Sunday, June 29, 2014

Feature: Scott M. Sullivan author of Impetus

When the world first heard about the meteorites, it was already too late.

Ten arduous years later, Mick and his small group of eight had adapted to the new way of things. With no clean running water, power, or forms of communication, the Earth went backward, taking with it almost everything they held dear. Survivors like Mick were forced to do the best they could with what they had. Because in the post-Impact world, alternatives were a luxury that no one could afford.

Now a deadly virus promises to finish the job the space rocks failed to.

With the clock ticking down on their lives, Mick will navigate the deceitful webs spun by those that oppose his drive for salvation. And along his quest to prevent another catastrophe, Mick will rediscover what it truly means to be human.


Author Interview

What inspired you to write this book?
A friend of mine was doing NaNoWriMo (, where writers attempt to write 50K words during the month of November. I joined him. I ended up writing 25K words of Impetus during that time. I reached a block in my writing and shelved it until mid-April of 2014. I finished it in the middle of May.

How did you choose your title?
I chose IMPETUS as the title because each of the main characters has their own driving force pushing them. And since I chose to make Impetus character-driven, I felt like that single word embodied the story’s spirit.

Tell us about the cover and how it came to be.
I designed the cover in Adobe Photoshop (graphics) and Illustrator (text). The meteorites in the sky were the cause for the destruction 10 years prior to the story. The barren landscape is to give the reader an idea of what remained after the catastrophe. There is a touch of green in front of the swing set. A writer friend of mine said it needed a tiny dose of color to break-up all the bleakness.
Did you self-publish or publish traditionally and why?
I self-published Impetus, along with my first book, The Trinity Signs. I will also be self-publishing my third book sometime in the near future. Self-publishing used to have such a stigma attached to it; for good reason in some cases. However, with people like Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking showing how drastically that stigma has changed, it gives other authors like myself a fighting chance. There are a lot of great authors out there that may not fit what the big publishing houses are looking for. The success of a great deal of self-published authors goes to show that what readers want and what publishers think they want don’t always fall in line.

What do you consider the most important part of a good story?
This answer will probably vary greatly depending on the person answering, but, for me, the most important part of a good story are the characters. Plot is obviously of great importance, too. But it’s the characters that pull the emotion out of the reader. It’s the characters that give the reader a way into the story. If you can feel what they feel, see what they see, and live what they live, then the story becomes more of an experience. And a good experience can be quite memorable, in my opinion.

What is your writing process?
I bring up a new Word document, close my eyes, and imagine. I’ll then write what I see and go from there. For instance, I started Impetus by closing my eyes and picturing a man sitting on a hill and staring at a damaged billboard. I don’t know why I pictured that. Something must have triggered it; I must have subconsciously seen or heard something to put that image in my mind. That scene became my first paragraph about Mick, my protagonist: him staring at a billboard. After that I would write as the story came to me, usually a chapter at a time.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a pantser all day. Once I become accustomed to the characters, I let them do their own thing and simply write down what they do.

What part of the writing process is the hardest for you?
Finding time to write. While I would love to do this fulltime, I simply can’t afford it with a family to support. So I write when I have the opportunity to.

What tips can you give on how to get through writers block?
Click save and walk away. Simple as that. Do something else. Anyone with writer’s block should read a book, or watch a movie, or go for a run, or do something other than spend time with that story. Let the answer naturally come to you. I find that other stimuli can sometimes trigger the answer you’re looking for. Trying to force the answer will result in either undue aggravation or a subpar way through the block.
What kind of music do you like to listen to while you write?
I usually write without music. My 4-year-old daughter has a better attention span than me. So I try to limit my distractions. However, when I do put something on it’s either classical (Vivaldi, Bach, etc.) or something by Hans Zimmer. If it’s something lyrical then I’ll start singing the song in my head.

Who is your favorite author?
I like Preston and Child. I like their stories and the way they tell them. Stephen King would be at the top of the list, though. The breadth of what he’s written is so impressive. His imagination is second to none.
Read anything good lately?
After I finished writing Impetus, I wanted to stay in the post-apocalyptic frame of mind. I downloaded and read Wool by Hugh Howey. Great story. So imaginative. Hugh writes with impressive fluidity.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I have an 8-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. They pretty much dictate what my free time will be spent doing. I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.

What advice would you give an author just starting out?
Keep writing. Keep improving your craft. And make sure you understand that there are people out there that will despise what you wrote. They will not connect with your characters; they will not understand your plot; they will tear apart what you wrote and how you wrote it. Some people may even get personal. Opinions on your story will vary greatly. Understanding that ahead of time will help you deal with the negativity. Even the greatest books of all time have plenty of 1-star reviews. You can’t please everyone. Embrace the positivity and learn from the negativity.

Have you had anything else published?
The Trinity Signs was my first self-published novel. It’s an action-adventure fantasy story. That story requires the reader to suspend their disbelief. But sometimes a true escape from reality is just what the doctor ordered.

What's your next project?
After I finished Impetus, I picked up a story I hadn’t done anything with in a couple of years. I ended up finishing that and will soon be releasing it. I’m still trying to come up with a title for it. That should, hopefully, be out in the next month.