Questions and Answers Session Interview Transcript

The Dancing Librarian’s Bulletin Board for Frolicking Fun Reads is a real world real corkboard, littered with book reviews, in a real world library, for real world readers. She writes them mostly for fantasy and science fiction releases, and tuned toward the young adult audience.

The following is a transcript from a Questions and Answers portion of a live interview we did, where I talk about writing, my books, my process, and other interesting writerly things.

DANCING LIBRARIAN: Hello, and please welcome Sean O’Donnell, author of the Sage and the Arcane Order series, with the first Trilogy, called Elevation, of a planned five trilogy series arc. He also has a standalone book set in the same Universe, called Dacha Rising.

SEAN O’DONNELL: Thank you for having me. And thank you for reading and reviewing my books. Even if you don’t have a blog online, where you can post them for the world to see. (laughs)

DL: Yes, I know I’m beyond old-fashioned.

SO: Only kidding. Even though you have computers and ebooks and an awesome blu-ray section here, the stacks of books are still my favorite thing to browse through here. And reading in-house reviews of books is what makes this place, and libraries everywhere, so great.

DL: Giving recommendations is my favorite part of the job. And reading great books written by local authors is always a treat. We are lucky to have a strong pool of talent in the area, so welcome aboard.

SO: Well, thanks so much. This is a new adventure for me, and getting everything in order and out there, marketing and publicity-wise, is the next big piece of the puzzle. You know, now that the sixteen hundred pages of fiction I’ve labored over has finally being brought out into the world.

DL: Those thick three-ring binders were certainly daunting at first glance! (laughs) They almost got me to reconsider my boycott of ebook readers.

SO: Well, I can’t wait to hand you the real printed versions. Which I am doing the final proofing on now, so the smell of fresh ink is right around the corner. A very long and winding corner, at that. But, the flicker of light is twinkling ahead. But, it has been fun to learn about all the different aspects of typesetting and book design.

DL: Well, the proof copy you have here is very impressive. It is amazing what an enterprising author can do on their own these days.

SO: Truly a wealth of resources out there. Technology has grown by such leaps and bounds that the point of entry, with a professional looking book in hand, is a very achievable task. Not that there still isn’t a learning curve, which at times feels steep, but not insurmountable.

DL: From your “about me” page on your website, I noticed you have a history of entrepreneurial endeavors. Did that background influence your decision to launch your writing career as an indie author?

SO: Only after discovering how much action and excitement there was in the self-publishing world. I graduated college with an English writing degree, before falling down the rabbit hole of small business ownership. So, as I began writing long form fiction again (I had written a pair of “practice” novels, as well as trying my hand at writing and selling a handful of screenplays) I began bouncing loglines and potential query letter openings around in my mind. Fully expecting to launch into the route of trying to get an agent, and land a traditional publisher.

I had ideas for some fun interactive ebooks, though I wasn’t even reading ebooks at the time, and began to investigate. I thought (or imagined) that I had read somewhere how ebook rights were one of the rights authors kept to manage on their own when signing a book deal. Maybe it was the JK Rowling exception I had read about?

I discovered that was not the case, and over the course of several hours found the deals (and hoopla) surrounding Hugh Howey and the hybrid structure he had managed to carve out for himself. Everything he said made sense, and I knew I planned to start as an indie from that point forward.

I think as long as one can focus on the writing, and improve with every book, all options remain on the table. In the past few years, we’ve seen wonderful success stories on both sides of the divide. I have a large epic tale in the making, with lots of side avenues and standalones to augment my schedule, so I’m planning to make them all work to build a following which will be there for the books, regardless of how they ultimately get delivered.

DL: Yes, the story is, and always has been, the key! Speaking of story, or stories plural, I should say, tell us about Sage and the Arcane Order, and this Arcane Universe, which is where your other two books are located.

SO: Yes, we have a plateful to discuss here! (laughs) I guess when I read that it can be helpful for an unknown with a series on the way to drop several books at once, I took it to heart. Or further.

DL: Five books over a couple of months is quite the launch!

SO: Only in the Indieverse does that even make sense, or have the chance of happening. Though I do plan to do as many launchy things (laughs) —yes, my word. As a small indie with little in the way of a budget, I felt having as many books out in the wild as I could muster, when I do push every marketing and publicity button I can get my little paws on, could have a compound effect on the effort. Plus, as an unknown entity, I can entice people with a great introductory deal on the first one. You know, standard selfie operating procedure.

