Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Interview with Mindy Klasky, traditional author serializes book online

by C.L. Phillips

Today we've got a tasty treat - an interview with Mindy  Klasky.  Believe it or not, I discovered Mindy on Twitter.  I went to her website and read FRIGHT COURT.  She's using a novel concept (pun intended) to sell her words, and I thought you might enjoy meeting her.  Here's our interview:

1)  Fright Court - lawyers, vampires and cupcakes - What a concept.  Tell us about the story, without giving away the ending.  We love mysteries.

FRIGHT COURT combines a lot of my interests.  I started out my professional life as a lawyer, and I spent *way* too many hours in courthouses around the country.  There's something a little creepy about all those chilly marble hallways, all those quiet-as-a-tomb corridors.  I started to think about what might happen if an ordinary human woman found herself involved in some pretty extraordinary legal events.  From there, it was a short hop to developing the Eastern Empire, my collection of supernatural creatures who have their own legal system.

Of course, "murder" (of a human) wouldn't be a capital crime for a vampire.  But other things might be -- letting the human world know about the existence of supernaturals, for example.  Or creating a "blood-herd" of unwilling humans, to feed from at will (possibly drawing unwelcome attention from mundane authorities.)  Or...  well, let's just say that there's a lot of trouble vampires can cause.

Before long, my human heroine found her way into a maze of supernatural legal proceedings.  As for the cupcakes?  Well every girl needs sustenance along the way!  :-)

2)  You are doing something very innovative - you are serializing Fright Court, asking for Paypal donations and offering sweet rewards for your readers.  What encouraged you to try this idea?

I have published twelve novels through traditional channels.  Originally, I thought that FRIGHT COURT would follow the same path.  Along the way, though, I realized that traditional publishing offers pretty narrow channels -- vampires can be dark and secret and scary or vampires can be frothy and light and all about shoes and shopping.  My vampires are somewhere in between -- there are definitely dark elements to their tale, but I can't tell Manolo Blahniks from Christian Laboutins.

Therefore, I decided that I needed to provide FRIGHT COURT with a different type of home -- an online launch as an electronically published novel.  As for the serialization?  There's a very long tradition of serialized publishing -- Dickens, Melville, Highlights Magazine for Children...  I've always liked the idea of building suspense over chapters -- and so far, it looks as if my readers are enjoying it too!

3)  What has been the response from your readers?

Most modern readers aren't used to serialization.  A handful of people have complained about the delay in waiting for chapters; a number of readers have asked if I'll be publishing the entire novel as an ebook when I'm done.  (The answer is ... probably.  I'm taking one project at a time, for now.)  

Most readers, though, have really enjoyed the new format.  A number have made donations to support the project, in part because they get a weekly email, reminding them that a new chapter has been posted.

4)  How has the reader response been different from your initial expectations?

I had originally expected to get a lot of reader reaction, including donations, when I posted the first chapter, and then nothing for weeks and weeks, as I continued to reveal the story.  I've been surprised -- and gratified! -- to receive a lot of ongoing support, with new donations coming in ever week.

5)  What do you know now that you wished you knew before you started the Fright Court serialized novel?

Organizing the serialization took more effort than I expected.  Due to the structure of the web pages, I can't just prepare all the posts and program them for appearance on their individual dates; I need to add links to existing pages each time a new chapter goes live.  Those links create a better reading experience, so I'm pleased to add them, but they do make for some challenging Thursday evenings!

6)  What else can we look forward to reading from you?

My next novel will be traditionally published -- a fun, light category romance called THE MOGUL'S MAYBE MARRIAGE (available August 11 from Harlequin.)  I am also working on a middle-grade traditional fantasy novel, and I have dozens of other irons in the fire.

Thank you so much for the chance to visit here at Working Stiffs!  I hope that you will check out FRIGHT COURT, and let me know what you think of the novel!

Mindy will be hanging out with us today responding to comments, so don't be shy.  Ask her anything about her books, e-publishing, or even cupcakes.  And Mindy, we at Working Stiffs thank YOU for sharing your experience and wish you the BEST.


C.L. Phillips said...

I was really interested in what Mindy was doing with FRIGHT COURT because it represented yet another way an author could bring their work to an audience.

Steven King and Charles Dickens did it. I wondered how someone else would fare with the same model.


Joyce said...

Very interesting concept, Mindy. Thanks for sharing the process with us.

Annette said...

Welcome to Working Stiffs, Mindy. And thanks, CL, for introducing us to her.

Mindy, I've read of others who have tried this approach and it fascinates me. I'm you have a completed story and are just posting a chapter at a time? Or are you writing it and posting it as you go?

Jenna said...

Thanks for visiting, Mindy. Sounds like an interesting - and time-honored - concept! Best of luck with it, and with all your other projects.

Patg said...

Oh, boy! Vampire lover here!!! Definitely going to get it.
Maybe I should amend that statement to Vampire "story" lover here. I'm positive I'd never offer my neck or wrist to one.

Mindy Klasky said...

Hello everyone - and thanks for letting me stop by Working Stiffs!

C.L. - I love the notion of following in the footsteps of such hugely popular authors as King and Dickens. Markets have changed since Dickens' time, of course, but I'm intrigued by the number of readers who've picked up FRIGHT COURT.

Joyce - Thanks for stopping by!

Annette - I have a completed story (which was edited by a professional editor); however, I read through each chapter before I post it, and I sometimes make some tweaks, based on reader feedback on earlier chapters. Also, one of my donor rewards is naming rights for characters (or legal cases or whatnot), so I've made some adjustments for those.

Jenna - Many thanks for your good wishes!

PatG - there are a lot of us vampire story lovers out there! One of the things I like about my online venture is that it makes room for a type of vampire story not currently flooding the market - one that isn't over-the-top sexy and isn't overly-concerned with "shoes and shopping".