Author Interview: LP Ring

LP Ring author of Long Snake Moan, a Senior Inspector Choi series
LP RING author

Today I’m chatting with LP Ring author of Korean Crime Thriller Senior Inspector Choi series, Ring’s second novel in the series Long Snake Moan is just about to be released in Oct. Available Amazon HERE


Liam, you mention on GoodReads that there are 5 novels in your Senior Inspector Choi series. So, are you a plotter or a pantser? Are these all planned out in advance?

When I started out I knew who the characters were and what would happen to them. I also had an idea of how these events came about and the themes I wanted to discuss within the stories – the crimes being investigated reflect some of my views on society and the importance of a country’s history. However, I freely admit that characters have a habit of doing things I don’t always expect them to do, so it’s entirely possible that Choi and his team might end up not following my plans for them at all. I’ll have to wait and see.

How did you come up with 5 being your ideal series number?

I feel that sometimes a series of novels can go on too far and the stories can become repetitive. Some writers can end up with 10, 15 or 20 novels in a series and the stories and action seem to blend into each other to the point where even hard-core fans are left wondering who was in what story. Also, I’d love to give another genre and character a try before I’m in my dotage – it’s something that we are a lot freer to do in the self-publishing market – so five seems the number at which I’ll have said enough with these people and this situation. I’ll be ready by then for a new set of paintbrushes and a new canvas.

What drew you to writing crime novels?

I was kidded for years by this intellectual snobbery that crime fiction - isn’t as valuable as literary fiction; indeed that snobbery has fallen by the wayside in the last decade with writers like John Banville entering the crime genre. As time has elapsed I’ve realised that the characters in novels like these end up dealing with problems that can happen to anyone in any walk of life.

I’m really interested in social issues and I think that a lot of what irks us about society can be looked at in a crime novel format. Just having these themes within a story will hopefully make people think about issues they ignore on a regular basis. My favourite novel of all time is probably The Secret History by Donna Tartt. She isn’t someone you’d term a crime writer and yet that and her other two novels both feature crimes and criminality as a major motivator.

Long Snake Moan, author LP RING cover designed by Kura Carpenter,
Long Snake Moan
Book 2 in the
Senior Inspector Choi series
by LP RING




What era and city is Long Snake Moan set in?

The novel is set in the modern day in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea is a potentially fantastic subject as it’s a first world country that was decidedly under-developed only 50 years ago. Its history as a former colony as a country riven by civil war also makes it a fascinating study. In addition, its status as a mega-city means that a lot of things go on in it every day – things that can involve an insane number of people. On a more mundane point, Seoul also gets hit by these pretty tough winters sometimes – minus 20 degrees is not uncommon – so choosing the winter as the time of year for the first three in the series gave me the chance to add some claustrophobia to the story.

What part of East Asia were you living in before moving to NZ – is it safe to guess Korea as your novels The Tiger Awakens and Long Snake Moan are set in Korea?

I taught English in Japan for a number of years before moving to South Korea where I taught at a university. That job gave me space to write during the vacations. The winters are long and quite harsh too so there wasn’t much to do outside.

Why did you decide to go the self-publishing route?

I’m my own boss and although that means a lot of extra stuff to do besides writing, I only answer to myself at the end of the day. I had a look at a few publishing companies – quite small, niche ones - and sent off a few query letters (I think it was 4 in the end). I immediately got an automated response from one company that said if you haven’t heard from us in six months, we aren’t interested. It just struck me as incredibly disrespectful, and if the company was going to be like that, even if they were interested in my novels I just wasn’t going to enjoy the overall experience. I’d also seen how people like Hugh Hovey and J.F. Penn had been successful and happy without any publisher backing and thought I’d enjoy the process a lot more just taking care of myself.

What have been some of the hard things to overcome with your self-publishing journey?

Technology can be a major pain. I’m a bit of a technophobe so have found some of that quite tough. I’m using draft2digital at the moment though, and I’ve found that the learning curve isn’t as steep with them. It also gives me a decent ‘time spent to results’ trade off that I’m comfortable with. So I have published two novels so far this year and learned some things along the way.

