About Eugenio Salvato:
Eugenio Salvato was born in Sheffield, United Kingdom in 1966. A son of Italian immigrants, he grew up in the 1980s when computers were “the future”. Against his better judgement he embarked on a career in computing. A career that was financially rewarding, but personally demanding. With more money than he could spend, and no time to spend it, he decided enough was enough. At the age of forty, he gave it all up. For the next seven years he focused on pursuing his interests and making up for lost time. The years passed quickly… and allowed plenty of time for reflection.
One day, he woke up and realized.
“It’s time… I need a new challenge.”
He decided he owed it to himself to pursue something he wanted to do. Something he enjoyed doing. He wanted to make a contribution. He wanted to make his mark. But what was that something he wanted to do? He only knew it wasn’t computing. He delved deep into his psyche, and searched for an answer. Months went by without result. Then, one day, it struck him. As an aspiring young man, he dreamed of becoming a writer, but somehow allowed others to discourage him. He failed to follow his heart…
What inspires you to write?
I like to write about the human condition, how people deal with internal and external conflict, and how the line between right and wrong—good and evil—is often blurred.
My first book, Blood Feud, is set against the backdrop of gladiatorial combat. The story is about two brothers with conflicting ideals and opposing fighting styles. It explores how people often justify wrongdoing in the name of a “noble” cause. And how they’re willing to sacrifice everything in the pursuit of that aim.
My second book, Driven to Kill, is set in modern-day England. The story depicts a deadly rivalry between a master criminal and a journeyman detective. It explores how unhealthy fixation can often spiral out of control, and how none of us really know what we’re truly capable of, until we’re faced with an impossible choice, especially when the life of a loved one is at stake.
My latest book, Runners, is set against the backdrop of an apocalyptic wasteland. It tells the story of an ancient people’s battle for survival. The story explores how sworn enemies are able to set aside their differences to achieve a common goal. But how they must first learn to overcome their prejudices, and forgive past wrong-doings, in order to achieve their aims.
I don’t want to give too much away, but there are five different threads to the story. Each thread follows a different band of heroes, each hero is trying to achieve a different goal. A goal that is very dear to them. It goes without saying, they all stand in each other’s way, and are on a collision course. Not all of them will succeed.
My latest book is my biggest challenge to date. The plot is complex, and there’s a lot to resolve. I’ve been working on it for ten months now, and I’m at the editing stage. I’m hoping it will be published by February 2015.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m definitely a plotter.
My first task is to come up with an intriguing idea.
Once I have a concept, I come up with a plot. The plot should have plenty of scope for twists and turns. It’s important for me to know where the plot is going, and how it’s likely to affect my characters. I never start writing until I have a rough idea of how the story will end. That’s not to say that everything is set in stone. Twists and turns present themselves during the writing process. As does the ending.
I then flesh out my characters. By the time I’m done, I know all my characters intimately, and how they fit into the plot. Their names, looks, habits, personality traits, history, hopes, fears, goals, and aspirations. I normally have a rough idea of whether or not the character will achieve their goals. And even if they are going to survive the plot.
Next I build my world. I come up with place names and visualize them. I think about how they relate to each other in terms of proximity. Visualizing a map helps. I then outline how the plot unravels in relation to the world I’ve created.
I then work out the different threads to my story. How they run in parallel, and how they intersect. It’s during this stage of the process that I identify any plot issues and inconsistencies. It’s also the stage when I come up with interesting new plot twists.
Once I’ve done all of the above, I start writing. At this stage I don’t worry about grammar, style, rhythm or structure. I just write. I don’t worry about “showing and telling”, or finding precisely the right verb or adjective. My first draft is about getting the story down. It’s important to get into the flow, and not to worry about technical details. I find music helps during this stage.
Once I have my first draft, I enter what I call the grind stage (editing). I pay attention to grammar and style. And more importantly the rhythm and structure of the prose. I read a chapter over and over, until I’m able read it through without pausing. If something causes me to pause, then it usually requires rework. Once I’m satisfied, I move on to the next chapter. When I’ve finished my second draft, I move onto my third draft, and repeat the process. When I’m completely satisfied with a chapter, I place a tick against the chapter heading—it keeps me sane. Normally, it takes five drafts before I’m completely satisfied. Curiously, at this stage I find music distracting. I find editing the most challenging stage. It takes a lot of focus, discipline, and eye for detail!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I definitely listen to my characters!
They often say things like:
“I wouldn’t say that!”
“I wouldn’t do that!”
“What is my role in all this?”
“I’m two dimensional!”
“I don’t want to die!”
And I suppose by listening to them, I speak to them, and I reflect what we’ve discussed in my work.
What advice would you give other writers?
I wouldn’t presume to offer advice to seasoned authors.
But I would say the following to an aspiring writer.
If you aspire to be a writer, then just write. Always write from the heart. Aspire to write your favorite novel. Gain inspiration from your literary heroes. Try to emulate them, but develop a style of your own. Once you start writing, don’t stop. Write every day!
Master your craft. Read the latest novels. Read books on creative writing. Read books on grammar and style. Read books about marketing. Read books about publishing. Read books that will inspire you. Never stop reading. Never stop learning!
Make your first book part of a series. Your readers will thank you!
Don’t limit yourself. Never give exclusivity to anybody. Publish as widely as possible.
Build a platform. Create a blog. Join Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter. Create mailing lists. Promote your work on all of the above, and in the front and back matter of your books. Promote your books on as many websites as possible. Conduct interviews like this one. Don’t hide your light under a bushel!
Be accessible to your readers. Nurture relationships. Your readers will stick with you for life.
Fear of rejection is life’s great inhibitor!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
A few years ago, I heard that it was possible to self-publish through Amazon, so I used Amazon. I used KDP Select to help promote my work, but that involved giving Amazon exclusivity. I’ve since read a number of books on self-publishing. I would advise any writer to do the same and make up their own minds.
Personally, I think giving anybody exclusivity is a mistake. After drawing my own conclusions, I made my book available on Smashwords. They made my books available on their own platform, as well as distributing them to the other big publishers. Crucially, my books are not limited to a single format, rather they’re available in every format possible.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Unfortunately, it seems to be getting harder for the indie author. And it’s not going to get any easier. Not in the short term. There’s no doubt, there’s a lot of competition out there, and it’s not easy competing against established writers. And let’s be fair, it’s not easy for readers to discover new authors.
So, what’s the answer?
Three things: talent, hard work, and time.
Writers these days must be multifaceted to succeed.
Of course, they need to be able to write. But they also need to be able to promote their own work. If they do the right things, they’ll build their own reader base. And if they’re talented enough, they’ll succeed. But it will take a lot of time, patience, and hard work.
As for the industry in general?
The trend will no doubt continue towards e-books, and away from paperbacks.
Distributors and publishers will need to find a way of clamping down on quality. To help both readers and writers. If they fail to do so, true talent will struggle to emerge. Readers will lose confidence. And ultimately, publishers and distributors will pay the price.
What genres do you write?: Epic Fantasy, Heroic Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Detective Thriller, Mystery & Detective
What formats are your books in?: eBook