Roger Vallon Interview

711 Press caught up with thriller author Roger Vallon, who has gathered an impressive Twitter following in just one week (over 640 followers interested in his new series, called Kill Factor). We had a few questions for Roger that we figured would tie in nicely with the release of his first book. The results of that interview follow below:

711 Press: So Roger, Kill Factor officially releases tomorrow (08/31/2011), although I see it’s already live on Kindle, lol. We want to congratulate you on your first release. We loved the manuscript when we first read it and it’s even more explosive now that it’s polished and edited.

Roger Vallon: Thanks. I must say, people think writing a book is easy. It’s not; it takes lots of work to hone your writing skills. And following the 711 writing guidelines makes it even more difficult. There were times I almost wanted to kill you guys, like my character Hadrian Black would have :) no offense. But, having the 711 team produce the book with me made it such a wonderful, rewarding experience in the end. I honestly don’t think Kill Factor would’ve been as compelling as it is if not for your guidance. So, much obliged for that.

711 Press: We appreciate it, Roger. You are one of the few authors who know how tough it is to get signed by 711, and then how much tougher it is to adapt to our formula. We put our writer’s through boot camp, we know. But that is a necessary process, as we’ve said long before launching this company that we wanted to stand out from the rest and do something unique in this industry, beginning with the approach to storytelling.

Roger Vallon: Boot camp is right. I felt like I joined the military. And I actually know a thing or two about that. I have two brothers and a father who served. Also, I am thrilled to be a part of something fresh and unique, and you guys are certainly bringing that.

711 Press: You have to admit, the Skype meetings and training sessions are amazing and fun!

Roger Vallon: Absolutely. I love having the power meetings with the other authors. I feel that it makes the books stronger when we get together and brainstorm. Plus, I’ve made some really great new friends. I’m now in touch with James, Gordon, Drusilla, and Ronald. I haven’t met Joe Humphrey or that new teenage writer Jami Lynn Saunders as yet, but I am excited to meet them.

711 Press: And we’re excited to have them on board. Joe is an old friend of both Daniel’s and Jaime’s. Joe is going to handle our crime fiction line. Daniel found Jami Lynn when he was looking for a YA apocalyptic/zombie type author. Her stuff is really different. Even plays a bit on ghosts and sort of the vampire/werewolf vein, but with a twist that we haven’t really seen much of yet.

Roger Vallon: You guys should seriously consider offering a training course or online workshop for other aspiring authors.

711 Press: Interesting that you should mention that. One is currently in the works. But getting back to your book. Are you excited about your first release?

Roger Vallon: I feel like it’s my first child being born. Any author can tell you how exciting it is to live in the adventure as you write and craft the story. But I must say, the last day I finished correcting the production edits that you sent, I felt so depressed, lol. It was hard coming off the thrill ride. But, you know me well enough by now to know that I attacked the feeling by just writing more. I jumped right into the next book. We had a meeting about it and things progressed, and one book turned into two, both of which will be released simultaneously some time next year.

711 Press: Shhhhh, we shouldn’t tell your fans that yet. Oh well, the cat is out of the bag now. So, we might as well tell them what’s in store for 2012.

Roger Vallon: If you say so. You guys are the bosses. The story will continue on within two different books, released  on the same day, sort of a double CD. I remember when Guns N’  Roses released Use Your Illusion I and II back in the early ’90s. Pretty much the same concept here. Each book will feature the general characters on different missions, but the plot within both books will converge at some point, being told through the eyes of different characters. Black and Magenta will be hot on Redrum’s heels, attempting to put an end to the company once and for all, and I’m introducing a new assassin character that will figure largely in the Kill Factor world and the 711 Press universe at large.

711 Press: So, will this complete a trilogy?

Roger Vallon: As you know, I am the biggest Ian Fleming fan, although I probably haven’t read a Bond book in twenty years. But I am still heavily influenced by his writing, which is why you see hints of humor, little gadgets here and there, etc., though I feel the Kill Factor books are a bit darker and more brutal. But to answer your question, Ian wrote tons of Bond books and I plan to do the same. So the saga won’t be wrapped up in three books. Certain plots or subplots may be tied up, but the overarching plot will drive many future books.

711 Press: So, will both Kill Factor books be written the same way, though they tell the story from different angles?

Roger Vallon: Actually, the protagonist of the second, really the third book, will be the new assassin character (but I won’t go into detail about him at this point). He’ll carry his own storyline and it will be written in a slightly different voice than the Hadrian Black stuff, simply because they are two different beings with separate agendas, personalities, etc. I like to play with stuff like that.

711 Press: Let’s jump back. How did you even get into writing?

Roger Vallon: I’ve written in journals since I was in my teens. But I was never really good at it. Looking back, I did so because my mother used to take me to this little mom and pop used book store back in the ’70s. There were literally thousands of books piled high on old shelves and it was tough to thumb through them. They had it sectioned off in various genres: horror, romance, westerns, etc. That’s when I found a YA series for kids about spy teens (though the term YA wasn’t in common use back in those days). I can’t remember the names of the books or the author who wrote them but I was hooked. Stemming from that, I wanted to be a writer, so I started reading as much as I could to learn the craft. I think the books were like two for a nickel or a dime a piece, so when my mom gave me a quarter I was in heaven. While my friends were buying comic books, I was diving into nickel and dime novels, and I spent every penny on them, lol.

