SSTN Interviews Author/Publisher Geoff Habiger
We are here with Geoff Habiger, author and publisher. We are so glad to have you wish us today here at Start Spreading The News.
Hello everyone. I’m the senior editor and owner of Artemesia Publishing. We’ve been publishing books for 16 years and we are located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We’ve published over 35 books in that time from many great authors. (editor’s note – Artemesia Publishing publishes my novel “Scattering The Ashes.”)
I am also an author, with a few short stories published in different magazines and four novels co-authored with my best friend, Coy Kissee.
Geoff, it is great to have this discussion with you. Thanks for coming to our blog.
You’re welcome, Paul. And thank you for inviting me onto the blog.
Please begin by telling us a little about your books.
I co-write two different series of books with Coy Kissee. I believe that Coy is also being interviewed here on SSTN (editor’s note – that interview will be published on June 25) and will talk about our supernatural historical fiction series. So, I want to highlight our other series that we write, a fantasy police procedural series called the Constable Inspector Lunaria Adventures. We have two books in the series currently: Wrath of the Fury Blade was the first book and was published in 2018. It has won a couple of awards for best fantasy fiction. Our newest book, Joy of the Widow’s Tears, was published in June, 2020.
Where can readers purchase copies of your books?
You can get our books at all major online retailers as physical and ebooks. If you prefer to support indie bookstores they are also available at independent bookstores or ask to have them ordered if they don’t have them in stock.
You can find links to buy our books at our website: https://www.habigerkissee.com/books
You write in the genre of fantasy crime fiction. Have any of the characters in your books been sports fans?
We’ve not covered a lot of sports in our series, yet. But with a fantasy setting we have a chance to create new and different games and sports that can be played. In our newest book, we make reference to a game we call Hoaralle. This is a ball sport, sort of like lacrosse, but played in three-dimensions on tree branches. There are two seven-person teams, and the goal is to pass a small leather ball (about the size of a baseball) while jumping and running along the branches, to score it in your goal. There are other sports as well – archery, track and field type events, etc. Our main character, Reva Lunaria is sort of a workaholic and when she does have free time she prefers to attend plays than sporting events.
Have you ever considered writing a novel about a baseball player within that fantasy crime fiction genre?
Until now, no I haven’t. But that could be very interesting, especially if we take that player and introduce them to our fantasy sport. How would a baseball player react to such a new world? Are there skills from baseball that could be adapted to the fantasy sport? Probably. It would certainly be interesting to try.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of writing a book?
I think the most challenging part is what comes after the writing. Writing the book is just the first part of the process, and once you type “The End” on a story your job isn’t finished. You’ve got to do edits, need to get people to critique and provide useful comments and suggestions, and then you have to get published. I have it easy here as I am my own publisher (helps to run a publishing company) but I still have to figure out how to do the marketing and promotion of the book. That has always been the hardest thing for me to do.
I find it fascinating that you collaborate on your books with your childhood friend Coy Kissee. What is it like to write books together? How does the collaboration work?
I couldn’t imagine not writing books together with Coy. We’ve been friends since high school and this has given us a great bond so that we really know each other and our strengths. I know that this shared friendship and many shared experiences has created a partnership that allows us to tap into our strengths.
We work together, either in person or on Facetime, to has out ideas and come up with our stories, characters, and plots. Once we’ve done that, I will usually go off and write up the first draft – getting ideas and suggestions from Coy when I hit a troubling spot in the story. Then, once the first draft is completed, I will send it to Coy to read over and make his changes and corrections. Coy is great at making sure that characters remain true to their voice, and that there are not any inconsistencies with the story or continuity problems. He’s also a much better copy editor than I am.
Do you have any other works in process?
