US: Quintana Roo, Yucatan by Scott Harper on amazon.com
UK: Quintana Roo, Yucatan by Scott Harper on amazon.co.uk
|Quintana Roo, Yucatan by Scott Harper|
Rikki Breitenberg is an archeologist in charge of the first team of American documenters allowed by the Mexican government to explore newly discovered Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. However, shortly after their arrival in Mexico, things go awry. Treacherous jungle, inclement weather and dangerous wildlife are only the beginning.
When Rikki and her team run afoul of members of an ancient cult devoted to the worship of a bloodthirsty god, things take a terrifying turn for the worse. During their struggle for survival, the team makes a startling discovery that may rewrite the whole of human history. Will they survive to bring their amazing find back to civilization?
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Author Quiz interviews Scott Harper...
Tell us a bit about yourself and your work as an author.
I'm 37-years-old and grew up in central Ohio. In the summer of 1998 I moved to the Tampa Bay region of Florida. In the summer of 2012 I moved to northern California to be with my fiancée—best-selling, critically-acclaimed paranormal author Desirée Lee.
I'm the author of 30+ published short stories and eight novels. My latest book, "Quintana Roo, Yucatan", was published by Umbral Press. It's a little over 105,000-words-long; the longest book I've written to date. "Quintana Roo, Yucatan" received a nomination in the Paranormal Romance Guild's 2012 Reviewers' Choice Awards in the action/adventure category. It took second place. I'm currently working on a novella titled "Quagmire Fen", which will also be published by Umbral Press.
In addition to those things, I've been hired to write screenplays and comic books. I'm also in the process of trying to get some creator-owned things off the ground.
Expect to see the launch of an on-going comic book series soon called "Wendy Markland: Chronicles Nocturnum". That comic series is based on my Wendy Markland novels, three of which have been published so far—"Predators or Prey?", "Necromancer" and "Vindicated". The series will be published by a new comic book publisher called Timeless Comics. I'll be writing and lettering the series. Artwork for Issue #1 is just wrapping up. Issue #2 is written and waiting in the wings.
Timeless Comics also wants another on-going comic book series from me. That one is an urban fantasy titled "Ravenesque". If that project happens, again, I'll be writing and lettering.
For several years now I've been trying to sell the pilot script for a TV series I've created called "MoonWraith". The concept for the project occurred to me when I was with my first agent. He planned to pitch "MoonWraith" to the Starz Movie Network. Sorry to say, he shut down his business while I was still working on the first draft of the pilot script. Since then, I've worked with three other agents. None of them have tried to do anything for me. Agents are hard to find. Good agents seem to be impossible to find. Anyway, during years of trying to sell "MoonWraith" on my own, I've amassed a list of around 40 people who want to be cast or crew on the pilot. However, I've yet to find a producer/distributor to take on the project. Recently, my fiancée joined forces with me on a web-comic adaptation of "MoonWraith". We're doing the artwork ourselves, using a combination of three programs. A new page of "MoonWraith" goes up each Monday at www.MoonWraith.com. Our hope is that the "MoonWraith" web-comic will build up enough of a fan base to help attract the attention of a producer/distributor so we can still see "MoonWraith" in its intended television series format.
Desirée and I are co-authoring two other projects as well. But it's too early to talk much about them yet.
Also, recently, after sitting in limbo for roughly two years, an independent, direct-to-DVD film project I'm involved with has started to move again. At present, we're waiting to hear back from two film offices about filming permits. Once we have those, the project, titled "Most Likely To", should see some serious forward movement.
When you first get the idea for a new story, do you find that the finished product tends to differ quite significantly from your original idea, or does the original idea remain more or less intact?
There's always a lot of deviation from the original concept to the finished project. A prime example is my latest book, "Quintana Roo, Yucatan".
Most of what I write falls into the fantasy, paranormal or horror genres. My plan had been for "Quintana Roo, Yucatan" to be a blending of the latter two, mixed with an action/adventure story. That changed, though, before I really even began to outline the book. There were certain key elements to that concept that I never could get to work right. I ended up tossing out the horror and paranormal elements and thinking of "Quintana Roo, Yucatan" as a pure action/adventure story. Yet, when I was working on the outline, some science fiction/paranormal elements crept in. The result ended up being close to what the final, published book is.
Also, I had originally planned to start the book with Rikki and her team arriving at the ruins in the jungle. The more I thought about it, though, the less that worked for me. By doing that, readers would have been getting to know Rikki and her team as the real chaos was starting, too. In the end, I started the book with Rikki and her team on their trek through the jungle, on their way to the ruins. This gives the readers some time to get to know the characters and how they relate to each other before the pandemonium gets going.
If you could choose someone famous to record your book in audiobook format, who would you choose as the voice and why?
Good timing on this question; Desirée and I were just discussing this a few days ago! Michael Dorn, the gentleman who played Worf in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" would certainly be my top choice. He has a very distinctive, rich voice that works wonderfully for narration. By all accounts I've heard, Mr. Dorn is also a genuinely pleasant person and great to work with.
If you could invite one character from your novels to a dinner party who would it be and why?
