Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blooming Author: Gene Doucette!

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” ~ George Sheehan

Gene Doucette's contemporary fantasy book, Immortal, will be available from Hamel Integrity Publishing in October, 2010.

Tell us about Immortal. What is it about and where will it be available?

I was going to say that Immortal is about the life of the book’s narrator, Adam, an immortal man. But that sounds terribly boring, doesn’t it? He’s sixty thousand years old, and that’s a lot of ground to cover, and he’d be the first to tell you that vast stretches of history are incredibly boring.

The story takes place largely in the present, with some relevant highlights from Adam’s history. He’s in a bit of danger, and lessons learned become pertinent in his being able to figure his way out of that danger. And if that still sounds boring, let me add that Adam is much funnier than I am. I should probably have him doing this interview, actually.

As to the when and the where, the publication date is 10/1/10, a wonderfully binary date. We’re having a soft rollout of sorts: it should be available on Amazon right away, hitting brick-and-mortar stores gradually after that.

What were your inspirations for Immortal? What sorts of thing inspire you as a writer in general?

I started this novel in 2004, after some years as a humor columnist and satirist. I wanted to work on a new novel, but everything I started ended up stillborn fairly quickly. One day it occurred to me that since most of what I’d written for the past several years had been in first person, it made sense to try a novel in that voice. That’s how Adam came into being.

What inspires me is a difficult question to answer. I was inspired to write this novel because I wanted to write a novel, and I don’t think my motivations were any more complicated than that. But at the same time I was working on it I was also reading a great deal of history and writing and reading articles on skepticism, so what came out was a modern man who is also, at heart, a caveman and a very non-spiritual realist. What also came out was a story that didn’t involve any magic. When I decided to include vampires and what-not, that last point got kind of interesting.

Let's talk about your process. How do you approach a story, do you start with outlines or something else? Where did you work when writing this book? Do you think it was the optimal writing environment for you?

I tell people on my blog to for God’s sake not write like I do.With Immortal I started the first draft knowing only that my narrator was an immortal man and that the first sentence was going to be “It all started when I woke up behind the futon.” I made up the plot—and much of Adam’s character and history—while I was writing it. Three or four months later I had 95,000 words down and a decent first draft.

I have a full time job and a family—the kids were just starting the teenage years when I began writing Immortal—so there was never a lot of free time to be had. I tend to be a binge writer as a consequence: I’ll go for days and weeks and sometimes months without writing anything new, and then dump out a lot all at once. I’m at the point now where, with the kids old enough to kill their own food, I have more time to write and yet I still do it in bunches.

I honestly have no idea what the optimal writing environment is for me. There were a couple of occasions when I had the opportunity to get away and spend a few days by myself at a vacation house my family has on Cape Cod, but the last time I did that was… well, a long time ago. I guess I’d call that optimal, but I don’t know any more.

Tell us about your "story of getting published." How long did you submit before you were accepted? How did it feel to get accepted?

The process of getting the book published was perfectly horrific. (I covered a lot of it on my website in “On Agents” and “On Publishing”.) Since Immortal is a bit quirky, it’s not obvious where it fits on the genre bookshelf: a fantasy with no magic; a sci-fi but with vampires and demons; an historical fiction with an immortal thrust in the middle; or a contemporary fantasy without a romance story. No matter what genre you want to call it, it’s not going to stay in any one box. Publishers—the large market ones—hate that.

The damnable thing about the whole process of trying to sell it was that without fail the notes I got back were full of praise. Everyone who read it began with how entertaining it was and ended with “but we can’t publish it.” In a lot of ways the industry is more concerned with how to sell something than with how good a read it is.

What are the publicity plans you have coming up?

Publicity is another thing we’re going to be ramping up gradually. Since Hamel Integrity Publishing is brand new there are a lot of steps that need to be taken and will be taken but have not yet been gotten to: websites, online promotions, radio tours, etc. In the meantime I’m hoping to “tour” as many blogs as I can—the Twitter community has been wonderful for this—and I’m working on securing as many pre-publication blurbs and reviews as possible. After that, we’ll see what we can do. Hopefully a book tour is in our future.

Follow Gene on Twitter: @genedoucette
Follow Adam on Twitter: @adamtheimmortal


  1. I love this kind of read. Look forward to checking it out in October

  2. Sounds interesting, I'll be sure to check it out...