Up Close & Personal with 'Anvil of God' J. Boyce Gleason

Up Close & Personal is one of The Writer’s Life newest features. Here we feature authors who don't mind spilling the beans and telling what it's really like to write, get published and sell that book.  Today's guest is J. Boyce Gleason, author of the historical fiction, Anvil of God.  Visit his website at www.jboycegleason.com.

On Writing…

Having worked as a press secretary and public affairs professional, I have been writing my entire career. I’ve written op/eds and once even had a weekly opinion column for the Potomac News, a local daily paper outside Washington.

Writing a novel, however, is another beast altogether.  It requires a much bigger frame of mind and an immersion into the lives of the main characters.  Very often they took
control of the story I was telling and more than once, I had to wrestle them over the outcome. 

On Being Published…

It’s a real rush to see your book come to life.  It’s been a long journey and there were times I didn’t believe it would ever happen.  I was also lucky enough to find a cover designer who nailed the cover art for the book so that moment of holding the first copy in your hands was a thing of beauty. 

On Publishing Industry…

I self-published.  And if I were to do it again, I would wait until I found an agent to represent me.  While I think it is great for new voices to break into the field, there is still a lot of prejudice against independent writers.  I think it would be better if the mainstream publishers viewed the independents as a farm team rather than as competitors.  There is really no comparison when it comes to marketing a book.

Mistakes Along the Way…

I shopped Anvil before it was ready.  I think that is a common mistake among new writers.  Finding good editors goes a long way towards making your book ready for prime time.  Publishing is a very demanding industry and you really have to put your best stuff forward.

On Marketing…

It is hard to market a book.  There is so much competition that media, reviewers and eve readers become fairly jaded when it comes to new authors.  I’ve tried just about everything. I’ve done media interviews, advertising, blog tours, book signings.  I’ve submitted Anvil for Awards programs (won a gold IPPY for “Best Historical Fiction of 2014”), created a blog, learned to Tweet and joined Facebook.  It takes a long time to build a public brand by yourself.

On Goals and Dreams…

I hope to become a recognized author.  I have a good story to tell and would like the opportunity for that story to be heard (or read).  Anvil of God is the first in a series of books about the rise of the Carolingian Kings.  I’m hoping that with each new book I can augment my audience until I have a steady group of folks following my work. 

As to tips for aspiring authors: just do it.  Find a story that speaks to you and start writing.  It’s like playing an instrument or learning a sport; you have to spend several hours a day at it every day to be any good.  The more you write, the better you get.  Oh, and stay away from adverbs. 

About the Book:

It is 741. After subduing the pagan religions in the east, halting the march of Islam in the west, and conquering the continent for the Merovingian kings, mayor of the palace Charles the Hammer has one final ambition—the throne. Only one thing stands in his way—he is dying.

Charles cobbles together a plan to divide the kingdom among his three sons, betroth his daughter to a Lombard prince to secure his southern border, and keep the Church unified behind them through his friend Bishop Boniface. Despite his best efforts, the only thing to reign after Charles’s death is chaos. His daughter has no intention of marrying anyone, let alone a Lombard prince. His two eldest sons question the rights of their younger pagan stepbrother, and the Church demands a steep price for their support. Son battles son, Christianity battles paganism, and Charles’s daughter flees his court for an enemy’s love.

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