Sunday, May 17, 2009

An interview with Rebecca Lerwill, the author of the new thriller 'The Acronym'

Rebecca Lerwill is an author and a partner of Eco-Libris, as she plants a tree with us for every sold copy of her books. She has just released her second book 'The Acronym - White Nights of St. Petersburg', which got a great praise from #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Tami Hoag, who wrote “Rebecca Lerwill is a fresh voice with a fresh angle on suspense, destined to keep readers happily turning the pages as fast as they can.”

We agree! We thought that with the release of this new book, it is a good time to interview Rebecca and hear more about the book, her experiences as an author and her thoughts about sustainable reading and the future of the industry.

Hello Rebecca and congrats on your new book 'The Acronym'! Can you tell us what is it about?
Hi Raz, thanks so much for this interview. My latest thriller, The Acronym, just got published in April of 2009. It is a sequel to my award-winning debut, Relocating Mia, a romantic suspense. Although a sequel, The Acronym stands on its own and is a story of espionage with a romantic back drop.

It picks up where Relocating Mia left off: Our heroine, Mia Trentino now works for the Acronym, a clandestine agency consisting of former elite members of U.S government and international law enforcement institutions. Mia has to return to Russia to testify against Piotr Lagunov, an affiliation of the Russian Mafia which kidnapped Mia a year ago.

While in Russia, preparing her self to take the stand, Mia’s fiancée and Acronym agent, Douglas Farland, suddenly disappears and is accused of treason. Trying to stay a step ahead of the long and ruthless reach of the Russian Mafia, Mia searches for the truth behind Douglas’ accusation.

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Tami Hoag says, “Rebecca Lerwill is a fresh voice with a fresh angle on suspense, destined to keep readers happily turning the pages as fast as they can.”

This is your second book after 'Relocating Mia'. Is the second book easier than the first one?

Like I said, The Acronym stands on its own, and I think it’s an easier read. The chapters are short and snappy and keep you on your toes. One reviewer compared reading The Acronym to a race in a luge. Great compliment! The Acronym was easier to write, as well. As an author, I definitely found my niche writing spy novels. Researching the tactics of clandestine operations is a riot. Although I might explore other genres, a great thriller of international crime is hard to beat.

You self-publish your books. Can you tell us a little bit about the process?
Today’s market makes it almost impossible to break free as an indie author (Independent author), because with over 2000 books published weekly, nobody pays attention to written art when not promoted by a traditional publisher.

There are some real gems out there, written by indie-Authors which simply get drowned in the sea of books. I only began writing seriously in 2006. Impatient by nature, I didn’t take the time to submit my manuscript to a traditional house, or hunted for an agent. I did some research and chose to self-publish; meaning I paid a self-publishing company to get my book in print.

The opinions and pro and cons on those self-publishing companies is a wide-spread discussion. I’m glad they were available when my time to publish came, but I’m beyond needing help to self-publish. Any future work – if I don’t get picked up by a traditional publisher – will be published by my own pub house, Ivy Leaf Press, LLC.

My suggestion to any new author is: Do your homework before you choose a ‘vanity press’, and do as much as you can yourself but find a professional editor. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get your manuscript edited, and I don’t just mean dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. English is my second language, so I will always need a good editor. But that’s not the only reason; The Acronym was slashed by almost 10’000 words between editing rounds; something I had agreed to. The outcome is a brighter book without unnecessary details and without the change of my voice.

Do you do print on demand (POD)?
I don’t. Although I’m proud to be an indie-author, I like my books to stand out. My covers are embossed which isn’t possible if you Print On Demand. My books are also readily available and since the individual cost is much lower than POD books, those off-set printed books are a lot less expensive -- in production and retail.

Of course printing 1000+ copies is an investment, but my royalties are much higher than a POD author’s paycheck and I’m able to sell books directly through my website for a discounted price.

