AUTHOR: Aaron Galvin
BOOK TITLE: Salted
Aaron would be happy to giveaway 3 ebook copies of Salted in either mobi, epub, or pdf formats. As for the requirements, he’d prefer to have:
· “Like” the Salted fan page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saltseries
· Follow Aaron on Twitter: https://twitter.com/aarongalvin5
· Tweet about the giveaway
Be sure to leave your contact information in your comment as well as links so Aaron can confirm you've completed the requirements.
Please tell us about yourself.
I remain wonderfully confused at both who I am, and who I am meant to be.
The larger part of me will always be Peter Pan, yet becoming a father has forced me to grow up somewhat. I’m a country boy who can pass for a city guy when/if needed. The actor in me enjoys being the center of attention, while my author side prefers the quiet escape of a hermit’s existence.
My wife is a saint for tolerating me.
Please tell us your latest news.
Salted is my debut novel. I was a bit nervous about the release because I’d read loads of statistics that discussed weak openings and/or average numbers of sales for debut authors. Luckily, I had a great experience: Salted found its way inside the Top 50 of Amazon’s 100 Hottest New & Future Releases for Urban Fantasy and stayed there every day of release week. I realize that is a drop in the bucket for many authors, but, for me, it was truly humbling to garner such a fantastic opening.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I had written a different book that received numerous rejections. Naturally, I was moping around about it. Mom told me to suck it up. Write something new. For about an hour, she gave me various prompts.
“Wizards!” she’d say.
“Yeah…” I’d reply. “Not sure if you know, Mom, but there is this series called Harry Potter...”
Finally, she said, “How about mermaids?”
I didn’t have an answer for that. This was back in 2009 when I admittedly hadn’t been reading much. Too busy chasing my dream of becoming an actor. Anyway, I couldn’t think of any mermaid books at the time. The only response I could come back with was that mermaids were for girls. And really what guy wanted to be seen reading about mermaids? They weren’t cool!
Then Mom said something I’ll never forget. “Find a way to make them cool.”
That changed everything. I’m a pretty competitive person. Suddenly I had a challenge. How could I make mermaids cool for guys like me? How could I make them different?
Salted is the result of that. It took me five years to reach this point, but I like to think I accomplished Mom’s challenge. Readers will decide if that’s true.
What are your thoughts about promotion?
I enjoy promotion and marketing. Some of that could be the newness of it all, but the larger part is I like engaging with people. I also think you must self-promote. Anyone expecting the promotion fairy to knock on their door and whisk the book to the top of the charts is delusional.
The great thing about being an author now is there are so many avenues you can promote through. I’ve found the writing community as a whole exceptionally welcoming and supportive, especially compared to the film/acting world I hail from where everyone is competing for a limited number of jobs. Thus far, I’ve found authors different in that regard. They realize helping one another is the best way for us all to achieve our dreams.
What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
I’m an optimist. I welcome criticism, so long as it’s coming from an honest place. That doesn’t mean I’ll always agree with it, but I will listen. My mindset is that one has to open themselves up to fresh perspectives or they’ll never improve. That makes it hard to define the toughest criticism given me because I look at criticisms as a learning opportunity. However, an example of a great criticism would be when my editor told me one of my POV characters had to go. I don’t mean killed off or anything like that, only that the chapters should be reworked/told from a different perspective. It was difficult to accept that. A part of me wanted to stomp my feet and say No! You’re wrong! But again, my editor’s argument was sound. I took that critique, ran with it, and my novel is stronger because of it.
The biggest compliment has come from the reviewers who mention I’ve brought a truly unique take/twist to mermaids and selkies that makes them “cool.” That makes me incredibly happy. Not just because I like receiving “put-ups”, but that the compliment came from someone I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting and she had no reason to be anything but honest.
Both the criticism and compliments definitely change my perspective on how I work for the next novel. The criticism because it sharpens my focus if the story strays from the characters I should focus on. The compliment impacts my creativity, specifically how do I keep that level of engagement and surprise for readers. It’s a never-ending struggle to hone my craft. One I mean to take head on.
Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?
