When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in middle school up until high school, I had a knack for writing papers and written assignments. I usually get very high marks or encouraging comments from my teachers. From then I always enjoyed expressing my thoughts and creative energy through the written word. I got much inspiration from my favorite books, movies, and games, and have always wanted to express my own mind through writing. I knew I wanted to publish a novel after college. I had way too many ideas that I was keeping in cold storage in my brain. It was about time that I put it all to paper. My first two novels now are the result of that.
Who were the authors that influenced you as a youth, and in what ways?
I LOVED the Halo video game franchise. I was so immersed in the world of the game that I also got further immersed in the books, picking up where the games left off. The main author of those books was Eric Nylund. I’d say for sure his writing style deeply influenced mine because I read those books several times! The action sequences and descriptive styles, I have noticed, appear in my own books. Even though I write historical fantasy, I have been told there was a sprinkle of sci-fi storytelling techniques in them. I attribute that to Halo and Eric Nylund’s writings.
How did it feel when you got to hold your very first advanced copy of your book?
I held it in my hands and stared at it for a good minute. I kept brushing my fingers over the cover, flipping through the pages over and over… and oh, I sniffed it. A lot! That shows that I was mesmerized by seeing the fruit of my labor materialize before me. “Excited” didn’t even begin to describe it.
What was the inspiration behind your book(s)?
History and epic fantasy—my two favorite things to read and write about. I thought, why not smash them together and see what happens?? I have always wondered what great real-world civilizations in history would have done when faced with fantasy elements like dragons, elves, and dwarves? So I began Trials of the Middle Kingdom- Medieval China historical fantasy series. Making this happen was a fantastic adventure in and of itself!
What was your publishing journey like?
Honestly, it started out very slow and difficult, with only momentary spikes along the way. It was a long growing and learning process that continues to this day. The journey was a like a long dirt road through a dimly-lit valley and no one knows when it ends. It was not until I took what I’ve learned and experienced and used it to my advantage that things started to pick up. Being indie takes tremendous time and dedication. Writing the books is the easy part. Getting people to know it exists is even harder, but man, the rewards can be really sweet.
What advice do you have for aspiring young novelists?
I always say to a writer who wants to be an indie author: start early, do everything you can to promote yourself and your work long before you even publish your first book. Reach out to people actively. Join social media groups dedicated to books and readers of your genre(s). You can even start your own and grow it! Become prolific and find creative ways to promote your books through these mediums.
Connect with other authors and nurture those professional relationships. It’s vital that you help one another and grow together wherever you can. Other authors aren’t your competition; they’re your teammates in the indie publishing world. Build that fan base early.
Also, connect with readers face to face. Join conventions and book expos. Get their contact information and keep in touch with them. Put them in your mailing list. You can’t afford to be shy or introverted. You’re your best promoter. No one else can do these things with the required effort other than you. However, it’s also important to get help from friends and family.
Always ask for reviews. Rack up those reviews. They don’t come often at all. Have great artwork and graphic design. Have amazing covers, brochures, a website, business cards, posters, art prints, etc. These will make up your image. They absolutely matter. Invest in them with your own talents or with someone who is qualified to do them. Time, effort, and investments are heavily required. Writing is the easy part. Promoting and marketing is often much more work.
If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
I’d like the ability to use 100% of my brain to give me that “ultra instinct” focus and determination. That way I can avoid procrastination, laziness, and creative blocks!
Where is your favorite travel destination?
I love long drives and road trips, but I always enjoyed going to Shenandoah National Park. I love hiking trails and I love the mountains. It makes me feel like I’m on a quest. Internationally, I want nothing more than to tour East and Southeast Asia for a whole year!
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When you’re not writing, what are your favorite hobbies?
I love reading, character/ story-driven video games, watching movies and series, martial arts, creating digital art/ design, and playing the drums!
Where can people find you online?
I’m on Facebook.com/TrialsoftheMiddleKingdom/ and Instagram @pierre_tomk. I have a twitter but don’t use it that much at all. My website is pierredim.net