Meet Stephen Edger

Whew! Luckily, I managed to snare Stephen Edger, today’s featured writer, for a chat before Thursday when his second novel is published and, technically, he is no longer eligible to be interviewed for my Debut Author Q&A series. There I go again doing things just under the wire…
Name: Stephen Edger
Name of book: Integration
Book genre: Thriller (Fiction)
Date published: August 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace (Amazon)
What is your day job? I’m a manager in a bank
What is your book about? A Team Leader working in a bank call center is offered 1 million pounds in return for a “favor.” After much deliberation, he declines the offer but this is only just the start of his problems. Money laundering, kidnap, secret phone calls and violence: This is a jam-packed seven days.
Why did you want to write this book? I always thought that I would like to write a book. In 2010, I was on holiday in Spain when our apartment was burglarized. I remember how scary it was when we wondered whether the intruders were still inside. I began thinking that this would make a great opening chapter to a book and began typing off the cuff. What I typed became my first three chapters, and the plot kind of developed from there.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? Proofreading. My comprehension of language is pretty good, but I still find so many mistakes that I didn’t expect. Thankfully, my wife and mother-in-law aren’t afraid to pick fault with what I have done.
Did you conduct any kind of research in order to write Integration? I work in a bank so writing Integration was quite easy.
What motivates you to write?
I have always had a really active imagination and being able to capture that in a story is incredible to me. I loved seeing the finished product, and the feedback I have received makes me want to keep writing.
Did you experience writer’s block? Not really. I didn’t commit to write on specific days, just when I felt the urge. I used to get moments of inspiration where I felt compelled to write, and I would just make the most of those moments.
How long did it take you to write this book? It took three-and-a-half months to write the first draft.
Why did you decide to self-publish? I sent Integration to a dozen UK agents to try and gain representation, but received a dozen rejections. I felt I had put too much effort into completing the manuscript to throw it away so when I happened upon Amazon’s self-publishing tools I jumped at the chance.
Was the self-publishing process easier or more difficult than you thought it would be? It has been a constant learning curve. Let me give an example: I am aiming to release my second novel Remorse this Thursday on several platforms (Kindle, iBookstore, paperback UK and paperback US). Each platform requires slightly different formatting, which I learned after I first released Integration. It is time-consuming to self-publish, but the effort is worth it in the end.
How did you decide on your book cover concept? The current book cover for Integration is the third I have released as I just couldn’t find what I wanted. I eventually found a piece of software that I have taught myself to use in order to create what I want. Integration is about money laundering, so I wanted a cover with money on it.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? Hearing such positive feedback from strangers who have enjoyed reading it.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion? I promote through Facebook and Twitter.
How has life changed for you since the publication of your book? I always used to have ideas for stories when I was growing up, and I still get ideas popping into my head every day. The difference now is I have started jotting them down. You never know when one might develop into the next big thing.
Do you find yourself obsessively checking sales stats? I check my sales stats about six times a day (how sad is that?)
As you mentioned, you have a second book, Remorse, coming out this week. Is it another thriller? Yes, Remorse is another thriller but is quite different from Integration. I think anyone who has raised a baby will empathize with the protagonist’s plight. I am due to start writing a follow-up to Integration in January, and I cannot wait to get started as the plot promises to be even more explosive than the original!
My favorite last question: Oprah once famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I would wholeheartedly agree!

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