NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

WRITE MORE

2015 was kind of a slow writing year for me. I have a deadline to meet at the end of February, and more books to write after that. The more I write, the more you get to read. I plan to accomplish this by…

SURFING THE INTERNET LESS

Sorry, but this is a polite way of saying “spend less time on social media.” I’m not going away, but every word I type on Facebook is one word taken away from my work in progress. Added up (and it ADDS UP!), this forces me to work longer days to meet deadlines, and ultimately takes time away from…

SPENDING MORE TIME WITH FAMILY

There’s no reason for me to be writing during family time on weekends. A few hours in the morning by choice is still fine. I like to write every day, even if just for an  hour or two, and I can do that in the early morning hours when most of the house is asleep. But spending most of the weekend days writing to meet an easily achievable deadline is not healthy or fair to the most important parts of my life. Same goes for weekday evenings. Cutting out social media related event time is one way to help with this, the other is…

DEVELOP A BETTER SCHEDULE

The cross country move threw what I considered a tight schedule WAY off track. In military terms, it did not survive first contact with the enemy. No more of that. The first thing I’m going to do every morning is stretch out with the 5 Tibetans (Hugh Howey introduced me to these—check out the video), fix a coffee, and spend an hour walking and WRITING on THIS CONTRAPTION! I’ll be up early enough to do all of this and hang out with the kids before they head to school. Then it’s off to the gym or out for a run. I plan to spend to be at my other desk by 9AM. I’ll probably see the treadmill again before the end of the day whistle blows between 4-5PM. If I hit 3K words before 4-5PM, I’M DONE.

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EXERCISE MORE

My new routine will ensure that I exercise more. The concept of regular exercise took a vacation in 2015. My goal for the year is to be in as good or better shape than Alex Fletcher from my Perseid Collapse Series. That may sound kind of strange, but I have a reason for this goal. I write a lot of post-apocalyptic, prepper-related fiction where characters are constantly fighting for their lives. It’s over the top stuff for sure, but it really drives home an important point. What’s the point of readiness and prepping, even for a minor emergency, if you’re too out of shape to execute your plan?

Fat militia

I chose Alex Fletcher, because he wasn’t a physical super star. He could run 4-5 miles at a decent pace, carry a pack on an extended hike, swim several hundred yards against a mild current and sprint around shooting at the bad guys for a few minutes without vomiting. That’s all I’m looking for. And I wouldn’t mind NOT looking like a tub of $#@! in vacation photos. The lens doesn’t lie! While more exercise will  help, shedding the FAT weight equivalent to a rucksack helps even more. For that, I plan to…

EAT HEALTHIER AND EAT LESS

 

More on this later. The food plan doesn’t start until January 5….and I have BEER waiting in the fridge. 

WHAT ARE YOUR RESOLUTIONS FOR 2016?

 

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STEADY ON THE HELM, EYES ON THE HORIZON

Note: I talk numbers later in this post, lots of numbers, so bear with the more didactic start to my year end post.

I DON’T DO PREDICTIONS

2016There’s nothing wrong with predictions, I just think other authors tackle the subject better. Why reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Take a moment to read Russell Blake’s End of an Era and Joe Konrath’s New Years Resolution for Writers. Each author takes a different approach, but you’ll notice a common theme at the core of each post. Indie authors need to write, AND WRITE A LOT, to be successful. Not exactly rocket science, but it’s worth repeating. I’m going to make a small tweak to that message, which I think is critical to success.

WRITE WHAT YOU ENJOY WRITING—A LOT. Once again, no atoms have been split so far, but this is an important distinction, and part of the overall theme of this post. You can probably guess why.

Ship in wavesThe past two to three years has been tumultuous for both the indie and traditional publishing industry. Authors have seen ups and downs, like waves, and panic has ensued when they starts the downward journey into the trough. Of course, the waves come in different sizes for each author, and in some cases, the ride down is indeed scary—just like the ride up a massive wave of sales can be exhilarating. Kristine Kathryn Rusch does a far better job describing the wave metaphor in one her most memorable 2015 posts—The Hard Part. 

HERE’S THE THING. Storms always pass, leaving mostly calm seas.

You need to build a career strong and stable enough to weather these storms (real and perceived)—so you’re still around when the winds die down and the clouds part. 

