On day 4 of Interviews with the Authors we have DJ Cooper, a very funny lady from the UK who makes me laugh and smile on a regular basis with her writing.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m DJ Cooper and I’m very tired! I live in South East England, I’m married and I have two teenagers. I have successfully run my own business from home for the last eighteen years. For the last few years, I’ve juggled that business, family life, and writing.
What changes did 2019 bring to your writing?
I got to call myself an award-winning author for Missing Remnants thanks to Indie Authors Monthly magazine. I never expected that to happen, so thank you IAM. This year is the first time in recent years I’ve written something set on contemporary Earth. The town of Bulwark is not real but the setting was small-town America rather than in space or on an alien planet where I usually set a story.
Why did you do an anthology? Was it harder or easier than writing a full out novel? What was the hardest part?
Why? Exposure. Pure and simple. The more places you can showcase your work, the more chances you have of enticing one more reader into your world. The story for the anthology was shorter than a novel, so that part was easier. The anthology was challenging because it had a deadline, I don’t usually write to a deadline. I was also writing characters I did not create so I was mindful of building on them in a way that was credible. Another challenge was writing about something in America. I’m English. We wear trousers over here, pants are underwear. Everything had to be written with American terminology in mind.
How did you come up with your story?
There were snippets in the original story that sparked something in my imagination. The original contained aspects of Hansel and Gretel. I watched a TV programme called Mr Benn when I was a child. A man walks into a costume shop, tries on a costume, walks through a door and has an adventure. Of course, when I re-watched Mr Benn recently, I found I’d not remembered any of it correctly and I’d written something completely different but that’s not a bad thing.
What is the hardest part of being an indie?
Promotion and marketing. The trouble with being an indie is that you have to coordinate everything. Even if you’re passing things like editing and cover design over to a third party, an indie author is the publisher. We are responsible for everything. I wonder how many of us wish we could just write the book and have someone else do the rest for us. I know I do. Marketing is something that can be costly, hit and miss with results and just a completely alien thing for a lot of us to undertake. We have to promote ourselves. I’m sure there are many authors uncomfortable with the concept of waving their arms in the air and screaming I’m over here, look at me.
Do you stay with one genre, or jump around?
I can’t even live in this reality, let alone write in one genre! I am happier when I’m not constrained to only one thing. I always have been. Writing flows easier and quicker for me when I am not tied to a single genre. I’ll write science fiction, but it’ll have aspects of horror and humour. I’ll write horror but it’ll also have humour because people crack jokes in real life and the same person can also experience something horrific. I write a mixture of things, but I find that’s more realistic despite some of my more unrealistic settings. Humans are humans whether they’re on this planet or you’ve imagined them in space.
Share the process of this collaboration? What inspired you from the original story and how did you marry it to your own work?
The original story has a theme of weird things happening when a pool of green water is present. There were also modern-day characters who appeared to be from different eras. I kept those themes running through my story whilst also creating something that could be read as a standalone work.
Would you do another anthology?
Yes, I think collaborating on an anthology is a great way to showcase what an author can do. Every author has a different set of readers they can reach. A collaboration means an author has a greater chance of reaching a wider audience.
What trends do you see in indie books?
There’s a lot of them! Both trends and indie books. It’s very difficult to be seen. I’ve seen authors try many things. Free is a massive trend at the moment. I’m hearing more and more authors refusing to give their books away for free because they’ve spent money getting them to the market in the first place. Competition is fierce and always will be. I don’t think the trend of hard work will ever change.
What makes your books stand out from the sea of indie authors out there?
I’m not unique, but I have a relatable author’s voice. I have a flair for humour and an ability to write a scene in a way that doesn’t drag. I zone out of books I read that interrupt the flow of action with passages of the description which don’t seem to move the story on. So, I like to avoid writing the things that bore me as a reader. We all have different preferences and that’s why there is potential for every decent author to find the readers who appreciate their work.