Friday, June 20, 2014

Interview with A.S. Bond, author of Patriot

A.S. Bond

A.S Bond is the pen name of Alexandra Pratt, an internationally acclaimed travel writer and journalist. As the author of seven previous books, Alexandra’s own adventures have taken her around the world, from the cloud forests of Central America to D.C.’s corridors of power. When writing Patriot, Alexandra drew on her experience of leading an award-winning canoe expedition in Labrador, later the subject of Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories; A Woman’s Journey to the Heart of Labrador (HarperCollins , 2002 and Eye Books 2005). Like her heroine, Brooke Kinley, Alexandra has also lived in Washington D.C. and worked as a journalist. Now married and based in the west of England, Alexandra works as a freelancer and also writes adventure thrillers under the pen name A.S.Bond. Patriot is the first title in her Adventure / Political Thriller series of Brooke Kinley Adventures. For more information and the latest news, visit http://brookekinleyadventures.com/




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About The Book

Patriot

Title: Patriot, A Brooke Kinley Adventure
Author: A.S. Bond
Publisher: Castle Books
Publication Date: April 24, 2014
Pages: 346
ISBN: 978-1497519541
Genre: Adventure / Political Thriller
Format: Kindle / Nook / Paperback

Patriot is an Adventure / Political Thriller that is a cross between Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt meets Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum. The book can be compared to Tom Clancy, or Robert Ludlum.

What would you do for your country? In Afghanistan, a US Army Patrol is devastated by an enemy with sophisticated weaponry, while in D.C., Pentagon staffer Scott Jenson tips off the ambitious young reporter Brooke Kinley about a billionaire businessman’s involvement in terrorism. But why is the White House determined to protect this businessman, and why does the answer seem to lie in the Canadian wilderness? In a dangerous journey to the remotest parts of the world and the darkest corners of men’s hearts, Brooke races to prevent a catastrophic attack on America, but can she uncover the real traitor?

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Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE


Author Interview


Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

My earlier published books (written as Alexandra Pratt) have all been about true life adventures, whether that’s my own as in Lost Lands Forgotten Stories, which was an account of my canoe expedition across Labrador in Canada, or other people’s, as in The Day The Island Exploded, which told the story of my father-in-law’s escape from an erupting volcanic island in Antarctica. I’ve had lots of other adventures and experiences that, for one reason or another, didn’t make it into a book (although I do write travel features for magazines), so I decided to draw on this well-spring of experience and curiosity about the world for a fictional title. Choosing to write an adventure thriller was a no-brainer at that point and my heroine, Brooke Kinley, came into being very quickly! She’s now as real a person to me as anyone I’ve ever met.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Writing Patriot, A Brooke Kinley Adventure was much harder than I thought I would be. I’m a journalist and a non-fiction author (writing as Alexandra Pratt) and that’s really tough to do. I thought writing fiction would be so much easier. Virtually no research! Characters unconstrained by reality! No, no no. Devising the plot was my first challenge, especially thinking of something original (it is amazing how fragments of things you’ve read spring into your mind and masquerade as original ideas). I tend to start with the concept, then break it down into main elements and then down again into chapters, then I go through it to ensure I have all the twists in the right place, no loose ends etc. Then I start writing and it all goes up in the air again! I had to do lots and lots of research (although I could take liberties with some things. Patriot is a thriller, after all!). Everyone has their own approach; a good friend of mine who is also an author just starts writing and sees where it takes him. I could never do that. The big tip I would give anyone is this; when the manuscript is completed, put it in a drawer for a while. A good long while. Then, take it out and re-read with fresh eyes. It is amazing how many characterization problems, plot flaws and typos will jump out at you. Then, get a professional editor to go over it. Don’t skimp here by asking your friend or aunty who ‘likes to read’. Editors and proofreaders are professionals and you can’t produce a professional work without them.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Patriot is self published and this was a very difficult decision for me, because I’ve been a traditionally published author for the past 18 years. I turned down a three book deal from an American publisher to go ‘indie’ with this, my first thriller, and it’s been quite a journey! Most new authors just don’t realize that a book deal with a traditional publisher (large or small) does not mean there is a huge publicity budget assigned to you (or even any budget at all). There won’t be launch parties, national book tours or huge advances. All this is reserved for a tiny handful of (very) well established authors. The rest get a few press releases and some social media. Everything else you must do yourself. You then have a few weeks to make a splash in sales before your book quietly disappears from bookshelves. And with it your dreams. Now that self publishing has become truly possible in the past few years, there are, in my opinion, just three reasons to go with a mainstream publisher; the biggest is ‘kudos’. Nothing says ‘I’m a real author’ like the name of a familiar publishing house on the spine of your book. Secondly, most of the mainstream press is wary of reviewing self published books and that’s a real drawback, although it is changing, slowly. Thirdly, maybe you don’t know enough about publishing (business, technology, marketing etc), or have the time to do all the other jobs required to launch a book. These are all good reasons, which is why I struggled with the decision to go indie for almost two years. I’m not saying I won’t ever sign with a traditional publisher again, but I’d need a very good reason to hand over 75-93% of my book’s revenue to someone else.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

With Patriot, A Brooke Kinley Adventure as my first self published novel, I was surprised at just how much hard work is involved! I approached it as professionally as any publishing company and just managing the entire process was a full time job for several months. First, I had to research all the options for self publishing, right down to the minutiae of ISBN numbers, distribution options etc. This took two months. Then, I had to organize the editing, the formatting, the jacket design, the publishing (print and ebook), the marketing, my business arrangements and make everything run to schedule. I have new respect for publishers. Doing it yourself means doing the job of at least five professional people – and that is in addition to doing your own job, as author.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I am working on the next Brooke Kinley Adventure and I can reveal here that it will be titled Messiah. And no, it has no religious theme in the way we would understand it today. That’s just to keep you guessing! This book will take my heroine Brooke once again to a remote part of the world, where her adventures lead her into a situation with international ramifications. As ever, there is plenty of suspense, thrills and action. It will be out next year. I’m also working on another novel which is set – mostly- in London. Although it’s also a thriller, it leans more towards the crime end of the genre and is very different in tone to the Brooke Kinley Adventures.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

It has to be Goodreads.com! And I’m loving Twitter, too. I’m @brookekinleyadv

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I suppose, on some level, I wanted to show that an action thriller can have a female protagonist who is just as courageous and exciting a character as any male lead. Yet there is no agenda behind the subject or events in this novel. It is simply designed to be a great, page-turning read and according to what my readers and reviewers have said so far, I’ve achieved that.

Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?

If you love the kind of book that keeps you turning ‘just one more page’ when you should be asleep in bed, then this is the book for you! It starts with a bang in Afghanistan and this sets off a series of events that leads our heroine deep into the wilds of Canada, out into the Atlantic onboard a hijacked motor yacht and ultimately, to Washington D.C. The twists and turns will keep you guessing right ‘till the end! It’s received 5* reviews everywhere, by both lovers of traditional thrillers and those who are open fresh ideas and cross over genres. Is it an adventure thriller? A political thriller? Or 21st century women’s fiction? You tell me!


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