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What’s worked for me? You’ll be glad you didn’t pay for this. Ready? In keeping with the nautical theme:

KEEP A STEADY HAND ON THE HELM—WRITE WHAT YOU WANT TO WRITE

KEEP AN EYE ON THE HORIZON—PLAN FOR THE LONG HAUL

ADVERTISE SMARTLY AND FREQUENTLY—I know, that’s not a nautical term. 

Feel let down? You’re not alone. I felt the same way when I dug into what has brought me the most success over the past five years. No tricks or gimmicks. This is it! And this is why I don’t do predictions. I don’t care what’s predicted for the next six month or year. Predictions have never changed the CORE of my approach. They’re little more than distractions. That’s not to say I ignore trends or pass on sudden opportunities. I just make sure they fit into one of the CORE tenets of my approach.

And I’m not claiming this was my master strategy all along. Far from it. It somehow naturally developed, likely while I was juggling a day job and publishing two to three books a year. I didn’t have time for distractions. I spent 95% of my available time WRITING and the rest developing long-term GOALS. Many of those goals seemed unattainable and SO far away at the time. Like a dream—but I saw the importance of pursuing them, regardless, in order to build a CAREER that could smash through waves. READ MY 2014 POST ON DIVERSIFICATION to learn more about these strategies.

I still have a long way to go, but based on 2015 numbers, I feel good about my  strategy. 

WHAT HAVE I DONE IN 2015? 

I released a grand total of one 75K word book and one 25K word novella (in Russell Blake’s Kindle World). Not exactly my most prolific publishing year. I typically release about three times this amount.

I wrote and delivered Fractured State (105K words) to Thomas and Mercer. Being the first book in a new series, I spent a considerable amount of time building the Fractured State world before writing in it. A sacrifice I was willing to make in order to realize the long term goal of publishing with Thomas and Mercer. More on that later.

I launched The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World, which took an extraordinary amount of time and energy to coordinate. WELL WORTH THE EFFORT on many fronts. The world has attracted top notch authors across several genres. I couldn’t be happier or more humbled to be a part of it. Thank you to every author involved, and to Sean F. at Kindle Worlds for believing in The Perseid Collapse. To date, 25 novellas wait to be read by fans of post-apocalyptic and thriller fictionwith more on the way. 

I moved from Maine to Indiana. Don’t ask. Needless to say, this was the BIGGEST, unavoidable distraction of the year, and likely cost me the writing and release of a book. From March through the end of June, it was a non-stop event.

I co-authored The Loyal Nine, Book One in Bobby Akart’s Boston Brahmin series. More accurately, I wrote a few chapters and helped with the developmental edit. I had intended to play a larger role, but between the move and meeting my deadlines for Fractured State, I knew I would be little more than the third wheel (if that) in future books. Bobby didn’t skip a beat! He has already published books two and three in the series.

At this point, you’re probably thinking that I had a mediocre sales year. We all know the formula for success, right? Publish, publish, and publish again! While there’s certainly truth to this. I’m going to show you some surprising numbers, based on a very modest publishing year by my standards.

Underachiever

THE NUMBERS

-Overall income is UP 61.5% over 2014. Remember, 2014 was UP 57% over 2013. NOT A BAD YEAR AT ALL, considering my modest production schedule.

Ebook sales are up 20% (units sold increased by 25%), not including  Kindle Worlds or Kindle Unlimited numbers.

Paper is down by 25%, but this has never been a significant income area.

Audio unit numbers are down 6.5%, but sales are up 37%. Head scratcher, but deeper analysis shows that the royalty escalator clause (no longer offered) kicked in big time this year for The Perseid Collapse books, and I’m getting paid more per audiobook. I can’t stress the importance of audiobooks to building a strong career. Audiobooks account for 15% of my total business, and they seem less susceptible to some of the sales cycle storms that occasionally strike. Do some research here. It’s not a guarantee of quick income, but it is a viable long term strategy. It has paid off handsomely for me in both genres, more so in the post-apocalyptic books. Invest in audiobooks—NOW!

Kindle Unlimited. You’re either going to love this part or hate it. For me, it’s a love story. Let’s start at the beginning. All of my titles are in Kindle Select, but it hasn’t always been this way. My Black Flagged Series had spent nearly two years out of select, gaining LITTLE traction in the wider world of ebooks. When I finished the series in 2013 (4 books over two years), I took the series wide after enjoying enough success with the books to quit my day job (the books sold well to say the least). Good thing I had a hot post-apocalyptic series in the works, because going WIDE didn’t work. Not even BookBub could not ignite a steady income stream outside of Amazon. It took me until June of 2015, right before the advent of KU 2.0, to throw it all back into Kindle Select. Good timing. KU 2.0 boosted income across all of my book.