DL: Right, I tend to see free or discounted first in series books from a lot of indie authors.

SO: If you can manage the output, and have a full series coming together beyond the first book, giving away the first one for free can work the same as a strong paid campaign. Or so people keep telling me. It has worked wonders for some authors, and barely nudged the needle for others. In the end, flexibility and a tenacious desire to get books into readers hands will probably be what gets the job done.

DL: Speaking of getting the job done… (laughs)

SO: Right, some salesman I am. (laughs) So, the Arcane Universe is my fictional alternate reality where science fiction, space opera, and fantasy actually exist in our present day, here on Earth. Sage, the title character in the main series, is a girl from Earth who grew up next to one of the most powerful Mages (or techno-wizard, I guess) in the entire Universe. Who, naturally, isn’t from Earth, which is where all the gallivanting across galaxies comes into play.

The Elevation Trilogy, or books one through three in the series, tells the tale of Sage’s ascension into the ranks of the Arcane Order, which is the ten-billion-year-old secret society that her mentor, Simon, is a high-ranking member of. Her Elevation takes place on her sixteenth birthday, after eight years of studying as an Elementary Mage.

DL: Eight years is about the length of a certain young wizard’s tale of being taught magic, though I see you chose not to tell Sage’s learning in a linear fashion.

SO: No, I decided to base the story through her eyes as a teenager, even if I did originally create the character and storyline as a third-grader. But that’s a story we’ll save for the Wikipedia entry. (laughs)

DL: Yes, this concept was a fun special effects filled web series to start with.

SO: Indeed. Lots of fun, playing with the kids next door, doing green screen work and adding effects. I do have back burner plans to fill out that phase of her life with a comic book series, or an animated show. Netflix, are you listening? (laughs) Okay, I’ll try to steer the ship back on course.

The tale of Sage will be told as a Pentatrix, or a set of five trilogies. Each will have its own flavor, though those terms are dictated by the position within the context of the story. In the Elevation trilogy, my goal is to establish all the characters, or a bulk of them (laughs) for there are a lot of moving parts in this thing! And bridge the rules of the Universe, the highlights of Sage’s indoctrination, while dealing with the huge fact that her beloved mentor and teacher has been catapulted through a channel out of our Universe.

DL: I am not going to lie to you, it was a very ambitious undertaking.

SO: Typically, a linear progression keeps everything more orderly. The time-space of her story is actually set after the climax of the third trilogy, where she is dealing with an immense sense of loss, and carries the heavy burden of guilt believing she could well be responsible for Simon’s disappearance. Whose fate is unknown.

To allow me to jump back and forth in time, between the present when the entire Order is devising their plan to enter this mystery void channel and head into the unknown to rescue Simon, and Sage’s past, I decided to toy with the idea of flashbacks, but turn them into journal entries that all the Mages of the Order are supposed to log.

And that she has been delinquent in doing, probably because has been busy careening from one adventure to another. But, now she is forced into some downtime and has been commanded (literally by a Queen) to complete her overdue entries.

It is also one of the requirements of the Mage, and what allows them to ascend to higher rankings, which she wasn’t aware of. So, that’s a pretty big carrot on a stick out in front of her. Anyway, in the story, it helps keep her busy, mind off more serious matters, and gets to fill the reader in on how she ended up on a star yacht far from Earth, with a team of incredibly powerful players.

DL: As well as helping to build up the vivid world you crafted. There is no doubt, the richness and imaginative aspects of the locations, starships, and distinct characters you have filled this alternative universe with really help sell the story.

SO: Every successful work of science fiction and fantasy has needed comprehensive and engaging worlds that allowed the reader to get truly absorbed in. It’s the only way they can work. If you can also create characters who elicit empathy and evoke a full range of emotions, and make the individual threads of each storyline pull a reader in enough to care about the characters, then you are pushing toward those rare books and series that transcend genre and can carry any reader to a satisfying ending.

Of course, every writer probably starts out with that goal. (laughs) So, at least with space fantasy, which is how I would characterize the flavor of this series, you are going to get lush worlds, amazing star yachts, with really cool gadgets and scrumptious feasting. And hopefully, the cast of characters are drawn richly enough and feel fully three-dimensional, that people can feel at home with them, and grow into the relationships alongside Sage. That’s where stories really come alive. In the relationships between characters.

