Oddity Media (2014)
Reviewed by Janet Reeves for Reader Views (8/14)
Article first published as Interview: Henry Mosquera, Author of ‘Status Quo’ on Blogcritics.
Henry Mosquera is a writer and artist born in Caracas, Venezuela. He is the author of two critically-acclaimed, award-winning books, the political thriller, "Sleeper's Run," and the literary fiction novel, “Status Quo,” which was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014. He attended the University of Miami, Florida, where he obtained a double major in Graphic Design and Film. Henry currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and dog.
Jennifer: Hi Henry! Glad you can be with us today to talk about your new book “Status Quo.” Before we dig into the book, please do tell us a little more about yourself, like what it was like growing up in Venezuela.
Henry: Thank you. The pleasure is all mine. A few idiosyncrasies aside, I guess growing up in Venezuela wasn’t as different as growing up anywhere else. As a kid, I used to go to the mall, read comic books, listen to American and English music, hangout at the video arcade (remember those?), go to the movies, and those kind of things. Technologically we may have been a few steps behind the US, things were a little more chaotic—like having to stand in line to pay your phone bill containing calls you didn’t make—and there was a very present element of violent crime that permeated your daily life. I was also lucky that my family had a beach house. We could take off and run around by ourselves the whole day while riding bicycles, waterskiing, and creating all sorts of childhood mayhem.
When I was a teenager, the country was undergoing a period of riots, coup d'états, martial law, and a general sense of social upheaval that culminated with the 1998 elections. It took the country in a very different direction. By then, I was already a junior at the University of Miami in Florida. So thankfully I never got to experience the “revolution” that ensued. Frankly, when I see news from Venezuela, I can hardly recognize the country. It’s a very sad and strange feeling, but basically the country that I grew up in no longer exists. What we have today is something very foreign to me.
Jennifer: I have a friend who is also from Venezuela and she too finds the country unrecognizable. It is heartbreaking to hear what is happening there. Have you returned to Venezuela or do you have any plans to go back, given the state of the country right now?
Henry: No, the last time I was there was back in ’98 when I went to visit my mother. Since then, my family has moved back to Spain and I lost contact with my childhood friends. Last I heard most of them had left the country as well. For some strange reason I never saw my future as living in Venezuela, so when I left, I knew I was never going to go back. I hope one day things change so I could take my wife. I’d love to show her where I grew up. But right now it’s just wishful thinking.
Jennifer: What are some of your favorite things to do? Do you have any favorite places that you love to vacation or visit often?
Henry: I’m a martial artist, so I love being on the mat, training. That’s the one place in my life where I can escape my mind, which is something very hard for me to do. I have a Second Degree Black Belt in Hapkido, and I’ve been training in Keysi Fighting Method for a couple of years now. Also, I recently began training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Filipino Martial Arts, and a little Silat. I’m kind of in a martial arts kick nowadays (no pun intended); doing things I’ve always wanted to learn, and seeing where all of these things take me. It’s all very challenging and lots of fun. Living in Los Angeles affords me the incredible opportunity to train under some living legends like Guro Dan Inosanto, Rickson Gracie and his son Kron, and my late Master, Bong Soo Han.
One of the great things about constantly working out is that it allows me to indulge in my other favorite thing to do: eating. My wife and I are foodies, and we also have a handful of foodie friends, so going out and trying great restaurants and amazing food is a big part of my life as well. With the accompanying wine and spirits, of course. We try to find the great hidden spots or snag reservations to a Michelin-starred restaurant that’s been getting raves.
Travelling is definitely one of my passions, but sadly my dog, Shadow, has been suffering from a degenerative disease for the last couple of years and that has curtailed our traveling. My favorite place is one that I haven’t visited before. I do go to Spain once a year to visit my family (that’s where we’re originally from.) ). I always have a blast there with the food, the sights, the museums, the people, and sharing with my loved ones. My brother is a huge music fiend, so he always takes to me to see mind-blowing live Latin Jazz, Jazz, and Blues bands in some really cool musical landmarks around the city, and we always have an amazing time. I really cherish those moments. I’ve done a fair share of travelling and I’m far from done.
