DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Asylum?
ERIK LYND: Asylum is a horror novel similar in style to older Stephen King but with dark fantasy elements reminiscent of Clive Barker. I took the classic setting of an insane asylum, but rather than making the lunatics the villains I changed them into heroes struggling against the evil inside the institution. Although it has a strong plot, I focused on the characters, both the main characters and the cast of teenage patients confined to the hospital, to develop the story. Here is the back cover:
Forced into a psychiatric hospital by uncaring parents, a teenage boy must master the strange power within himself to overcome the horror gathering in the shadows.DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
Andrew Harland has been a loner since being diagnosed with schizophrenia. He is shuffled around from juvenile detention centers to outpatient clinics with expensive doctors. Nothing seems to help. His parents, desperate to have him out of the house, decide to send him off to a revolutionary new psychiatric hospital in the Pacific Northwest.
Andrew is different, and he knows it. He always has. So he doesn't hesitate when the voices in his head tell him to climb out on a window ledge . . .
Haunted by his own son's suicide, Dr. David Styles rescues Andrew from the ledge and takes a personal interest in his case. After getting to know him, Dr. Styles becomes suspicious of the boy's diagnosis. What he uncovers sends him on a desperate journey to rescue Andrew.
Because something is terribly wrong at the hospital.
Treatments are conducted at odd hours. Patients disappear into the bowels of the massive, aged building, sometimes never to be seen again, and Andrew is plagued by visions stranger than any he's ever known.
And the voices in Andrew's head are getting louder.
ERIK LYND: I usually start out with a basic idea for the protagonist and other main characters and then let them tell me more about themselves as the story progresses. For example, in Asylum there are two main characters Andrew and David. I started with the idea that Andrew was about to be sent to a mental hospital because of a tragedy in the past. As I wrote the beginning I thought about how a tragedy like that and the chaos that followed would have altered a child, from then on his secrets and motivations became a surprise to me almost as much as a first time reader. It is a hell of a lot a fun to write like that. David was the same way. I created him as a necessary character (a doctor to play against Andrews patient character) with his own tragedy to overcome. Two tragic characters that needed each other, but for drastically different reasons.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
ERIK LYND: Hard question. I could say "fans of Stephen King" or "males age 15 to 45" like some sort of marketing guy, but the truth is my ideal reader is someone who will drop me a line using the email at the end of the book. Maybe let me know what they liked or didn't like about the book, maybe recommend me to a friend as a satisfying read, and maybe they would even keep an eye out for the next novel by Erik Lynd.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
ERIK LYND: I always knew I would be a writer, but I was somewhat of a late bloomer. I started writing seriously in my late twenties, starting with short stories that sold to small markets. I actually sold Asylum to a publisher originally, but just months before its release my publisher and I had a amicable parting and I received my rights back. So I decided to go the indie route.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
ERIK LYND: I always start with the most simple of plots then usually just dive into the first chapter. This gives me the initial characters that will drive the story. Sometimes at that point I will write a very simple outline with some key scenes or subplots, but for the most part I just sit back and let the characters tell me the story. I try to get between 1000 and 2000 words per day done when writing the first draft.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
ERIK LYND: Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Richard Matheson, Terry Brooks.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
ERIK LYND: The Talisman by Stephen King.
DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?
ERIK LYND: Carl Graves: http://extendedimagery.blogspot.com/ He is one of the best out there.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
ERIK LYND: The month it was released I spent some time on the message boards and I reached out to some review/interview sites to spread the word. I received some good feedback and some great reviews. After that month though, I went a little silent and relied on word of mouth while I focused on getting my next two novels ready. I'll put those out early in 2011 and come out swinging. The word of mouth is working surprisingly well, I've had steady sales since its release.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
ERIK LYND: Kindle and ebooks in general offer a new way for authors to reach readers directly. It allows me to keep prices down, release books quickly, and eliminates a books "shelf life."
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
ERIK LYND: Make sure your writing is great and I don't mean just because your friends tell you its great. I mean get some professional validation. Send out short stories if you can, work on the craft. Basically be damn sure that you are not only putting your best stuff out there, but that your best stuff is really good enough to be published. Otherwise you are just wasting everybody's time.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Lynd lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two children. His first novel, Asylum, about a young man misdiagnosed and forced into a mental hospital run by a mad man bent on harnessing the supernatural power dormant in his patients, is available on Kindle and soon in print. You can find more about him and his work at www.eriklynd.com.
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