Thursday, August 12, 2010

Guest Post: Stacey Cochran

I'd like to thank bestselling author Stacey Cochran for stopping by the blog today to talk about his latest book CLAWS 2!


Thanks so much, Rye, for hosting me today on your blog. As you know I am in the midst of a 3-month Blog Tour to help spread the word about my latest novel CLAWS 2. The book is an animal thriller set in southwest Colorado featuring a wildlife biologist Dr. Angie Rippard. The story centers around the issue of a re-emerging grizzly bear population in the area. The true life story of grizzlies in Colorado ostensibly came to an end in 1979, when bow-hunter Ed Wiseman killed the last one with a handheld arrow (he was defending himself during an attack). That said, recent sightings in the past five years suggest a population may be migrating south from Wyoming where conservation efforts have had a positive impact.

Of course, CLAWS 2 is the second book in the series. (The first book CLAWS features Angie and mountain lions and is set in Arizona.)

So I thought I would start by discussing why I wrote the books, and then how I wrote them.

The motivation to write the first novel came about because I was living in a remote mountain town in Arizona called Oracle. While there, a number of human/mountain lion encounters began popping up in the Tucson papers. At one point, authorities even had to close an elementary school near Ventana Canyon because a cougar was repeatedly stalking children.

The issue regarding how to handle a predatory animal stalking schoolchildren was contentious, and so I wanted to explore the problem in a novel.

The first draft of the book took about nine months to write. I typically wrote about 800 to 1500 words a day, but there were periodic spells when I didn’t write for several days (or a week or two). Once completed, the first draft went in front a writing group I was in at the time, and I took the group’s feedback and applied it to a major revision.

The following year I was able to get a literary agent who worked further with me to revise the manuscript, and then shopped it around to everyone in the business. Nearly everyone she pitched it to gave us feedback, but they all ultimately passed and the novel went into the trunk.

Because I had read that it was wise to have a second book ready to go once you sold your first, I was about halfway through the sequel when we shopped it around to editors. When everybody passed on the book and the agent dropped me, it was difficult to finish CLAWS 2. But I did it anyways because I never stop a novel mid-project no matter how difficult or pointless it seems at the time.

Both books went into the trunk for a few years while I continued to self-publish other novels, and eventually CLAWS found its way into the rotation in 2009 to be self-published.

To my astonishment, the eBook version of CLAWS became a bestseller within weeks of its release. Reviews started trickling in, and everything just continued to build momentum throughout last year.

In December I started getting contacted by a handful of independent film production companies about the book and its sequel. It was a wild ride (though no one has optioned the books yet).

So, this summer (2010) I launched CLAWS 2. It immediately became a bestseller, shooting up to #213 in the Kindle store and #1 in all of the genre categories. Interestingly, the first book saw a dramatic surge in sales, too, spiking in the low 100s overall in the Kindle store in July.

For now, there are only the two CLAWS books. That said, I have notes for a CLAWS 3 which would feature spotted leopards in Arizona and New Mexico… the so-called Sonoran jaguar. I could possibly see doing a 4th and 5th novel maybe set in the Appalachians and Alaska respectively and featuring eastern cougars and wolves, but I doubt I will write these unless I am able to sell the series to a major publisher and/or earn a film option.

Amazon link:

I hope you've enjoyed today's post from Stacey. I may start having regular posts/interviews with other authors once or twice a week so stay tuned for further info on that.


Stacey Cochran said...

Thanks so much, Rye!

Rye James said...

No problem, Stacey. Thanks for stopping by.