Units borrowed increased 132% over 2014. Close to 25K units total. After July, I divided pages read by the KENPC calculation for each novel to arrive at unit numbers since the program was now measured by pages read. For 2015, sales through KU increased by 158%, and much of that came from the second half of the year under KU 2.0. The Black Flagged franchise was a big part of that.

Kindle Worlds. It’s hard to compare this from year to year, since 2014 was my first year publishing on Amazon’s fan fanfiction platform. Here are the raw numbers. Between three novellas and an omnibus, I’ve sold close to 9,000 units in Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines Kindle World. I had a big surge in  sales when Wayward Pines hit Fox Network as a mini-series. That was the business side of why I wrote the novellas in 2014. I mostly wrote them because I loved the series and can’t get enough of Blake’s work. That said, a little looking ahead made it a no brainer decision to take time away from The Perseid Collapse series to indulge in Wayward Pines. I also used some time in 2015 to write a novella for Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World, adding another 1,500 units to the Kindle Worlds mix.

ADVANCES made up 10% of my income in 2015. I can’t get into specifics, but 2015 was the first year I was ever paid an advance. I like the concept, and hope to that percentage increase.

Foreign Translation of The Jakarta Pandemic? Let’s just say that German readers weren’t ready for an intense pandemic survival story based around an all-American in New England. Who could have guessed? I was pushing for the translation of my international espionage thriller series. I made money, but thankfully did not invest any of my own capital.

HOW DID I DO THIS?

I aggressively advertised multiple books in both series. This is listed first, because it had the biggest impact—and it’s a bit complicated to pile onto this post (another will follow). In a nutshell, it’s no secret that BOOKBUB is a powerful advertising and book marketing tool…depending upon how you use it. I use it to generate buy through for an entire series and expand readership. A short and long term goal. I don’t mind giving away free books to meet that end.

I experimented with Facebook ads. I’m not going to lie to you. I haven’t seen uber success selling books directly through Facebook, though like any hardcore gambler, I’m convinced my luck is about to take a turn for the better with the next ad.  Always experimenting. With that said, I have seen considerable success growing my mailing list with targeted Facebook ads.

I grew my mailing list from around 1,000 to 9,000 (not all through Facebook!). They bought a lot of books, full price and at special discounts. My goal for early 2016 is to better engage this list and turn it into a powerful marketing and promotional tool to launch books. Sounds all business-like. Let me rephrase this. I want everyone on the list to look forward to my updates and special offers, especially the ones announcing a book launch.

I resisted the temptation to write another purely post-apocalyptic series, and instead, created the story I’ve been dying to write. Fractured State. No genre is a sure thing, but post-apocalyptic books sell. I know from experience, which is why this was a hard decision to make. I had my reasons. I made some contacts at Thomas and Mercer in 2014, with the hopes that they sign me in 2015. I’ve had my eye on this goal since 2013, when I became a full time writer, knowing that they don’t publish post-apocalyptic novels. By the time my talks with the editorial staff at Thomas and Mercer blossomed, I was in a position to present a full series synopsis and 10K words of the first novel in the series. Fractured State will be published by Thomas and Mercer, in May 2016, followed the second book in January 2017. I have no doubt this decision will make 2016 my most successful year ever.

I diversified in 2014. Every time one of my book titles rose in Amazon rank during a promotion, buyers, borrowers and audiobook listeners alike were drawn to the commotion—and all of my books. Sales across all platforms increased, contributing heavily to the bottom line.

I had a little help from my friends. I certainly didn’t do this alone. I can’t stress enough the importance of community for writers. We all sit behind desks most of the day, by ourselves, and there is only so much you can do to get the word out about your books. I love helping other authors, and find that I’m not alone in that feeling. THANK YOU to everyone that helped. This includes writers and READERS!

Those readers keep buying my books! And to that, I am eternally grateful.

SHALL I END HERE? WHAT ELSE CAN I SAY?

2016?

-I shall write the books I want to write. As many as I can. It’s worked for me so far.

-I shall advertise aggressively.

-I shall stay in Kindle Select, even if the seas look rough.

-I will continue to look as far ahead as possible and steadily build the sturdiest ship for those waters.

