Self-publishing, editing, body language, and a deathly Initiate.

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Sharlene Almond to my blog. Her latest novel, Initiated to Kill, came out recently, and she has just finished writing her fourth, which looks at, among other things, the bubonic plague and conspiracy theories. If that intrigues you, find some virtual coffee and cookies (gluten free - I want to share) and enjoy our conversation. 

Hi Sharlene. I read that you self-published first, then found a publisher, which is something I did too with some of my books. Can you tell us why you self-published? And what do you like about having a real publisher?

I self-published to enable me to contact reviewers to review my books, while at the same time contacting publishers. Quick-starting the process meant I could get a fair idea of what readers wanted through reviews, and publishers could get a look to see what readers liked etc.

The best thing about having a publisher is that they cover all the editing, book cover work etc, without me having to pay out for things to get done. I have also noticed that quite a few book reviewers won’t review self-published authors, or some think because a person self-published that the book won’t be very good.

Admittedly, I do think my novel is much better done by a professional editor.

I review quite a lot of self-published books, as well as ones released by publishers, so I guess I'm not one of those who would have said no. But I'm interested in your comment about professional editors. I read that you're trained in editing and proofreading, so I'd assumed you wouldn't need to pay someone to edit your work. 

Although I have been trained in that, because I have read my manuscripts so much, it’s easy to miss the small things. As the saying goes ‘two eyes make better than one’. The more eyes on it, the more likely things will get picked up.

Do you have any advice for people who might feel they have to self-edit? What do you think is the most important thing to remember?

While working on my second book, I thought I had picked up as much as I could. But coming back to it a year later to make sure I’ve covered everything, I have picked up heaps of things that I previously missed.

Of course, with working with a traditional publisher, thankfully I don’t have to pay for the editing.

That's certainly an advantage, and one I've really enjoyed now I have a publisher. So, moving on to a  different sort of language, I know you've studied body-language; how do you think that feeds into your writing? Can you offer other writers any tips?

My main character, Annabella Cordova is deaf, so the main way she communicates is through body language and facial expressions. Although I did plenty of research about this, actually studying this topic enabled me to give the character a more authentic feel to what she does.

Personally, in any good thriller/mystery book, adding an element of interpreting body language makes it a great read. Everyone can benefit from understanding body language.

And because I go into detail about this aspect, it makes it a bit different than other thrillers that might just skim over the topic.

Do you think body language changes with time and place, or is it truly a universal language?  You write a blend of historical and present day plots, set in different locations, so I'm guessing that's something you'd have thought about.

Body language is completely universal. Humans are incapable of not communicating. Whether it be someone displaying obvious signs of anxiety or anger, to someone just sitting completely still and not speaking.

Everything we do communicates to others, and because a lot of our body language is subconscious, we also cannot control some of what we put across. In that millisecond, our true feelings are exposed, and even the most accomplished liar cannot control that.

So, whether it be historical or present day, our unconscious brain sends signals that cause an automatic reaction, before the conscious kicks in.

The only thing I would say, is that people are becoming more accomplished liars; whether it be through psychopathic tendencies or pathological liars, people are learning more to mask their inner feelings. But if someone is trained and observant, no one can truly hide everything…

That's comforting, I guess. So, finally, I have to ask you the obvious question. Please can you tell us where you and your books can be found on the internet.

I’m on a variety of social media platforms, which I am happy to connect with people that want to learn more about me and my books:

Thank you so much Sharlene. It's been lovely to host you. I hope you enjoyed the virtual coffee, and I'll look forward to reading Initiated to Kill and posting my reviews.

MORE ABOUT THE BOOK: Two men from two different generations, both initiated into a powerful organization that throughout history has sought control and uses their power for destruction. They leave behind a wake of murder, manipulation and ancient secrets. 

The first man wreaks havoc in and around the Whitechapel district of London, England in the 19th century. While the other stalks his victims in the cosmopolitan city of Seville, Spain in the 21st century; knowing that only he could uncover the true motives of one of the world’s most infamous serial killers—Jack the Ripper. 


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