Jennifer: I find it that fascinating that you enjoy this and even more that you have been able to work with living legends. I considered putting my son in Karate for the discipline aspect but never considered doing any myself. Can I safely assume that you would highly recommend some form of Martial Arts training for young people to do?
Henry: Definitely! But it also depends on the child. I was one of those kids that when my parents asked me what I wanted to do for a hobby, I always replied, “Karate.” So, I’ve been in and out of martial arts since I was about five years old.
People think the martial arts are about beating people up, but in today’s world with lawsuits, firearms, and cameras everywhere that is ’s the least useful aspect of the training. What you will gain and use everyday is the discipline, respect, awareness, confidence, structure, socializing, and health benefits of any system. It also helps dispel a lot of the romanticism of getting into a physical confrontation. Yes, if you find yourself in the terrible position of having to defend yourself or your loved ones, you’ll have the skills to improve your odds of walking away from the experience in relative safeness. The street is a very different animal than the gym or the ring. There are no rules, time limits, fair play, referees, or guarantees that you will come out on top of a street-fighting situation. There are just too many things out of your control; too many unknowns. Western societies learn about war and fighting through fiction, and that’s as useful and accurate as learning to swim oin dry land.
Jennifer: I can only imagine what writers have running through their mind constantly. Would you say that mMartial aArts helps keep you disciplined?
Henry: It does. It also teaches you patience, the importance of structure, and the benefits of being constant. You won’t improve sitting at home watching TV, no matter how many kung fu movies you go through. It also gives you problem-solving skills and keeping cool while under pressure. That’s what sparring (or rolling, for my Jiu-jitsu brethren) is all about; problem-solving in real time and under stress. It also challenges you and makes you break through your own limitations. You’ll end up doing things that you never thought would be possible. I think one of the most important things about martial arts is that it teaches you humility. There’s always someone stronger, faster, younger, meaner, or more skilled than you. In the end, you realize that the only opponent is the one within. The battle is against your fears, ego, limitations (self-imposed or otherwise,)), and shortcomings. Every time you step on the mat, that’s the enemy you want to vanquish, and hopefully, become a better person (cue the bamboo flute.)).
Jennifer: You won several awards for your first book “Sleeper’s Run” which is a political thriller. Congrats on that achievement! I know you must have been floating on cloud nine 9 with all of the praise you received for this thriller. What kind of effect did the recognition have on your writing, if any, of “Status Quo”?
Henry: Thank you, that’s very sweet of you to say. Well, when I set out to do anything, I always give it everything I’ve got. So when I wrote “Sleeper’s Run” I went all out (you can read about all the crazy stuff I put myself through in order to research that book in my previous Reader Views interview.) ). Then Sleeper’s went on to garner all this critical praise and all kinds of awards (all of them first places) and that basically set a standard for me. I want “Status Quo”—and anything else I write for that matter—to perform as well as that regardless of the genre. So far, “Status Quo” has won the 2014 Best Indie Book Award for Mainstream Novel, and Kirkus Reviews named it one of the Best Books of 2014. But “Status Quo” it’s still out there in all kinds of competitions, so we’ll see how my new baby does. But I’m confident it will keep doing well. My brother likes to joke around saying that I’m going to be the best indie author you never heard off.
Jennifer: Henry, I have to say that you are one cool guy. Not only do you have awards under your belt but your conversation is really awesome. Writers tend to be loners. I do not get that vibe from you at all.
I know you have many more stories to tell. Is there a topic that you have been toying with writing in the future; maybe incorporating mMartial Aarts in some bad ass action scenes?
Henry: That’s really flattering. Thank you. But I’m a loner all right. I think the art form calls for that type of personality. There’s not much writing you can do if you’re besieged by people. Writers need to think, to look inside, and to scrutinize the world around them. I’ve always been a misfit, so I tend to look at society from the outside. If you look at the core concept of my work, it’s about dissecting systems, which are in essence humanity’s constructs. So I have to step into the world and mingle with people. I think when you say “loner” most people envision a modern-day hermit of some kind. To me, it just means that I get my energy from spending time with myself. I like sharing with people, having a good time with friends, and being exposed to things outside my own sphere of experience. I love a good conversation too. But I do need to spend time on my own to think and create. I guess you can say I’m a loner with a social component.
As for future stories, I have plenty. What I need is time to get to all of them… and maybe some money. It’s getting more expensive to self-publish books. The cost of editing “Status Quo” tripled since I edited “Sleeper’s Run””!! I’m currently writing a sci-fi story I hope to publish by the end of the year. It was supposed to be my sophomore book, but it took a back seat to “Status Quo.” After that, I want to go back to literary fiction and do a story I’ve been tinkering with for some time now. AAnd at some point, I’d love to do a sequel to “Sleeper’s Run,” but we’ll see. I tend to gravitate towards tackling new genres.
I incorporated martial arts thoroughly in “Sleeper’s Run.” One of the first questions the martial artists who have reached out to me ask is, “What’s your style?” I get a kick out of that! They know no layman will go to the lengths I went to in describing and dissecting each fight scene as I did. To the uninitiated, they either look cool or superhero-like. To the educated, they get to enjoy a whole different depth—which is true for all the other aspects of the book; military, hacking, foreign countries, etc.—I approached those scenes from a physical, emotional, circumstantial, and psychological aspect. I have yet to read a book that has done that. I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a martial arts story down the road, who knows? Perhaps I’ll get around to it one of these days.
Jennifer: Tell us about your second novel “Status Quo” and the main character Lemat, who struggles with rejection, depression and anxiety.
Henry: “Status Quo” is an interesting story. It’s one part modern fairytale, one part morality story, and one part exploration of art versus commerce and what it means to be creative. Lemat is in essence any person who has felt a creative calling and decided to pursue it. And just like with “Sleeper’s Run,” there’s the story on the surface that everyone can read and enjoy, and then there’s the real narrative filled with symbolism and allegories that speaks to a more personal part of the reader… if that’s what they’re looking for. That’s just the way I write, in layers. I like to have a personal conversation with my readers whether we agree or not on the issues presented in the novel. Ultimately, I want them to make my stories their own.
There’s a lot of myself in Lemat. This is the most personal story I’ve written to date, which made it difficult at times when I was writing it. With that said, it’s not autobiographical by any stretch of the imagination. I used my life’s experience to craft the novel, but Lemat is a fully formed character. There are things that he does that I agree with and others that I don’t. That holds true for all my characters. Some people like to believe that what I put on the page is 100% what I stand for on certain issues, but they couldn’t be more wrong. I’m an author, and the way I see it, my job is to tell a story honestly. That means that my characters have a life of their own irrespective of me. My books are about you as a reader making up your mind about the things I talk about, not me telling you what to think. I don’t have the answers to those questions. I may have my answer sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it’s the answer. It’s up to each one of us to make that call. And if there’s no answer, the least we can do is ponder the questions.
Jennifer: “Sleeper’s Run” had a complex character with PTSD and “Status Quo” seems to also have a character with his own set of problems. Did you spend long hours researching the about emotional issues to put these characters together or are they based off of people you know or have met somewhere along the line.?..,or a little of both?
Henry: It’s a little of both. I had to confront that problem with “Sleeper’s Run.” I was presented with the opportunity to sit among a support group for veterans suffering from PTSD at my local VA, but I declined the offer. At the time, I felt it was wrong for me to be there just to trivialize their experiences as research for a novel. Then again, I felt that if I was going to make the subject an integral part of my story, I needed to portray it honestly. So I came to a compromise and researched the subject peripherally by reading on it, talking to people who knew veterans with PTSD, and seeing some documentaries on the subject. You have to understand, when I wrote “Sleeper’s Run” back in 2010 (it was published in 2011), nobody was really talking about PTSD in the military. That’s one of the reasons I chose to include it in the book: to shed some light on the problem. That has changed a little bit, but not enough. PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury in the military are still a huge problem that’s being kept quiet.
