Interview with Douglas Cobb


Hello Everyone!

We are delighted to have author Douglas Cobb amongst us today at Musikdiv India Online Magazine at our Special ‘Authors Festival’ interview series to tell us about his new book Lily, Unleashed!
Please read on …


Lily is not your usual terrier. In fact, she’s not a terrier at all. She’s a pterodactyl who has the power (among others) of clouding peoples’ minds. Join Liy, her “owner” thirteen-year-old Celeste, and the other members of PAWS (Private Army of Warrior Sleuths), Fuzzy Wally MacGee (a Chinese Crested/rhino), Lucy Marmoset Higgins (a Great Dane/orangutan), and Prince Alphonse Saed (a miniature dachsund/Mountain Lion) as they fight crime wherever they encounter it, Read their humorous and exciting adventures as they battle against the criminal organization, the Scarlet SNURFLES, headed by the scarlet Macaw, Frankie Sinister. And, when they also have to face the Scarlet Mafia (lead by the scarlet Macaw, Benny the Beak), the aliens known as the Greys, the red Egyptian fox and leader of the Guild of Assassins, and the red panda, General Yao Xing, can even Lily, Celeste, and PAWS hope to succeed?
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So Douglas, we’ll start your Interview with the very first question

1.Please introduce and tell the readers something about yourself.

I was born in Illinois and attended the University of Illinois, earning a BA in Rhetoric. Then, at Arizona State University, I earned a Master’s in English, and at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, I earned a Master’s in Secondary Education. Little Rock is where I met my wife, Beth. I now live in Fort Smith, Arkansas, which features prominently in my ebook Lily and PAWS: The Ghosts of Summer, Book Two of the sequel, The Case Files of Lily and PAWS series. Book One is titled Lily, Unleashed.
I and my wife have a twenty-two-year old son, Ben (Dexter Quince in the series), and a seventeen-year-old daughter, Kaitlin (Celeste in the series). I have always had a love for writing, but was finally motivated to write Lily, Unleashed, by my daughter’s prompting me to write about her “dog,” Lily, who is featured on the covers of the series.

Besides my desire for my readers to have fun reading my novels (that’s the most important thing about reading any book), I also hope I have created a heartwarming series that readers will fall in love with, as well as LOL at.
Enjoy life, enjoy reading, write yourself, and believe in yourself: these are some of the things that I personally believe are important for everyone! To learn more about the books Lily, Unleashed and Lily and PAWS: The Ghosts of Summer, please visit my blog, “What’s New In Book Reviews,” at:http://douglascobb.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/whats-new-in-book-reviews/

2.What brought you to writing?

I suppose my love of reading books, instilled in me from an early age by my parents. I especially love reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery novels, though early on, I loved reading books by authors such as Roald Dahl. You can hopefully see his influence in my novels here and there, like with the evil Chrsitmas elves I write about in Lily, Unleashed, who sing Oompah-Loompah like songs. There are also elements of all of the genres I mentioned I like reading in these two books, and in an unrelated ebook I’m currently writing, My Brother The Zombie.

3.How long have you been writing?

Almost as long as I’ve been reading, in other words, since childhood. But, I had put aside any notions of “making it big” to do what society generally expects people to do, get a job and get married. However, my seventeen-year-old daughter, as I mention above, encouraged me to write about our terrier, and Amazon had just started up their KDP Select Program, which also made me consider taking my writing a step further and writing novels.

4.Which was your first literary project?Tell us something about it.

My first literary project would have to be Lily, Unleashed, my first ebook that’s offered exlusively at Amazon
I had written short stories and poems, but hadn’t really tried very hard to sell any, so I don’t count them as my “first literary project.” Lily, Unleashed is a twisted but hopefully very enjoyable novel.

5.Is this your new/latest project?