-Hopefully go on a nice vacation.  

I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST IN 2016!

What are your plans for the NEW YEAR?

 

 

 

 

 

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My Craziest #ebook Deal Ever—HAS EXPIRED

UPDATE: DEALS ON ALL BOOKS ENDED DEC 24th. Sorry you missed out this time around!

Jack nicholsonFREE BOOKS, MASSIVELY DISCOUNTED BOOKS! I’m EITHER in the holiday spirit, OR, I’ve lost my mind. My wife nodded gently at the latter—she knows me best. ;)


HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE.
All of my Black Flagged books are on sale or free for a limited time. Keep reading to learn more.

3d-boxed-set-steven-konkoly-cFor the next few days, you can grab the Black Flagged Box Set (Books 2-4) for $0.99. That’s a 95% off buying all three separately and 90% off the regular price of the Box Set ($9.99)! FOLLOW THIS LINK to the deal on AMAZON.

 

 

1400 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_ALPHAAnd if you don’t already have Black Flagged Alpha, the first book in the series, you can get Black Flagged Alpha for $0.99 for a limited time. CLICK THIS LINK TO GET BLACK FLAGGED ALPHA.

 

 

 

1395 Steven Konkoly ebook Black Flagged_REDUX_2015And if you just like FREE books, you can grab the second book in the series, Black Flagged Redux, for FREE. FOLLOW THIS LINK to the free book.

 

 

TIS THE SEASON TO GIVE LOW PRICED BOOKS AS GIFTS! This is the first time I’ve offered the Box Set at a discount, and I’ve decided to go full crazy on the price for the holidays. AND WHY NOT SPREAD THE CHEER? You can gift a copy of the bundle and/or Black Flagged Alpha to a friend or family member that enjoys books by Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Robert Ludlum, Clive Cussler or Lee Child. The best part? They won’t know you got it on sale! See example below to find the button to GIFT a copy. All you need is your friend or family member’s email address and you’re a few clicks away!

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.10.42 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, thank you for your continued readership and support. It means the world to me.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Steve

P.S. The Perseid Collapse will be on sale for $0.99 of FRIDAY!

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Tom Abrahams on Kindle Worlds

I had to share Tom’s post on his Kindle Worlds experience. He’s spot on about launching a satisfying, complete series in a short period of time, but I think Tom’s humility kept one critical factor to his success out of his post. HE’S A FANTASTIC, ENGAGING AUTHOR, which makes a huge difference in my opinion.

Check out Tom’s post, and click on his Pilgrimage Series books below.

Tom Abrahams

Tom Abrahams

Tom Abrahams

 

 

 

 

 

Tom also wrote  the Jackson Quick series. The latest book in this politically charged, action thriller saga is set to launch in August. If you’re a fan of political action thrillers, I highly recommend the books below.

AllegianceAllegiance Burn

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The Black Flagged saga continues…

with JET BLACK, a novella written for Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World.

JET with logoWhat does that mean? Glad I pretended you asked. It means that I’ve written a 25,ooo word story (1/4 of a novel) that takes place between Black Flagged VEKTOR and Black Flagged REPRISALS (to be released in late 2015 or early 2016).

JET BLACK mixes Mossad operatives from Russell Blake’s bestselling JET series, with your favorite Black Flagged characters, in an explosive story that reignites the Black Flagged series.

Remember Dr. Reznikov, the twisted bioweapons scientist captured in Black Flagged Apex and “liberated” in Black Flagged Vektor? He’s back in circulation, and everyone wants him dead…as usual. JET BLACK is a pure adrenaline ride, imbedded with the kinds of clever twists and nuanced agency politics that defined the Black Flagged series.

Above all, readers will be introduced to Russell Blake’s femme fatale, Jet. I’ve read most of the JET series, and know you will enjoy getting to know the Mossad agent. She’s like Jessica Petrovich’s refined twin. Deadly, calculating, highly trained…get ready for an epic clash that will leave you reeling.

Grab a copy of JET BLACK now for $1.99!

Also, check out my interview with Russell Blake to learn more about my experience writing JET BLACK. 

BLURB for JET BLACK:

“At a luxury resort on the coast of Uruguay, Jet prepares her Mossad team for a daring attack against a Russian mafiya boss suspected of selling bioweapons to the Iranians. Simultaneously, Jessica Petrovich readies a small team of Black Flagged operatives with order to kill Dr. Anatoly Reznikov, the source of the mafiya bioweapons.

