Carlos Harleaux Interview
Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I’m an author, a publisher and a blogger. I’ve written 3 poetry books (Blurred Vision, Hindsight 20/20 and Honesty Box) and am preparing for the release of my first novel, Fortune Cookie. I started my own publishing company in 2013, called 7th Sign Publishing. I also blog about music, current news topics and inspiration on my website, www.peauxeticexpressions.com.
Where do you like to write?
I really don’t have a specific place, but I’d say preferably in a quiet space or somewhere I can be alone to sort out my thoughts.
Is there anything you must have in order to write? For example, silence, whiskey, and a close shave.
I would have to say music for me. It may seem counterproductive but I like listening to music while I write, but with nothing else on.
What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
From an author’s perspective, especially for nonfiction, novel writing, Eric Jerome Dickey’s Milk In My Coffee is one of those novels that’s timeless to me. I saw a lot of myself in the main character of that book and really enjoyed it. As a person, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell is a great read from a psychological aspect. It has many simple truths that we often don’t realize are around us. I’m currently reading Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo. I’ve had it since before the movie came out, but I’ve been so busy. It’s on my to-do list to finish in the next couple weeks. I love the transparency and innocence of that book. It reminds me to slow down and enjoy the moments of life.
What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
Life experiences have a way of being incorporated in my writing. It may not always be my experience, but it could be one from someone close to me or even a complete stranger. As long as there is life, there is always something to write about.
What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
I want to be one of the catalysts to change people’s lives for the better. I want them to feel inspired and motivated in some way, from something they read from me.
Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
I try to always have a sense of transparency in my writing. I think that’s how you connect with people. One thing I try to stay away from, which is a way to improve in itself, is writing to please the masses. I know that not everyone will like my style of writing, but I can’t write for the sake of what will get the most attention. People’s tastes are fickle and as soon as a person caters to that hot thing of the moment, their mind is already on something different.
You have a Kickstarter launching June 5th, what can you tell us about it?
Yes, I do! The Kickstarter is in support of my upcoming novel, Fortune Cookie. I’m extremely excited about that. It just launched today and it’s a creative way for me to interact with my readers and give them exclusive rewards that will only be available through this Kickstarter campaign. The pledges raised through Kickstarter will help alleviate much of the marketing and promotional expenses that have to be made once the book is published.
Those who back the project will also get a chance to receive Fortune Cookie before the official release date. My experience throughout this campaign will be documented in a blog, which will tie in to my graduate studies and Capstone project at The University of Texas at Dallas. Overall, I really want to help change people’s perceptions of crowd funding. It sounds better to say “fan funding” to me, because that’s what it truly is. It’s no different than buying someone’s CD on an iTunes pre order. We pay upfront to eventually get the CD. Here, fans will pay upfront to get my novel, plus have a chance to get some other great rewards along with it. It’s a win win situation.
Where can someone get involved? All of the information is on my Kickstarter page. The name of my project is “Fortune Cookie: A Novel”. Here is the link as well – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1458478645/fortune-cookie-a-novel
What kind of incentives are you offering up?
I’m offering backers signed copies of the book. In addition to that, I’m offering a limited edition signed copy with an alternate ending, T-shirts and even the chance to have their names featured in Fortune Cookie. All of the reward tiers really offer a great deal for their value. There are a few others too which can be seen on my page.
What are the deadlines you have set yourself?
The Kickstarter for Fortune Cookie will run for 32 days and end on July 7th.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Never give up. Just because you may not get picked up by a large, traditional publishing company or get the kind of response to your writing like you want, keep pushing. Many successful authors will attest to the fact that they heard plenty of no’s before they got one yes. Don’t wait for doors to be opened for you. Push through them yourself.
What does your writing future hold for you?
There just may be another sequel to Fortune Cookie in the works. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll always write poetry as well, because that’s how I first started writing. I probably won’t release another poetry book soon, because I haven’t been inspired to go that route at the moment. Blogging is always fun for me too, so I’ll be thinking of ways to continue that but also evolve it and keep it fresh. But 7th Sign Publishing does have an outstanding book coming out next month on July 18th. It’s called How to Win the Dating Game by John Patrick Adams (www.johnpatrickadams.com). It’s a great read that’s going to stir up a lot of discussion.
How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
Yes, I think book covers are so important. It’s the first thing the reader sees. My goal is to have a cover that makes people want to stop and pick up the book. However, similar to writing though, I think if people try too hard to make a great cover it may have the opposite effect. Enticing cover art should almost involuntarily draw you in. It should be a natural reaction to want to know more about that book because of the cover.
How often do you read? What genre?
I don’t read for leisure very often now because of grad school. Most of the books I’m reading right now are for class. But my favorite genres are suspense, self-improvement and psychology based, nonfiction books.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future, Carlos.