As for “Status Quo,” I drew from my own history with depression and anxiety. I think every creative person has to deal with those two issues at some point during their lives, if not throughout their whole existence. Like I said in the book, there has been studies that link creativity with all kinds of mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Which is why artists tend to be more vulnerable to emotional and psychological problems. I find that extremely fascinating and it does explain a lot about the “creative type.” Add to that the frustration, rejection, and scrutiny any artist undergoes through their work and you can see how that can cripple someone. All art emanates from within. You leave a lot of yourself in every piece you create; that’s the price you pay. That leaves you open and vulnerable. Criticism can be brutal, even though that’s just somebody else’s opinion. Understandably, a lot of people can’t deal with that.
Jennifer: How is your audience responding to “Status Quo”?
Henry: Curiously, the reaction has been similar to “Sleeper’s Run.” You can divide its readers in two camps: the ones that go, “Status Quo is a story that goes from A, to B, to C.” Meaning, the people who just read the words in front of them. TAnd then, there’s my favorite group, the readers who are personally touched by the story. They see themselves reflected in Lemat and get to internalize the journey. These are the readers I have a conversation with through my work. One of the best takes on the book came from a friend of mine who understood exactly one of the main underlying themes of the book. I’m going to keep it vague to avoid any spoilers, but he made a very keen observation about the prologue and the epilogue. That made my day.
Everybody has a different take on the book, so I guess I accomplished what I set out to do as far as making it unique to each reader. The end of the book seems to be the real wedge issue. Kind of like Eric’s innocence or guiltiness in “Sleeper’s Run,.” but then again, I wrote them that way on purpose. You tell me what your truth is. The most interesting part of this is how much it reveals the personality of the reader. Every review from a reader or a critic shows me a snapshot of their personality. “That’s what you got from it? Hmm, interesting. That’s what you think happened, really? Great.”
Then there are the people who complain about—or even dismiss—the novel because of the strong language. That baffles me in this day and age. All I have to say about that is that I don’t write for kids or the young adult crowd; I write for a mature audience. If you’re easily offended by language, sexual situations, violence, and adult themes, don’t read my novels. Please. In that way, you don’t have to waste your time reading my work and I don’t have to endure a bad review.
Jennifer: I am glad you mentioned the things readers take away from a story. I find it much more satisfying to read a book that doesn’t push ideas on me as I read. You will always run into those people who buy a book and get upset about language. I find that so silly. I have a motto: take what you want and leave the rest. If you are sensitive to language, might want to find a different genre that is more…say…clean. Has the mature language and situations been the only negative feedback you have received on the novels? If that is the case, you are still winning!
Henry: Some people had issues with the violence in “Sleeper’s Run.” You mentioned finding “cleaner” genres. Well, Sleeper’s is a political thriller about a former counter-terrorist operator. It’s what some people call, the “tough guy” sub-genre. So what did they expect? I refuse to present these actions in a romanticized way. If my protagonist is going to engage someone with a knife, it’s not going to be pretty. The whole videogame approach to violence where you run around with a shotgun and things fall over, and conveniently disappear is not for me. There’s a very disingenuous way in which a lot of people treat violence. They want to eat the meat, but not know how it gets to the supermarket, so to speak. And I’m all about nuance.
Language is about communication. If a character is a sailor—pardon the cliché—he’s not going to talk like an English Lord. In “Sleeper’s Run,” Eric cursed in his inner dialogue, against his pursuers, or in military-related instances. He never used profanity at work, on a date, or any other place that would be inappropriate or disingenuous for the character to do so. In “Status Quo,” you have characters like Guy, Mia, and Dep, who never utter a single “bad word” (I don’t agree with the term,) and characters like Lisa who can’t seem to string a sentence together without them. It’s about authenticity and characterization, not shock value.
