With 26 novels under his belt and plans for many more, indie thriller novelist Jonas Saul is probably one of the most prolific, successful (and nicest) writers I know. In this Q&A, Saul shares his road to publication, his writing process, his definition of success and more.
Describe your road to publication.
In the summer of 2002, I sent several dozen query letters to New York Literary Agencies for my first novel, BAD VIBES. When that resulted in one rejection letter after another, I decided to write another novel. That’s when DARK VISIONS was born. By 2011, I had written over fifty short stories and three novels and still did not have representation. That was when my wife told me I could upload directly to Amazon as an indie author.
At first, I refused. I told her to give me three more months. If I couldn’t acquire an agent, I would go directly to Amazon. Three months came and went. Nothing happened. I succumbed and uploaded six titles to Amazon. Sales began immediately. Within two months, my wife left her job and we bought tickets for Europe in May, 2011 after being an indie on Amazon for four months.
We spent the next eighteen months touring Europe while I wrote from hotel rooms.
By 2013, my Sarah Roberts Series was optioned for a TV Series with a large Hollywood studio. I’ve since flown to Los Angeles several times pitching and working on bringing Sarah to the big screen. In April of this year, six days before THE SNAKE was to be released, it too was optioned for a motion picture deal by a different studio. It’s only a matter of time before you will see Sarah Roberts and Jake Wood on the big screen.
Lastly, this past August, I signed with Gandolfo Helin & Fountain, a literary and dramatic rights agency. Within days of signing the contract for representation, I was meeting with a publisher interested in a substantial print deal for The Sarah Roberts Series.
More details on that to come as soon as I can announce them.
What do you find most challenging about writing? Most fulfilling?
The most challenging thing about writing is just finding the time. Life is so busy with traveling and dealing with my day-to-day routine.
I’ve lived over three of the last five years in Europe. One year in Italy and two and a half years in Greece researching for my novels. Being on the go, touring ancient sites and cities often takes up my entire schedule. It can be a challenging task to get to the computer and type out the word count required to create a novel.
The most fulfilling things I find with writing are the reviews, the interaction I get with readers and the overall love from them. I recently received an email from a woman battling cancer. She wrote to tell me that she’s imagining a million tiny Sarah Roberts attacking the cancerous cells in her body.
Sarah has given her hope and strength. That woman will not only keep fighting, but she’ll fight harder because Sarah would. That email, along with others, have moved me beyond words.
How long does it take you to write a first draft?