Indie Interview: Meet Indie author, Larry Kollar aka @FARfetched58 #fantasy


Conversations with authors and writers from the self-publishing world.

Meet Larry Kollar
Genre: Fantasy
Best Known for: Accidental Sorcerers

Larry Kollar lives in north Georgia, surrounded by kudzu, trees, and in-laws. His day job involves writing user manuals — some of which may have been fiction, but not by intent. He has had short fictional works published in the Hogglepot Journal and the Were-Traveler. His first novel, White Pickups, is available, with more to come. For more of his strange fiction, and even stranger reality, visit his blog.

Connect with Larry on 
Facebook  |  Goodreads

In this week’s Indie Interview we have Larry Kollar, author of the very popular Accidental Sorcerers. He has some great thoughts for readers and writers alike.
Larry, thank you very much for agreeing to participate in the Indie Author Spotlight, here are a few questions for you. How long have you been writing and how did you get started? I think I started at a very young age, like 8 or 9, when I started adding narration (in my head) to the everyday life around me. When I was 12, I decided I was going to write a novel, a Hardy Boys knockoff. My mom got out a portable manual typewriter, and a typing textbook. So I wrote about three chapters and abandoned it, but by then I knew how to type.
Accidental Sorcerers

Accidental Sorcerers is doing exceptionally well, was this your first book? If not, what was your first published book and did it do well?
My first book was White Pickups. Technically, my first was a short SF piece called Xenocide, but I published that mostly to learn how what needed to be done. After six books, I think I can say I've got the process down fairly well. ;-) Both have had an audience beyond friends and family, but nothing amazing. They've both had very good reviews, too. Tell us a little bit about your books… White Pickups is paranormal, and depicts the weirdest apocalypse ever. It never happens when anyone is watching, but vehicles turn into white pickup trucks and attempt to entice people to get in. Then they never get out. The book, and its sequel/conclusion Pickups and Pestilence, follow a small group of survivors who try to use all the stuff left behind to survive. Although the main character is a 16 year old skater boy, it's not YA due to liberal use of foul language and a few non-glossed over sex scenes. Maybe New Adult? Accidental Sorcerers is the first of a series of YA fantasy novellas. The main characters are Mik, a boy who (with no training) awakened an ice dragon to drive away invaders, Bailar the Blue, a kindly but clumsy sorcerer who becomes his mentor, and Sura, Bailar's adopted daughter and Mik's fellow apprentice (and love interest). The three of them end up having many adventures, in a time when a sorcerer's life is supposed to be sedentary. How does this book differ from other fantasy novels? For one, it's a novella. That wasn't a deliberate decision I made when I first started writing, but I went with it. The target audience (young teens), I've been told, read eBooks mostly on phones and tablets. A novella is a good fit for those kind of readers, who might want an escape from a rainy afternoon or a long car trip.
More important, Sura is a unique character. Our heroes hail from the Stolevan Matriarchy, and (as Bailar is unmarried) Sura is the head of her household. She takes the role seriously. You don't see Bailar in the kitchen, only because he might injure himself. Sura isn't a foil for Mik, she's a partner. In danger, Mik might try to protect her, but she's having none of that. You have achieved what many indie fantasy authors dream of- how did your success come about? If I could only figure it out. :-) I'd have to say it's a combination of factors: good cover art, a catchy synopsis, and a blog tour that went better than expected. Do you have any special tips that you’d like to share with other authors, regarding writing, marketing or publishing? You can't do this alone. Most of us are multi-talented, but none of us are omni-talented. You need to understand what else (besides writing) that you're good at, and acknowledge what you're not so good at. You need beta readers, a cover designer, an editor, and a formatter. But in the end, do the best job with what you can find.
The other thing is, of course, keep writing. If you have a serial out there, you have an implicit commitment to finish it. Besides, some people won't buy book 1 if books 2 and 3 aren't available. Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers? Thanks to each and every one of you, and I'm always happy to hear from you! Why did you choose to write in the fantasy genre? It's the one I read most often. I also read a lot of SF, but most of the stories I write end up being fantasy for some reason. There's also a challenge when writing fantasy, to work with new angles and new ways of thinking about things. There's a pretty deep rut in the fantasy genre, where people have followed Tolkien, but urban and contemporary fantasy have managed to at least partially jar the genre out of that rut. Do you also read? What sort of books? Of course. Mostly fantasy and science fiction, but I do read horror on occasion. How did you learn to write? I started out by reading a lot. Then I just started trying to write stories. I ended up in a career as a technical writer, which I've done for 30 years now. (eek!) There are differences between that and writing fiction, of course, but there are more similarities than you might think. Even in technical documentation, you need some kind of structure (or arc) to tie the thing together. You need to write grammatically correct sentences, and you want to leave the reader satisfied with the work. What are your thoughts on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing? I'm definitely in the self-publishing camp for now. One of the best pieces of writing advice on the net right now, is “treat your writing like a business.” (I believe it was Kristen Kathryn Rusch who coined, or at least popularized, that statement.) So when I started looking at what it would take to self-publish well, versus the traditional route, I made the decision to self-publish based on time to market. I estimated three years to get everything in place to self-publish (and that turned out to be close), and that was the minimum time to get to market with a traditional route. And only one guaranteed a product on the market. All other things being equal, I self-published.
But, I think that over time, the traditional publishers (or what's left of them by then) will figure out how to turn self-publishing into the equivalent of baseball's “farm system.” Right now, they're cherry-picking the proven success stories (like Hugh Howey), but even that won't save them in the long run. What I expect to see happen is that they'll start looking at writers further down the sales ranks, writers with promising talent but not a lot of sales. Of course, I'm a lousy prognosticator, so something completely different is likely to happen. Do you have any more books being released soon? Yes! Water and Chaos is the second book in the Accidental Sorcerers series. It should be out shortly after this interview runs. Later this year, I hope to release the third story, tentatively called The Sorcerer's Daughter. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or your books? I'm glad I live in this time, where I can share my stories with people, in my own voice. I'm always going to try writing stories from a different angle, maybe mixing genres or introducing new ideas. We live in interesting times!
What great advice! Thank you, Larry!