Where do I begin? Ha. The knowledge about various marine creatures alone has been a wonderful learning experience. Pushing myself to finish the book and release it to the masses taught me that which one hears so often, but many find it hard to buy into: Whether you believe you can do something or not, you’re right.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.
Salted follows a crew of Selkie slave catchers charged with recapturing an elusive runaway. When their target leads them to deeper, darker secrets, the Selkies face a moral quandary. Secure their own freedom, or return empty-handed to face the grisly consequences.
It also features a unique take/twist on mermaids. Most books I’ve seen about Selkies and mermaids are of the paranormal romance sort. Mine has little/no romance involved. I wanted to write a story about merfolk and Selkies that male readers could enjoy without the insta-love and/or love triangles prevalent in YA fiction of late.
What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?
Foremost of all, I hope they enjoy the read.
I also hope it promotes discussion. One of the things I’m proudest of is the diversity in Salted. Traditionally, fantasy protagonists are predominantly Caucasian. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with an all-white cast if the story demands it, only that there is marked room for improvement with promoting greater cast diversity.
Why do you feel qualified to write a children’s or teen novel?
I don’t know that I am qualified. Haha. I’ve always loved YA fiction though.
To my mind, great YA fiction helps younger readers transcend from innocence to the realities of life. That means facing hard truths and responsibility for your decisions. I try to incorporate those themes into my writing because there is more to being a teenager than just who you’re crushing on, or gossiping about the hunky quarterback who broke up with the prom queen. Lasting YA fiction should be about shedding such pettiness and drama because the world quickly expects more of you.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?
Definitely. It could be a single paragraph, few pages, or even thirty pages, but I almost always need one in place. I think when writing a series it’s important to know the direction you’re headed and at least the broad strokes of how it will all end. Otherwise you’re liable to lose yourself somewhere in the process.
That doesn’t mean I’m required to stick to the outline. Sometimes a new character’s voice will become stronger that takes me into unknown territory. My character Chidi (pronounced Chee-dee) for instance. In my initial outline, she was a background player only. As I continued writing, however, I found that I couldn’t contain her spirit. She burst onto the pages until I gave way. I can’t imagine the story without her now.
Did your book require a lot of research? If so, what kind?
Absolutely. I love research. In fact, I now have a library of marine life books!
To my thinking, anytime you can incorporate something physical that a reader can relate to having seen or touched makes the story a bit more real. With my Salt series, I’m writing about seals, sea lions, and other marine creatures. To do that effectively, I needed to learn about the various species—what makes them unique, how to tell them apart, etc. That took a lot of time, but it’s hopefully paying off now in that readers can better imagine these fantastic animals.
I went about my research in a few different ways. One way (and the most fun) was visiting aquariums. I previously worked as a management consultant for about six years and traveled a lot. The great thing about that experience was it gave me the chance to visit a number of aquariums throughout the U.S. So, in a way, I was like my Selkie crew skulking through all these fantastic aquariums. Fortunately, I only sought understanding and didn’t have to recapture a runaway like the Selkies in my book.
The rest of my research came from watching countless documentaries, Discovery channel specials, and reading non-fiction books about the various animals.
What seven words would you use to describe yourself?
Ninja, warg, confident, ambitious, silly, optimistic, Gryffindor.
What books have most influenced your life?
Stephen King is a big inspiration. I think many people forget he’s not just an author who writes horror. He is truly one of the best, if not the best to my mind, at incorporating elements from all genres to make his stories resonate with readers.
I love many of his books, but my favorite is The Stand, which is where my love of alternating POVs originates. The way King weaves the character storylines, the build up between two forces, and his overall storytelling is nothing short of magnificent.
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy
PUBLISHER: Aames & Abernathy
Life isn’t better under the sea.
Lenny Dolan is all too familiar with this reality. A Selkie slave in the realm beneath the waves, he has no choice when charged with leading a crew ashore to capture an elusive runaway. If unsuccessful, the loved ones kept behind will pay for his failure with their lives.
But when their target leads Lenny and his crew to deeper, darker secrets, the Selkies are faced with a moral dilemma. Secure their own freedom at the expense of others, or return empty-handed to face the grisly consequences?
How Lenny and his crew answer the question will teach them the harshest truth of all. Only through the loss of innocence does one become Salted.