If you could go back and give yourself tips as a young writer, what would you advise?

Write what you like. Don’t force yourself into writing in a genre you don’t like. It sounds obvious but for example, I’m not a romance kind of guy so my trying to write a romance novel would be absolutely crazy (even though romances are often the most popular sellers in self-publishing). I wasn’t reading the right things when I was younger as well. If you want to write anything - space opera, thriller, harlequin romance… anything, you’ve got to read as much as you can in that genre. You’ll learn how the experts do it and it will gradually filter into what you do. You’ll at least structurally be a better writer for it and have a fair idea of how the experts go about things. You don’t learn to cook or do carpentry from scratch. Writing isn’t any different.

Great advice Liam, Thanks for answering my questions today. I wish you and Senior Inspector Choi all the best for the rest of the series.

Please check out Liam's Latest novel Long Snake Moan on Goodreads.
Or  Long Snake Moan on Amazon
You'll also find him on Twitter: @l_p_ring

Or for more info checkout his Blog LP Ring on Wordpress


And Don't forget his Amazon Author page LP Ring where you'll be able to keep track of the entire series as it progresses.


The Tiger Awakens
Book 1 in the 
Senior Inspector Choi series
by LP Ring





News: ebook Pre-order The Kingfisher's Debt

ebook Pre-order on Amazon is now available for my New Zealand Urban Fantasy novel "The Kingfisher's Debt" official release date is 29 September.

"The Kingfisher's Debt" is a fast-paced, humorous first-person mystery about a woman whose family are all car-thieves with supernatural powers and she is forced to work with the Dunedin police to solve community crimes in order to repay her debt to society."

The Kingfisher's Debt by Kura Carpenter
The Kingfisher's Debt by Kura Carpenter, Kiwi Urban Fantasy #DunedinMagic

Check out these Advance Reviews on GoodReads:

“I’m thoroughly enjoying this book. If you like your humour as dry as your gin, you’ll love this. Cracking dialogue, and a story that keeps its secrets when it should.”

“A great example of a genre that blends crime drama with fantasy in a modern setting.”

“I love the character Police Chief Jackson, who reminds me of Pratchett’s Vimes (although in a very kiwi way). His humour is dry and his attitude no-nonsense.”

“I was quite quickly addicted once I got into this absolute page turner.”

“The family politics and drama of Outrageous Fortunes with the supernatural intrigue of the Dresden Files.”

“The supernatural aspect is unique and well developed, filled with interesting lore of witches, elementals - and the not-so-fair fair folk. The pacing is excellent, with a pleasing array of twists and turns, a hearty dash of humour.”

“With clever re-imagining of witches as gang members, magic as the drug for sale, and poetic touches of what lives look like on the line between good and evil, Kura brings us a touch of ‘if only’ in Aotearoa.”

“The writing was crisp, clear, and had a cracking pace.”

“The protagonist was unusual and I had to keep reading to find out just what made her tick and just what this magic was all about.”

“The author has a great command of the story, she’s in charge and there is nothing unnecessary here.”

The Kingfisher's Debt



Guide: How to Write A Book Review

Today I'm chatting with Angela Oliver, Christchurch based writer, illustrator and GoodReads Book Reviewer. 

 

As someone who has written nearly 1000 reviews on Good Reads, why are reviews so important for authors?

Reviews are important because purchasing - or even reading - a book requires a certain commitment, of time and generally money, thus many readers would like to know, in advance, if they are making the right choice. Reviews are especially important for independently published or debut authors as a reader is less likely to commit to something they are unfamiliar with.

Do you have a method? Or have you developed one?

I'm not really sure I've developed a method as much as a structure, but one thing I shall say is: review as soon after you've finished the book as you can. The initial emotional impact will soften as time passes and key elements will fade from memory. When I first write up a review on Goodreads I tend to write only one or two sentences. If it is a book I am reading purely for pleasure - as opposed for one I've specifically been asked to review - I may not always elaborate past this point, especially if it is a later book in a series or hasn't left a strong imprint.