There’s only one problem—BOTH TARGETS ARE LOCATED IN THE SAME SUITE, and neither team knows the other is coming!

Two of the most lethal femme fatales in recent thriller history are about to come face to face in the explosive return of the Black Flagged saga.”

 

 

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Surviving KU 2.0

1235 Steve Konkoly KWPC cover_7I’ve thought long and hard about my strategy moving forward, and I’ve decided to…

WRITE THE BOOKS I LOVE AND PUBLISH THEM WITH AMAZON. 

THE SAME THING I’VE DONE SINCE THE BEGINNING. 

Somehow this has worked for me amidst all of the changes, controversy, new programs, tweaks to the programs and general shifts in the publishing landscape. I suspect it wasn’t a fluke. 

AND I’m not suggesting that I don’t have a plan. I DEFINITELY HAVE A PLAN, but it involves a steady, non-reactionary approach to building a career. In fact, I’ll share some exciting news with you next week that casts more light on this plan.

STEADY ON THE HELM WITH AN EYE ON THE HORIZON. 

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The Loyal Nine (Book One in The Boston Brahmin Series)

HAS ARRIVED!

1286 Konkoly & AKART_ebook THE LOYAL NINE_LLate last night, The Loyal Nine was delivered to Kindles around the world. Bobby Akart and I are like patriotic Santa Clauses, delivering books on Flag Day. Or something like that. I make this stuff up as I go.

I don’t know what else to say, other than…please download this epic conspiracy thriller. The premise is eye-opening, the action is intense and the conspiracy is earth shattering.

GRAB YOUR KINDLE COPY NOW! Readers outside of the US, CLICK HERE. 

NOT a fan of those newfangled e-reader things? GRAB A PAPER COPY!

Do you prefer to have a story read to you? You’ll have to wait until late July for the audiobook. It’ll be worth the wait.

THANK YOU! for helping to make this the best release to date.

Want to hang out (virtual world) with the authors? Join us tonight on Facebook, and if you’re more technologically inclined, hang out with us live on Google. Both events will happen simultaneously! CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK TO FACEBOOK…Google Hangout details can be found there.

Here’s what Bobby has to say about the party…IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PRIZES. Keep the selfies decent, or send them to Bobby if they aren’t. I have kids watching this. ;)

“Hi everyone and thanks for your interest in The Loyal Nine Launch Party. Steve Konkoly and Bobby Akart would like to announce some of the FREE PRIZES we plan on giving away. Here are the details:

Everyone who takes a selfie showing them with their downloaded copy of The Loyal Nine on their Kindle / iPad can be a winner. Simply post the selfie to your timeline and tag The Boston Brahmin, Steve Konkoly or Bobby Akart. You are an automatic winner! We will print your photo and autograph it. You will be contacted via Facebook Message to make arrangements to mail your autographed photo. But there is more.

By random draw, we will also give away 5 personalized, autographed copies of The Loyal Nine. This is our way of saying thanks for trying our new series.

The contest will run from Sunday through Tuesday evening at midnight EDT.”

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Countdown to The Loyal Nine

boston-brahmin-invite

 

We’re almost there! But first, you’re probably wondering…

WHAT IS A BOSTON BRAHMIN? 

Funny I should ask for you. Bobby Akart, my co-writer for the series (and brains behind the Boston Brahmin concept) explains it best in his most recent blog post.

JOHN ADAMS MORGAN: Head of the Boston Brahmin

In a nutshell, they are world power brokers descended from the nation’s founding fathers—specifically the rich and influential families of early New England. They even have their own accent, which continues to this date!

BOSTON BRAHMIN ACCENT on YouTube

JUNE 14th (FLAG DAY-No Coincidence) is the big RELEASE day, and we’re throwing a few parties to celebrate.

Facebook Launch Party from 6-8 PM EST with prizes and both Bobby and I interacting with fans and readers.

Live Google Hangout at the same time!  Bobby will post the specifics for that on the Facebook Launch Party platform. You can brave the Google waters and see us live. I’ll be in my new Indiana office, maybe I’ll be out on the screen porch—probably not…don’t want to ruin my reputation in the neighborhood yet.

While you’re waiting anxiously for the big day :) check out The Boston Brahmin Website. We’ve put up a ton of material related to the book and the process of creating this series. I know you’ll enjoy the historically based material that formed the basis for the series.

See you on Sunday!

 

 

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Secret Project Revealed

LoyalNinePreorderDiscountI have been collaborating with fellow author, Bobby Akart, on a sweeping, conspiracy oriented series called, The Boston Brahmin. The series will combine political suspense, Black Flagged style action and dystopian chaos.

The first book in the series is called THE LOYAL NINE, and will be available on June 14th—Flag Day (for a reason). PREORDER TODAY!

 

Bobby and I hope you check out the new series. It promises to be an insanely entertaining read. Conspiracy theory enthusiasts, black ops fans, political thriller readers, preppers…the BOSTON BRAHMIN SERIES fires on all of these cylinders.

Check out the BOSTON BRAHMIN WEBSITE

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Interview with Alex Shaw

The Perseid Collapse Kindle Worlds Interview Series

International man of mystery, ex-pat, author and father: Alex Shaw

Alex ShawThe Perseid Collapse Kindle World Interview series is back, and there’s no better author to mark its return than Alex Shaw. A U.K. native and international business consultant, Alex is uniquely suited to writing the world-spanning thrillers offered in his Aidan Snow novels—he’s either resided in or extensively visited most of the locations detailed in books. I can neither confirm nor deny whether he’s been to Maine, the setting for Black Line, his Kindle Worlds novella, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that his travels have brought him to the Maine coast. Without further delay, let’s have a chat with Sir Alex Shaw. I couldn’t resist that.

91hSmTvBwBL._SL1500_How did you link Black Line to The Perseid Collapse Kindle World? Is there any crossover or meetings between your characters and any of the original characters?

I linked my story by having it happen at the same time as the Perseid Collapse, but futher up the coast in Camden. None of the original characters appear in the first novella for the simple reason that I wanted to have as much freedom as possible with the story and characters.

And I presume you’ll deny colluding with Murray McDonald (another infamous denizen of the U.K.) to single handedly destroy another American city? I’m noticing a trend with the U.K. authors. ;)

I think you’ve capitalized on a unique feature of The Perseid Collapse Kindle World, by keeping the original characters out of your story. Stories can center on the collapse, and not my characters or specific events. This has the added benefit of widening the scope of writers that will feel comfortable writing in the world. The Perseid Collapse World isn’t reserved for post-apocalyptic writers.

That’s what attracted me to the concept. My story is very much a thriller, as this is what I generally write, and am most comfortable with.

As you know, I have a special place in my heart for covert operations thrillers—another reason I was “thrilled” to hear you were interested in writing for the world.

What major theme comes across the clearest in your story? Is this a theme found consistently in your other works?

The themes of Russian aggression and terrorism are present in my novels, which are partly set in Ukraine (Cold Blood, Cold Black and Cold East). These two themes are also present in Black Line, however the terrorism now emanates from China.

I heard a rumor that the Russians might be involved Black Line too. Sorry, small spoiler.

Let’s talk about your main character for a minute. I think readers will like Jack Tate. What can you tell us about him?

Jack Tate is a former member of the Special Air Service (SAS), who has been seconded to a new unit within the British Intelligence Service (SIS). He has been posted to the US, and is on vacation before starting his new role. I think readers will like Tate, as he sees the US from a foreigner’s point of view, and is not as jaded by any political, class or racial views. He is almost like one of King Arthur’s nights in his quest to protect the innocent, but he doesn’t ride a horse.

Are you saying Americans have strong views on politics? I’m not sure where you got that idea? ;) Tate is a fantastic character. I particularly appreciate his no nonsense approach and response to American customs and procedures. It’s a fascinating view through a unique set of eyes.

I couldn’t help notice that you like to write about SAS operatives—a trend that extends through your other novels. I’m sure readers that enjoy Black Line will want to know about your core series.

81UJKCNbSiL._SL1500_ 81r00-i5SbL._SL1500_ 81pxJGZ0e3L._SL1500_I wrote a series of thrillers with an ex-SAS character Aidan Snow: Cold Blood, Cold Black and Cold East. These deal more with Islamic terror and Russian aggression in Europe and the Middle East. In Black Line, Jack Tate is a way for me to explore what would happen if a character with the same training as Aidan Snow found himself in the US during a catastrophic, EMP induced collapse. Despite the similarity in character backgrounds, Tate is significantly different than Aidan Snow.

