Friday, May 10, 2013

Who Do You Have To Kill To Get On The Today Show?

Boston Marathon bombing. Sex slaves in Cleveland. Newtown classroom massacre. These horrific crimes get covered by the news media, as they should, but it begs many authors and publishers to ask: Who do you have to kill to get on national TV?

Our culture is fascinated by crime. We fear it. We hate it. We’ve been victimized by it. But we’re also curious about it. Our books, movies, and entertainment culture often explore themes of murder, robbery, rape, gangs, and crimes related to drugs, prostitution, and gambling. The very first book features violent confrontations: The Bible.

Still, wouldn’t it be good for society – and publishing – if the media can focus a little less on crime and mayhem, and instead interviews authors about their imaginary sci-fi world, how to be a better parent, ways to lose weight safely, and why now is the time to invest in stocks? It’s not that the media doesn’t cover books or interview authors, but it seems like it’s not doing it often enough. The Today Show is a zillion hours long but it features just a few authors each day. CNN and Fox air chatter all day and night but interview far fewer authors than they could be doing.

Something is in the human DNA that triggers a survivalist response to stimulus. Crime and murder always spark intrigue, outrage, and so many extreme emotions. We care about not dying but it seems we don’t pay enough attention on how to live.

There are so many more suicides each year (38,000), than murders (16,200). There are millions who have chronic or terminal diseases. There are millions with disabilities. Millions more out of work. Millions in bad relationships. The list goes on. But then there are people whose condition or circumstance is not easily summarized by numbers or words. The vast majority are posed with a challenge of some kind when they wake up every day. We need more discussions – and interviews with authors – just about life and how we live it.

Those that die each day by murder are actually a small minority. But they get most of the media coverage. I don’t say they shouldn’t be covered, and honored – but let’s put a focus on the living and daily life issues and see if we can improve the world a little.

But if all else fails, play the murder card. It works every time.

Interview With Author Eileen Schuh

What type of books do you write? THE TRAZ and FATAL ERROR are the first two books in my Young Adult contemporary action/adventure BackTracker Series. THE TRAZ also comes in a School Edition complete with a Teaching/Discussion Guide and international resource list for those seeking information or help with the social issues in THE TRAZ, such as gangs, depression, addictions, and illicit drugs. Both books are available as eBooks and paperbacks.  I also have an adult SciFi novella out there, SCHRODINGER'S CAT. Two worlds, two lives...too much for one woman. It's a psychological thriller.

What is your newest book about? FATAL ERROR is my most recent release. It is the sequel to THE TRAZ.  Fourteen-year-old Katrina, the two undercover officers with her in the gang, and Sergeant Kindle who oversaw the four-year undercover police operation that brought down THE TRAZ motorcycle gang, struggle to deal with the legal, emotional, and social aftermath of that operation. No one heals until they find it within themselves to forgive.

What inspired you to write it? Young people inspired me to write FATAL ERROR. Adolescents often don’t understand their potential and can make decisions that will negatively impact their lives forever and I find that so tragic. Although many young teens feel depressed and powerless, they can also make decisions that will positively affect them and their community. FATAL ERROR and THE TRAZ were both written with at-risk adolescents in mind, and with an eye to educating the adults in their lives.

THE TRAZ and FATAL ERROR are my literary response to law enforcement officials’ recent pleas for community help in battling the increasing incidents of adult criminal gangs recruiting youngsters as young as nine and ten into their ranks. Joining gangs is one of the worst decisions a youngster can make because it's almost impossible to leave a gang and change one's life around.

THE TRAZ (and soon, FATAL ERROR as well) is on the shelves of Canada’s northern young offenders facilities as well as in the outreach libraries of special education programmes in Alberta.

What is the writing process like for you? The BackTracker series, starting with THE TRAZ, were dictated to me by the characters. I often did not where the story was heading or why things were happening until two or three chapters later. Time proved that although the characters told good stories, they were a tad wordy and often grammatically stunted in their dictation. It took a year or two of editing and revisions before the novels were ready to hit the shelves.

Schrodinger's Cat was 'written' in my head years ago when I was too busy with three toddlers to actually write novels. Constructing tales kept my mind from turning to jelly during those years of diaper-changing, tear-drying, spill-wiping drudgery. When those three toddlers grew to be adults, the novel resurfaced. I updated the science behind the story and began typing. I confess, the ending was not what I had it mind. It appeared in startling clarity as I was pondering how to make the logical ending more powerful. Inspiration is a strange thing; I don't pretend to know from whence it comes.

What did you do before you became an author? I wore many hats down through the ages. From a psychiatric nursing hat, to journalism, to motherhood, to business woman. I've volunteered, travelled, hunted, fished, skied, and para-sailed. I've driven quads through marshes and danced in the Ball Room of the Banff Springs Hotel. I was raised in a one-room shack with no power, water, or flush toilets and now live in a mansion on a hill with a hot tub and a bidet. Whatever it was that I did before I became an author, you can be sure it will influence my writing at some point.

How does it feel to be a published author?  I learned to read when I was three years old. At that point I knew I wanted to be a novelist. It took me half a century to fulfill that burning, yearning childhood dream. How does it feel? It feels like life is wonderful.

Any advice for struggling writers? Don't sacrifice living for the love the pen. Go out--live life, love life, give yourself to others and, only when you have the time, sit down in isolation and write. If this feels like an unnatural way to pursue your obsession and passion for writing, think of it not only as a means of gathering fodder for wonderful stories but also as building a strong, loyal, diverse fan-base for all those future novels! Living life is the most fun, accurate, and intense form of research and the best form of publicity.

Where do you see book publishing heading? Oh my goodness, I wish I knew. The great hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once said A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. If I knew where publishing was heading, I'd rush ahead and be there waiting for that puck!

For more information, please consult:


Book Publicists Don’t Know Everything

Writers Read This: You Are Marketers

Pitching To Understaffed Media

Why Authors – and Publicists & Publishers Need A Therapist

Going Small Nets Big Media Splash For Authors

Online Retail Tax Levels Book Marketplace For Bookstores, Amazon

Amazon TV Could Lift Books

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.