DL: Like the Sage/Simon relationship?

SO: Exactly. Through all the older stories of how generous, caring, and the degree to how strongly his belief was in her, you can empathize with what she must be going through. Even when everyone is by her side, and at her back, reassuring her it wasn’t her fault. Here was someone who not only took her under his magical wing, he literally took her across half the known Universe. Sixteen years old and she has seen more than all of humanity combined. And is more powerful, too, even if she may not fully realize it yet.

DL: Yes, the power of this group seems unlimited. And they were built to do good. Was it a conscious decision to make the Arcane Order a true paragon of all things right and virtuous?

SO: Pretty much. My appetite for dystopias is waning, so I felt no desire to write about a powerful and malevolent group. There are some noxious baddies in there, but I was eager to take on the challenge of how an organization built to do good, and one that can’t stray from that purpose if they are to tap into the raw cosmic power around them, would deal with a ruthless presence bent on wreaking havoc on their peaceful existence.

Of course, it is at the end of book three, and no more spoilers, I promise, that we find out the nature of the conflict, and how all the rules are coming apart at that seams. But, I liked the idea of having a strong and true coalition for my main crew of characters. Kind of like the Magnificent Seven, or Ocean’s Eleven, or those crazy Fast and Furious guys and gals! (laughs)

They are basically family. None of that backstabbing, reality television ratings-grab stuff. Which keeps our teenage Earth girl on her toes, and then some. It makes it more of a challenge to keep the stakes high, since there are fewer inside variables, but I felt the feeling of camaraderie and bond of brothers (or, ha, more like sisters) vibe was a powerful fit alongside the setting of magic and wonder I tried to keep in the story, almost as its own character.

DL: And the dinner table! I’ve never had so many pangs of hunger from completely imaginary foods. (laugh)

SO: I may have gotten carried away with the menu presentation! (laughs)

DL: Well, it worked! I would say a highlight was your talent for describing this strange world to create some evocative imagery. Many times I wished I could go visit one of the locations or just catch a ride on one of those amazing spaceships.

SO: (laughs) Well, thanks! And I certainly felt the same way with a lot of those settings as I was writing them. In fact, I am missing a few right now. That’s the great benefit of not writing a dystopia. Nobody wants to go near the worlds in dystopias!

The places in my novels are not utopias, per se, just planets and peoples who have figured it out, and are doing it a little better than we are. At the moment. I still have hope reason will prevail, and we can put all of our immense knowledge, a touch of that elusive compassion, and shape a future that isn’t so confrontational and narrowminded. We have accomplished a lot together and hopefully will do so again. But, until then, come escape into my Universe!

DL: I did. All three books of the series (Sage and the Arcane Order) have a strong escapism pull, for that reason you mentioned. Good people, treating each other with respect and kindness, in some very cool places.

SO: Scary worlds also offer up the same pull, because you are reading from the safety of the sidelines. As we encounter in Dacha Rising. But, I wanted to create a place and a team that you wanted to, not just visit, but move to and become a part of. I also made a conscious decision to make this about one lone girl from Earth, granted the most incredible opportunity in the world, and who has to keep it a secret from everyone in order to be able to seize hold of it. Kind of the opposite to how every other storyline is working these days. What with magic schools, camps, and all that.

DL: Hogwarts, Camp Half-Blood, Brakebills College…

SO: Right. I opted to treat this as more of the sorcerer and apprentice type of relationship, though she is part of a class of studying Mages. However, since they are located in galaxies all across the Universe, they only come together for events, camps, and competitions. In the comic book series I mentioned, those get-togethers would play a more prominent role. And on the animated television series. (A playful cough) Seriously, I hope you’re listening, Netflix.

Now, one of the reasons the school type setting works so well, even if I have heard some grumbling that the concept is getting old, is that you can introduce several supporting characters to help shoulder the load of the story. When a lead works with others it can build up her status, while also playing off others can expose and ground her shortcomings. Together, a symbiosis and structure, that sustains and propels the eventual growth of the hero.

Plus, setting the story alongside peers opens up the audience, and gives them more choices of someone to identify with. Many people end up with a personal favorite character that is not the lead one.

DL: Though with Harry Potter, I think most fans loved Harry, and they had a strong second favorite.

