A writer of French Huguenot extraction, one of Tony-Paul de Vissage's first movie memories is of being six years old, viewing the old Universal horror flick, Dracula's Daughter on television, and being scared sleepless—and he’s now paying back his very permissive parents by writing about the Undead.
Beverley: How important are reviews for your book?
Tony: I think reviews are fairly important because 1) they show someone’s read your book; 2) they encourage others to read your book (if the review is positive and we always hope it will be, don’t we?)
Beverley: How do you get reviews?
Tony: There are several forums on Google Plus where one can ask for a review. Likewise with Facebook. I also watch for reviews others have posted and will check out the reviewer’s page, and see if they’re currently accepting submissions and act accordingly. Also, my publisher’s promotions manager submits to various review sites for their authors.
Beverley: Do you pay for reviews?
Tony: I think it's a no-no, like paying an agent upfront. I mean, if you pay for
something, everyone expects it’ll be given a good review, and theoretically the reviewer will feel obligated to write a good review.. If you pay for a review and it’s a bad one…that seems a waste of money.
It’s the same with swapping reviews. If someone gives you a good review, you feel as if you should give his book the same, even if it’s doggerel. That’s why I shy away from “review-swaps.’Beverley: How many reviews does an author need? Why?
Tony: I suppose an author should get as many as he can. Some book promoters demand 50 reviews before they’ll accept a book to publicize. Amazon requires so many to make their “bestseller list.” I think it depends on what kind of reviews you get. In my opinion, it’s better to have one 5-star review than three 3-star ones.
Beverley: If you get a bad review, how do you handle it?
Tony: I read over it, see f it has valid points or is simply someone wielding a little power and doing some “author-bashing” and act upon it as far as trying to correct the bad points. If it looks like a case of some jerk simply being negative just to show he can and be mean, I simply consider the source and ignore it.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
Tony: I usually write horror, mostly about vampires. I’ve always liked the appeal of vampires. My Authors Bio explains the reason for that. I guess I was a weird little kid, watching late night horror shows, then having to sleep with a nightlight afterward. I’ve tried my hand at writing a few M/M novels but I don’t know if I’ll write any more. I kind of ran out of subject matter there.
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
Tony: See above. Seriously, I guess seeing “Dracula’s Daughter” and all the psychological twists and turns the screenwriter put into that story, back in an era when vampires were automatically inherently evil, made an impression on me. I liked the implied danger as well as the angst the vampire went through. The story made her more sympathetic than the usually “foul fiend” portrayal, which was unusual for the early 1940’s.
My forays into writing M/M was done on a dare by someone who teased me by saying she didn’t think I could write about anything but vampires.
Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
Tony: I enjoyed the historical aspect of writing Absinthe, as well as my vampire series The Second Species. A great deal of historical research went into the series because it encompasses so much time.Beverley: I’d love to hear what you think of the present genres, how they’ve been affected by self-publishing and where you think they might be headed.
Tony: I’m afraid when it comes to self-publishing, I’m extremely negative…and here I’m going to put my foot in it again, I imagine…ruffled feathers and raised hackles and all that. All these so-called “publishing” companies have convinced everyone they can write a novel simply by putting words to paper, no matter how ungrammatical or unimaginative it is. Most people don’t realize how difficult it is to write correctly. One has to know how to spell, correct grammar, a good knowledge of various other forms and meanings of words, how to keep up the continuity, and a vast other number of things. It isn’t simply a matter of being able to put letters together and make words out of them…and no, “snuck” is not a word. The proper form is “sneaked.” I’m so tired of reading that.
While a few really great books may come out of self-publishing, I’m afraid the majority are simply going to be a glut on the market, pushing aside any change those good one ever see the light of day.
(Now I’m going to sit back and wait for the barrage of rebuttal from all the self-pubs in the audience.)