Jennifer: Would you mind sharing an excerpt of the book?
Henry: Not at all.
Ink took Lemat to Juan Chow’s, a Chino-Latino
restaurant just around the corner from her work. They
sat at a tiny table by the window. Lemat ordered a kung
pao mofongo with salsa verde, and Ink ate a moo shu
chimichanga with moros y cristianos. He washed his
food down with tamarind juice. She drank green tea.
“A disease?” Ink said, chewing.
“A psychological problem,” Lemat said. “I read
this article about a study from the Journal of
Psychiatric Research that linked creativity to mental
“What kind of illness?”
“Bipolar disorder, for one. It said that writers in
particular were more likely to be diagnosed with
schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and substance
abuse. No shit, right? It also said that writers were
something like fifty percent more likely to commit
suicide than the general population.”
“No arguments there, but a disease? I don’t buy it,”
Ink said. “Besides, why are you so thrilled? It’s like you
were just told you had cancer and you’re happy about
all the weight you’re going to lose.”
“I always suspected there had to be something
wrong with me, and now I have scientific proof.”
“No, what you have is mental diarrhea. So let’s say
the article is right and you do have a mental problem,
what do you do with that information?”
“I can finally get rid of this… thing. It’s been
driving me crazy all my life,” Lemat said.
Ink just stared at him incredulously. “Well, I can
definitely say you are one sandwich short of a snack
tray,” she said. “Everyone can be creative.”
“Everyone can have creative thoughts, but pursue a
creative career? Most creative people are drunks, drug
addicts, manic-depressives, or damn-right depressed—
they suffer from anxiety attacks and all kinds of other
“We are fragile creatures.”
“Exactly! Yet, we put ourselves out there—our
thoughts and ideas—for everyone else to see and
“Sure, but a disease? I don’t know. I think you’re
reading too much into it. What would be the
“A full frontal lobotomy.”
Jennifer: When you get ready to start writing, do you have any weird rituals to get your mind working for storytelling?
Henry: I sacrifice a goat in the name of Cthulhu. No, not really. I guess I have my own approach to writing, but I tackle every book differently. For “Sleeper’s Run,” it was a lot of research and training, and then a ton of rewrites. “Status Quo” started out as a bunch of disconnected ideas with a central character that I put together in a semi-coherent linear narrative in a 40k word draft. I then used that to work out the kinks of the story and expanded it into a full-length novel. The current book I’m working on (the sci-fi story) has been a combination of both methods.
I’m not big on writing notes. I work the whole thing in my head; that’s the preparation aside from research. Once I have the story and the characters locked down in my mind, it’s all about rolling up my sleeves and doing the work. The bane of my existence is the sheer amount of themes and ideas I want to cram into every novel. That’s my struggle, to trim things down into a lean, mean, hell of a story. So my first drafts are a way for me to write down everything that’s in my mind. In that way, I can see what ideas work and which ones doesn’t. Then it’s all about rewrites and editing.
Jennifer: Did you submit your manuscripts to big publishing houses or did you just jump right in and do it yourself?
Henry: Nah, I didn’t waste my time going the traditional way. I’m an indie author. There’s nothing about traditional publishing that appeals to me, with the exception of being able to remove the stigma that is mired in being a self-published writer. Publishers can’t offer me anything that I don’t have or can’t do by myself, and I prefer it that way. I love doing my own thing with nobody to answer to. Besides, I’m used to be the underdog. So I’m right where I want to be.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t do the work. I take my writing very seriously, and I strive to publish the most professional book my budget allows. I hire editors, proofreaders, book blog tours, marketing people, and so on and so forth. I’m a professional graphic designer, so I have that part covered. Granted, I don’t have the budget or an army of experts to do those things at the level of a publishing house, but I make sure my work is presented professionally. This is not a hobby to me, but a second job.