I'd have to say Wendy Markland. I have an intense interest in the paranormal that reaches all the way back to my first viewing of my all-time favorite movie—"Ghostbusters". Wendy Markland has—to date—only dealt with two ghosts. However, she's already taken on, I'm sure, more than her fair share of vampires, zombies and other things already. What could be better dinner party conversation than discussions on monster-hunting?
If you could go back to the moment when you completed your first book and were at the stage where you were ready to release it to the world, is there anything you would do differently this time with regard to promotion?
There are a lot of things I'd do differently in that situation now. At the time, I didn't have a personal website or use social networking sites. Over the years since my first book, "Winter's Rite", was released, I've learned much more about using things like that for promotion.
How do you see the publishing industry changing over the next few years?
Much as I prefer holding a printed book in my hands to read—and I'm an avid reader—I fully expect the rise of e-books to continue. Which means that traditional bound books will continue to diminish.
Also, I expect bookstores and the large publishing companies to find a way to work with small press and indie authors. Right now, the big publishers are still doing all they can to maintain their iron-fisted grip on the large chain bookstores. Small press and indie authors are competition for the big publishers. The big publishers don't like that one bit, so they keep putting more and more pressure on the large retailers to find new ways to squash small press and indie authors. Chain bookstores lose out on a huge sum of money because of that. Yet they're terrified of upsetting the large publishers and of having those publishing houses to retaliate by yanking their accounts—thus costing the retailers sales from those publishers' New York Times best-sellers. Essentially, the big retailers are turning away sales because they're afraid to lose sales. It doesn't make any sense, yet they keep bowing down to the big publishers' demands.
Soon, something will break, I think. This war—that may sound like a strong word, but that's exactly what this is—between the large publishing houses and the chain book retailers on one side and small press and indie authors on the other has to be resolved. Large publishing houses and their chain book retailer minions keep putting more and more and more pressure on small press and indie authors, trying to force us out of the picture, thus controlling not only the publishing industry, but the selection of books available for consumers to read. Yet indie and small press authors keep seeing growing sales each year. This makes us more of a threat to the "big boys", so they find new ways of trying to brush us aside. It just keeps going and going, year after year. Consumers have spoken by way of their spending—many small press and indie authors have large, growing and loyal fan bases. This will only continue. A way will be found—soon, I expect—for large and small press and indie authors to co-exist in the retail end of this business. When that happens, things will be, I think, better for everyone—readers who buy the books, stores who sell the books, small and large publishers who publish the books, and those of us who author the books.
What are some of your favourite quotes from reviews that you've received?
My favorite review quotes come from the Paranormal Romance Guild's review of "Quintana Roo, Yucatan":
"This is a novel of pure action and adventure. There was never a dull moment, even for a minute."
"There was no stop in the action, and if you are into good action this is the book for you."
Would you rather have great reviews but average sales or great sales but average reviews?
I'd much rather have great sales and average reviews.
A review is the opinion of one, single person. Not everyone likes the same things. Personally, I pay zero attention to reviews for books I want to read. If a book is by an author I like, sounds interesting, is suggested to me by someone close to me, or has an interesting title or premise, I'll probably read it. Honestly, I couldn't care less what someone I don't know and have never met thought of the book. Reviews have become a necessary evil in the publishing business because so many people do pay attention to them. Personally, all book reviews are to me is a sales tool. If a review isn't for my own book, I'm not likely to bother reading it.
Apart from yourself, which other indie author would you recommend to readers and why?
Desirée Lee, of course! I don't say that simply because she's my fiancée, or that we're getting married in the summer of 2013, or that we're expecting the birth of our first child in the summer of 2013. I have to recommend Desirée Lee because she's a fantastic author! She writes solid plots, interesting characters and twists and turns that keep readers on their toes—metaphorically speaking! Desirée is a great talent and I fully enjoyed every word of her writing. Her website is: www.desireelee.com.
Why should people buy your book, Quintana Roo, Yucatan?
"Quintana Roo, Yucatan" is, I think, the best book I've ever written. As stated in the answer to the first question in this interview, it's the longest thing I've ever written. That page-count allowed for a lot of characterization and plot development. Though I wrote the book, there are scenes that make my heart pound when I read them. There's also a twist in the book that has been deemed "brilliant" by a film producer who has expressed interest in a movie adaptation of "Quintana Roo, Yucatan". Anyone who likes to read action/adventure ought to enjoy the book. As mentioned at the beginning of this interview, "Quintana Roo, Yucatan" received a nomination in the Paranormal Romance Guild's 2012 Reviewers' Choice Awards in the action/adventure category. It took second place.
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Thanks for your comments, Scott, and good luck with your writing.
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|Scott Harper, author of Quintana Roo, Yucatan|
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You can read some of Scott's previously published short stories on Triond:
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Follow Scott Harper on facebook and twitter:
Facebook: Scott Harper Author
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Scott Harper's books are available for Kindle and the Kindle app from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk:
Quintana Roo, Yucatan by Scott Harper on amazon.com
Predators or Prey? by Scott Harper on amazon.com
Necromancer by Scott Harper on amazon.com
Quintana Roo, Yucatan by Scott Harper on amazon.co.uk
Predators or Prey? by Scott Harper on amazon.co.uk
Necromancer by Scott Harper on amazon.co.uk
And also from the following booksellers:
Barnes & Noble