What is #OperationMallory
Being a full time author is a wonderful job, but one downside is that you don't get any employee benefits. One bestselling author, Stephen Spencer found this out to his cost. He was a regular fixture on the bestseller lists back in 2011 when his Paul Mallory thrillers took off, but disaster struck shortly after his third book when he found out that he had a brain tumour.
No longer able to go on the book promotion circuit, his novels soon fell out of the public view and the double whammy of unexpected bills and a drop in royalties kicked in.
When Julia Hughes, a British author, heard about Stephen's plight she started #OperationMallory. She enlisted a dozen other authors, and set about getting the Paul Mallory novels back on track.
Julia had this to say: "Stephen is a fantastic thriller writer, and for most of 2011 he owned the bestseller lists on both sides of the pond. When I saw that he'd stopped promoting, I knew something had to be done so I put together a group of authors to re-launch the series."
That work came to fruition last week with seven brand new eBook covers, five new print editions and a brand new website at StephenCSpencer.com
But a full rebrand wasn't enough to satisfy Julia. Instead, she set about organising the biggest book tour in history inviting readers and writers everywhere to share Stephen's story and show off the new artwork (which was designed by renowned Singaporean artist Clarissa Yeo).
For his part, Stephen has maintained he doesn't want charity. He just wants the chance to reconnect with his readership. To do it, he's giving away his first book, It's Always Darkest, absolutely free. You can download it in any of the major eBook formats here (no registration required).
If you enjoy It's Always Darkest, the series carries on with The Devil You Say, Third Time Lucky and The
Middle of Nowhere with a fifth book, Ghost of a Chance, slated for release later this year.
Stephen C Spencer was raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, the oldest of three brothers.
Before becoming an author, Stephen travelled the world with the United States Navy. He spent his youth enjoying casinos from Torremolinos to Monaco, but it wasn't until he met his wife Melissa in 2003 that he settled down, and began a family. He's the father of two children, Kaitlyn and Evan.
Domestic bliss provided an outlet for his vivid imagination, and this, combined with his extensive personal knowledge of the world's most exotic ports, gave birth to the internationally acclaimed Paul Mallory thriller series published by Crimeways.
He now splits his time between the family homestead in Indiana, and the tropical island of San Estaban.
What readers are saying...
"Witty and well paced with an ending " - Kate Farrell, Kindle Book Review
"Fast, exciting and full of intrigue" - Charlie Plunkett
"Spencer really has a knack for the written word." - Joyce Mitchell
"A wickedly dry sense of humour." - Jenny Worstall
"The main character leaps off the page." - Doreen Cox
"Tension-filled" - Joseph Bouchard
"A James Bond with heart, tough and chivalrous" - J Ryder
"Broody and oppressive atmosphere" - Amazon UK Top 500 Reviewer
"Gripped from beginning to end" - Pam Anderson
"It's Always Darkest will pick you up, throw you into the air and keep you gulping for breath until the very end." - Emma Elizabeth Fry
"One of the best thrillers I've read in years." - Julia Hughes
eFestival of Words 2013 Finalist in Best Novella for The Devil You Say
Winner, Wordspi.com Short Story Competition 2013
Q: Why did you become a writer?
Ask anyone why they did or said a particular thing, and they'll come up with a thousand and one different reasons. It boils down to one answer. Most people do what they do because they want to. And because they think they can get away with it.
Q: What makes Paul Mallory different?
Paul's actually an average guy. Except when trouble starts, he's always right there, where the action's thickest.
Q: How do you come up with larger than life character like Bentley Cramer?
This is one I learned from Mr. Bickham. (Jack M Bickham, prolific author of fiction and guides on writing.)
The "trick" to believable characters is, counter-intuitively, to make them un-believable. Exaggerate their qualities until they become almost cartoon figures. Sherlock Holmes is the quintessential example...and he's held up fairly well over the years, hasn't he? All the reader has to go by is words on a page. Help him out—make those words as vivid and memorable as possible.
Q: Where do you find your inspiration?
I spray my pillow with lavender and muse every night. As soon as I wake up, I reach for my notebook and jot down my dreams. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!)
Q: Is Paul really you?
Every author writes a little of themselves into all their characters. I'll admit to liking baseball and chess, speaking other languages, ... and we both have an extensive knowledge of trivial facts!
Q: How long does it take you to write a book?
To actually sit down and go from the catalyst (and it's always best to start there!) to typing "The End" can take as little as six – eight weeks. But ideas that become storylines could have been germinating for years, even decades!
Q: What does your wife think of all the time you've spent writing?
Marrying Melissa is the one time I over achieved! Without her encouragement and support, I wouldn't be able to write.
Q: What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
I wouldn't presume to do offer advice. I mean, who the hell am I to advise anyone? The only thing I might possibly offer up—and it's scarcely original—is that if you want to write, then sit down and write; as often and as regularly as you can. It's the "regularly" bit that's most important.
Q: Which writers do you admire and why?
I admire above all others those who are willing to "pay it forward" by sharing what they know about the craft. In no particular order, names like Lawrence Block, Holly Lisle, Stephen King, Jack M. Bickham (and his mentor, the legendary Dwight V. Swain) all come to mind. I'd like to one day be in a position to emulate them, but I don't know whether that day will ever come: I still have far too much to learn.
Q: Why did you choose to set up Crimeways?
The benevolent task master made me do it.
Q: Are there any characters in your books from the Hoosier State?
For the benefit of our friends overseas, I should explain that my home state of Indiana is referred to as the "Hoosier State!" The answer is no, none that I'm willing to admit to anyway!
Q: You're a US Navy veteran. Did your travels with the navy inspire the stunning international locales Mallory goes to?
Yes. Although, the beautiful Caribbean island of San Esteban exists only in my imagination. Having sailed the world with the US Navy certainly adds realism to the locations in the "Paul Mallory Novels", though it's a truism that people remain the same. There's the good the bad and the ugly in every country, and of course, the beautiful!