Author Interview: Dale Amidei
The interview series with members of my Twitter community continues with author Dale Amidei. Enjoy!
Author Dale Amidei
Bio: I live and write in the beautiful Texas Hill Country near San Antonio. I am a Christian, an American, a husband, son, brother, and friend. My characters are realistically portrayed as caught between heaven and earth, not always what they should be, nor what they used to be. In this way they are like all of us, on a journey forward.
Twitter ID: @DaleAmidei
Facebook: Dale Amidei
Goodreads: Dale Amidei
Books Trailer: the prerelease trailer for AOTC
Q: Welcome, Dale! Thanks for being here today. What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
Amidei: I write the type of book I have always enjoyed reading: a thought-provoking, exciting adventure with characters that stand out as much as any real-world personalities I have known. The Anvil of the Craftsman lists as contemporary fiction and as a political thriller. I refer to it as “Edgy Christian” fiction. It is my mission to present traditional values and faith in the context of a mainstream novel. I realistically portray characters and settings, and it is at times an ugly world.
Q: How many books have you published? Are they traditionally published, indie published, or a combination?
Amidei: My first novel, AOTC, was released in December 2011. It was self-published, and I have no plans to pursue traditional publishing.
Q: Your writing has been described this way: "His fiction defines the inner spiritual processes that he believes occur naturally in all human beings. It features faith-based themes set in the real world, which is occasionally profane or violent." How did you choose the setting for your novel 'The Anvil of the Craftsman'? How complicated a journey was it, based on the themes of faith and of violence, to bring the story to a close?
Amidei: The novel was inspired by actual events in Iraq, namely the movement later called "The Anbar Awakening". It led to my reflection on the changes in mindset that must have driven those events. The storyline started to bud, and soon became a blister in my mind that needed to be addressed.
I did make a great effort to strike a balance between the adventure and the message when I was writing AOTC. In the end, a person of faith needs to comport him or herself as such. I am very pleased at how the storyline developed. I have said that if graced to write but a single novel I would be glad to have it be this one.
Q: How much time do you spend on Twitter each week? What about Facebook and other social media?
Amidei: I love Twitter because, particularly when using hash tags, it is such a great way to meet and interact with others. I am on between writing sessions, catching up and connecting. I spend time daily on Facebook also, but to a lesser extent. Goodreads I do not visit often enough. I am in a writing phase. Once the sequel to AOTC (The Britteridge Heresy) and a third work-in-progress publish, I will put more effort into promotion. For now, I need to pound words.
Q: Do you have a motto or favorite quote you turn to on tough writing days?
Amidei: I try to meet in mind Paul’s admonition that we do all things to the Glory of God. In secular work, I try to remember the goals Kipling set forth in his mighty poem “If”.
Q: Have you outsourced editing, cover design, formatting, web design, marketing, etc?
Amidei: A ruthless grammarian, who is my Single Candle Press editress, mercilessly edits my writing. I have a technical and graphics manipulation background that allows me to handle the technical requirements of the electronic and paperback formatting myself. Likewise, I am my own webmaster. When the time arrives, I will handle my own marketing as well.
Q: Do you work with a writing group?
Amidei: No. I do have a network of beta readers that I trust to give me honest feedback. I could not have brought AOTC to the level that it achieved without them.
Q: Have you published any of your work for free? Why or why not?
Amidei: I accept the reality that I may in the future have to give away my work in promotion or else have it languish in obscurity. As a fan of Ayn Rand’s economics if not her theology it irks me. Producing my first novel cost me an entire year of free time. I actually would not want to know the count of hours the writing, re-writing, editing and formatting consumed. I believe it is a work that will leave its reader changed once digested, and that quality is worth paying more than pocket change to access.
Q: How long did it take for your first book to go from an idea to a published work?
Amidei: Months as an idea. Once I started the project it took three months to reach the end of the first draft and another seven in editing and revision. Two more months were spent formatting and beta reading. I learned a great deal about the state of publishing in 2011—more than any single subject in the same period for many years.
Q: Tell us about your path to becoming an author. Did you have any idea at the start what the process really entails?
Amidei: I did not. I have written as a hobby since shortly after I learned to read, and I read novels for forty years before I set out to produce my own. I had no idea what I was getting into.
Q: What tips or advice would you offer to writers who are about to join the self/indie published community?
Amidei: Lower your expectations and extend your imagined timeline. There is a very long road ahead if you choose to pursue it. If your goal is excellence, take the time required to produce the desired result. No one will be happy if you rush any aspect of what you intend to do.
Q: Is there another writer (or two) in the Twitterverse that you would recommend newbies follow?
Amidei: Too many to list. Rob Guthrie and his posse at RABMAD are a good place to start. Rob delights in interacting with fellow authors, and he is a pleasure to know. The #writing #amwriting #indieauthor and #selfpublishing hash tags on Twitter will find you many more
Q: Do you have a blog? Would you share a link or two for some of your favorite posts?
Amidei: I blog at daleamidei.wordpress.com when my muse demands it. Recently we said goodbye to a dear friend in our beloved G. Gordon Kitty. His obituary, I felt, paid appropriate tribute to such a fine animal.
Q: Have you done a blog tour? Any advice or cautions?
Amidei: I have not. My advice to anyone online is to behave and avoid ticking anyone off. That is bad karma as well as shortsighted. If it appears in print it is permanent, and forever can be a long time.
Q: Have you participated in Amazon's KDP Select program?
Amidei: I have not. After resisting, I am seriously considering it because of the results I have seen reported by others. I do not like the exclusivity. Amazon’s model, though, may prove to be the most effective means of an unknown author gaining a readership. I will decide once I have three titles, two of which I am now working on concurrently, ready to market.
Q: Do you create an outline before beginning a new book?
Amidei: Absolutely. One has to know his destination or the trip is not a journey but a wandering.
Q: Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
Amidei: I am currently working on a first draft of my third title and editing my second novel.
Q: Do you use specialty software?
Amidei: I use Serenity Software’s Editor plug-in for Microsoft Word. I also review the manuscript in SpheNet’s text to speech reader, which seems to be an excellent method of proofreading.
Q: What is the best comment/compliment you have received about your work?
Amidei: One of my readers gave me the impression that AOTC set her mind toward spiritual considerations to which she had previously paid little attention. The thought that my novel might have already resulted in eternal dividends is humbling. It was the best feeling to date.
Q: Let's flip things around for a moment. As a reader, what factors do you consider when deciding whether or not to purchase a book?
Amidei: I need to be convinced that it is worth my time. It needs to offer me the chance to grow or new ideas to encounter. It has to entertain or enlighten. The opinions of others offered in reviews are critical to all of that.
Thank you, Dale, for sharing your publishing experiences with us. We wish you continued success, and hope you'll come back and share updates with us in the summer!
Thanks for having me, and for everything you are doing for authors on Twitter, Ashley. You are inspiring to watch.
Amazon: AOTC at Amazon
Nook: AOTC at Barnes and Noble
Smashwords: N/A until direct uploads are available later this year