Sunday, May 1, 2011

Indie Feature: FILTER by Gwenn Wright

An indie author is one who publishes their book independently (thus the ‘indie’), which is tough to do because the marketing is done by you, the publishing is done by you, and it is harder this way to get your books out there and heard of.

A couple sites for indie books and self-publishing:
(On amazon, it may be tougher to find indie authors, but I believe you can publish a book on Kindle through amazon! Sorry, that’s all the info on that that I have.)

Review of Filter
by Gwenn Wright
Filter is Gwenn Wright’s first novel that she published independently. I’ve read a few indie books, and I found this one very good! I gave it a four star rating on Goodreads, but if I could have, I’d say it’s about 4.25 stars. The only real reason that I dock those .75 stars is that there were some comma errors, mostly spots that needed commas and didn’t have them. The only other problems were minor type-ohs, which any book will have, including professionally published ones. That said, it REALLY shouldn’t be a reason for you to not buy the book! It’s very interesting and fast paced.
            The book alternates between Rocky and Katherine, and I found myself wanting to read about Rocky more than Katherine, but it definitely balanced out. Both characters are interesting, and the alternating viewpoints were great for keeping the story moving along. Rocky was already on her way out of her house whenever she met these two guys who she kept calling the Matrix Twins. Okay. Here’s the one part of the book that I have a problem with. I don’t think that just because guys who I don’t even know tried to get me to go to Saint Louis, that I would just go, even if I was trying to run away. However, if you can get past that, and I am sure you can, the rest of the book is great! And Rocky starts to realize that she is connected to Katherine…
            Okay, I don’t normally read historic fiction, but it was interesting! The way that it alternates between 2010 and (I think it was) 1877 was very cool. I loved it!
            Thanks for reading my review, check out my interview with Gwenn Wright below.

Interview with
Gwenn Wright
Author of Filter
Hello, Gwenn. Thank you for agreeing to do an interview with me. The first question I have for you is, why did you decide to go indie?
Impatience is the main reason I went Indie. The idea that someone can write a book, upload it and have it for sale almost immediately is so incredible. I started trying to publish short stories and poetry in middle school and it was so incredibly difficult. And the publishing world, in terms of breaking the door down, isn’t all that different twenty years later. Publishing is about marketing. What can they sell? What can they make money off of? And you can’t blame them, it’s business. Unfortunately a lot of truly gifted overlooked that way. That’s the beauty of independent publishing, you don’t have to wait for someone whose job it is to read your synopsis and decide whether or not even that is worth looking into, to decide if your book could potentially be profitable. You put that power directly into the hands of the readers. I wrote to maybe five agents before deciding to just publish it myself. What’s so funny to me is that while the agents and publishing houses are looking for creativity and originality, they all send out the same exact form letter.
Who did you publish with? Would you recommend this service to other indie authors?
Following a friend’s suggestion, I published on Amazon for Kindle. Filter wasn’t really selling and some people said they would like to read it….if it was in paperback. After months of waffling I finally decided to try CreateSpace. It was easy, except for the document constantly being corrupted during the PDF conversion, and cheap.
Do you think that it is easier to go about publishing by yourself, or would it be easier with a publishing company?
It’s kind of hit or miss for Indie Authors. Someone take off, it seems, right from the beginning. Others work for years just trying to get a little bit of notice. Self-publishing, like writing, is not for the lazy or weak-hearted. Besides writing a book with a well-conceived plot and strong characters, you Must MUST MUST edit, and edit again. And edit a dozen times more. And then there’s formatting…for eBook and for paperback. And that can be a nightmare. After all of that is the marketing. There are thousands of eBooks uploaded daily and it’s a constant battle to get even the slightest notice. I literally put in 12-13 hour days just working on my writing and marketing. It’s enough to drive a girl insane. Anyone can self-publish, but hitting it big takes more than just talent, it takes massive amounts of work. That being said, if a publisher came forward and asked to represent my saga, I would gladly (with the advice of my lawyer) turn over the publishing and marketing to someone else. With all the marketing there is little time or energy left for writing or research.
Do you have a job other than writing? If so, do you think that you always will?
Currently I have no other job…well, no other paying job! I am wife and mother and shepherdess of poultry and that leaves little time for much else. I was working as a tech in our Broadcast studio at the University until the beginning of the semester. That was when my internship at the local paper began. It was so much fun being a reporter, a lot of work but a lot of fun, and I already miss it! Graduation is in May but I’m not starting the job hunt until August, when my youngest begins kindergarten. Maybe by then Filter will be a ginormous success and I won’t need a 9-5. ;)
What inspired you to write Filter?
Being a single mom for three years and running my own business and going to school left little time for reading and I hadn’t written a story in close to a decade. My “voice” had been lost in all the practicality that was drowning me. It is actually Stephenie Meyer’s fault that I began writing again. The whole thing started with an argument between myself and a friend. She was all gaga for Twilight and I told her it had all already been done before and had she read the Vampire Diaries because those came out in the early ‘90’s and there are some striking similarities (even some amazingly close sentences and paragraphs). She hadn’t but said I couldn’t make judgments since I hadn’t read Twilight. So, we swapped books. And for the first time in a decade I was reading YA again. Something happened then. The more I read, the more the “voice” started creeping back. This is something my husband teases me about, the voices in my head, but it’s like the stories start speaking to me, regardless of whether or not I want them to. Looney. I know.
How much research did it take to write the historic parts of the book?
The number one thing I did not want to do was jump on the PNR bandwagon. I started researching the vampire legend and it’s beginnings in Europe, particularly the “vampire epidemic” in Europe. That’s all I can tell you about that though, because eventually it factors in…well, nevermind I’ll tell you too much! I spent three months researching Saint Louis’ history and Austria’s history. Then it became necessary to study the history and science of genetics. And that is probably telling you too much! It’s difficult not giving things away. Which is I am incompetent when it comes to writing a synopsis!
In your book, Filter, Rocky liked a book series called Evening Shade. Be honest, was that a jab at Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga?
No! Rocky’s love of Evening Shade is not a jab at Twilight. It was more of a statement about my own youth, except when I was in high school we didn’t have Harry Potter or Twilight to make reading cool. My friends and I were just nerds with books. Thanks, primarily to JK Rowling, that has all changed. While Twilight wasn’t my favorite series, you can’t knock what Stephenie Meyer accomplished. And, for me, the most fascinating part of the Twilight series was watching Meyer’s growth as a writer. With each novel she became more skilled in her craft. As writer, that was encouraging to witness.
Have you begun writing the second installment in the von Strassenberg saga?
During my internship there hasn’t been much time to write so I’ve devoted all of my energy (leftover energy, wife and mother come first) to marketing. Now that graduation is only a few days away and the boys will be out of school soon (and therefore able to entertain their youngest brother) I will be able to get back to writing book 2. Trying to write with so much going on just isn’t possible for me. I have to get lost in it, disappear for hours into the world inside my head. I put my ear buds in, crank the volume up and play the same song in a loop (Katherine and Viktor’s song was Airplanes by B.o.B, strange perhaps, but I think it was the dark emotion in it that made that song work…Rocky’s song was Terrified by Katherine McPhee, both of these crack me up because I do not listen to popular music and only knew about the songs because of a car ride with my sister). After awhile I don’t even hear it, loud as it is. The music only serves to feed the emotion and drown out the world. Until their school lets out I will focus on the research, that takes several hours a day because I’m like addict. But when I write it’s even worse. I can write all day. Or I could, if the children didn’t insist on being fed!
There’s a lot more historical research necessary for book two. And it’s been kind of strange how history has been playing right into my hands, creating spectacular plot points I hadn’t even thought of. The second book will be decidedly different from the first, meatier and more intense. That is, perhaps, I hope, something Meyer and I will have in common: getting better with each book.
Do you ever base your characters off real-life people?