Jennifer: What has your experience been like publishing as an independent author?
Henry: I love it, except for two things: the stigma and the limitations in marketing .Let me explain. Like I said above, I don’t mind being an outsider, what I resent is the implications attached to being an indie author. If you go indie, a lot of people think that you have no talent and that your work is not worthy of publication. The old, “If you were any good, you’d be published traditionally.” That just shows a complete lack of understanding of how the publishing industry works. I’m not going to waste time going into that here. There’s plenty of information on the web about that for those who care to search for it. But I’ll say this: publishing is the only place where being independent is a mark of shame. If you look at film, music, or gaming, being indie is a badge of honor. It means you are outside the mainstream that you’re creative and doing things away from the corporate crap that gets pushed into the public, and the people who support them are cool, intellectual, original, etc. So why are indie writers the red-headed stepchildren of the creative world?
The thing that irks me the most is when someone criticizes my style for mistakes either due to lack of experience, bad editing, or what have you. If I were traditionally published those things would be addressed as disagreements with my “creative choices,” “voice,” or “style,” as it should be, but because I’m self-published, they can be nothing but wannabe blunders.
And that segues nicely into my second issue: marketing. If you are self-published, crossing into the mainstream media is extremely hard. They want nothing to do with you. The toughest part of my job is selling my books. How do you reach your readers? The truth is nobody knows. I’ve done great critically and award-wise, but not so much commercially. I have tried every single marketing avenue available to me: blog tours, national and international trade shows, interviews, reviews, giveaways, awards, social media, trailers. You name it; I’ve done it. I think one of the biggest problems the indie publishing movement is currently facing is the lack of cohesiveness. We have made great strides forward, but there’s still a lot of work to do if we’re really going to be able to compete with the traditional route.
Social media is a crap shoot. Some people have a real knack for it; that’s a huge plus. Social media is great, but everybody has access to it, and everybody wants the same thing, so it all becomes white noise. Take a look at most author’s Twitter feeds. It’s all about “Buy my book” or “My book is great” or “Here’s another review of my book.” Frankly, I tune those out. I do use Facebook and Twitter to promote my books, but for every tweet about one of my novels, you get fifty about something else: martial arts, design, art, movies, music, food, TV shows, architecture, photography, technology, other books, self-publishing, and so much more. I want it to be an interesting feed, not a stream of “buy my book” messages.
Jennifer: Do you have any advice to give to other writers who are dangling on the fence; waiting for a “yes” or just publishing themselves?
Henry: I believe everyone should follow their own path, so I’m not a big fan of giving out advice. What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you and vice versa. So I’ll tell you my point of view and people can take it as they will.
To me, it all depends on what you want to do. I’m at my happiest when I create and I love to tell stories. That’s my bottom line. Anything else is garnish. Do I want to make a lucrative career out of it? You bet! Am I holding my breath for that to happen? I don’t have the lung capacity. So I do what I do for the love of it. No one goes into the arts to make bank. There are easier ways to make money in this world. It’s a vocation, a calling; that irresistible impulse that pushes you to create in spite of yourself. It’s something akin to falling in love. So what’s important to you? What’s your bottom line?
I don’t see why I should waste my time jumping through arbitrary hoops only to be stuck in the process of publishing, which may or may not happen even if you sold your manuscript. Let’s say you manage to get through the whole process: agent, editor, publisher, and finally getting published. Then what? You have people meddling with your work. You have to wait a few years before your book hit the stands. You still have to keep your day job. You have to do all the marketing for your book yourself (what do you think the advance is for?) If you believe the publisher is going to promote your book for you, you’re in for a rude awakening. You’ll be doing all the work for pennies on the dollar. That is if you see any revenue from your novel. And, if your book doesn’t perform up to the specs you become persona non grata. Good luck finding a publishing house for your next book or even representation. But don’t believe me folks, do your own homework and find out for yourselves.
