Questions from Fans

Periodically I get emails from folks who have read my books or found the website, but whenever I try to reply the emails seem to go nowhere. So every so often I put together a few questions and answer them in a blog post.

1) Did you need an agent to work with Harper Voyager?

Short answer is yes. I do indeed have an agent (we’ve worked together since 2013 and he brokered my first publishing trilogy with Titan Books) and he deals with all my interactions with publishers.

Once upon a time authors could deal with the big publishers on their own if they wanted to, but those days are really gone. Most big publishers won’t even accept unsolicited manuscripts (the infamous “slush pile” of yore) so if you want to deal with the Big Five publishers, I recommend getting an agent.

There are also many small presses scattered across North America, though, and most of them are perfectly happy to deal with authors directly. You can submit to a small press on your own - BUT, if you actually get a publishing offer, I highly recommend getting yourself an agent at that point. Agents are the author’s friend.

2) Why do you keep switching between first and last names in WINDS OF MARQUE?

One reader commented on how I refer to my main characters by both their first and last names in WINDS OF MARQUE, and she thought it was confusing. Why didn’t I just pick one and stick with it?

Well, I was actually very methodical in this. Some of the scenes are written from Liam Blackwood’s point of view (POV) and others are written from Amelia Virtue’s POV. When we’re in Liam’s mind, he refers to himself as “Liam”, but he refers to his quartermaster as “Virtue” because he doesn’t know her very well. Much later in the book, as their relationship grows, his POV scenes switch to referring to her as “Amelia” because that’s now how Liam would think of her. The same occurs in reverse for Amelia’s scenes - at first she thinks of her XO as “Blackwood” but later starts to think of him as “Liam”.

Part of this reader’s confusion may come from the fact that the narrative switches between Liam POV and Amelia POV, but never randomly and never without an obvious break. The change within those POV’s comes from the developing relationship between the two characters.

So I had a cunning plan all along, and the differences in referring to characters were intentional. Sorry if it caused any confusion.

Bennett ColesComment