Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Interview with author, Stephen Tremp


Recently we had the opportunity to catch up with Stephen Tremp and discussed his illustrious writing career. Come along for this fascinating interview and be sure to leave a comment or question, for Stephen will be checking in throughout the day.
Q: What or whom inspires you to write?
ST: I just see life and all of my experiences as one continuous action suspense story just waiting to be transferred to paper. I see “what if” scenarios throughout the day, regardless of where I am, what I’m doing, or who I’m with.

Although I’m a bit of an introvert, I’m very passionate about developing “what if” scenarios. I can relate to the Drew Carey’s show Whose Line Is It Anyway? an improvisational comedy show. Give me a simple “what if” scenario, and I can develop it into an action suspense trilogy that will keep the reader up late at night, turning the pages.
I draw much inspiration from Dean Koontz, Dan Brown, Stephen King, and the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child tandem. I read a lot of fiction thrillers and felt I needed to identify a unique niche market that a large segment of the population could identify with and get excited about.
I think I’ve found it in a world where the Information Age is moving at breakneck speed, and breakthroughs in areas of science that were once fodder for science fiction are now becoming a part of our everyday life. I believe I’ve found my calling, my gift to the world.
Q: How did you get started?
ST: I accepted a voluntary layoff after toiling over 10 years in the banking and finance industry and took advantage of the opportunity to write full-time.
Breakthroughs in physics and technology are broadcast into millions of homes via numerous cable channels in layman’s terms and computer graphics anyone can understand. I thought I would capitalize on this particular niche and incorporate them into an action thriller series weaving together breakthroughs in physics and technology with greed, murder, and mayhem. Will these breakthroughs benefit mankind and be used to further civilization, or will they be stolen and used for greedy gain? I think we know the answer. That’s why the world needs a hero like my protagonist Chase Manhattan.
Q: What did you find to be the most frustrating step/process of getting your first novel published?
ST: I signed a non-exclusive contract with iUniverse, who was acquired by AuthorHouse. During the transition, much information was lost and it took about two or three additional months to bring Breakthrough to market. iUniverse (really, AuthorHouse) originally sent my unedited draft off to print. Can you imagine my response when I received the (ahem) final product? This was just the beginning of a series of comedies of errors.
But iUniverse has terrific customer service. They fixed everything in a timely manner. So some of the sting of their mistakes (which were many) were soothed by awesome customer service reps.
Q: Do you have an agent? If yes, how long did it take for you to find one?
ST: I do not currently have an agent, but I am actively pursuing one. I use Publisher’s Marketplace, a site to look for reputable agents and view deals they have made over the past couple years.
It took about three months of receiving feedback from various sources before I felt my query letter was professional. I even had my editor / proofreader go over it. I now understand why, after my initial effort of sending out my query letter, I received rejection for every one.
I feel much more confident today and have just this past week sent out about 50 query letters to specific agents. I’m expecting big things in the near future.
Q: How long did it take for you to write Breakthrough?
ST: Two years from start to finish. I thought I could accomplish everything in about eight months. But after the first editing/proof reading, I realized I still had a lot of research to perform and character development to perform. Then I had a second editor / proof reader go over the entire manuscript a second time. This was money well spent.
Q: Are your characters based on yourself or anyone else you know?
ST: The protagonist, Chase Manhattan (I may have to change his name to Chase Hawkings) is loosely based on me, only he’s a little bit taller than I am, a little bit better looking, a little faster, stronger, smarter, and much richer.
The rest of the good guys (and girls) and bad guys (and girls) are partialy made up and partially based on people I’ve known throughout my life.
Q: Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?
ST: Honestly, I don’t suffer from writer’s block, although there are times when I do write, I can’t use the material because it lacks substance or excitement. So I save the material and revisit the snipits in the future. I have a junkyard of sorts, and if I need a part, I go to my junkyard, grab what I need, then polish, refine it, and insert it.
Q: Technically speaking, what do you have to struggle the most when writing? How do you
tackle it?
ST: I really don’t struggle very much as I love what I do. I love performing due diligence in my research. Much of the two years I spent writing Breakthrough was devoted to researching the latest and greatest in the realm of physics.
I also had to research the Boston and Cambridge, MA area via the Internet as well as Boston police procedures. I also use Google Earth and yearly weather reports to describe a particular area. Honestly, there is so much information available at my fingertips, the biggest struggle I have is sorting through the wealth of information and eliminating relevant data.
Q: What advice would you give someone who wants to get a book published?
ST: The number one piece of advice I can give an aspiring author is to budget money for a competent editor / proofreader. Even editors who want to write and publish a book need an editor. This is the biggest, and one of the easiest, mistakes an author can make.
Editors / proof readers are vital to your success. Vital is an appropriate word. It means: necessary for life. Don’t try to go it alone, even if you call yourself an editor. You need that second set of eyes to look over your manuscript before you forward it on for printing.
You’re only as good as your editor / proof reader. Perception is reality, and the person buying your book will be the ultimate judge, not you, the author. I can say this with confidence, and hope to convince everyone I can to find a way to budget for a quality editor / proof reader.
Most editors / proof readers will review your first 10 pages for free. I’m confident even the most experienced writers will be amazed at the results. Do what I did; pay for a few pages here, a few chapters there. Before you know it, your entire manuscript will be transformed into a work of art.
Q: Please share with us your latest work-in-progress.
ST: I am currently writing the next two installments of the Breakthrough trilogy entitled Opening and Escalation. These two books will pick up where Breakthrough left off and take the story on an international level. The setting is the United States, China, and the Middle East.
These next books are very exciting as I use more discoveries and breakthroughs in physics in these books. Its too early to give away anything from these books, but for those who read Breakthrough, they will have a pretty good idea what direction Opening and Escalation will go.
What’s awesome for me is that I do not have to not have to set my stories centuries in the future and use characters with pointy ears. Since mankind is on the cusp of discoveries and breakthroughs in just about every facet of our lives, I can use our modern day setting and not have to resort to using a science fiction genre.
I’m also outlining an eerie Stephen King-type thriller entitled Murcat Manor set in Michigan.
Readers can visit my blog site at http://www.stephentremp.blogspot.com