711 Press: So, is this when you discovered Fleming?

Roger Vallon: Most definitely. Books like Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, and Goldfinger had me pining to be a spy as much as a writer. But like I said, although I had the passion I wasn’t any good at it. Not back then anyway. All my earlier stories involved a lot of “telling,” which you guys frown upon. I didn’t “show” enough, and the stories weren’t compelling enough to pull you in. So I did what any other dreamer would do in my shoes, I chose another profession to make a living, lol.

711 Press: Yes, and one most definitely on the far end of being a writer...or a spy...

Roger Vallon: I know, I know. But, I was always as fascinated with Eastern healing modalities, so I went that direction. And I loved it. But after thirty years, following my retirement, I figured it was time to get back to my first passion. One’s early fifties is considered too young to retire these days, but I believe everyone should live their life to the fullest. We took our nest egg, headed west, and settled down where we could just wake up and enjoy each and every day, and I could write at my leisure.

711 Press: Well, we have to commend you for your hard work and your dedication. Given what you’ve presented to us, we feel this is your true calling, and we’re happy to have you on board.

Roger Vallon: I am happy to be on board, and I am so thrilled that I was chosen as a 711 Press author. After signing, I learned quickly how tough it is to come aboard. Knowing me, I probably would not have read your guidelines, sent you a manuscript like I did to a zillion other agents and publishers and gotten that big rejection letter or no response at all. I am blessed to have found Scribe Freelance, or I would never have been invited.

711 Press: You’re skipping over some important info that your fans may want to know. What does Scribe Freelance have to do with you getting signed by 711?

Roger Vallon: Well, Scribe Freelance is a company that does book covers and interior designs for small presses. It’s owned by Daniel Middleton, who is co-producer/publisher of 711 Press with Jaime Vendera. I hired Daniel last year to design a cover for my book and do some interior design, such as adding chapter headers, etc., figuring I might self-publish the thing. Daniel actually read the book as he did the work. He eventually called me on the phone and made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse :) I remember what he said to me like it was yesterday. He said, “Hey Roger, this is Daniel from Scribe. I’ve finished the interior design and a draft for your cover. I must say, this is some riveting stuff and actually falls in line with books we will be releasing from my new company, 711 Press. I think we should have a meeting. Might be interested in signing you.”

711 Press: Lol, yeah we know, we just wanted to hear you say it. By the way, do you remember when you said you had a friend who also writes books?

Roger Vallon: Yes, lol, you said you didn’t take unsolicited material. Getting signed to 711 Press is by invitation only. So I told him to hire Scribe Freelance, because it was his best chance at getting signed! I don’t know what came of that because I haven’t heard from that writer in a year....

711 Press: Hmmmm, guess we’ll keep you wondering. If we do sign him, you won’t know until he’s interviewed and his book is released, lol. Speaking of hiring Scribe Freelance for the cover, we’ve been getting lots of comments about how the 711 covers pull people into the story like a movie poster, which is part of our design scheme. All our books read like TV shows or movies, and they’re packaged that way as well...

Roger Vallon: You know what, one of my Twitter followers said “The cover of your book looks awesome! Makes my adrenaline levels go up just looking at it!” (Thanks @XpectAberration).

711 Press:  So, you’ve stated that you’ll be writing a long line of Kill Factor books and you’ve already hinted at the next two in the series. Will this be your second thirty-year career in your lifetime?

Roger Vallon: Hopefully thirty plus years, lol. I am completely hooked now that I am getting the 711 formula down, which honestly makes it so much easier to write a MovieBook. So, I’ll write until I die...or until the fans are sick of it. And if they do get sick of it, I’ll just continue writing them for me and skip the publishing stage, like J.D. Salinger.

711 Press: So, will we see any other types of novels from you besides the Kill Factor series?

Roger Vallon: I plan to keep it in the Kill Factor world. That’s my brand. It’s my strong suit so if it’s not broke, I won’t try to fix it. However, I am building a world of assassins so you will see new spies and characters come into play all the time. I might not always feature Hadrian Black in a MovieBook, but he will always be a central character in the Kill Factor world. Plus, I think I want to stick to the brand. I find it’s a personal way for me to honor my hero Ian Fleming. Maybe one day my son will continue on after I’m gone with new Kill Factor plots.

711 Press: Well Roger, good luck on tomorrow’s launch (or today for all you Kindle readers who can’t wait. We see they’ve already started selling!).

Roger Vallon: Thank you. You’ve honestly made my dreams come true. I cannot wait to have a library full of Kill Factor books in my study. And I’ll do this for as long as you’ll have me.

711 Press: Based on the strength of the plot and writing in your first release, we plan to have you on board for a long, long time...

(You can check out the Kill Factor page here.)

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