No, I have a sequel to it in the series I call “The Case Files of Lily and PAWS”.
The sequel is Lily and PAWS: The Ghosts of Summer, and while it is also humorous and light-hearted, there are many more dramatic and spine-tingling moments. That’s because Lily, thirteen-year-old Celeste Quince, and the rest of PAWS travel throughout the state of Arkansas investigating paranormal occurences and ghosts. I did a lot of research about the history of Arkansas, my adopted state, while writing this sequel, and I learned many things I hadn’t known before. I hope that along with a fantastic story, readers of the ebook will also end up taking away a greater knowledge of Arkansas.
The ghost of the famous “Bandit Queen,” Belle Starr, requests the help of Lily, Celeste, and PAWS. The ghosts of Arkansas are being captured in a plot by the Scarlet Macaw, Frankie Sinister, and wiped out. He claims they will be used to provide an alternate source of energy, but in reality, he has plans to use them to power a Doomsday weapon. Our heroes try to warn as many ghosts as they can of the schem of Frankie and the Scarlet SNURFLES, their arch-enemies, and to put an end to their nefarious plans.

6. Traditional books or e-books? How do you prefer to see your works published? Have you tried ever publishing the traditional way?

You know, I have a bias towards traditionally published books, as I grew up with them, and still read/review many for various websites currently. But, there is more creative control involved when you write and publish an ebook on your own, and you get to keep more of the profits. Also, you can keep an entire library on a Kindle or other reading device, so storage problems and problems that arise when you may have to move elsewhere are much less. There are pros and cons about each, I suppose. I have tried publishing the traditional way, at least for Lily, Unleashed. However, it breaks many “rules,” and I think this is a major reason why I had trouble getting an agent for it, and the fact that there is a ton of competition out there.
The unwritten (actually, written) rules it breaks are that it is longer than most Middle grade (MG) books, at 65,960 words. It is also a novel that is not really quite an MG one, nor a Young Adult(YA) one, but one that straddles the two and has elements of both. Apart from this, though, I believe it is a fun book for parents to read to their kids, kind of like Charlie and the Choclate Factory, and it has many LOL moments and pop/cultural references (as does the sequel) that adults will enjoy reading as much or more than their children will hearing them, like to Lady Gaga, the Beatles, Gone With the wind, Elvis Presley, Justin Bieber, etc., etc.

7.Can you give a chapter sample preview of your book here for our readers to know more about it.

If you’d like a sample of Lily, Unleashed, you can go to the Amazon Kindle Store to read further (20% of the book). What follows is a sample from the first chapter, though, that will hopefully whet your appetite to read more:
( Please look at the bottom of the interview for book excerpts )

8.What are your hobbies?Things that you enjoy doing besides books of course.

Besides writing books, I write reviews of books as a hobby for various web sites, and I’ve conducted several interviews of my own, some under my actual name, Douglas R. Cobb, and some using my pen name of Professor Crazy. Also, I like to play video games with my teen daughter, Kaitlin, and did like to with my son, Ben, when he lived with us. He’s now 22 though, and lives in an apartment with his girlfriend. I love to carve figures from wood, though I haven’t done so for a couple of years now, and I’ve started up a book review blog of my own, called What’s New In Book Reviews (mentioned above).

9.Who is your favourite author?

I have many, many “favorite” authors. I love Shakespeare, Dante, and Milton, but I also love reading thrillers like the Texas Ranger Caitlin Stron series by Jon Land (including Strong Justice and Strong At the Break), Urban Fantasy authors like L.Jagi Lamplighter-Wright and her husband’s more SF novels, like Orphans of Chaos and his very latest, Count To A Trillion. Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny were two of my favorite authors growing up, and still are–(Stephen King rocks, also)and, I love the novels of Roald Dahl and the Evil Genius series by Catherine Jinks. There are lots more, but these are some I’d consider to be my favorites.
10.What is your favourite genre to read and also to write?
My favorite genres both to read and write would have to be SF/Fantasy, though in my own books that I write, I try to also include some mystery elements, a touch (or more) of the horror genre, and a liberal dash of humor throughout.

11.Do you have a role model that you get inspiration from?

The role models I have gotten the most inspiration from (aside from Jesus, I suppose) would be my parents. But, literally speaking, probably Roald Dahl, Stephen King, and Philip K. Dick. Ask me again tomorrow, my answers might be different, though.