Currently, Breakthrough can be purchased through traditional retailers. Currently, Breakthrough is cheapest though Barnes and Nobel, but can also be purchases through Amazon, Borders Books and Music, and Target.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Breakthrough/Stephen-Tremp/e/9780595710706/?itm=1
Stephen, it has been a pleasure hosting you and getting to know you better. Best wishes for your continued success.

10 comments:

  1. Stephen:

    Lovely to have you again today. We look forward to visitors interacting with you.

    Regards,
    Donna

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  2. Very much enjoyed the interview. Stephen's book sounds very interesting.

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  3. Enjoyed the interview. I agree with your advice about the necessity of a good editor. Good luck with your latest agent queries.

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  4. You've written the right way. The research and editing are sure to pay off. Thanks for sharing, and good luck.

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  5. I wish writers would realize, as you've stated, Stephen, editing is a must.

    Personally I have up to 6 professional editors go through anything I write. Of course I have them on staff, but they were editing for me before we started 4RV Publishing. Good editing, by people who know what good writing is, must be done.

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  6. Stephen, I'm actively looking for an agent, too. For a cookbook/memoir. We are working in different genres but as we are looking, we often stumble upon agents who handle different genres. Perhaps we should partner--just in case we find someone not right for ourselves but perfect for the other. You know how to reach me. (-:

    Best,
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

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  7. Thanks Carol. When I'm discovered by that most fortunate agent, I'll certainly connect him with people from this Yahoo! Group.

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  8. Stephen,
    WoW, what an interesting interview! I keep learning things all the time, and you certainly gave me a lot to think about. Thanks,
    Liana

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  9. Thank you, Donna, for always making sure that we are guided by those who are so knowledeable in what they do. I have learned much and appreciate all the time and effort you put into seeking to educate us from the best. Thank you, again. You are a real inspiration to us all.

    Just Joany
    http://redwagonflights.blogspot.com

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