Thursday

Kindle Author Interview: Allan Leverone

Allan Leverone, author of Final Vector, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Final Vector?

ALLAN LEVERONE: In Final Vector, air traffic controller Nick Jensen’s life is falling apart. His wife Lisa, a Pentagon auditor, has been killed in a horrific car accident following her discovery of potentially treasonous material on a fellow employee’s computer, and authorities suspect foul play. To escape the pain, Nick throws himself into his work and is on duty at the ATC facility serving Boston’s Logan International Airport on the night U.S. President Robert Cartwright is scheduled to fly into Boston. Heavily armed terrorists storm the facility and take over and Nick escapes capture, but now must use the information uncovered by his dead wife to stop an assassination while outnumbered, unarmed and on the run…

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

ALLAN LEVERONE: Great question. All of the members of my fictional terrorist organization are home-grown, disaffected Americans, with the exception of the group’s leader, a shadowy Middle Eastern man named “Tony Andretti,” although that’s not his real name. I took great pains to try to avoid making this man a cardboard cutout bad-guy, a cartoon James Bond-type villain. As reprehensible as Tony Andretti is, he is totally committed to his actions and believes, in his own way, he is doing what is right and necessary. I hope that shows through in the book.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

ALLAN LEVERONE: Anyone who enjoys thrillers. While Final Vector is a book with an aviation theme, told from an air traffic controller’s perspective, it is most definitely not meant just for pilots, controllers or aviation enthusiasts. I was careful to keep the technical aviation material to a minimum, and plenty of the action in the book takes place outside the ATC facility. You don’t have to be a former CIA operative to enjoy Barry Eisler’s books, and you don’t have to be an air traffic controller to enjoy Final Vector.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

ALLAN LEVERONE: My journey as a published author is just beginning, but I’ve been writing—and reading—my entire life. I originally attended college with the intention of becoming a newspaper journalist, but changed majors and graduated with a business degree instead. After graduation, I took a quarter-century break to establish my career as an air traffic controller and raise a family. About five years ago I realized how much I missed writing and started a sports blog at Foxsports.com, developing a pretty decent following, and after about a year of that it suddenly occurred to me that what I really wanted to be doing was writing fiction. So I did!

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

ALLAN LEVERONE: I’m not a big fan of outlining, although I did sketch an outline for roughly the first half of Final Vector. At that point, the characters sort of took over and led me to the end of the book themselves. When I begin writing a manuscript, I have a pretty good idea of my starting and ending points, and not too much more than a vague notion of how I want to get from Point A to Point B. Then I start writing and see what happens. It’s not a system that would work for everyone, but it seems to work okay for me. It does result in a fair amount of rewriting, though, work that could probably be avoided if I were more diligent at outlining.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

ALLAN LEVERONE: There are so many authors in the thriller and horror genres doing so many good things, it’s hard to limit myself to naming just a few. But I’ve always been a huge fan of Stephen King, Lawrence Block, and Donald Westlake. Among current authors, some of my favorites would include Tom Piccirilli, Dave Zeltserman, Sophie Littlefied, and Vincent Zandri. And a couple of guys you probably haven’t heard of, but will—Nigel Bird and Heath Lowrance.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

ALLAN LEVERONE: I’m jealous of so much of the material written by the above-mentioned authors, as well as many others. If limited to just one novel I could rip off, though, I would go with Stephen King’s The Stand. It’s truly an epic book, with memorable characters and the theme of Good vs. Evil defining the story.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

ALLAN LEVERONE: Promoting and marketing a book is somewhat less than a science unless you’re a mega-superstar author. My goal is to look professional and at the same time try to get my work in front of the eyes of potential readers. I invested in the production of a book trailer which came out better than I could have hoped for, and am currently involved in a two-month blog tour in support if Final Vector’s release. You can check out dates and appearances here if you’re interested: http://www.allanleverone.com/events.php. The tour represents a significant expenditure of time and energy, but I figure no one will consider reading my book if they don’t know it exists.



DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

ALLAN LEVERONE: Final Vector was originally slated for release as a mass-market paperback. Last spring Medallion Press, my publisher, informed me they were pulling out of the mass-market paperback format entirely due to a lack of profitability, and they told me their plan instead was to publish my book electronically. At the time I was deeply disappointed and thought long and hard about demanding the rights back. Ultimately, though, I decided to leave the book with Medallion and I couldn’t be happier. The ebook explosion, especially the Kindle explosion, continues at an unprecedented pace and shows no signs of slowing down. It was definitely the right decision, at least for me.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

ALLAN LEVERONE: Understand your goals. If your intention is to tell your story and give away a few downloads to family and friends, that is one thing, but if your intention is to ask people to part with their hard-earned cash for your product, you had better be sure you’re providing them with a professional-level book. A big part of that is taking the time—and spending the money—for professional editing services. I was fortunate to be paired with the most incredible editor at Medallion, Lorie Popp, who worked diligently with me to turn Final Vector from what I thought was a good book into what actually is a good book. If I decide to self-publish a book on Kindle, I don’t want anyone to see any difference in terms of quality between my self-published book and the Medallion press book.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allan Leverone is a three-time Derringer Award Finalist whose short fiction has been featured in Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Shroud Magazine, Twisted Dreams, Mysterical-E, and many other venues, both print and online. His debut thriller, titled Final Vector, is available February 2011 from Medallion Press.

For details, please visit www.allanleverone.com or his blog at www.allanleverone.blogspot.com.




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