12.Where do get your ideas from?Do you take your story ideas from real life situations?

I get my ideas from reality, then skew them in some pretty twisted ways. Both of these first two Lily novels I wrote fairly quickly, each not taking much more than a month. Lily, Unleased took the longest time, as it’s longer (somewhat), so maybe it took me a month and a half. I wrote every day, until maybe one in the morning. My daughter took the photos on both covers of our terrier, Lily, at a local dog park. I wrote many things in the novels that are completely true, some that are partially true, and some that are just wild inventions of a sleep-deprived and caffeine-fueled brain.

13. Do you have a pseudonym?

Not with these two books, nor a third that’s not in the series, titled My brother, The Zombie (I hope to have it at Amazon by Feb. 2012). I have used the pseudonym Professor Crazy, though, and once had a web site called: “Ask Professor Crazy.” I might consider using a pen name in the future, but for right now, I’m interested in people getting to know my actual name, and associating it with what I hope is a great reading experience for them.

14.Whats your experience been like in the publishing industry?Postive or negative?Please share your experience with our readers.

I am one hundred percent certain that many peole have had a truly awesome experience in the publishing industry with their books, but myself, not so much. Maybe that will change one day, who knows? It’s difficult to get published because you generally need a fantastic agent first. Unless you know one personally, most agents don’t have the time to give your work more than a cursory glance. They often judge your writing solely based upon your query letter, and they get literally hundreds of these per week. For yours to stand out, you either have to be very lucky, or the planets have to be lined up just right, or something about it must really impress the agent enough to read further.

So, I cheated and now, instead of having to wrroy for weeks/months about if an agent has finally gotten to read my query letter, and if he/she will then ask to read more of what I’ve written, and then if I’, accepted, having to wait maybe two or more years before a publisher decides to buy my novels and transform them into books–I can do that whenever I am finished writing them. There’s still a lot of competitition–that never goes away–but, at least my words are out there, hopefully attracting the attnetions of readers around the world.

15.Where do you see yourself 10years from now?

Where will any of us be 10 years from now? Ideally, I’d like to be making enough money writing that I will have quit my day job and can write full time. I’d love it if one or more of my novels were made into movies–that would be excellent–and I’d love to travel the world and see many different countries and experience many different cultures.

16. What motivates you to write?

My daughter, Kaitlin, did, to be perfectly honest. She laughed at what I was writing, and kept asking me to write more. At first, I had no intention of writing a novel, though I’d always wanted to write one or more at some point in my life. Then, I thought, maybe if she likes it, other people will like reading it, also.
Of course, I wouldn’t mind sticking my tongue out at any of the agents who decided for whatever reason(s) not to tkae me on as a client, as well…not that I’m petty, or anything….

17. How important is good cover art for your books?

I’d say good cover art is very important for the success of a book, unless you’re possibly an already established author. That’s because, many times, people just get attracted by what they think is a cool-looking cover, and then perhaps decide to buy it. The initial attraction is often a very visual one. I hope our dog is cute enough to attract the eyes of many readers and want them to check my books out. She usually has longer fur, like Toto, but she was taken to the dog groomers not long before the cover photos were snapped.

18. Do you have a price strategy for your books?

My pricing strategy is just to keep the prices of my ebooks a slow as I can and still be eligible for Amazon’s KDP program. That’s why I’ve priced my two ebooks at $2.99. I want them to be affordable enough for the majority of people to buy, and myself to make some money (of course).

19. Have you read a bestseller that you felt was not as good as yours?

Most books that are best-selelrs are at least as good as mine, or they wouldn’t be best-sellers. But, I do think that mine are at least as good as theirs, and also deserve to be read and get wider attention.

20.Why do you think readers should buy your book?What can you offer them through your book?

I think readers should buy my books becuase they offer readers a chance to relive their own childhoods, and to share suspenseful and humorous stories with their children. They’re humorous, cool novels that can be enjoyed by any age, though younger kids might be a little frightened by some of the scarier moments in Lily and PAWS: The Ghosts of Summer.

