We've talked about the success local writers are finding online before, most of them digitally releasing their books for people down download immediately and getting around the publishing systems of old. From children's writers all the way to erotica novelists, these ventures are making a great effort to adapt in a digital realm. Today we chat with local author Peter Clampton about his series, The Girl & The Beast
, and the success he's found online. (All pictures courtesy of Clampton.
Gavin: Hey Peter, first thing, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well, let's see, I was born in Utah, but when I was thirteen years old I went to a boarding school in Canada. After finishing up high school up there I came back to Utah, where I had a short-lived stint at the University of Utah before deciding it wasn’t for me, then found my way up to Oregon. To be honest It was my goal, to play college basketball and that was my passion for the longest time, but a nine-month bout of altitude sickness that first year ended the dream. Even after being a manager on the team for a few months, I just wasn’t ready for the opportunity. Moving from sea level, all the way to the high mountains didn’t suit me I suppose. Oh well, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.
Gavin: What first got you interested in writing and what were some early influences on you?
Believe it or not, it was when I decided I was going to stop playing basketball, a door closes and a window opens I suppose. I was doing some yard work with a friend when this idea for a novel popped into my head, and while telling him about it I got the feeling I should write it down. After a few months of pretty dramatic change in my life, I started a journal about it and six years later, I have most of that series mapped out, and it became spearhead opening the way for more stories that now dance in my head waiting to be written. I always enjoyed reading growing up so it just felt like a natural extension for me, now that I wasn’t going to be a basketball player.
Gavin: What particular novels or other series were your favorites growing up?
I really enjoyed reading Tom Clancy books. I was blessed to be have learned to read at a very young age, so when I was about 11, I had already completed huge books, like most of the op centre series and was jumping on stuff like Rainbow Six
, and The Bear and the Dragon
. I think back now and realize I didn’t understand as much as I thought I did, but that’s childhood isn’t it? I also enjoyed Harry Potter cause that was one of the first books I read, that other kids were reading too. Despite all that, I just recently read Watership Down
, and that is now my favorite book.
Gavin: What eventually persuaded you to start writing as a goal rather than just a hobby?
I got sick one day, and when I told my boss he threatened to fire me. The company I was working for was a fortune five hundred company and rated one of the best for how they treated their employees. It was this fact, coupled with the reality that I hated working for someone else that made me realize I needed to stop waiting to become an author, and just need to start working on it. I was never going to have enough money or be secure or happy enough to start, I just needed to start. Fastest way to a point is a straight line.
Gavin: How did the idea for The Girl & The Beast come about?
Peter: The Girl & The Beast
are inspired by a certain comic book character (can you guess which character?) whose commercial appeal was solely their unresolved issues. I really enjoyed reading about this character but after reading the comics I realized that she made more money having problems rather than resolving them. After being so acquainted the character, they began to feel like a friend I wanted to help. So I came up with a story line to spiritually resolve the characters issues so they could move on, and find the good life. In essence, that is what the story is about. Resolving one’s past and moving towards a better future.
Gavin: What was it like for you hammering out the first novel and getting it to where you wanted?
It was scary. I knew starting it, that I would need to finish and that it was going to be a long series. I had always had the start in mind so when I started the first draft it went quickly, but because I didn’t know how good it was and I really wanted someone who could stay with me through the full lengthy process of the series, I struggled finding a reliable editor, and I still don’t know if the writing is the greatest, but It felt complete at the time I released it.
Gavin: For those unaware of the series, what is the basic plot?
Peter: The Girl & The Beast
takes place in a dystopian setting, where basically a war and a zombie apocalypse, reduced humanity back to the times of the old west. In this setting, we meet Lucy and Bibi. One is a girl stolen from her parents and is about to be sold into slavery because she is one of the few people that can have kids. The other is a wandering gunslinger who is hunting this creature that ravaged the wasteland called: The Beast. When the girls meet up, they take off together and are being chased. Later they discover a secret that sends them on a journey where they must confront crazy mutant hordes, bloodthirsty bounty hunters, and eventually their own traumatic the pasts in order to save themselves and those whom they love (and maybe even the entire world?).
The series was made to appear very vanilla and ordinary in the beginning but supposed to feel like your reading a television series. Each novella represents an episode and while you read, at the beginning and end, there are pages recapping the last novella and previewing the next. As it goes on the unique format helps develop the story as we dive deeper. Like any good TV show the plot thickens and that is where the series sheds its typical dystopian skin for a souI and body that really shines, and becomes uniquely different. The story switches gears pretty dramatically, but more than anyone is supposed to know, the first volume is setting the stage, and when rereading the series, my hope is that people will have many "ah ha" moments as they notice seemingly inconsequential things pop out with the feeling it was all planned!
Gavin: What made you decide to go online with Amazon rather than through a traditional publisher?
It was initially my brother who told me I could even self-publish, and because of the novella series format I felt that EBooks and Kindle would be a better option till I could bundle the novellas into larger compendiums to offer to publishers. Also seeing how the public would respond, I think will help me along while writing this long series and Amazon is a faster way to do that.
Gavin: What was it like for you getting the word out about the book, and how was the initial response to it?
It was difficult, even now I really have no idea how many people really know about it. Getting it on social medias and advertising hasn’t been easy, but with people like you catching interest I think that will help it out. There is a review supposed to go up in SLUG Magazine
, and I’m working on talking to more blogs as well. It’s been a slow process, but Volume 1 is just the beginning so I’m not stressing yet. As the content for the series builds, I believe it will be easier to help people see it, the publishing efforts are more for me to keep it going and finish what has been started.
Gavin: Last news I read is that you're working on Volume 2. How's that book coming along?
Volume 2 came out March 31 as an Ebook. We’re now working on Volume 3, and that is taking more time than usual because it starts the next story arc, and some changes have been made from the outline. The volumes come out every two to three months, and will be offered in special edition compendiums as each story arc is completed. The first compendium, The Beginning, will be offered in a kickstarter (Look for it mid June!), as a print edition, and then should be available online to buy when the fourth volume is released about the end of summer.
Gavin: You also are in the process of releasing the second edition to Volume 1. What's changed from the original version to this one?
This edition change has just been cut down and cleaned up. I made a lot of errors my first time through, and my editor helped with some much-needed changes. I’m definitely not perfect—it’s been a learning experience writing this series.
Gavin: Do you have any plans to find a publisher and do a proper physical copy, or do you want to keep it as a digital release only?
You can actually order a physical copy of the first volume online, through Create Space and Amazon. We will do that with all the volumes to see how it goes, but when the series is completed, in about two years time, we hope to sell the completed compendiums (several volumes bundled together) to a publisher to reprint them and get it in bookstores.
Gavin: Aside from TG&TB, are there any other novels in the works?
Yes, there are a few. I’m working on one specifically to get published traditionally. It will be a full-blown novel for adults. It’s about a mother who has to protect her son when world war three breaks out. The Hollywood pitch would be War of the World
meets The Road
, and has an exciting premise in which the story is told, Inspired by Halo ODST
and Meet the Mormons
Gavin: What else can we expect from you over the rest of the year?
I just recently moved and am settling in, but I will working on The Girl & The Beast
, and hope to have made enough progress to NaNoWriMo a book for traditional publishing. The Girl & the Beast
should be hitting a good rhythm and by the end of 2015 I want to have half of the planned volumes out, somewhere from six to eight volumes. At this rate, were looking more like six, but a guy can dream, right?