I also wrote the first, in what will be a series, of Military vampire books: Delta Force Vampire: Insurgency

Now I’m very intrigued. Maine has hosted its share of vampires in fiction. Most notably Stephen King’s novel, Salem’s Lot. This may sound crazy, but I think you could have brought your special operations vampires to Maine, and felt right at home. It would have been a Perseid Collapse first…not that I’m pressuring you. ;)

Speaking of pressure as a writer, most authors contributing to the The Perseid Collapse Kindle World reported that they nearly doubled their normal writing output. Did you experience something similar?

I found Black Line faster to write than my novels, as the pace was faster and the story required less research. Jack Tate is a tourist, and like me, he is seeing things for the first time.

Let’s shift to your background. Would you share some of your story about becoming a writer?

When I had the idea to start writing I was living in Ukraine and reading a lot of SAS thriller genre books, what these showed me was that although the authors, many former SAS members, knew their military and operational stuff, they did not know much about some of the locations they were using. One book mentioned Ukraine, briefly. As no one else was writing about Ukraine (the largest European country) I decided that I would. 

It took me 12 years to finish my first novel, I was writing on and off, and sometimes the off lasted a year at a time. I, like all aspiring writers, didn’t know if I could write so wanted to prove to myself that I could. I then took a year trying to get an agent or publisher and failed, before discovering CreateSpace and later KDP. When Kindle launched in the UK I suddenly started to sell quite a few copies. It wasn’t until five years later that, after having written two more books and some novellas, that I decided to approach publishers again. I approached five and got two offers. I now have a contract with Endeavour Press to publish my first three novels. 

That’s a fantastic success story. The world of writing and publishing has certainly changed, and you appear to embody the best of those changes. Do you have a background related to your writing? Interests?

I lived in Ukraine, and still visit when I can (my wife’s side of the family are in Kyiv), which is why I write about the place and the life of ex-pats, as I used to be one. I travelled extensively with my work in the past, so I generally try to write about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met. This is most noticeable in my second novel, Cold Black, when I write about Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Moscow and Kyiv. I wasn’t in the military or the Secret Intelligence Service, but have friends who have been in both, who are a great help to me. I’m interested in world affairs, which probably is apparent in my writing…and I tend to attempt to be funny.

I’d say your attempts at humor hit the mark. Conversing back and forth with you is always a pleasure.

This may seem like a silly question to you, but your answer will be informative for American readers. Are you a prepper or homesteader? How did you become interested in post-apocalyptic fiction?

We don’t tend to have preppers or homesteaders in the UK, but I do have a few spare tins in the cupboard. When I was kid I was fascinated by a fact I heard (it may have been nonsense) that in Sweden all new houses had to be built with nuclear fall-out shelters underneath. My Nan had an old WW2 underground shelter in her back garden which had been filled in and I used to daydream about what it would be like to use it. I suppose the Walking Dead really rekindled my interest in post-apocalyptic fiction but what also annoyed me (and made me want to write for the Perseid Collapse Kindle World) was that they only showed a very small part of the picture in the US. I wanted to know what happened in the UK, or in the Caribbean or on a military submarine base or in the Artic. Could, would and did it also happen there?

I think the Cold War and the nuclear threat stoked the post-apocalyptic fires around the world…not to mention The Walking Dead. Would it be fair to say that you still see nuclear weapons as the most likely threat today?

At the moment I think the biggest threat to world stability is the possibility of an idiot detonating a nuclear weapon. Be it the Islamic State, Putin or the fat baby in charge of North Korea.

The skinny, underfed Generals surrounding Kim Jong Un wouldn’t agree with you. In their eyes, he’s svelte!

What are you working on next, aside from a vampire installment to The Perseid Collapse Series World?

My third Aidan Snow novel, COLD EAST, was published a few weeks ago. It follows the storyline of a missing suitcase nuke that has been found by al-Qaeda. But being a thriller, it’s not that simple. The question quickly becomes: who really has the nuke and what is the target?

Ah, the good ole’ days of twists and turns. I wrote more of those than I care to admit in the Black Flagged books.

Beyond my latest release, I have three works in progress, which will hopefully appear later in the year. One is my second military vampire novel, the second is a crime novel and the third is an offshoot of the Aidan Snow books.

Sounds like you’ll be busier than ever this year, which is a good feeling!

Check out Alex Shaw’s website at http://www.alexwshaw.com, where you can find news and links to all of his works.

Of course, don’t forget to check out Black Line, Alex’s novella for The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World.

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