Oh yeah. I’m working on some new short stories, writing some by myself and some in collaboration with Coy. We are currently working on the third book in our Saul vampire/gangster trilogy – in fact I’m finishing up the first draft right now to send to Coy. We have a third book in the Reva series that I will start plotting out here as soon as I send the third Saul book to Coy. Beyond that, we have a lot of ideas. We have a second (and possibly third) trilogy featuring Saul planned, and we have at least seven books featuring Constable Inspector Reva Lunaria. We also have ideas and stories we are working on that are fantasy spy thrillers and fantasy cozy mystery. I also have ideas for a series of historical fiction cozy mysteries as well. I am not lacking in ideas!
You are also a publisher. Please tell us about Artemesia Publishing and how you created and built this company. Why did you want to be a book publisher?
We started Artemesia Publishing so that my stepmom could publish the story of the adoption of my three sisters from Ukraine. This was a story that she wanted to tell, but also felt that a traditional publisher may not be interested. She read some books on becoming your own publisher (this was back in 2004, when the idea of self-publishing was still in its infancy and really frowned upon). So that’s how we started, but we realized that since we have this company, we could publish books by other authors, people who had stories to tell and who may not get an opportunity with a big publisher.
It must be challenging to know just what books to publish, how do you decide which authors to work with?
Sometimes it can be challenging, because I want to give every author that sends me a manuscript an opportunity to be published. But you can’t say yes to everybody. When I decide to publish a book by an author there are a few things I look at:
Skill: How good of a writer are they? Not everybody can write or write well. If there are a lot of problems with a story, I will probably not publish the book.
Enthusiasm: What is their level of excitement about their book? It’s amazing, but some authors just are not excited about their work, or in their willingness to do whatever they need to do to help promote their book. Being enthusiastic about the story is a big plus.
Appeal: Is it a good story? Does it grab your attention and interest and hold on to it? Does it bring something new and different to a genre? These are all things that I look at when I read the query or the full manuscript. Basically, do I enjoy the book. If I don’t enjoy it, then chances are I will not be interested in publishing it.
There are a few other things, but those are the top three that I generally look at when deciding if I will publish a book or not.
I know you have always enjoyed fantasy and such, but I also know that you have been a baseball fan your entire life. In the book and the movie The Natural, the main character wants nothing more than to walk down the street and have people say, “There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was.” You have been a baseball fan since the 1980’s. Who was the best player you ever saw?
The best player I ever saw was George Brett. (Don’t kick me off the blog – I grew up in Kansas.)
Our final questions are really just a collection of short answers:
What was your favorite baseball team growing up? I grew up in Manhattan, Kansas, so naturally I followed the Kansas City Royals. They were the team I listened to on the radio on summer nights as I fell asleep. They were the team I saw in person at my first ever Major League ballgame.
Who was your favorite player? I’ve had a few favorite players over the years. Frank White (2B for the Royals) was one, and one that I tried to emulate playing second base in little league. Cal Ripkin was another of my favorites, as well as Randy Johnson.
What is your most prized collectible? I don’t know if I have a “most prized” collectible. I grew up with trading cards, but I wasn’t into collecting them, or getting a lot of autographs. I’ve met a few ball players – like Jose Canseco, or former Royals, but I wasn’t into collecting like many people.
Who is your favorite musical group or artist? Depends on my mood or the type of music. For rock, I like The Police, Kansas, and Boston. For blues/rock, John Hiatt. I love Lindsey Stirling, as well as Blackmore’s Night. All of them (and many others) give me inspiration when I write.
What is your favorite food (if it is pizza, what is your favorite pizza restaurant)? My favorite food is New Mexican (it’s like Mexican food, but better!). Burritos smothered with green chili is to die for.
Please share anything else you’d like with our audience –
Support independent writers and bookstores. There are a lot of amazing authors out there who you will never discover if you only look at the New York Times or USA Today best seller lists. I like some of those authors too, but I’ve been ready mostly indie authors (self-published and indie published) in the past few years, and the quality of writing I see coming from indie authors is better than what the big publishers are putting out. So, check out some indie authors, then leave us reviews or tell your friends.
Geoff, this was terrific. Thank you so very much for joining me here at SSTN.
I wish you only success in your writing and publishing.
Keep up the great work!