SO: Absolutely. You need a strong, identifiable, and root-worthy focal point. One who is down with sharing the spotlight. Otherwise, a fabulous secondary character will languish, and the story, on the whole, will probably falter. Placing the propulsion of the story on the back of a focal lead is scary stuff, for you have to make her likable, but relatable. She has to have something special, but can’t be perfect. It is like alchemy, to get a lead like that just right.

Sage, being the focus of the story, needs to carry the most weight. She has entered an arena no one on Earth has ever seen and witnessed and toyed with powers beyond comprehension. But, all is not well in the Universe, and some of what she has been offered may come with a higher price than she expected.

These days kids are programmed like crazy. They are learning and competing and have helped establish quite the tween and teen service industry. I remember learning lots of fun stuff from neighbors and the guy who worked at the corner store. Just hanging out. More free mentorship, than paid agenda.

That’s how I treated the Sage/Simon relationship. Of course, I guess I am also playing with fire, for Simon’s mentorship pulls Sage into an ancient society of intergalactic techno-wizards. And being one of the most powerful beings in creation, he may have sucked her into more than she can handle. That’s where the real story lies. In this trilogy, we follow along as she learns magic and Elevates into rarefied company, but also into the middle of a blossoming situation where she may play a more important role than she realized.

DL: A steeper price to her power than she bargained for?

SO: Right. And the wager placed by someone who never loses, and isn’t used to considering worst case scenarios. So, there are some gray areas that are settling out as the story unfolds. The final price is always in the fine print. But, it is inside their special relationship that one sees what bonds them so strongly. His unbreakable confidence, both in himself and in her, and her reaching out for it, to use it to pull her own self-confidence up. Knowing that she will need it. Not just for herself, but to help this man of immeasurable power. So, that part is pretty thrilling.

DL: Everybody has had that dream. To be called upon by the captain of the team, to go make the great play and win the day.

SO: Or go down swinging! (laughs)

DL: Oh no! Somehow I don’t see that happening in this story.

SO: Yes, I think I’ve teased my desire to let this one run the whole “good triumphs over evil” course. But, that doesn’t mean things won’t go spiraling down the maelstrom into dark waters here and there. Well, Simon has already been sucked downstream, but there will be some more turbulence coming. In fact, it has been hinted out throughout the novels, since little snippets of the adventures that lay ahead have been mentioned.

That is one of my favorite parts as a writer, who has committed to telling this sweeping story through the wide lens of an epic tale. Coupled with the fact that she is recounting the first half of the tale while preparing for the second half, allows for lots of sneak peeks to incredible adventures ahead.

DL: Well, I think we’ve provided plenty of teasers and sneak peeks already today. Let’s talk about your other two books that are releasing in close proximity to the first trilogy of your Sage and the Arcane Order series.

SO: Sure. Sorry if I kept us in tangent mode for the last coffee and a half. (laughs)

DL: No, not at all. I found it fascinating that you have such a clear direction in regards to your first novel, or series. For it is an incredibly complex story, with a lot of moving pieces and players on the board. You have chosen a challenging method of telling the tale, for changing times and places within a story is always tricky, especially one as rich as this. There is a lot going on here. I could have used a glossary to help keep everything straight!

SO: Ha. There’s one in the works. I have a quasi-wiki glossary type thing that I refer to, in order to try and keep everything straight. The story came to me as a richer than rich tale, with a simple bond between a young girl from Earth, grabbing hold of opportunity by the horns, and growing along every step of the process, and the uber-powerful mentor who needs her help, above all the other powerful members of his group.

The key will be finding an audience that loves to become totally immersed in a fantastical world, isn’t in a hurry to ‘just get there,’ and has the patience to let the story seep in. Luckily, there are lots of fun action set pieces along the way. They always help. My audience also can’t be intimidated by a robust vocabulary, my love of adjectives and adverbs, and some pretty rich writing.

DL: I’ll say. The writing has some splendid moments that I feel might transcend the typical young adult, or science fiction and fantasy audience. As your vocabulary most certainly does. (laughs)

SO: My dad read me the Hobbit when I was five, and it was the first real book I read myself. With the Lord of the Rings coming when I was eight or nine. I absolutely loved reading challenging adult fare when I was little and was never intimidated by strange words. The more I could learn, and sprinkle throughout conversations, the better. And so, I did not write down to a younger audience, probably seeing my younger self amongst them.

