us much about it?

DM: Ooooh, I might be able to give out some closely guarded secrets…

We have no set starting date for it yet, but it’s looking like it will be mid-year. It will be a full-length novel serialised weekly, and will no doubt run until at least the end of the year, if not longer. Chronologically it will follow on from the end of The Grave at Storm’s End, but you don’t have to have read The Vengeance Trilogy to read it, or the other way around. It stands on its own, but for those who have read The Vengeance Trilogy it will have extra meaning and depth.

As for what it is about? I can’t say much right now, but in short it chronicles the birth of soul science by following the story of Saki and Torvash, who will later be known to history as the mother and father of science. Everything that comes after will hinge on what they learn, and so far it’s shaping up to be a chaotic and exciting tale.