Indie Interview: @GeneDoucette, author of Fixer


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

Meet Gene Doucette
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Best Known for: The Immortal Series

Gene Doucette is the author of Immortal and Hellenic Immortal and Fixer, as well as the third Immortal book, The Immortal at the Edge of the World.

Gene is also a humorist and an award-winning screenwriter and playwright. He lives in Cambridge MA with his wife and, when the colleges aren't in session, his two children.

Connect with Gene

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Dear Gene, thank you very much for agreeing to participate in the Indie Author Spotlight!

How long have you been writing and how did you get started?
I’ve always been writing. That probably sounds like a pretentious response, but it’s basically true. As soon as I learned how to read and then discovered that it was someone’s job to arrange words for other people to enjoy, I wanted to do it. My mom still has a poem I wrote in first or second grade back when I wanted to be Shel Silverstein.

Your book Fixer, is doing quite well, was this your first book? If not, what was your first published book and did it do well?
My first published novel was Immortal, and then came the second book for that series, Hellenic Immortal, and then Fixer, which is a standalone book unrelated to the other two. All three books have been doing very well!

Tell us a little bit about Fixer
Fixer is a fun book. It’s about a guy named Corrigan Bain who grew up with the ability to see about five seconds into the future. He uses this ability to run around town and save people every day, which sounds like a decent enough profession, except he tends to hallucinate the ghosts of people he failed to save and he’s pretty sure he’s going insane. And then it gets more complicated when it turns out there is something living in the future that doesn’t like being seen.

How does this book differ from other Sci-Fi/fantasy novels?
Well it’s kind of an amalgam. It’s present-day and has a lot of elements of—in addition to sci-fi/fantasy—mystery, suspense, horror, and humor. And when the reviews first started coming in I heard a lot of “superhero” comparisons, which is true even if it’s a category I never actually thought of.

I have a habit of toying with ideas that might have magic in them in someone else’s hands. Part of the fun is taking something that would involve a certain degree of mysticism or, well, something supernatural, and taking away the magical part and looking for a way to make the same thing happen without it. In Fixer, I sort of started with the notion of a guardian angel and then tried taking religion out of the equation.

You’ve written and published a novel, congratulations! How do you define ‘success’ in terms of being an Indie author?
I don’t think an indie author should have any different expectations. We have seen a lot of massive success start with indie publishing in the past few years, and I’m sure we’ll see a lot more in the years ahead. Indie publishers are much more nimble and can respond more quickly to market needs, and can tolerate underperforming titles far more than the big publishers. I expect books that nobody knew they wanted until they wanted it to come out of the indie market. I don’t expect to be surprised by much coming from the mainstream.

Do you have any special tips that you’d like to share with other authors, regarding writing, marketing or publishing?
I don’t know that the tips I have are any more special than anybody else’s. I will say that writing is hard, and anyone who says otherwise could probably be a better writer than they are.

There is an absurd amount of advice out there on how to write a novel, but the only thing you should care about is finishing it. Use whatever approach you want. If you finish it, you did something really difficult and you should be proud.

Now stop being proud and start rewriting it, because the first draft sucks. Trust me.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading! Stop by my blog or tumblr or twitter or facebook author page and say hello, I’m lonely.

Why did you choose to write in the sci-fi genre?
I don’t think there was a choice involved. I wrote what I thought would be cool to write about, and when I was done people said it was sci-fi so I said okay, it’s sci-fi. I mean, it is, but I didn’t set about writing in this genre, it’s just that what I wanted to write fell into that category.

Do you also read? What sort of books?
I do read, of course, but I am sort of terrible about it. I will read for research, which means a lot of non-fiction science and history books, and I will read fiction. But I can’t read fiction while I’m writing fiction, because I am a natural mimic. I will end up adopting another author’s voice, and sometimes when I sit around and figure out the plot of my book I find myself plotting someone else’s book instead. When I do read fiction my tastes run toward authors who write things I can’t even fathom writing myself. For example, everything Neal Stephenson ever wrote.

How did you learn to write?
Is that a thing? I thought people just started writing.

I guess the aforementioned mimicry is the answer to the question. I read a lot more fiction when I was younger and wasn’t also attempting to create fiction, so I’m sure I spent a lot of time dissecting the things I liked to see what it was about them that I liked, and then learning how to do the same thing. But the I learned by doing chestnut is probably the real answer.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?
This can be a short answer, a long answer or a super long answer, because this is a complicated question. The short version is, do what makes the most sense for you and understand the strengths and weaknesses of both decisions. For instance, self-publishing means you need to be a masterful self-marketer and you need to do it all day, every day, for a long time. But you can adjust the price of your book to whatever you want and expect to see all of the net from it yourself.

I think self-publishing is kinder to some genres than others, but I also think that it will always be the case where you will hear, “the book is self-published but it’s actually good” because it’s not something anybody assumes.

Now having said those things, I’m bound to get a lot of feedback from people who want to tell me what I didn’t consider. This is why it’s complicated.

Do you have any more books being released soon?
I do! In February of 2014 I have a book coming out called Sapphire Blue that is actually supernatural erotica (again, I don’t pick genres, people tell me after the fact what they are) that I’m putting out under the name G. Doucette in order to give it a little separation from my other titles. And in October of the same year Immortal at the Edge of the World will be coming out. That’s the third book in the Immortal series, and I’m working on it right now.


Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or your books?
The books are all awesome and you should read them. Like, now. I’ll wait here. 

Thank you, Gene!