Yes, someone wrote me a note saying they were surprised to find a PG style story, with Ph.D. style writing! Which I found pretty amusing, though I can’t deny it. Luckily, every ebook reader is one click away from a definition. And every phone can do the same. Ha, some do both at the same time!

DL: You mentioned Dacha Rising, which is a second series set within the overall world of your stories. It felt like a more contained, and almost a complete story, even if it is part of a series.

SO: Yes, Dacha Rising does work as a standalone. Whereas the Sage series is truly one massive story that is meant to work on the more epic scale, Dacha Rising singles in on one famous incident within the Arcane Order, and Dacha just happened to find herself smack in the middle of it.

DL: Literally. It almost read like a thriller.

SO: Yes, since she is such an action-oriented character, I wanted to make her origin story as dynamic and explosive as she is. This story originally started as a special novella project, to be used to offer as a freebie to thank people who were checking out the main series. But, the story took hold of me and reached for the stars. Next thing I knew, a full-fledged novel was on the way.

It was also a great trial run for me since it was told in a different narrative style. The Elevation trilogy was told strictly in the first person, except for a few journal entries of Simon, while Dacha Rising is told completely in the third person. This allowed all the different points of the story to happen simultaneously, and for us to follow along with the journeys of several different players. So, it allowed me to flesh out several origin stories of people who figure prominently in the greater Sage realm.

I loved being able to take people who have been in more supportive roles, and have come off a little reserved during Sage’s first three books, and let them burst into action. The Arcane Order rarely gets involved in conflicts, but here they flex a little muscle and provide for a great action romp.

Dacha Rising is both a sneak peek at the action that lies ahead in the second trilogy of the Sage and the Arcane Order series, and also a glance at how the narration of the second part will be presented. Like Dacha Rising, trilogy two will be told in a straight linear fashion. So, the story will pick up where it left off at the end of book three, and plow straight through to the end of book six. And there will be action. Lots and lots of action.

DL: Told in the third person, from many perspectives?

SO: Exactly, to allow me to spread the story across many locations, for the pieces are starting to chug into motion now. I felt it worked great in Dacha Rising, though I had wanted to use first-person to introduce Sage, and her perspective on this wondrous world she had entered and ground the reality of it through her eyes.

I will still use first-person for every chapter that she is in, naturally. So, the next trilogy will be yet another narrative structure, combining a third-person vantage for all the outlying bits and pieces of the upcoming adventures, and Sage’s personal story as she navigates through them herself.

This is when the Sage and the Arcane Order series takes off. We got introduced to the world and learned the rules of the road, so to speak. Now, we are going inside, to where everything erupts and puts Sage to the task, one trial after another. Poor thing! (laughs)

DL: So you were waiting for Sage to hit sixteen, celebrate her birthday and Elevation, before throwing her to the wolves?

SO: Well, she did have her harrowing trip with Rosemary. And she came face to face with the Red Vorgon Baroness early in book one. But, in Dacha Rising, we get an up close and personal view of the enemy. And they are a rather nasty lot. So, Sage is heading into some hostile territory soon. I can’t wait. I think you can tell how much I enjoyed writing Dacha’s tale!

DL: It was much grimmer in setting, but I felt the tone was still optimistic and almost ethereal. I guess that is the foundation of the Arcane Order?

SO: Probably. Or my own personal feelings flavoring the overall theme? Even though there are no members of the Arcane Order present in Stranded on Planet Earth, I think some of that same vibe flows through the writing there, as well. I think my desire for optimism and righteousness in the world is texturing the underpinnings of my writing voice?

DL: If it’s any consolation, I found them all to be refreshing reads. It is nice having good people win the day, and questionable people do the right things in the end.

SO: The grimdark enveloping so many works these days needs some counterbalance. So, I’m happy to pitch in. Not that any of my characters are perfect, but I am moved to write my leads with a sense of right and wrong.

DL: So, you state that Stranded on Planet Earth is part of the Arcane Universe, though one would probably need to be a super fan of the other books to catch the fleeting references.

SO: True. Stranded works as a standalone, and only dips its toes into the Arcane waters here. I guess being a first contact, alien love story at heart, that alone pushes it a little closer. But, the Order is barely mentioned in passing, and one could read the book without needing any extra knowledge of the wider world already established.

It is in books two and three that members we have met in the other series’ drop in, but let’s save that for next year’s lunch date! In fact, rewind this bit and we’ll just move along. (laughs)

DL: Yes, all these different series must really keep you on your toes, spoiler-wise? I think what pushes this away from the others, too, is that it is a period piece. Set in the nineteen sixties. Why did you choose that timeframe?