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Tony: Facetiously, since the moment I learned how to put those letters together and form words. Seriously, since 1989.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Tony: I had some very good teachers. My seventh grade teacher encouraged everyone in our class to write. We’d compose short stories, then read them aloud to the class. She didn’t restrict the subjects, so there were many horror stories as well as westerns and animal stories. In college, I had two very good instructors, Dr. Wilson Snipes and Dr. May McMillan. One taught Shakespeare and the other Romanticism and they gave me a great literary background full of imagination.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Tony: Making myself take that step and submit a manuscript; accepting that it might be rejected, and if it was, to try somewhere else. Getting people to take me seriously when I said I was going to be a writer. No one believed I’d have the nerve to keep going until I got published. My family has never read anything I’ve written. I guess they still don’t believe it.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Tony: Anything…a word, a phrase, the fact I didn’t like the ending of a movie or a TV show… I’ll decide to write my own version and make it end the way I want it to, or I’ll take a phrase I’ve heard and expound on it because it’s given me an idea. I once wrote a novel based on a fragment of a dream.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Tony: I don’t really know. There are days when I get up and simply don’t want to look at a computer keyboard. It’s simply a feeling of, “Oh no…not again.” I guess on those days, the little lady calling herself my muse has taken herself to a spa or something for a bit of R&R, because it generally lasts only a couple of days and then I’m ready to type again. Then again…it could only be incipient old age and the ennui accompanying it, creeping in. J
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Tony: Breakfast? What’s that? J I know it’s supposed to be the most important meal of the day but I start writing first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee for companionship. I usually eat foods that can be handled in one hand while I type with the other. Only occasionally do I settle down to what could really be called breakfast, but when I do, it’s a Southern one…ham, scrambled eggs, cheese toast, and grits. Cholesterol City, here I come!—and then some.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Tony: That a bit personal isn’t it? (insert laugh here.) I’m usually the jeans and sweatshirt type, so that’s what I wear. I’ve an extensive wardrobe of both formal and informal tees and sweats for all occasions.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Tony: My desk is next to a picture window so I get plenty of sunshine and can keep an eye on the weather while I write. I’m on the fourth floor so I have a grand view of a nice vacant lot with green grass and yellow dandelions.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Tony: Shrek’s friend Puss in Boots. He’s just so cool. I love that line where Fiona realizes Shrek’s been transformed into someone else and she says to Puss, “Shrek?” and he answers, “For you, I could be.”
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Tony: I haven’t the foggiest. I’ve sometimes fantasized about meeting various “celebrities” but I always ask myself, “What would I say to him/her?” I imagine they get tired of all that gushing and “Oh, I love your last film/TV series/book,” so I’d try to be cool and talk to them about something other than their chosen profession. Actually, I’d probably be so tongue-tied I’d simply stand there like a dunce and not say a thing.
I did that with Gene Roddenberry once. Managed a “Hello,” and missed my Big Chance to say something profound.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Tony: I’d probably read a book, or if I could get my lazy self into gear, go to a nearby park and photograph the flowers.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Tony: For two years now, I’ve been struggling with a sequel to The Last Vampire Standing, which was published in 2012. So far, I have 2 chapters and 5 fragments. Maybe in another two years, I’ll get it done. J Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was interrupted by a brainstorm and thought of a third novel to go along with the two I’ve written about Absinthe de Vaurien (Absinthe, Essence of Absinthe). I’m on Chapter 5 of that one now and it’s getting pretty eerie. It’s called Absinthe Eternal and it’ll be the last in the unplanned trilogy.
The noble family of Vaurien has secrets, and one Étienne Vaurien and his wife have suppressed for twenty years is about to be discovered. Taking his family from France to escape the murmur of revolution places Étienne’s son David in mortal danger.
A city may change but some things remain the same. Hatred and the desire for revenge are at the top of the list. David’s resemblance to Étienne’s deceased eldest son, Absinthe, is remarked upon by many but to one person it means more than a mere likeness of features.Geneviéve, mistress to both Étienne and Absinthe, has pined twenty years for her younger lover. Now, she has a chance to get him back…and she isn’t going to let death stop her.
In a short time, David’s living body will house the spirit of a dead man who wants once again to live…and love.
Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/cat-romance/cat-romance-paranormal/essence-of-absinthe-detailAmazon: https://www.amazon.com/Essence-Absinthe-Tony-Paul-Vissage-ebook/dp/B06XKR2XD4/
You can find Tony at:Twitter: @tpvissage
Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/our-authors/manufacturers/tony-paul-de-vissage
Amazon author’s page: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile
Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview.