In the coming weeks, we here at the Spectacle will be interviewing… each other! It’s our chance to tell you a little bit more about ourselves and our books. Today, I’m interviewing Chris Eboch, author of a dozen books for young people, including the Haunted series, The Well of Sacrifice, and the ghost on the stairs. She writes action-packed romantic suspense for grown-ups under the name Kris Bock.
Linda Joy Singleton: The Haunted series has three books out, The Ghost on the Stairs, The Riverboat Phantom and The Knight in the Shadows. But we haven’t seen a new book in a while. Is anything new in the works?
Chris Eboch: The Haunted series got dropped by Aladdin after major upheavals that included my editor leaving. A couple of months ago, I posted on Verla Kay’s blue Boards — a discussion board for children’s book writers — that I was considering self-publishing the fourth Haunted book, which I had already written.
Last week, I got an e-mail from a new, very small press, wondering if I would be interested in working with them to release the book. We haven’t settled anything yet, but Haunted 4: The Ghost Miner’s Treasure will eventually make its way into print, one way or another. I’d like to keep writing more in the series, but that depends on whether or not I can make enough money to support myself while I write them.
The Ghost Miner’s Treasure continues Jon and Tania’s adventures in hunting — or rather helping — ghosts. This time their paranormal pal is an old miner who struck it rich in life but then couldn’t find his mine again, so he’s still looking, a century after his death. The kids get to join the Haunted ghost hunter TV show on a trek into the Superstition Mountains to hunt for the mine — but someone dangerous is tagging along, and this time it’s not the ghost.
LJS: You did a series of blog posts recently on your decision to self publish after years of traditional publishing. How is that working out?
In terms of the success of the books, it’s still too early to tell. For my first adult novel, the romantic suspense Rattled, I’ve been finding support in the community of mystery writers and fans. I’ve done guest posts on several blogs and have more lined up. It’s really hard to tell how often these things lead to sales, of course, but it helps to get the word out. I also have some great reviews on Amazon!
So far I haven’t seen a big difference in sales between Rattled and my SP middle grade mystery, The Eyes of Pharaoh. I need to contact some of the teachers who use my Mayan historical fiction, The Well of Sacrifice, in the classroom and let them know about the new book.
One of the big challenges is finding the time to promote the books properly, when I have to spend most of my time earning money by teaching, critiquing, and writing articles. But I figured it would be six months to a year before the books had a chance of reaching some kind of “tipping point” and taking off.
I’m still not convinced that self-publishing is the only way to go. I recently met an editor at a conference who is interested in seeing my next romantic suspense, and I’ll probably send it to her. It would be nice to get an advance and more help with the publicity, not to mention the greater distribution. In the meantime, I’ve gotten good feedback on both the SP books, and I’m pleased to have them available to readers. So no regrets, though the process is slow!
LJS: What are you working on now?
I’m working on my next romantic suspense. Rattled is intended to be the first book in a series about treasure hunting in the Southwest, but the new book is a separate stand-alone. It’s similar in that it involves adventures in the Southwest wilderness — this time, Hovenweep, a small national park with Ancestral Pueblo People (Anasazi) ruins. The main character is a young archaeologist who is just trying to get away from it all, but she discovers that there’s a lot more going on in this remote area than she expected. Eventually I want to get back to the cast of Rattled. The main character may be on her way to Happily Ever After, but her best friend needs to star in her own book!
I’m also working with a book packager on a contemporary teen series. I don’t want to say too much about that yet, though. Just know that I haven’t stopped writing for young people entirely!
Thanks for chatting, Chris! I hope everyone will enjoy our upcoming talks with other Spectacle contributors.