This month I caught up with Luke Gracias author of the incredible The Devil’s Prayer; an intense novel half thriller, half religious horror story. The subject matter so deep and controversial that Luke was actually advised to go down the route of self publishing.
I first came across The Devil’s Prayer through Netgalley and I must admit I was a little unsure whether I’d like it. But I’m so glad I requested it in the end, it turned out to be a real page turner and incredibly interesting to boot.
You can read my full review here: http://www.lifehasafunnyway.com/the-devils-prayer-by-luke-gracias-review/
Luke kindly agreed to take part in not only an interview with me but also to give my lovely followers the chance to win not one, not two but three fantastic prizes! There are 2 kindle copies and 1 signed paperback copy of The Devil’s Prayer up for grabs. All you need to do is retweet the pinned tweet containing the link to this interview on my twitter account @lifehasafunnywy to be in with a chance to win.
What was your background and how did you get into writing?
I am an environmental specialist with an avid interest in film making. In early 2014, I decided to write a low budget film script. The film finance fell through, so I decided to convert the script into a book “The Devil’s Prayer”.
What are your ambitions for your writing?
I need to write the sequel to The Devil’s Prayer.
Which writers inspire you?
Oscar Wilde. David Seltzer, Daniel Yergin, Dan Brown.
I can definitely see the influence of Dan Brown in The Devil’s Prayer. It’s like a darker, more cryptic Da Vinci Code!
How much research went into writing The Devil’s Prayer? I imagine quite a lot!
I am an avid photographer and whilst writing the film script, I visited some of the amazing locations in The Devil’s Prayer. I learnt a lot of the amazing history first hand from the wonderful friends I made in Spain, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria during the film recce. I did a lot of research on the internet to get the timelines, prophecies and events to fit together to sub layer what is a preposterous story with unexplained historical coincidences.
The sequel to The Devil’s Prayer… and my full time job.
I bet that’s difficult finding the time to write as well as working full time. I’ve personally been working on my novel for 3 years so it’s impressive you’ve managed to publish one and start working on the sequel! What do you use to do your writing? Pen+paper, computer, typewriter etc.
Would you ever consider writing in a different genre or is there a genre you wish you could write?
Yes, I have a romantic comedy script that was the first screenplay I wrote, which I think would make an amazing book. However, I think my focus for now has to remain on writing the sequel.
How often do you write? Do you set yourself a word target or just go with it when inspiration strikes?
I have yet to classify myself as a professional author. I have a job I am passionate about which takes up a lot of my time. My approach has been similar to one you would take when building a house. You have to put the foundation and the structure in from start to finish and be happy with that, and then weave in the detail. Once you have the plot and the structure in place, the rest is really up to your hard work and craftsmanship to get a quality book out.
What sort of publishing route did you choose and why?
The Devil’s Prayer was self-published. The company that managed the publishing for me ‘Australian Ebooks’ was amazing. The initial feedback I got when I pitched the manuscript was that the story would be too controversial for a traditional publisher to take on, especially the graphic content of the rape and the violence that followed. Further, some of the themes such as doing a deal with the Devil may not sit well with many readers. I was told it was better suited to the ebook market and hence I decided to do it myself.
If writing a book is hard, marketing it is a whole lot harder. I am a first time writer and self-published, so I have two strikes against me before most people would consider picking it up. I tried Facebook Boost post but I think the results are dubious. The trailer video I shot for the book had 80K views on Vimeo, but accounted for minimal sales if any.
I started a blog for the first time and I got a twitter account. The blog has had more interest from people interested in travel and my photography of the insane locations in The Devil’s Prayer. Thus far it has generated very little interest in the book itself. Twitter has been fantastic. I have tried Goodreads Giveaways and Goodreads advertising; they get a lot of people to your book page and I would definitely recommend the Giveaways.
The biggest success for me which is yet to translate into sales is Netgalley. I have received over 150 reviews to date on the book from there. My hope is that sufficient reviewers and bloggers will recommend it and this will eventually get the book noticed.
As a Netgalley reader myself I can certainly agree with the power it has in getting your books and your name out there. If you could be the original author of any book what would it have been and why?
David Seltzer’s Omen. I have read one horror book and watched one horror film in my entire life and that’s ‘The Omen’.
Well I certainly think that The Devil’s Prayer could give The Omen a run for its money in some places! What are your views on good and bad reviews?
It’s a bit like watching your child perform on the big stage. There will be some reviewers who love the book for what it is, yet you know there will be some who just don’t like the play or the sets or the director or your child.
How much do you think the success of books relies on reviews?
I think reviews are critical to the success of a book, both good and bad. As a debut author who has self-published, the quality and credibility of the reviews you get and word of mouth is all you have.
Getting good reviews always helps and getting reviews from sources like Netgalley, which are considered a benchmark for getting honest reviews, also helps a lot with the credibility of the reviews. People today are time-poor and we read to be entertained, educated and empowered. I would prefer it if someone steered clear of the book because it dealt with subject matter they would not enjoy and that’s what bad reviews can do very well. It’s the balance of life, you cannot have people loving the book without others hating it.
Thanks so much for taking the time out of what sounds like a hugely busy schedule to do this interview with me, Luke. I’d also like to thank you on behalf of all my followers and your own future readers for your giveaway prizes! I’m sure the winners will love The Devil’s Prayer as much as I did.
I wish I could have included more here but there’s only so much room. Instead, if you’d like to see more of the fantastic photographs Luke took, you can visit his website http://www.devilsprayer.com.au
You can also keep in touch with Luke and his updates on social media:
Goodreads: Luke Gracias