Randy Rawls lives in Delray Beach, Florida, slap-dab in the middle of paradise. Not only is the weather perfect, but the writing environment is wonderful. In fact, it's so good you can't cross the street without bumping into an author.
Before retiring in Florida, Randy grew up in North Carolina, then spent a career in the Army. After retirement, he went back to work with the Department of Defense as a civilian, the aspect of his career that led him to South Florida. Somewhere along the way, he fell in love with writing. The writing was a natural progression since he has always been an avid reader.
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Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
Beth Bowman, a transplanted Texan, is a Private Investigator in South Florida. DATING DEATH is book three (3) in her series. The first two were HOT ROCKS and BEST DEFENSE. I started the series to spotlight a female protagonist and to spotlight some of the quirks of living in South Florida. In book one, Beth meets a group of homeless who become her allies. They are the invisible population and are still with her in DATING DEATH.
My plots are taken from the headlines, and DATING DEATH is no exception. It begins with Beth taking on the task of protecting a dirty politician who is turning state's evidence to save himself.
Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
The publishing process for DATING DEATH was a bit different from my other books. Since HOT ROCKS and BEST DEFENSE were published by a traditional publisher, I expected them to handle DATING DEATH. It was not to be. That left me with an orphan book in a series. Several publishers loved it, but balked because of its series status. One of those things I'll never understand—why a publisher won't commit to a series book.
Anyway, I continued to shop DATING DEATH and finally found White Bird Publications who agreed to publish it. White Bird is a small, independent press in Austin, TX, just the kind of people I enjoy working with.
How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing the story, or did it come later?
I haven't had an easy title since my first book. For that one, the name, JAKE'S BURN, came to me before the story line did. Since then, the idea forms somewhere during the writing. Many times, the story will have several titles along the way before I decide on one. Of course, with many traditional publishers, they select the title. Such was the case with HOT ROCKS and BEST DEFENSE. But, for DATING DEATH, I was probably about three-quarters of the way into it before the title appeared. Hope you like it. I do.
Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
I like a cover filled with color. I had the cover for DATING DEATH designed when I was considering self-publishing. I asked Michael to come up with something that would fit with the previous two in the series. He did a super job with it, and I filed it away. My publisher, White Bird, had a nice idea for a cover and presented it to me, but I liked Michaels's better and asked them to use it. They agreed, so here we are.
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
My cover designer is Michael Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org. As you can see, he does outstanding work. I don't remember how I found him. It was a referral, but I don't remember from whom.
How was your experience working with the designer?
Excellent. Michael was flexible every step of the way. I still work with him.
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
Every comment I've had has been complimentary. Please let me know what you think of it.
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
1) Contact Michael or
2) Make sure you check out their work before committing, and
3) Shop around. Prices are as flexible as there are designers.
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
If you like a feisty female protagonist who is very much a female, check out my Beth Bowman. You might say, "Pooh. How would you know? You're a man." Simple. I'm in a critique group with four women. When I started the Beth Bowman series, I asked them to keep me on track. I told them to slap me hard anytime I wandered off track. Trust me, they went overboard letting me know when my Beth did not behave like a woman. So, I feel fairly confident that Beth is a female that you'll like. If not, well, it's probably because of some nuance I missed.