21.Where is your book available?Any Buy Link for our readers?

I am not very give at embedding links within photos, unless it’s at a website like BookSpotCetnral.com, where I have written reviews, so I will instead mention once again that both Lily, Unleashed and Lily and PAWS: The Ghosts of Summer can be purchased exclusively at Amazon’s Kindle Store. You can buy it using the links here >> Lily, Unleashed >> http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006H9FQUW
or Lily And PAWS >> http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006JV1Y90.

22.Do you have a website or a blog that you’d like to share here.

Do I have a blog? Yes, it’s a fairly new one, which I mentioned a bit earlier int he interview, called http://douglascobb.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/whats-new-in-book-reviews
You can red more about my books there, or if you click on “Home,” on the books I have reviewed there.

23. What advice would you give to other writers?

I’d advise anyone who wants to be a writer to pursue his/her dreams and to write. Join writing clubs, write on a daily basis, and if the traditional ways of getting published don’t work–cheat, and write an ebook using the tools at Amazon or sites like Smashwords.com.

24.Anything else you’d like to share with our readers

I’d just like to say to you, MusikDIV, thanks once again for requesting an interview with me and allowing me to tell your readers about my The Case Files of Lily and PAWS series, comprised of Lily, Unleashed and Lily and PAWS: The Ghosts of Summer. I hope they will enjoy reading both, and my ebook, My Brother Is A Zombie, when it is available at Amazon probably in February, in time for Valentine’s Day.

  • Thank you Douglas Cobb for gracing us with your presence.It was a sheer pleasure.Good luck with your book.We conclude the interview here

    Thanks again from Team MusikDIV

    Book Exerpts – Sample Chapter

    Lily, Unleashed By Douglas Cobb

    Chapter One

    “A Bellow For Help”

    Me and Fuzzy Wally MacGee and the rest of P.A.W.S. had been in some sticky situations before, but none so perilous and sticky as the one in which we found ourselves currently in, covered in maple syrup and tied to stone tables with very sharp-looking scythes going back and forth over our necks, slowly lowering ever downward. The maple syrup, S.N.U.R.F.L.E.S. likely thought, would attract the red fire ants they had also arranged to be in the room with us. If, for some reason, there was a malfunction with the cogs and chains that were lowering the scythes, they figured that if our fate wasn’t meant that we would end up sliced and diced, there was always then the option that we would succumb to the stings of hundreds of fire ants and meet our demise that way. How thoughtful of them to be like Boy Scouts, and always have a backup plan! But, I’m getting ahead of myself, putting the cart before the horse, as it were. You might well be asking
    yourselves:
    “How did a super heroine like myself and my gang of fellow animal detectives, P.A.W.S. (Private Army of Warrior Sleuths), get into such a predicament in the first place?”
    Rather than calling you a bunch of exceedingly nosy people (I would never be that rude, no, not I), I will relate to you the circumstances that led up to our–um–sticky present situation in a case I like to call: The Case of the Scarlet SNURFLES. Why I choose to use that name for this case should become, as the great Sherlock Bones was fond of saying: “Elementary!” in short order, so let us proceed, Dear Readers, to the meat of the matter.
    Just like Spider-Man, Bat-Man, Super Girl or the Flash, I have my own origin story to tell, and also the related tale (or should that be tail) of the origin of PAWS. Radioactivity, spider-bites, or a thirst for vengeance isn’t what made me a pterodactyl, though–to put it simply, in the words of Lady Gaga, I was just born that way. Well, I guess hatched would be a more accurate way of saying it, but you get the picture!

    Buy Lily, Unleashed by Douglas Cobb On Amazon Kindle >> http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006H9FQUW


    MusikDIV India Online Magazine is an online platform dedicated to promoting talented musicians and writers and giving them the ultimate platform to showcase their talent through our website http://www.musicdiv.co.cc
    If you want to be featured in our MusikDIV India exclusive Interviews kindly email us at : musicnd@yahoo.com

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