I know that you were looking to print the book on recycled paper. How did your search go and did you eventually use recycled paper?
After receiving several bits from different printers, McNaughton & Gunn did a fabulous job printing The Acronym on 50% recovered fiber and acid free paper. I believe this statement from their website says it all: “In ten years' time, while our company experienced 40% growth, we also successfully decreased our landfill waste from 1,660 cubic yards to 120 cubic yards. Our environmentally sound business practices have brought about cost savings to our company while helping reduce our carbon footprint.”

What do you think in general about the environmental footprint of books? how it can be reduced?
Although I’m old-fashioned and like the feel of a book in my hands, electronic publishing is becoming very popular and very easy to do. Of course programs like yours are an important part in preserving our environment. I made Relocating Mia, as well as The Acronym ‘Eco-Libris’ books by purchasing stickers. Every book ordered through my website generally gets a cover enhancement with one of your stickers. As of today, I have my own little forest planted somewhere.

Is your book available on Kindle? what do you think of e-books in general?
Relocating Mia is a Kindle book and The Acronym will follow as soon as I find the time re-formatting the text. I’m planning on releasing The Acronym on Kindle the end of May 2009. I don’t own a Kindle yet, but I have purchased e-books that aren’t available in print and read them on my laptop.

How do you see the future of the book industry? do you think we'll see more POD and self-published writers and less of the old-fashioned publishing houses?
Tough question. As a relatively new author, I’m not sure if I’m qualified to answer this, Raz. My feeling is that the huge wave of self-published books might cease when people finally realize that there isn’t a quick buck or even fame made by publishing a book.

Of course we love those success stories and we always root for the underdog. But those stories of a self-made, self-published millionaire are rare, and an honest writer doesn’t plot for the fame – he/she writes for him/herself and the audience. Maybe I’m too naïve, but I would like to believe that the indie-authors of the future focus more on quality writing. Traditional houses won’t go away, and they shouldn’t. Their work preserves the integrity of literature.

What are your plans for the future? are you working on a new book?
I keep telling myself that, after writing and self-publishing 2 novels within less than 2 years, I need a break. But I already started a third thriller and also am working on a non-fiction; Becoming American is my memoir and very dear to me. As a native of Germany, I have become very patriotic to this country over the last years. I have lived an interesting life here in the States since 1996. I think I’m ready to share my experiences in a memoir in essay form.

Thanks Rebecca for this interview. Is there anything else you would you like to add?
I would like to invite your readers to visit my website and sign up for my newsletter. Once, sometimes twice a month, I share reviews of books I’ve read, reviews readers wrote about my books, poetry, recipes, and all kind of fun stuff. I give away 2 signed copies of Relocating Mia every month, and also hold poetry contests. Both my books, Relocating Mia and The Acronym, are offered to discounted prices, as well. Of course, they are also available at online book sellers or can be ordered in any brick and mortar store. Thanks for taking the time to conduct this interview, Raz. I hope your readers enjoyed it as much as I did.

Here's the book's trailer:

You can buy 'The Acronym' on Rebecca's website. It's also available on Amazon. We will also have a giveaway of one copy on our upcoming May newsletter this week. If you're not a subscriber yet, you're welcome to join our mailing list by adding your email on the 'Join Our Email List' box on the right column of the blog.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

3 simultaneous giveaways in one blog!

I would like to remind you of the three giveaways running simultaneously on our blog as part of our green book review week:

1. Title: The Handbook to Building a Better World: How to Turn Your Good Intentions into Actions that Make a Difference

What do you need to do to participate?
please add a comment to the book review post with an answer the following question: what is your favorite organization and how it helps to build a better world?

Monday, May 18, 12PM EST

2. Title: Big Green Cookbook: Hundreds of Planet-Pleasing Recipes and Tips for a Luscious, Low-Carbon Lifestyle

What do you need to do to participate?
please add a comment to the book review post with an answer the following question: what is your favorite dish?

Tuesday, May 19, 12PM EST

3.Title: The Carbon Diaries: 2015

What do you need to do to participate?

Friday, May 22, 12PM EST

Raz @ Eco-Libris