Max Davine, author of “Terra Domina” (Interview)

What is your book about?

“Terra Domina” is about a girl born that she comes of age during the years of Australian Federation, the trials and tragedies of her life all centered around a strange man who comes and goes throughout, and her responses to them as she goes from runaway to prostitute to housewife to outlaw. She spends time with a group of ex Boer soldiers now working as bounty hunters, works the early hotels of Victoria’s north west country, becomes a copper trader, quite a life, but all the while stalked by this strange entity who has a powerful influence over the events around her.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

Years, couldn’t pinpoint and exact time or date, but it’s a matter of years.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I’m fascinated by relationships. Animals and people, survival, struggle, the need to continue living. Self preservation. I guess this story is a way to incorporate a lot of those ideas, it made sense.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Not much I hope.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

I came to like the heroine a lot, even though she does some terrible things, but that might just be the sheer amount of time I spent with her. They’re all important in their own way. I hate arbitrary characters, it’s something I try to avoid.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

I think Greenhill, our eventual antagonist, will leave an impression. Who or what he is shall not here be revealed.

Why will readers relate to your characters?

The paragraphs between dialogue are my favorite things to write because they’re not necessarily aloud expressions, unless they’re actions, but those thoughts inside their heads are their private worlds, the personality that comes out in their spoken dialogue is a different character to the one in their minds, which is something we all do. I really wanted to see the intimate workings of the characters, when they’re private, and give that a voice too. When they’re truly themselves, the side they can’t show. We all have that.

How long did it take you to write your book?

The actual writing process is quite short but the fermentation of each draft is time consuming. That’s when you really beat it up and spend time working it, then letting it simmer, then working it again. Writing is rewriting.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

All. But I didn’t plan the explorations of place and character, nor how characters respond the certain things. That was left to when it come up, and how it comes out.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it?

Google does help a lot but you can’t beat real life. I figured being a bounty hunter or a Boer war veteran wouldn’t be unlike Vietnam, so I was lucky to meet with a couple of veterans and hear their stories, Aboriginal websites, archives. Everywhere, and every detail I could chase up. You never know what’s going to feed the story.

When will your book be available?

“Terra Domina” is being released later this month by ASJ Publishing, it will be available through Kindle, Amazon and others.

C. A. Milson, co-owner of ASJ Publishing

Welcome, C. A.! What made you go into publishing?

The choice to be a publisher was the result of some bad choices and experiences I have had along the way since I was first published in 2008. My wife and I discussed the options, read alot of information of the industry and decided that it was the best choice for us to pursue.

What is the general background of your company?

ASJ Publishing was formed by my wife and I. ASJ are the initials of my wife’s name. We started the idea of ASJ Publishing in 2010, but it was not until this year when we started to take the idea public.

How do you decide to publish one book and not another?

We do get a few submissions, but not all of them we take on board. It is not an easy thing to deicde sometimes, but what it does come down to is the story has to be interesting; Not only for us but also for the readers

Some people think that with more titles available today than at any other time in history, the novel as an art form is dying. Do you agree?

I would have to disagree on that one. Writing a novel is never an easy task. I know, as I have wrote a few myself.  🙂 But as long as there are readers, the author has an audience. With the release of iPad’s, Android, taking the e-book to the reader has never become easier. So along with making a novel available in paperback, we can now make it available whether a person can get digital.

What challenges do you and your company face?

The only thing we face is more exposure to the market. Now while Facebook certainly has merits for sponsored ads, there is more to marketing than the internet. So it is finding that niche that we are focusing on in 2013/2014

What is the most rewarding part of being a publisher?

One of the rewarding things of being a publisher is seeing the work of our previously unpublished authors on print. Seeing the proof of their novella in our hands is a real rewarding experience, and we hope that our authors would feel the same, in seeing their work is out there.

Do you publish anything or just certain genres?

At the moment we are open to a wide range of genres, such as erotica, children’s, sci-fi, horror, drama, and also selected non-fiction and “how-to” titles.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

If you are an aspiring author, my advise is that you research the market. There are a number of publishers out there who will charge fees for reading your MS, and even charge bigger fees to publish your e-book. Believe me, I see the ads on facebook everyday. As an author myself, you have to question why a publisher would want to charge you fees to publish your work. Any reputable publisher will never do that.

Have you always wanted to be a publisher?

No. After I became a published author, my goal was to write more books, and live my life like that. But, life has a way of expanding one’s thinking, and in 2010, our life expanded not only to publishing, but also into the world of film.

What are your future plans? What will you bring to the literary world besides more stories?

For 2013, we are investing heavily into our writers, by getting their books to the main international book fairs, as well as some other ideas we have in the pipeline. We will also be filming 3 movies of our own.

What do you do to sell the books you publish, for example, where do you advertise?

Right now we are focusing on Amazon, Lulu, Kindle, and also our distribution network through Lightning Source/Ingram. We also run offers from time to time on Kindle for free download day to help boost sales, as well as run targetted facebook ads. There will be more in the way of advertising in 2013.

Can we find your books in stores or are they just online?

They are mostly online right now, but in Q1 of 2013, we will be taking that a step further by opening up to paperback sales through Ingram.

Why should readers check out the books you publish?

Our authors come from a wide range of backgrounds, from all walks of life, and they all have a great story to tell, whether it is a bedtime stroy for their children, or a horror story to scare themselves, or even a sizzling erotic novel to arouse their senses.

Are you satisfied with the financial return on your investment of time and resources?

Not yet. Any new business will take at least 2 years to see any ROI (Return on investment). That is just a plain fact of being in business. There is no such thing as “get rich quick”, unless you happen to win the lottery. But honestly, if you decide to be a publisher for the monetary rewards, then you’re in the wrong business.

Would you recommend anyone else go into the publishing business?

That would mean they would be competing with me. So no. 🙂

Has the availability of POD and E-books made it easier for you to publish more client’s work since you no longer have to invest in large runs, shipping, etc?

Not really as some books have different formatting requirements, as well as finding the right people to work with to create a good book cover or illustrations. Being a publisher is alot more than taking someone’s MS, publishing it on Kindle and giving a copy to the author. No, it is alot more. There are editors to hire as well as illustrators and graphic artists. The book cover (or illustrations n a children’s book) has to be perfect, and the editor has to know their job to have the manuscript polished and ready. Sure, anyone can do the former and do a half-assed job of publishing a book for the sake of it, but what kind of publisher would that make them?

What can you offer a writer in terms of brand and marketing that makes your percentage worth the author’s while?

Going to blow our own trumpet here Pat if you don’t mind What we do for authors is not only have their MS ready for publication, but also we send their book to the international book fairs, create a facebook page for their book, pay for sponsored ads, get a professional book trailer made (for selected titles)

Do you set up signings for the authors and then publish the ‘tour’?

While we do a few things already, we do ask our authors to set up any “virtual book tours”

How do you acquire your talent? Open Submissions? Recommendations? Reading Periods? Placing Ads?

Right now we are placing various ads and we do have an open submission process.

Do you charge your authors for any services?

Absolutely not.

Where can we learn more about you, your authors, and the books you publish?

People can find out more about us at: