Jonathan Raab is the author of Flight of the Blue Falcon, a post-modern novel about the war in Afghanistan. He served with the United States Army from 2004 – 2013, and based the novel on many of his experiences.
Check out Flight of the Blue Falcon on Amazon.
Check out the author's website.
Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
Sure. Ever since I was a kid, I knew that books held a special power. I thought it was amazing that one person could tell a story that so many people would get to experience. That they got paid for it was all the more amazing.
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
Writing is time-intensive. It’s hard to fit it into your schedule if you’re a busy person. Really good writing often comes at the expense of social time, or even sleep. Still, when someone reads your work and responds to it in a positive way, that makes it all worth it.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I went with a small press—The War Writers’ Campaign—because I had previously published a few small pieces with them and had done some editing work on a couple of their projects. I’ve self-published short stories as part of larger collections that have others’ work, but don’t see myself self-publishing longer works anytime soon. While I know and respect many successful self-published authors, I don’t see that as the route for me. I would caution first-time writers against self-publishing until they’ve got a few credits under their belt. There are exceptions, of course—and I know a few of them.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
My wife is very supportive, but she lets me know when she needs my attention, or when I need to focus on other things. We’ve struck a good balance. She’s very proud of me, so she knows the work often pays off. She understands that this is something I need to do, and encourages me every step of the way.
Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
Egon, our pitbull/mutt, always gets fed on time. He lets me know when it’s time to eat!
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
“Real life” always takes priority. I try to write when I’ll be free of distractions or other responsibilities. It’s hard, but you can make it work. Sit down to write rather than sitting on the couch, and you’ll suddenly realize you do have the time.
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
I sold a pre-release copy to a more senior, career NCO who happened to be at the convention at which I was set up. He loved it—I figured a guy like him would hate it!
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
I really, really hate Facebook, but a writer friend of mine recommended I re-join for promotional purposes. It’s extremely helpful in that regard, but I often use it to waste lots of time and get in stupid arguments with people, because I’m an idiot. GoodReads is probably the best social network for authors—especially their giveaway program. It’s great.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
It’s been great working with a publisher, as they help share the promotion duties. Most sales come from in-person events, honestly. I set up tables at different conventions and community events, and get to talk to my audience directly. People are more likely to buy a book directly from the author, especially if that author is local.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
I don’t want to draw attention to myself like that. I’m crazy enough as it is.
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
Getting published by a third party is very validating, of course. I’d be lying if I said that recognition and publishing credits were irrelevant. But I would keep writing, even without them, sure. But I write for myself, and to share my stories with others. It’s a balance. That said, I hope to continue to build my audience. I have a lot more stories to tell.