Taking a Leap: An Interview With Author Ted Boone
Publishing a book these days has never been easier. That's not always a good thing for quality. However, Ted Boone, with the publication of his debut sci fi novel, Langford's Leap, has shown that you can self publish a high quality novel that would be the envy of many of the slick looking novels published by the big publishing houses. The novel is beautiful inside and out, professionally crafted and professionally edited. It's a shining example of how to self publish a novel.
And it's worth the read-- regardless of how it was birthed.
Ted Boone works as an Instructor for the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, where he explores new ideas for his next science fiction novel while teaching computer programming and networking courses. When he's not busy torturing students or writing books, Ted spends his free time snuggling with his many dogs and cats, traveling abroad with his lovely wife, Marisa, and training for his next triathlon.
He took some time out of his super busy schedule to answer some questions for me. I hope after reading them, you will snag yourself a copy of Langford's Leap.
Justin W. Price : First of all, now that the first Langford’s Leap has been finished and published, how do you feel about it?
Ted Boone: The entire process has been a bit surreal. I wrote the first draft of the manuscript back in 2009. Even then, I knew I’d accomplished something unusual. The initial manuscript, while still rough, was coherent and complete. That’s a rare thing in a first draft, especially one that I completed in less than 40 days. Although it took me a long time to get the book from draft to publication, the experience has been interesting and rewarding. I especially enjoyed working with my supplemental talent: my amazing cover artist, Soheil Toosi, and my voice actor for the audiobook, K. Richardson. And I absolutely could not have pull this off without the support of my wife, Marisa. She’s my fan, my sounding board, my editor, and my media manager. Langford’s Leap is dedicated to her, and she deserves it more than I can properly express.
JP: Can you give my readers a little background on Langford’s leap? How did it come about? Is this your First published work?
TB: Langford’s Leap is my first published novel. I published a short story on Amazon a few years ago as an experiment in digital publishing, and I’ve had some short stories published online over the years. This latest publishing endeavor is definitely my biggest and my most serious, in terms of time and money commitments.
I’ve been writing novels for more than a decade as part of the National Novel Writing Month project. Langford’s Leap was one of my earliest November manuscripts, but during the intervening years, I kept coming back to it. I’ve always known it was special. Now I get so have other people discover why it’s special. It’s a pretty cool experience.
JP: How has the Langford’s Leap been received?
TB: Very well! I’ve had great reviews so far online as well as in-person feedback from my readers. I think my best feedback has come from young readers—a few as young as ten years old—and from readers who “don’t like sci-fi,” and are pleasantly surprised by how much the like my story. It’s great to be able to reach a broad audience, with lots of different age groups and areas of interest in the mix.
JP: Where do you see yourself over the next decade, personally and professionally?
TB: I’d like to finish the Langford’s Leap story arc, which will probably stretch across three books. I have rough drafts for both of those stories, so I’ll keep working on them. Ideally, I’ll also get some of my other standalone manuscripts polished and published as well. Professionally, I don’t envision writing to be anything more than a side project for me. I love the creative aspect of writing novels, and I like sharing my story with interested readers, but I don’t plan on making a career out of it.
JP: If Langford’s Leap were to be optioned to be a film, who would you want directing it?
TB: My brother has directed a feature film, and worked on multiple film projects, including an upcoming documentary on the vinyl record renaissance. I would love to have him direct the film version of Langford’s Leap.
JP: Who would be your ideal cast?
TB: Sister Sonya: Charlize Theron
Darius Langford: Ben Mendelsohn, Christoph Waltz, or Peter Capaldi.
Nolan: Josh Brolin or Jude Law.
Max & Ceres: New faces.
JP: Who are your favorite authors/books?
JP: In no particular order: Richard K. Morgan, the author of Altered Carbon. The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey (the pen name for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). The Silo Series by Hugh Howie. Most recently, the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Nemesin.
JP: What is the writing process for you?
TB: I’ve had good luck getting my first rough draft of a manuscript written during National Novel Writing Month. Giving myself a month to concentrate solely on the writing process works for me, without impacting the rest of my life too much. Outside of NaNo, I spend a lot of time reading my manuscripts out loud to my wife, Marisa, so that we can get a good read on the voice of the story, as well as any plot holes or inconsistencies. It’s been great to edit collaboratively with someone.
JP: Better barbecue: Dry rub or saucy?
TB: Sauce on the side. I want control over the meat-to-sauce ratio.
JP: What are your five desert island movies?
TB: Inception. Star Wars. Office Space. Top Gun. Out of Africa.
JP: How often do you write?
TB: In November I write for hours every day. During the rest of the year I write sporadically, depending on where I am in the editing process.
JP: Is writing your full time job—and if it’s not, would you want it to be?
TB: No, and no. I like writing, but I like my job as a teacher, too. And teaching in the tech field has provided ample topics for my stories. Without it, I think I’d lose a critical source of inspiration.
JP: Do you have any advice to young writers out there about how to handle themselves in the industry- especially an industry with such a high rate of rejection?
TB: The 21st century allows anyone to publish and sell their writing. It doesn’t have to be an expensive process, and it doesn’t have to follow the tradition publishing path. If you believe in your work, and you want to share it with other people, you should! Just manage your expectations: you might not sell lots of copies of your books. You might not even be profitable (depending on how much money you spend on art, editing, promotion, etc.) You should write for an audience only if your reward is having an audience read and enjoy your work. Commercial success should be a secondary goal, not the primary objective.
JP: What is your favorite book?
JP: What are your hobbies, outside of writing?
TB: I am an avid amateur triathlete, and compete in multiple triathlons and road/trail runs every year. My wife & I enjoy traveling, and try to visit an international location at least once a year. I’m trying to teach myself to play guitar.
JP: Why should people devote their time to reading your book? What makes it special or unique?
TB: I think Langford’s Leap offers a unique blend of character and setting, and a specific viewpoint on what it means to be human. The story spurs conversations and debate. It appeals to readers that love science fiction, but also readers that are new to the genre, or who haven’t enjoyed it in the past. It features two young female protagonists. The story is appropriate for all different age groups. It’s definitely my best story to date, and one I’m extremely proud of.
JP: Where can folks purchase Langford’s Leap and keep up to date on upcoming readings, releases, and events?
TB: The book is available on Amazon in paperback and digital formats. Readers receive a free digital copy included with their paperback purchase. In late Spring 2019, an audiobook version should also be available.
I’m also on the web (tedboone.com) Facebook (Ted Boone, Writer), an Instagram (@tedboone), and Twitter (@ted_boone). And I have a mailing list if people want to subscribe: https://tedboone.com/newsletter/
JP: What would you say to persuade someone to read your book who was not a fan of science fiction?
TB: I don't think it matters if a book is sci-fi, or pulp-noir, or romance. I think what matters is that you've written interesting characters and that you take those characters on unexpected journeys. And I think I've done both of those things with this book. The sci-fi element, while important, are just a platform for a good story. One of my reviewers, a ten-year-old girl, says it best: “I usually don't like sci-fi but this one was so absolutely intriguing!”
JP: Is there anything else you would like to add?
TB: Thanks for the opportunity to share with your readers! If they have any follow-up questions, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.