About Trace Conger:
Trace Conger is an author in the crime, thriller and suspense genres. His Mr. Finn series follows disgraced private investigator Finn Harding as he straddles the fine line between investigator and criminal. Conger is known for his tight writing style, dark themes and subtle humor. He lives in Cincinnati with his wonderfully supportive family.
What inspires you to write?
I love the idea of creating something (that will hopefully outlive me) and enjoy the process of plotting out a story that only I can tell.
Tell us about your writing process.
I do outline. I have to know where the story is going before I even begin writing it. I respect those who do not outline, but that process doesn’t work for me (except for short stories, which I do not outline). Most of the time I won’t start writing unless I have the ending in mind. I typically will plot out the novel on index cards. I only write a few sentences on each, and it’s never more than what will fit on a standard index card. Each card represents a chapter. Once I have most of the story plotted out, I try to organize it into a logical order. This is the story skeleton. From there I get to writing and put flesh on the bones. I do find that the story deviates from my original outline, but having that roadmap is very valuable for me.
As far as software, I use Scrivener. I can’t sing its praises loud enough. It’s been very helpful in allowing me to move scenes or chapters and it’s an awesome tool to help me organize the outline prior to even starting the draft.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Nope. I think if I did my family would commit me. What I do is create the character and then try to understand what they would do (if they were real) when put in a certain circumstance or situation. I think that’s what makes a strong and believable character, which in turn makes a compelling story.
What advice would you give other writers?
Focus on the story first. It’s easy to get distracted by all the other writing-related crap out there. Do you need an agent, where are you going to publish, is the story too long/short, will people like it, where should I send it… This might be important down the line, but your main goal before all that is to craft a unique and personal story that only you can write. If you’re going to obsess over something, obsess over that. The rest will come.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I decided to self publish this novel because I wanted complete creative control over the content and the process. I knew the story I wanted to tell and I wrote that. I didn’t want anyone (with the exception of beta readers) to influence the story.
As far as advice for others, do your research. There is no right way to publish a book and different authors have different goals. Learn about the process and make an educated decision based on what’s right for you.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m not sure the future of publishing will change much from what we’re seeing today. The big publishers will remain, but they will probably become more nimble than they are currently. I’d like to see a future where publishing contracts are more author-friendly, and I suspect traditional publishers (and possibly agents) will continue to use self publishing as a proving ground to find those authors who are developing quality and compelling stories and who are passionate enough to market the hell out of their work with little support.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: crime, suspense, thriller
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Both eBook and Print