Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Featured Author: J. Alexander Greenwood

When I first got Alex Greenwood's email, I was, like in the old days, taken aback. There was a short description of the novel Pilate's Cross, like you'd find in a very good query letter. Then a link to access the press release, video trailer and more, and I found myself thinking, Jeez, who is this guy? (You can click on the hypertext to see what I'm talking about)

In other words, this writer is much better prepared for marketing than I am. I can't imagine an agent turning this guy down, but JA Konrath has everybody convinced you make more money with eBooks, which in Joe Konrath's case, seems to be the gospel truth. So, it was with great admiration, I present J. Alexander Greenwood, in his own words, an Indie writer who can show us all a few tricks.

10 Questions

J. Alexander Greenwood
"Pilate's Cross"

1) How long have you been writing?

I've been writing since I was twenty. My grandfather Robert E. Trevathan had more than 30 of his book published in his lifetime; he was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame a few years before his death in 2002. He was a huge inspiration, though I didn't get truly disciplined about writing until just before I turned 40 a few years ago.

2) How are you marketing your books?
Word of mouth in the digital age is fantastic. "Pilate's Cross" has had tremendous traffic from Twitter and Facebook by use of special promotions. On Halloween we did a special 13-hour sale and had more than 500 page views of the book's website. Sold a few copies, too. In fact, if you're reading this and buy the book on Smashwords, I'll knock a dollar off the cover price. Just use this code: UR54E (expires December 1, 2010).

I've also appeared on Kansas City's public radio station and been interviewed by a local webzine. I struck a deal with the celebrated digital media design company T2 + Back Alley Films of Kansas City, an Emmy-winning production house, to produce a book trailer that I think is better than most major film trailers. I'm so encouraged by sales and reviews that I'm now going forward with a limited print run of paperbacks.

3) Tell us why readers will like your latest book.
People are suckers for a true story that's stranger than fiction. I give them both--a true story with a fictional twist--one radio interviewer kindly compared the concept to "In Cold Blood."

In 1950 a professor in tiny Peru, Nebraska strode into a college president's office, shot him dead, and then killed himself. Though few remember this event, that dreadful sort of crime resonates with readers.

“Pilate’s Cross" is inspired by the questions this crime created. It has been described as 'The X-Files' meets 'The Prisoner.' It follows newly transplanted college instructor John Pilate, his sarcastic imaginary pal Simon and lovely friend Kate as they investigate the unsolved mystery of a murdered president of Cross College. In too deep to wash his hands of the mystery, he risks his life to get to the truth of what really happened in 1963 and why it's just as deadly more than 40 years later.

4) How do you edit your books? Do you have help?

I did six drafts and a few more polishes of the book and had six dedicated, trusted readers who helped me iron out inconsistencies and errors. Then I hired an editor recommended by Smashwords founder Mark Coker to format it. I hate finding errors in a book, especially my own.

5) Where are your books available? (Include hyperlinks)
The book is available on Smashwords
Apple iBooks
Sony Reader Store
and Diesel.

6) What have your reviews been like so far? (Include review link)
Reviews have been exceedingly positive and encouraging. I list them all on the book's homepage: http://www.pilatescross.com/ One of my favorite reviews says, "LOVED it! It's the kind of book that makes you wish for a snow day or the case of the sniffles to keep you in bed reading it through!" That's a great compliment--to you wish you were sick so you could stay in bed and read more.

7) What do you deal with at your blog/website?
My readers generally keep asking when the sequel is coming out. I tell them I'll let them know as soon as (main character) John Pilate lets me know.

8) Have you found reader discussion groups for your genre?  No, but I'm looking. I am excited that a local book club here in Kansas City has named "Pilate's Cross" their first ebook selection. I may do a reading if they will have me--a novelty for an ebook author!

9) Would you like to review your favorite Smashwords writer?
Cristyn West and Jason McIntyre are doing interesting work. Keep an eye out for a new bodice-ripper by Michelle Ross, too. It's fun pirate-flavored action and erotica.

10) What are you working on now?
I'm working on the follow-up to "Pilate's Cross" called "Pilate's Key," where our hero gets into more trouble away from snowy Cross Township down in the sunny Florida Keys. I'm also very excited about collaborating with my book's cover artist David Terrill on a novella based on a series of his paintings titled "What the Gardener Saw."  We're looking at doing a graphic novel of my award-winning short story "Obsidian." You can get the original story and more for free on Smashwords in the volume titled "Pavor Nocturnus." All in all, I'm having a great time and hope new readers will join me.


  1. J- Thanks for the excellent answers. I learned some valuable info. The novel sounds intriguing. Best of luck!

    Neil- As always, temendous job with the Q's. I always take something away from the author's answers and your commentary and learn about other authors.

  2. Thanks Sean, it was fun. And Neil is performing a real service for all independent authors--thanks so much!

  3. I'm not sure I would characterize Revenge of the Siren Song as a "bodice-ripper." There were no articles of clothing harmed in the making of this book. ;) But I cannot thank Alex enough for the kind mention.

    Alex is a very talented writer and I cannot wait for the release of Pilate's Key.