“…I don’t specialize. I don’t work for a huge firm with posh offices, and I don’t turn the television on at night hoping to see my latest commercial. I just practice law….” ~ from The Trust
Often, a Lawyer is the last person you want to call, because it means you’re either in trouble or in for a big bill. But, Noah Parks – an attorney and the main character in Sean Keefer’s debut novel The Trust – is an unassuming lawyer, a gentleman, and not really in it for the money.
He’s the perfect man, then, to handle the probate of Leonardo Xavier Cross’ will. However, a simple probate quickly turns into a case of murder, and Noah Parks finds himself sleeping in the same house as the number one suspect. And, she parades through the house in his boxers and tee shirt.
How’s that for a tease?
In real life, Sean Keefer is a practicing attorney in Charleston, South Carolina where he lives with his wife and two Australian Shepherds. Today, he stops by to talk about The Trust, about marketing and promotion, and to offer his key advice for others working toward publication.
Oh. You wanted more on the boxers and tee shirt character? You’ll have to read the book. Better yet, leave a comment after the interview, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a copy of The Trust. Random.org will choose a winner on Tuesday, August 16th.
CC: Writers often debate the pros and cons of using real versus imaginary cities for settings in a novel. The story in your novel takes place in Charleston, South Carolina, your home town. Were there any challenges (or perhaps big perks) you encountered in rooting THE TRUST in such a familiar place?
SK: It was an interesting thing, setting The Trust in Charleston. I consider Charleston my “adopted” hometown as I am actually from a ways up the SC coast. That being said I’ve always loved the city. I had the opportunity to visit several times during my childhood and, in many ways, I feel I was destined to end up here.
Something about this area just motivates me to write and while I discover new things about the city on a daily basis, it felt only natural to set the book here. The most challenging part of the process was taking the time to describe the area and remembering that not everyone knows the area as I do. Many times I was tempted to simply jump ahead in the plot, but I found it fit the character of Charleston to blend the setting into the story.
CC: Your novel has received some exciting recognition – Honorable Mention in the 2011 Beach Book Festival Awards and The Bronze Medal in the Mystery-Suspense-Thriller category of the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards – which I imagine helps promote your book. As an indie author, what are some other routes of promotion that have helped spread the word about your debut novel?
SK: A writer friend told me something recently – Anyone can write a book, that’s the easy part, it actually can be harder to read a book. The real challenge comes in marketing what has been written. No one told me, or should I say, made me believe the true challenges of book marketing. Particularly as an indie author. While I have perhaps a stronger desire to have my book succeed than any marketing professional may have for any book they are marketing, the professionals typically have large bank rolls behind them. I just have little ol’e me.
I’ve learned that to successfully market a book you have to do it everyday and you can’t get upset at rejections or failures. I make daily use of a variety of social media, but my most successful efforts have been when I get out and meet people and talk to them about my book. People don’t get to meet a lot of writers and I’ve been humbled and flattered by the reception I have received (and continue to receive). The more people you talk to, the more people that will perhaps want to read your book. Of course the awards help too.
CC: I’m a believer that life informs writing (and vice versa). Since you are a lawyer in real life, I’m curious as to how that experience translates into your work as an author?
SK: As an attorney I am amazed by the fact that truth is always stranger than fiction. I find inspiration on a daily basis from what I see in my work. Many of my characters are amalgamations of people whom I meet in my work. The struggle is to make sure that my writing doesn’t imitate my work life.
CC: What are you reading these days?
SK: Recently, I read In Leah’s Wake by Terri Giuliano Long. I also just finished Iron House by John Hart. I make sure to read Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, at least once a year.
CC: Do you have any advice for writers on the rise?
SK: My advice for anyone starting out writing is simply to write. If you don’t write something, you don’t have anything to read or even edit. My motto when it comes to writing is “Write, Edit, Repeat.”
For more information on Sean Keefer and his novel, THE TRUST, visit his website, like his page on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter. Also, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered to win a free copy of his debut novel. Check back on August 16th for the winner.