TONY BERTAUSKI: CONNECTING WITH READERS IS SOOO GRATIFYING
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Halfskin by Tony Bertauski was published in December 2012. The story was billed as “Excellent sci-fi novel”, “This book will make you think”, “New subject that I have never read before” by the reviewers (av. 4,3 Amazon).
Making connections blog tour is a well deserved reward for our next guest, who agreed to stop by Land of Books, and to share some thoughts about his writing.
– Tony, what is your Halfskin series about?
– Medical technology has developed artificial stem cells called biomites that replace the body’s organic cells and allow us more control over our emotions, intelligence and even looks. But how many is too much? To prevent abuse, the government established the Halfskin Laws that prevent people from having more than 50% of their body converted to biomites. Otherwise, they would be more artificial than real More machine than human.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– Most of my writing explores consciousness and identity. Halfskin springs from our identification with the body. Are we still human if we exist in an exact replica that we control?
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Coming up with the twist. I’m a sucker for a good twist. Once I had that (and most people never see it coming in Halfskin), the challenge is to lead the reader into it without giving away too little or too much.
– Tell us something more about your main characters Cali and Nix? Are they close to someone from your real life?
– Not close to anyone. I never use names of people I know. It’s just a connection I’d rather not have. Cali and Nix (Cali, in particular) are the flawed protagonists. I like a story with flawed protags, but more than that I like demonized antag with some redeeming quality that doesn’t allow the reader to hate him or her as much as they want to.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– About 6 months. I had done four novels complete at that point, so my writing chops were in place.
– What the readers will find in your very successful The Socket Greeny Saga?
– Socket was my first story. It’s a sci-fi trilogy, a teenager with everyday problems and an otherworldly destiny. It also has a big heart-tugging twist at the end. It’s the only thing I’ve written in first person. As such, I felt (as the writer) that I really identified with Socket, found myself crying when I was writing the very end. Some readers have had the same experience.
– Give us some insight about Claus: Legend of the Fat Man?
– Claus is the most fun I’ve had writing. It was a treat to take all the holiday myths and legendary figure and reimagine them in a way never seen, connecting them to real life events and believable science. The elven are ancient race that evolved through the ice age. Technologically advanced, they hide in the North Pole ice. But when Nicholas Santa becomes the first human to travel to the North Pole in early 1880s, he changes the course of elven history.
– Who are you?
– A horticulture teacher by day, but I’ve published textbooks, articles and columns. I stumbled into fiction and never looked back. Doubt I’d be doing it if the indie revolution hadn’t occurred. I’m just not interested enough to pursue the traditional route.
– What are your writing habits?
– I write when I find time. If the week is too busy, I’ll definitely find a couple hours on the weekend, minimum. On average, I carve out about seven hours of writing every week.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book?
– Shocked, honestly. I never thought I’d sell this much. That said, I’ve become accustomed to the numbers and want more.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I don’t do as much via social media as I used to do. It just has very little impact on sales. I’ve developed a mailing list (http://tinyletter.com/tbert204) to alert readers of new work and run as many Bookbub adverts as I can.
– When we will see your next novel?
– The third novel (Ashes of Foreverland) in the Foreverland series is due out in March or April. I’ll begin working on the third Halfskin novel (Bricks) after that. Once the Foreverland trilogy and Halfskin trilogy are complete, I’ll merge their story arcs into the next trilogy. What that will be called, I don’t know yet.
– You are working as horticulturist. Is there some connection between your profession and your literary creativity?
– I teach landscape design and have written two textbooks on the subject, so that’s probably the connection. I find creativity, the source of and cultivation of, fascinating. And the process of developing a story isn’t much different than developing a design.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– Where to do you plan on going with all this writing? First off, the money is nice. I mean, I have a hobby that I’m passionate about AND it makes money. Not many golfers or fisherman can say that. So with two kids, it helps pay the bills. Recently, I’ve reached a point where I’ve dedicated a portion of the proceeds in the Claus series to select charities, to I’d like to continue that. But probably more than all of that, I enjoy the challenge of getting a story from nowhere to somewhere and connecting with readers. While I still don’t plan on doing this full time, I would like to be successful enough that people would want to hear me do public readings. That, I think, stems from the teaching aspect. And connecting with readers is sooo gratifying.
About Ognian GeorgievOgnian Georgiev is a sport journalist, who is working as an editor at the "Bulgaria Today" daily newspaper. He covered the Summer Olympics in Beijing 2008 and in London 2012. The author specializes in sports politics, investigations and coverage of Olympic sports events. Ognian Georgiev works as a TV broadcaster for Eurosport Bulgaria, Nova Broadcasting group, TV+, F+ and TV7. He is a commentator for fight sports events such as boxing/kickboxing and MMA. In May 2014 Ognian Georgiev released the English version of his book The White Prisoner: Galabin Boevski's secret story.
Posted on March 2, 2015, in Author, Books, Interview and tagged author, Claus: Legend of the Fat Man, Halfskin, interview, The Socket Greeny Saga, Tony Bertauski. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.