The only real-life people who appeared in Filter were Gregor Mendel and the Lemps, both historical figures. As for present-day people, no. My characters are purely imaginary. No wait….I take that back. In honor of my friend, Abbie, who read my first chapters and begged for more, I created Abbie, secretary to the Drexler’s. They even look alike. But that’s it. It’s too weird for me!
Much of Filter took place in St. Louis. Why did you choose it? Is it easier for you to write about a rural or urban place?
For me it’s easier to write rural because that’s what I know. I chose St. Louis because living nearby, I know the city fairly well. It also figured in nicely historically. There was even talk in the late 1800’s of making St. Louis the nation’s capitol. That was an important motivating factor for Klaus von Strassenberg’s decision to move there.

Can we expect any books from you other than the von Strassenberg Saga?
While trying to work on book two of the von Strassenberg Saga, other “voices” have spoken to me and I’ve plunked out the beginning of the stories. Both are mysteries. Although, in it’s own way, Filter is also a mystery. Don’t dare think you have it figured out! Because I can guarantee you, you don’t! My goal, in carefully laying out the plot of the saga, is to make the reader gasp and say, “Wait! No! That wasn’t supposed to happen!” And to do it without hokey coincidences that only serve to cheapen the plot.
How soon can we expect book two?
It is my hope against hope to have the first draft of book 2 (and it has a title I LOVE, but won’t tell you) done by midsummer. The editing actually can take longer than the writing. So, maybe by the fall, book two will be available. (I will tell you…the song for the lead female character in book 2 is Natalie Merchant’s Ophelia…..but that’s all you’re getting’!)
Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, Gwenn. I wish you luck with your book, Filter!

Check out Gwenn Wright, and read her book, I urge you!
Here are places where you can find her:

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great review/interview. I'm interested in reading this and not only because I'm a YA indie author too :) Sounds like a good book.
    Gwenn - we have a lot in common!

  2. The story changes view points with each chapter, but it does so flawlessly. Rocky's story hints at a darker side but it's Katherine's story that truly takes over as the highlight of this book. I wasn't expecting it to be so dark and haunting. There are so many things going on inside of Viktor's home, that its worth discovering for yourself.


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