Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Book Cover Junkie Interviews Suspense Author Gabriel Valjan

Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing as well as numerous short stories,. Born and raised in New Jersey, his education took him from California to northern England, with time spent in several European countries. Gabriel has worked in diverse fields such as consulting, engineering, information technology, and healthcare. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he enjoys the local restaurants, and his two cats, Squeak and Squawk, keep him honest to the story on the screen.

·       Twitter: @Gvaljan
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Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?

Bianca, a forensic accountant on the run from her former employer, is back in Boston. She is there to help an old friend who suggests that Rendition is involved in a murder. Bianca will find misdirection and confront her nemesis, while befriending a new ally, who forces her to face unresolved emotional issues. Corporate Citizen, the fifth book in my series, will unveil major revelations for readers of the Roma Series.

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?

Winter Goose Publishing is an indie press. WGP and the writer work together on editing and cover art design. Before I hand WGP my manuscript I have two friends, Dean Hunt, who does copy-editing and proofing, and Claudio Ferrara, a native Italian does cultural editing. Editing is a very different process for me because I already know the story, but I have to revisit the text as if I were a different person. Challenging.

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?

The term ‘corporate citizen’ is a new term that ascribes personhood to a company, which means that a company has a social obligation to the community in which it resides, and an employee is a representative of the company. Inherent to the description is an idea that a company has an objective other than profit. Idealistic? Realistic? I don’t know, but I find the practices of some transnational corporations troubling. I began Corporate Citizen with the title in place. The novel deals with a changing of the guard. Bianca has to make a choice.

Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?

In my experience, every corporation has a ‘look and feel.’ I guess the proper term is ‘brand.’ I’ve also heard the word ‘culture’ used to describe the workplace. When it came to designing the cover, I thought of bees because worker bees literally work themselves to death for the sake of the hive. Hence, there are honeycombs on the cover. The color blue always seemed to me to be an executive color. The background map of Boston is a recurring image from the cover art for Wasp’s Nest (Book 2). Corporate Citizen is Bianca’s second visit to the city.

Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?

Winter Goose Publishing has its own designer, so I didn’t need to hunt for one.

How was your experience working with the designer?

Positive. There were exchanges for minor tweaks on font size and choice, but overall the creative process and collaboration has been smooth for all my Roma Series books. Corporate Citizen is Book Five.

What has been the readers’ response to your cover?

Readers of the ARC liked the shade of blue and the cool (as in cold) appearance of the cover. I have also received compliments on the paper quality and the choice of font, which combine well for readability.

What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?

Spend the time and effort to find a graphic designer. Look to art schools and ‘word of mouth’. Ask to see a portfolio. I know that there are vendors who have premade cover art, but strive for something original that represents you and your story. If you are doing a series, then think about a set palette of colors, consistent font for both the cover and the inside of the book because each book should be instantly recognizable. Think of the artwork for Hunger Games. Wouldn’t you recognize the color scheme and the Mockingjay image from across the room?

Anything else you’d like to say about your book?

I realized after writing the novel that going forward that it will be hard for me to write the Roma Series as stand-alone books now because of the major revelations in Corporate Citizen.
Please visit Winter Goose Publishing’s website and sign up for their newsletter and you’ll receive a free novella that I wrote. Throughout the year, I will be providing Winter Goose with a novella about one of the Italian characters in the Roma Series. Each story visits a different part of Italy and predates Roma, Underground.

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