MEB: Do you own an e-reader? If so which brand?
Blake: Yes, I own a Kindle. I do most of my reading on it. I'm thinking about getting a Nook Color as well though.
MEB: In your mind are you still writing for the print book industry or do you find your focus shifting more towards publishing your work independently? I know you were torn about publishing your latest novel, RUN, in e-book format rather than holding out for a print contract.
Blake: I've never written *for* a particular industry. I've always written the type of books that I love and would want to read. In terms of how my work is released (traditional publishing v. indie), I'm definitely becoming much more geared to releasing books myself. I just think the landscape is changing and the terms have certainly changed greatly for what it would take for me to work with a traditional publisher in light of the ebook revolution and their adherence to unfair royalty rates for ebooks. That isn't to say I wouldn't work with a traditional publisher again under the right circumstances.
MEB: I recently had a chance to converse with Jeroen ten Berge, the talented designer behind your e-book covers. How did you guys hook up? What's it like working with him and how much of an impact do you think his work has on your sales?
Blake: Jeroen is brilliant, and I think the amazing work he's done for my ebooks has been a big part of my success. We made a huge effort to establish a brand over the last year, and now when you look at my titles (my covers) I think you can certainly tell "this is a Blake Crouch" book. I believe Jeroen and I met about 5 or 6 years ago, when he emailed me after reading Desert Places and Locked Doors. We started corresponding through email, and I knew he was a designer, but of course, there really wasn't an outlet for his work at that point. Once ebooks took off, that all changed. It's been a blast working with him.
MEB: It's said writing is a lonely business. You're a writer that does some of your work in a coffee shop. I've heard of quite a few authors that have coffee shops as their "office". What is it about coffee shops that draws you there (besides great coffee of course!)?
Blake: I love the energy of a great coffee shop, and the one where I work is without a doubt, my favorite I've ever stumbled into. I love the smell of beans, the conversations, the music, and just being around people even though I'm not necessarily interacting with them (although it's kind of hard in this shop, since I live in a small town).
MEB: Have you received any offers from Hollywood? Quite a few of your stories would make terrific films (I'm thinking most of them would be great on film but particularly Perfect Little Town, *69 and of course Desert Places).
Blake: I just sold an option for my novel, Abandon, to a screenwriter who's going to adapt it. Serial was optioned for film, as was Desert Places, but that has since lapsed. I think a lot of my work would translate well to the big screen, but I'm pretty jaded when it comes to Hollywood. Anytime a film actually gets made, it's an honest-to-God miracle.
MEB: While your work has drawn a mountain of praise and appreciation, it has been equally scorned and condemned by, shall we say, more sensitive readers. Do harsh criticisms ever bother you with their narrow minded analysis of your work? And as a second part to this line of questioning, do you put any value in Amazon or blog reviews in comparison to the professional sources of criticism? I ask this because it would seem blogs and Amazon (and the like) are the only sources for reviews of independently published e-books.
Blake: To answer the first part, criticism really doesn't bug me anymore. I've written a lot, been reviewed a lot, and both praise and scorn just doesn't hit me the same anymore. Everyone has their opinion, they're entitled to it, blah-blah-blah, but I'm too busy writing the next thing to get too caught up on what people think of my books. Not to say I don't love great reviews, but I've just become a little numb to it all lately, and that's probably a good thing.
This is going to sound crazy, but I think Amazon reviews in particular are more important than reviews in newspapers or even major blogs. Assemble a stack of solid reviews on Amazon and it is going to help your book sell, no question. And for the most part, people who review on Amazon haven't been asked to review a book. They're just pouring their guts out in terms of what they think of your book, and it can be a scary thing, because they certainly have an impact on sales.
I think blogs are becoming the main new source for reviews, and this is a wonderful thing. As you know, I enlisted a number of bloggers to help me get the word out on Run, and they came through in a big way and helped me into a great launch.
MEB: It's a tremendous time to be a Blake Crouch fan. From what I can glean, you have a lot of fun stuff coming out in the not too distant future. I see you have Killers Uncut and then Serial Killers coming this year. After that it's Stirred. What can you tell us about the progress of Draculas 2, Werewolves and Mummies? Anything else in the chamber?
Blake: It's a great time to be a writer as well. No more limitations on creativity. I never thought I would ever get to release the amount of material I am this year. Konrath and I are dropping Killers Uncut, Birds of Prey, and Serial Killers Uncut in the next 10 days. Then we're writing Stirred. I'm getting started on my next solo project, and of course the collaborations are in the future. We're still working on the lineup of authors for Werewolves, which will be the next one, and we're hoping to write it and release it in the 4th quarter.
MEB: Last thing before I let you go, my wife is a proud Colorado native and she is demanding I ask you, what is your favorite part of living in "Colorful Colorado"?
Blake: Wow, it's tough to limit that to one thing, but the answer is obvious....the astounding natural beauty everywhere you look.
MEB: Blake, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. It is much appreciated!
Blake: Peter! My pleasure!
*Wormies, don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win today's prize pack of Andrew Z. Thomas thrillers and also be entered into the Grand Prize draw!