Welcome to the blog, Dayna! Could you tell us a little bit about your novel?
MacLaine Winters, the heroine in A Vetted Asset, discovers that her husband has had a secret life, one that was created for him through WITSEC (Witness Protection). Through a turn of events, Spencer goes on the run, leaving MacLaine to pick up his trail. She finds the details of her husband's false identity tucked away inside old record albums after moving to a new town. With the help of her father, who is a retired covert military operative, along with her ready for adventure sister, her pragmatic, yet fearless brother, her precocious 4-year-old daughter, and a frog named Henry, she discovers his true identity and her idyllic life as his wife is merely a part in his fictitious life. Interwoven into this novel is the thread of rising above conflict as each character strives for credibility, to be valued, and to become a vetted asset.
What led you to write this book? Can you explain the concept of a vetted asset?
The concept of A Vetted Asset came from seeing over the years that the surface image of a person often overshadows their true nature, and is therefore not always correct. Those that are considered weak often have hidden strengths and those considered strong may have hidden weaknesses. The term ‘vetted’ means to have been cleared or checked out, and the term ‘asset’ means to have worth or to be valued. I combined both of these terms for the title of my book because each of the key characters is striving to become valued, and has a need to be cleared or become credible.
The plot of the story itself unfurled with the help of my mother-in-law when we were sitting at the kitchen table at her house in New Jersey many years ago, and over coffee we started throwing plot lines around to see what could work. At the time, it seemed that a consulting ring, which would be responsible for bid rigging and insider trading in the stock market was not feasible, but to my amazement, it actually seems to have happened recently. Individuals that have been victimized by Ponzi schemes can be taken in by those they trust, and be naïve to the dangers around them. I have reached out to the organization for Ponzi victims in an attempt to give them a percentage of the sales from the proceeds of my book, A Vetted Asset, and am hoping to hear from them soon.
Some of the superfluous elements within the story, such as the hidden box in the drawer of the desk, came from an old desk that had been in my family for years that kept falling apart. As the desk was continually repaired, it began to take on various characteristics, such as one drawer becoming shorter than the other, which I integrated within the story. As for the frog, my husband and I had lived in Ohio where our pond was suddenly inundated with a variety of toads, which originated from Hawaii. These toads were so incredibly loud we could barely hear each other speak across the table during dinner. It was a riot! On a sadder note, we lost a family friend to cancer, so I have referenced the Cleavage Creek Winery, which is a winery that gives women who are struggling with breast cancer a voice, since they were a tremendous source of help for not only our family friend, but for many other women as well. I also believe strongly in the value and internal strength of people. For instance, in my book, I depict a group of retired military personnel working together in a network to untangle the web of deceit and tangle of lies surrounding the character of Spencer Winters. I believe we need to do more as a society to support both the active and retired military.
Was it difficult to sustain the suspense after MacLaine discovers the truth? How did you keep the plot moving forward?
I have interlaced interesting sub-plots into the story with some of the supporting characters, which I believe actively keep the story moving along at a pretty fast pace.
In answer to your question whether it was difficult to sustain the suspense after MacLaine discovers the truth about her husband, I would have to say that after creating the characters, the plot, and outline, my attempts to stick to my outline were often thwarted by the resolve of my characters to go their own direction. There were times I had to walk away from my manuscript because one or more of them had picked up the story line and had run with it in the wrong direction. After a considerable struggle, I would wrestle back my control over the story and continue on, but ultimately it would be a compromise. I moved the plot forward by layering clues to form an intriguing assortment of puzzle pieces to be picked up along the way.
What challenges did you face as an indie author? What are the pros of going indie in today’s marketplace?
My most difficult challenges have been learning about the publishing process itself. I had no idea that if I didn’t include the city and the state, as well as the fact that my book was printed in the United States, my book would not be eligible to put into libraries. I also learned about obtaining ISBN’s, LCCN’s, and formatting for manuscripts, printed books and Ebooks. Luckily, I used CreateSpace, a source for independent authors who would like to self-publish, and they helped me discover the answers to all of these questions I mentioned through either their Community blog or through their Team of technicians who were assigned to me when I signed up for my selected services.
The best part of going Indie in today’s marketplace is that I was in the position to determine when and how I wanted to release my book. In today’s economy, I do not know how long it would have been before a Traditional Publisher would have picked me up. I have been told that even Traditional Publishers are relying on the author to have a marketing plan in place as they no longer supply a full marketing package to each author they publish. CreateSpace took great care to produce both my Press Release and Marketing Package, working with me each step of the way to achieve an exceptional blurb reaching over a thousand individual sites. I have thoroughly enjoyed my publishing experience with CreateSpace and would highly recommend CreateSpace to both new and old authors for their publishing needs.
What is your best advice on writing?
The best advice I have about writing would be…just write! Listen to your inner voice as much as possible to allow the story to flow, and then go back later to work out the editing concerns. Take the inspiration as it comes to you when it is fresh in your mind so that you may capture the words you were meant to write!
Dayna Rubin has worked within the Optical field for over twenty years, devoting her time away from her career to her writing by contributing to published newsletters self-interest articles, short stories, and novels. She currently lives in the Chicago area with her husband Gary, two of three children, and her pets Teddy and Zipper. She also enjoys reading, crafting, painting, golfing, gardening, and spending time with her family.
I am an active participant on Facebook and Twitter, along with a handful of writer sites such as Publishers Marketplace, Critique Circle, and Writers.com, to name a few.
My book is available through BarnesandNoble.com, Smashwords.com, and Scribd.com, along with various other channels in Paperback and EBook formats (Kindle, Sony, Apple, Kobo, and Diesel).
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