1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?
My name is Auctor Trevel and I am primarily an independent author who specializes in horror, dark comedy, and dark urban fantasy. I am based in the United States.
2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?
The Blood Red Snowman And Other Horror Flash Fiction is my tenth book and my second short digital eBook work sold on Amazon (the others being Preyed and the short science-fiction horror story Afflicted, which is currently on Fictionate and about to be released in a collection). I decided to publish The Blood Red Snowman as horror-based flash fiction that goes no longer than a page, and I decided to publish it to commemorate the fact that I have been self publishing for ten years (my first book was The Maze’s Amulet in 2012) and that contests I sent the horror flash fiction to at the time was not accepted in contests I submitted to. Other short works I submitted to so far have been to Indellible, which primarily publishes superhero prose and comics.
3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?
Given The Blood Red Snowman is a horror flash fiction collection, the main characters are varied. Some of them survive the bite-sized horror they are featured in, but many don’t get so lucky. If I were to talk about a main character, it would be Elza del Toro from The Maze’s Amulet. She is a terminally ill war vet cursed with a magical illness and relies on a green amulet to survive. Her greatest weakness is her illness but her greatest strength is facing adversity thrown at her without flinching.
4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?
The hardest scenes were in The Maze’s Amulet, as they were the most grim but also the most emotional, especially the ending that I won’t spoil here.
5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?
For all my books, especially The Blood Red Snowman, I went the self-published route because I like having control of my work and had creative freedom to edit and modify whenever I need to. I am not against traditional publishing and might go into it in the future, but self-publishing allows a great chunk of freedom but also a ton of responsibility.
6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?
The most difficult part would be the marketing and also finding yourself as an author. Part of me wish I held off publishing my early works because I was using a different name and was not sure how to present myself. My recommendation to starting writers is not to immediately market yourself after you finish your first book. Play around with different genres and formats, and market yourself as you authentically are and with a name you are comfortable with.
7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
For now, I want each book to stand on their own. I’m not against building a body of work with connections but given that I play around with a lot of different genres, each work is almost guaranteed to be its own.
8. Who are some of your favourite authors, what are some of your favourite books, and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?
Mark Z. Danielewski, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, John Scalzi, Neil Gaiman, Paolo Bacigalupi, J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, H.P. Lovecraft, Koushun Takami, Abe Kobo, Richard Wright, Alan Moore, and even people in other mediums in films and video games like Frank Miller, Shinji Mikami, Hideo Kojima, H.R. Giger, Salvador Dali, Jordan Peele, Jhonen Vasquez, Gary Larson, Bill Watterson, Kohta Hirano, Takaski Miike, Ryuhei Kitamura, and John Landis. I could go on forever about the influences! R.L. Stine was the first author to convince me to write, and to go in the horror direction when I first started reading chapter books as a young boy. Regarding favorite books, they include House of Leaves, Neverwhere, American Psycho, Interview with the Vampire, Old Man’s War, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I Am Legend, Dracula, Battle Royale, and Moby Dick.
9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?
I like presenting excerpts and I have taken advantage of online-based programs like Canva to help these excerpts pop and show readers what these books each. I feel it is important to show readers what the books are like, and not just showing the flashy covers. I also compose shorter bite-sized pieces of darkly humorous and horror texts to entertain readers and help them consider if they would like to buy my books. The most important part is creating a platform that they are willing to visit often.
10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?
I hate damsels in distress, I hate “chosen one” narratives, and as much as I like Dungeons & Dragons and works by Tolkien and some of the high fantasy greats, I am sick and tired of the medieval fantasy genre being overused. I feel there is not a whole lot of risks being taken with writing creatively regarding world building, especially in the self-publishing arena.
11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?
I do not respond to negative feedback. If someone dislikes my book, it is what it is. If I see a book I just released with a three star rating, I just continue selling it. I used to be happy about good reviews at one point but if someone points out something they did not like in a book, I pay attention and see what I can learn from the experience.
12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?
I am a “wing it” person and make multiple drafts of chapters and short pieces. If I did outline, I don’t follow it to the letter and I found the outlining process-at least the conventional method-to be rigid and hindering. I also confess I’m still figuring out my processes as a writer and willing to learn new tricks and techniques. I almost always listen to music and/or a podcast when writing as it helps put me into a “zone” where I can concentrate on the manuscript. The music I listen to comprises of rock, metal, industrial, hip hop, trip hop, electronica, jazz, alternative, and film and video game soundtracks.
13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and don’t give in to perfectionism.
14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?
I am currently working on a superhero noir serial and a spiritual successor to The Maze’s Amulet. I am also starring in the independent zombie web series Dead Legion, which premiered on Amazon Prime on January 13th, 2023.
15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:
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