How do you start?

I begin by first noting down my general impression of the book. Here's where I will occasionally use words like “evocative” or “spell-binding”. If it is a book I didn't like, I may end up going off on a rant as to why I didn't like it. Interestingly, my rant-style reviews tend to earn more Goodreads “likes” then my positive ones. My review for THE Hundred-Year Old Man is my most “popular”.

If it is to become professional review, ie an advance copy in have specifically been asked to review, or one for the Booksellers site, then I will generally follow up with a teaser of the plot. I never exactly copy the book’s blurb, although I may refer to it to make sure I have included key points. I conclude with a general summary of my impressions including recommendations on whom I believe the book would appeal to.

Sometimes I will write a ranting-style review on Goodreads then refine it before submitting it to Booksellers. I never lie about how I felt about a book but can mostly find some redeeming features!

Do you think there’s an ideal word count to aim for?

I'm not sure how many words most of my reviews contain but I think probably between about 200-400 words. That's more for professional reviews, of course. If it's not one I've been specifically requested to review and I didn't feel particularly strongly about (either positively or negatively), then they can be very short. I think the shortest I've ever written was one word: “unremarkable”.

How do you avoid Spoilers?

I try not to reveal more than what the author or publisher has revealed in the blurb. Sometimes blurbs can give away significant plot points! I will tease that there is a twist but not say what it is - only whether it caught me unawares or not.

What’s your opinion on reviews that have Spoilers?

I'm mostly okay with that as long as they give fair warning - and Goodreads does offer the ability to hide spoilers. Of course, if I found a review that started with “I couldn't believe that Jack was the killer!!” then I'd be very annoyed. That's not a review - that's just ruining it for any other readers. If they were saying “Jill’s relationship with Jack felt unconvincing and made me uncomfortable” however, than that is highlighting the quality of the writing (or lack thereof) even if it may also be a slight spoiler.

What kind of statement might you suggest ending a review on?

I tend to try to end with a positive - often by saying who I think the book would appeal to, and why. After all, even if I hated it, that doesn't mean there isn't someone out there that would love it!

Are Amazon and Good Reads the only good places online for people to share reviews?

They're the only two I frequent! Goodreads more than Amazon, since Amazon has introduced their stricter rules around who can post reviews (which includes deleting reviews if they discover you are friends or family of the author). I can understand their reasoning for the $50 requirement thanks to sites that offered positive reviews for sale but it does make it harder for people who review ARCs. Goodreads would probably be better if people weren't allowed to review books before they were even released though. I also have book reviews on Booksellers website, but those are ones I review on request.

What’s the hardest things about reviewing books?

Trying to write a positive and professional review about a book I didn't particularly enjoy! I've found words I can use that make the negative sound more positive - which is perhaps where my writing skills are put to use!

Can you explain some of the common terms eg/ TBR, DNF, ARC?

  • TBR means: “To Be Read” and like most authors, I've quite a pile of those!
  • DNF is “Did Not Finish”. I've a few of those: sometimes no matter how promising a book sounds, the writing style or characterisation just doesn't work. And life is too short to read bad books.
  • ARC is “Advanced Review (or Reader) Copy”.

What are some tips for newbie reviews to build up a following?
Write a negative review of a popular book - you might be surprised how many people agree with you! But I guess, be honest, but not offensive, and, if you are an author that gets a negative review, don't start an argument with the reviewer!

-------------------------------------------------
Angela Oliver, New Zealand writer and illustrator
Angela Oliver
 ABOUT:

Angela Oliver (LemurKat) is a dedicated bibliophile and has been reviewing books online for over a decade. 
She officially reviews selected titles for Booksellers NZ. 
Since joining Goodreads in 2011, she has reviewed almost 1000 books. You can visit her Goodreads page and see what she's reading (and writing) HERE