Jennifer: As an award winning author, what opportunities have come your way since receiving numerous awards for your first book?
Henry: Not many. The jury is still out on the importance of indie book awards, at least in my case. That’s part of what I was talking about before regarding the indie movement being fractured. Everyone makes their own site—their own business—with their own reviews, awards, interviews, etc. But there’s no acknowledgement across the board. Let’s say I win an award on site A, site B (which has its own award) doesn’t necessarily acknowledge the award on site A. In the traditional publishing model, if you win a Pulitzer, everyone acknowledges that.
That’s why I was so glad when you mentioned my awards at the beginning of the interview. That has never happened to me before, so I know you guys are cut from different cloth. The way it usually goes is, “Author Henry Mosquera has won our award. So tell us…” but there’s no mention of any other accomplishments. That’s a problem. I understand that each of these entities is business and they work towards furthering their brand. There’s nothing wrong with that. Independent authors need these outlets to help market their books, so I’m all for it. But I think the next stage in the self-publishing world should be consolidation.
Jennifer: I know as a book publicist that it can be hard to bring attention to an independent author’s work. Have you found good experiences seeking publicity for your book?
Henry: I had definitely run into some really nice people in that arena. The late Irene Watson was one of them. She was my first live interview. I told her I was very nervous because I’ve never done anything like that, but she was very kind and quickly put me at ease. We had a nice interview. Of course, Murphy’s Law never rests and the day before the interview I caught a cold and you can hear me sniff after every sentence. It drove me crazy when I heard the playback after it was posted!
Also, M. J. Rose from AuthorBuzz was really nice to me when I published “Sleeper’s Run.” She even went out of her way to help me, give me advice, and offer me some nice marketing opportunities. I learned a few things about promoting a book through her.
A few months ago I was randomly hit for an interview for a website, which was really nice. So there have been a few cool instances in my journey so far. But marketing is the toughest thing any indie author has to face, bar none. That’s 90% of your job right there. Look at it this way, all the accolades and exposure I had with my books have amounted to barely a dent in the promoting scheme. There are too many of us clamoring for attention, not to mention all the traditionally published books, and other competing media. Selling isn’t easy.
Jennifer: If there is one thing that you could go back and tell your younger self, what would it be?
Henry: Oh God, so many things! “Invest in Microsoft! Buy stock on Apple! DO NOT go out on a date with that girl!” But seriously, in the martial arts world I’d say, “You know those people you’re reading about? Well, don’t worry kid; you’ll be studying under some of them. Trust me.” As an artist: “Don’t lose the love of creating for its own sake.” As a writer: “No matter what you do, start writing. That’s the genesis of every creative endeavor and that’s where you excel.” As a man: “Relax, enjoy the journey. Trust your gut feeling no matter how crazy they might seem. There’s always a solution. Oh, and by the way, you’ll going to marry a wonderful woman down the road and you’re going to have an amazing dog (you’re also going to fall in love with a cat too, believe or not.) Your best years are going to be your present, not your past.”
Jennifer: As we come to a close, is there anything else you want to tell readers either about yourself or your books?
Henry: There’s not much to say about me. About my work, it’s all about the reader’s journey and what they take out of it; that’s what I strive to give them. I’m just a guy trying to make sense of this world, just like them. I don’t claim to have any answers about the themes I present, just a friendly invitation to ponder on them. My novels are pop art, they’re meant to be entertaining, but there’s nowhere written that pop art has to be disposable and shallow. If I manage to make you have fun, I’m happy. If in the process my work sparks an inner dialogue, I’ll be over the moon.
Jennifer: Thank you so much for taking the time out to entertain me today! It has been a great pleasure and I am so happy I had the chance to chat with you. Please do tell us where you can be found online, social media, websites, etc.
Henry: I loved the chance to talk to you about my work, and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Thank you. You can find me on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/odditymediallc, on Twitter: @odditymedia (I promise you’ll find something interesting there,) and you can go check out my blog at: www.sleepersrun.com