When Pigs Fly: Meet Author Bob Sanchez

I got acquainted with Bob Sanchez through an on-line Blog Book Tour group and I’ve watched and listened as he went through the process of publishing his books through Amazon’s CreateSpace program. I just finished reading When Pigs Fly, a zany, “Three Stooges” or “Keystone Kops” type of adventure that takes you on a cross country chase from Massachusetts to Arizona.

His second book is Getting Lucky, a missing persons case, in which Pigs’ retired cop Mack Durgin is resurrected in the character of Clay Webster, Private Investigator. In Little Mountain, Sambath Long,  a Cambodian refugee, is now an American homicide cop. Sam’s investigation of a brutal murder unearths painful memories that threaten to tear his own life apart.

Welcome, Bob, and congratulations on your three books. What made you decide to become your own publisher with CreateSpace?

Thanks for honoring me with an interview, Heidi. I’d started writing novels around 1990 and found three agents over the years. None sold any of my books, though, so I eventually decided to get my books published and let readers decide if they were good enough.

Can you share briefly your publishing experience with CreateSpace?

Initially I published with iUniverse, which turned out to be a mixed bag. They charged too much for publication and controlled pricing. They put out a good product, though.

CreateSpace doesn’t charge for publication, and they let the author set the price.

What advice would you give anyone who wants to try this route?

Don’t cut corners. Be sure your novel is the absolute best you can make it. Get several competent critiques, and hire an editor. You’ll also need a professional-looking cover. Don’t settle for someone’s template.

Do you have a background in writing or is this something you’ve undertaken as a second career? Have you been published elsewhere?

Yes and yes. Technical writing was my second career, and novel-writing was a hobby that allowed me to express myself creatively. A few of my short stories have been published over the years, I’ve sold non-fiction to several magazines, and I write book reviews as well.

Why do you write, what is it that makes you do it?

It’s what I’m best at. Lord knows I can’t play a piano, fly a plane, or write a computer program. And although I make a few dollars writing, the ego boost from readers’ comments keeps me going even more. Once a woman wrote me saying her mom had recently died, and she consoled her father by reading When Pigs Fly to him. That email was worth—oh, about a million dollars to me.

I’ll bet that was!

Your three books seem to have a common thread in that they’re all about solving crimes. How do they differ?

Another common thread is that they all have a tie-in to Lowell, Massachusetts, a city near where I used to live. They differ in their level of seriousness as well as in their genre. When Pigs Fly is a comic road trip, Getting Lucky is a noir P.I. novel, and Little Mountain is a police procedural with a strong ethnic angle.

Where did the idea for When Pigs Fly come from? (You do caution that this is not a children’s book)

It began with the serious premise of FedEx showing up at a man’s door and delivering an urn with his brother’s ashes. That didn’t get far, and I set it aside. A couple of years later, I remembered it when I wanted to write a comic novel. The story’s javelina didn’t even appear until the second draft, though. But then what to call it? When Pigs Fly fit best, but it sounded like a children’s book. Referring to a scene in the book, a friend suggested the title Asses to Ashes. I will be forever grateful to iUniverse for saying they hated that.

What do you do to market your books and what has worked the best?

I used to do book signings, but never sold many copies. So I reissued all of my titles as ebooks and promote them on Twitter. In general that works well, though there seems to be a July-August slump. I tell people my novels are good summer reads, but maybe no one wants to bring a Kindle to the beach.

Do you have a life’s philosophy and does it translate to your writing?

The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. I try to make my main characters follow that principle.

If you could have dinner with six people, alive or dead, who would they be?

My goodness, why would I want to have dinner with a dead person? Oh, I get what you mean. Let’s set aside family, who would be my first choice. I would like to break bread with Abraham Lincoln, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jesus Christ, Marie Curie, Groucho Marx, and Mika Brzezinski, all at once. Can you imagine the stimulating conversation? Groucho would of course be there to deflate egos and lighten things up now and then, while Mika would be asking lots of good questions.

Now THAT would be a fun and interesting dinner party! Thank you for joining me today, Bob.

Bob Sanchez’s books are all available on his Amazon author page and his free short story collection is available on Smashwords. You can read his Blog, The Funny News Leader, and follow Bob on Twitter: @desertwriter and Facebook .

Bob Sanchez was born in New Orleans, grew up and worked in Massachusetts, and lives with his wife and two cats in New Mexico. Bob has published three novels: When Pigs Fly, Getting Lucky, and Little Mountain. He actively participates in several writers’ groups, edits nonfiction reviews for The Internet Review of Books, and maintains or contributes to several blogs.

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