Sunday, 21 October 2007

Silence Cry: Marta Stephens

SILENCE CRY: A Sam Harper Crime Mystery
by Marta Stephens
Crime/Mystery Genre
BeWrite Books (UK)
ISBN 9781905202720
UK GBP 7.99, US $15.50, Canada 18.50;

What is your book about?
Homicide detective Sam Harper is the new officer on the beat; SILENCED CRY is his calling card. Torn between guilt and suspicion, Harper tries to make sense of the events that led to his partner’s murder during a routine surveillance of a drug supplier.
It quickly becomes evident that his late partner, Frank Gillies intentionally muddied the facts. Key points don’t add up and make Harper believe Gillies is involved in illegal activities. When questions surrounding his partner’s death go unanswered, Harper suspects a cover up.

Determined to find Gillies’ killer, Harper plunges back into his work. He and his a new partner, Dave Mann are called to their first case at the Harbor View Apartments, a building marked for demolition where workers discover the skeletal remains of an infant entombed in one of the walls. The investigation into the infant’s murder opens the floodgates of questions. When the suspects in the Baby Doe case link back to Gillies, the evidence mounds as quickly as the bodies in the morgue, and the truth leads Harper to the person he least suspects.

Why did you write the book? I’ve loved mysteries since I was a little girl; the more complicated, the better. My passion began in grade school with ghost stories and eventually led to Agatha Christie and other greats like Alfred Hitchcock. Since I am the whole of my life experiences, my writing has also been influenced by the classic noir films I’ve enjoyed over the years. I wanted to touch upon the emotions that millions of people around the could relate to: grief, anger, joy, fears, resentment, worry, suspicion, etc., and trigger those emotions in my readers through the characters in my books.

How does your book differ from others that are similar? The consistent comment in all my reviews is the complexity of the plot. Armchair Review wrote: “If you are looking for a novel ripe with twists and turns and intricate interweaving of plots ...” Chrystal Reviews (NY) wrote: “She knows how to spin a complex, credible, action-packed and gripping story with plot, subplot and more subplot. Every page crackles with intrigue, questions, and clues.” Euro-Reviews wrote: “This reviewer has read mysteries since childhood, and even I was hard-pressed to guess the villainous identities, and found it impossible to predict the turns this roller-coaster story would take.”

SILENCED CRY introduced the young Homicide Detective Sam Harper, but unlike other heroes of detective mysteries, Harper is far from perfect. In the beginning, he is content to let his partner call the shots. It quickly becomes evident that his late partner, Frank Gillies, intentionally muddied the facts in their case. When his partner is murdered in the line of duty, key points don’t add up raising suspicions of Gillies’ involvement in illegal activities. When questions surrounding his partner’s death go unanswered, Harper suspects a cover up. The more he digs, the closer the crime leads to his doorsteps. The consistent theme is betrayal and how each character, including Harper deals with it.

Where did you get your inspiration from? I wanted to create a different type of police drama. The storyline for SILENCED CRY developed over time, but I wanted to show the human side of the detective as well as his development from being a complacent individual to a determined, seasoned officer.

Why did you choose POD? I know the hurdles new authors face when they try to place their first novel with an agent and large publishing firm. I believed in my story and felt that given the chance, it would prove to be successful. Going with a POD is not necessarily the easy way out as some may think. It is not self-publishing. My publisher has stringent guidelines and an editorial team so I consider myself fortunate to have been published. However, because it is a small press, there’s a sense of family and one-on-one communication—working as a team, and to me this is critical.

How did you market your book? I belong to numerous writing organizations and online author groups and have promoted the book through intense internet networking. I launched my website weeks before SILENCED CRY was released and began to build a “buzz” for the book through direct mailings as well as blogs. My August virtual book tour attracted new interest from readers and critics alike. Now in the last two months of 2007, I’m focusing on several promotional events locally.

What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of this method? The advantage of internet promotion is that it gives the author immediate access to readers throughout the world. The disadvantage is not knowing if you have reached your focus target. The key to internet marketing is consistency. Results won’t happen over night, but it will happen if the author takes advantages of networking opportunities. Join writing groups, post announcements and articles in a variety of blogs and forums; develop relationships, encourage and help other authors; and always reciprocate the kindness.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome? The misconceptions about POD. Most people don’t understand it and equate it to self-publishing. Another challenge has been getting the book into independent and chain bookstores. However, with the distribution centers in the US and the UK, any bookstore, large or small can order it. The flip side of this relates to the previous question—POD also sells books through a multitude of on-line bookstores making it available world wide giving the reader a wide range of options.

What would you say to others considering POD? I believe it’s definitely something for a first-time author to consider. POD not only helps authors get their foot in the door, but it allows them to learn about the publishing world and gain valuable experience and confidence before moving on.

Where can I get a copy of your book? SILENCED CRY, BeWrite Books (UK) publisher; paperback UK GBP 7.99, US $15.50,Canada 18.50; ISBN 978-1-905202-72-0; is available from all Amazon sites including Amazon.UK, The Book Depository
from your local bookstore, or directly from BeWrite Books:

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