Sunday, 5 May 2013

Author Interview: John B. Dutton

John B. Dutton has written Silent Symmetry.

1. What is your name and where do you call home?
John Dutton, Montreal, Canada

2. Do you have a pen name?
JB Dutton for YA and children’s books, John B. Dutton for mainstream (adult) books.

3. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
Silent Symmetry, a YA paranormal mystery love story set (mainly) in Manhattan. No vampires, no zombies, just…. the Embodied….

4. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
This is the first book in the Embodied trilogy. There may be other series featuring the Embodied, but this is likely to be the only one that involves teenager Kari Marriner.

5. Do you gift books to readers for book reviews?
If a reader promises to write an honest, real review and post it on,, Goodreads and the iBookstore, then I would definitely email them a free copy. This would be part of my marketing strategy until Silent Symmetry has a critical mass of reviews.

6. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
I’m very fortunate to have a girlfriend who is also an Art Director. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. I’m fortunate to have a girlfriend. And she happens to be an Art Director, which is fortunate too. No, that sounds worse. Anyway… I used to be a Creative Director at an ad agency (the job that Don Draper does in Mad Men) so we collaborated on the idea for the cover and she did an amazing job of designing it. The cover wonderfully conveys the feeling of mystery, and if you look carefully you’ll see that the young woman in the photograph has a perfectly symmetrical face, as do the doodles that cover half her face. Both the symmetry and the doodles are elements in the book.

7. How did you come up with the title for your book?
Symmetry is more than just a key feature of the beings known as the Embodied, it also ties into a theme that will be explored more over the course of the other two books in the trilogy, Starley’s Rust and… the name of the third one is a secret! The Embodied can communicate without making a sound (no, it isn’t telepathy), and Silent Symmetry rolls off the tongue nicely. Plus, no one else has written a book with that title!

8. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
No I don’t have one but I might make one if it seems worthwhile. I think if you can afford to spend the time and money on a trailer then it’s a great marketing tool. But it certainly isn’t as effective as a free sample on Amazon or elsewhere. Ultimately it’s the story, characters and writing that’s going to sell your book, not a video. Visibility is a different question. Does a trailer give you more visibility? Only if people see it. So if you then have to spend time “marketing the trailer”, is it time well spent? I’m not sure. If you’re Amanda Hocking and loads of readers are coming to your site anyway because they’re fans, then you’ve got a ready-made audience for your trailer, but if you simply post it on YouTube there’s no guarantee anyone will actually see it among the gazillion videos on there.

9. Are you a self-published / Indie author?
Yes, I am. I feel like it is now the best way to connect with readers.

10. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I read it when I was a young teenager and re-read it much later in life when I bought the collected HHGTTG books.

11. What books have made it onto your wishlist recently? And why?
Umbrella by Will Self. I loved Great Apes and often read his writing and interviews in the Guardian.
The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman – the cover is amazing, then I read the first page on Amazon and can hardly wait to finish reading the books I’m into at the moment so I can start it!

12. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) and The Better Angels of Our Nature (Steven Pinker) on Kindle, Eating Animals (Jonathan Safran Foer) in hardback and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz) in paperback.

13. If you could invite any four celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
Shakespeare (for his verbal wit and insight into the human condition), John Lennon (for his personal experiences and to sing us a song), Barack Obama (to get the real scoop on world politics), Emily Dickinson (she didn’t get out much).

14. Do you have any advice for other writers? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
My advice would be to keep writing until you get really good at it. What you write hardly matters for the first 20,000 hours, but don’t confuse sitting in front of a computer or doing research with writing. Try to strike the right balance between planning what you’re writing and spontaneously creating it. When you’re stuck, don’t stare at the screen, go for a walk or a drive. Or just write any old thing. Anything is better than nothing!
I write screenplays too, and there’s a ton of amazing advice on a site called Wordplay ( by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. Even though it’s specifically about screenwriting, much of it applies to any kind of narrative or dramatic writing.

15. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to reading & writing?
Football. Playing, watching, and teaching my son.

16. Where can your readers follow you?

Twitter: @JohnBDutton

Google+: JohnBDutton

Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!

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