SO: It is integral to the overall Arcane Universe timeline. I had written this as a screenplay several years back, and reverse engineered it back into this novel. As well as figuring out a fun way to incorporate it into the full story. But, this book and the series as a whole can easily exist to some readers in isolation.

I’ve been getting a little sick of every alien first contact story being about invasions, and malevolent forces descending upon Earth. I loved the idea of making this a personal story about two families, who were both stranded in their own way. So, you have an Earth family, coming face to face with aliens, only to find a family with similar problems.

And naturally, throw in two cute teenagers of the opposite sex, from different planets, and your story has combustion. To have family dynamics to explore, and issues of trust, generosity, and charity in play, I thought there was a lot of potential to explore humanity through the eyes both the humans, as well as these troubled guests they have met.

DL: Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, as well as the Cold War, this really did feel like it could have been written in that era. What with all the anti-war sentiment during that time.

SO: Naturally, when you have an innocent family, just trying to get home and being on the wrong side of the border, it will bring that out. Especially when they are being hunted, even as their own fight for survival gets harder. The story touches upon people’s rights, to some degree, which does hit home today, as well.

It is not hard to imagine what would happen to the family, especially with a young child amongst them, if they were captured by a squad of mercenary commandos. Especially with a war going on, and a cold war chugging away as well. Anything that different would be seen as such a threat, which continues to hit home, to this day, on so many levels.

Humans have always been tribal, and easily follow an alpha dog’s lead when confronted with something outside the norm.

DL: The multiple points of view worked great to illustrate the complexity of this case scenario. The hunters being scared and protective, making their aggressive posturing that much more palpable. While the two families bonding over typical family dynamics, under the greatest of challenges, raised the stakes dramatically. And with the whole E.T. phone home thing pushing it along in the background.

SO: Ha, yes I hadn’t thought about that as I was writing it. But, there are a couple of similarities to both stories. I’ve just about locked the final rewrite so it’s safe to say I like the direction and tone of the story. But, this one is very much a thriller, where the stakes keep getting raised at every turn. And for everybody involved.

DL: Yes, it reads more like a thriller, than science fiction. Though the forbidden love story aspect of the teenagers is pure science fiction! So, when is this one due?

SO: The plan was to release it close to the others, but the publishing side of things has me rethinking when to set it free. I’m still figuring out the whens and wheres of the game, and how to bolster support, early reviews, exposure, and all that. So, I will probably take my time with this one, as opposed to the other four, which I wanted to get out into the marketplace and figure out how to steer people toward them on the fly.

I don’t have any following right now, so this is a slow and long game I have committed to. My next push is to try and find people to review the books, which should also help me get a feel for the target audience for the books. The Sage series, and its cousins, is a bit of a mashup between science fiction and fantasy, so I may find adventurous readers in both camps who could enjoy the melding of the two.

But, exposure is everything. And reviews help tremendously with that. Sometimes a person may be intrigued, but shrug off a book that hasn’t got any reviews, or only a few. They may plan to check it out later, and often don’t find their way back to it. So, one has to be persistent, and wrangle enough feedback to help a person make that final decision to give it a whirl.

There are a lot of books and options for readers out there, but countless ways to get them to give your book a try. The problem is figuring them out. And finding the right audience who would love the story you are offering them. For there are many audiences for many types of reads. Connecting the two is pure un-writerly marketing logistics. The business side of indie publishing that is crucial, but not part of most writer’s skill set.

Aside from pestering friends to rate books and leave reviews! (laughs) But, you have to ask and push, since often only one out of a hundred buyers will go ahead and actually leave a review. And they can make the difference between a person who is interested but needs a little social proof to take the plunge. But, with the long game, the goal is to find those people who love the books you are writing.

For many writers, it just takes time, persistence, and optimism. Especially when you don’t have lots of money, or a large established platform to jump to the head of the line. But, anything can happen at any stage of the game. And chance favors the prepared. And fortune favors the brave!

DL: Well, the books are really fun, imaginative, and well written. So, hopefully, your persistence pays off, and you find your audience. Without losing too many friends! (laughs) Thank you for taking the time to talk about your books, and share your experiences bringing them out into the world as an independent author. I think we all learned a lot today.

SO: Thanks again for having me.