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Local Author Spotlight: BC Powell

Catherine Royalty, Senior Librarian, Acquisitions,

In conjunction with National Novel Writing Month, the Los Angeles Public Library is proud to spotlight some of our great local authors who have submitted their e-books to our Indie California collection.

Author BioBC Powell is a fantasy author who lives and works in Valley Village, CA. Described as “incredibly original,” “spellbinding,“ and “superbly written,” his debut science fiction fantasy novel "Krymzyn" was published in October, 2014. Powell has a diverse background, having held several executive positions in the entertainment industry, but writing fiction has been his lifelong passion. The Dallas native dual majored in journalism and philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Krymzyn is the first novel in Powell’s “The Journals of Krymzyn” series. In this “stunning fantasy adventure,” a determined young man from Earth is transported to an ominous yet captivating world. Storm clouds never move, trees violently spring to life during Darkness, and vile creatures threaten all who live there. Fate guides Chase to Sash—a fierce, mystical young woman. Together, they fight to prove Chase belongs in Krymzyn, but the cost may be their lives.

Book cover

Krymzyn was designated a SELF-e Select title by the staff of Library Journal and is now available at participating libraries nationwide. The Los Angeles Public Library congratulates BC on his award—let’s hear a bit more about him and his winning title!

Krymzyn has such an imaginative premise—how did the idea for the story take shape for you?

I had a rough idea for an alternate dimension made of “swirling particles of matter bound by the energy of light,” but I didn’t have a story to go with it. While looking at potential cover art for an urban fantasy novel I was working on, I came across a compelling picture of a young woman. Her facial expression combined sadness, anger, loneliness, and ferocity. As I stared at the picture, the Sash character and story of Krymzyn immediately took shape in my mind. I was so excited by the idea that I set the other project aside and immersed myself in writing “Krymzyn.”

This is the first book in a planned series—did you know you were starting a series before you began writing Krymzyn?

When I started “Krymzyn,” I actually thought it was going to be a stand alone novel. As I developed the characters and world, I realized there was a much more epic story there if I wanted to pursue it. After the first book was finished, I spent several weeks outlining where the story could go and ended up with seven books.

You do such a great job of inventing and describing the world in Krymzyn—you’ve created a whole alternate reality for your readers. Do you have any favorite fantasy authors that you think do this type of world building particularly well?

First of all, thank you so much for the kind words. Krymzyn is unique in the sense that the emotions and philosophical ideals of the people are closely tied to the physical characteristics of the world. Krymzyn exists on two levels: Chases “Earthly” perception of it and the reality of what the world actually is. To achieve this level of complexity, I really examined the world building of several authors who I have great respect for. Among modern writers, I think Neil Gaiman and Suzanne Collins do an exceptional job of creating a world with strong underlying social themes, but I also studied classic fantasy and sci-fi authors like Tolkien, Frank Herbert, and C.S. Lewis.

Krymzyn falls in the “new adult” genre (fiction with characters in the 18-30 year old range). This genre seems to really be taking off—did you set out to write a new adult novel?

The “young adult” genre has been extremely popular in recent years. As those readers mature, it makes sense that they’ll want to evolve into reading stories with themes more applicable to the 18 to 30 age range. I have three sons between the ages of seventeen and twenty-four, and they’re really my inspiration for this series. The male protagonist Chase embodies qualities that I admire in all three of them, so “new adult” made sense for my characters and the story.

Krymzyn’s protagonist, Chase, is male, but there are many other great strong female characters. Do you see both men and women in your target audience?

Men and women have always been my target audience, but statistics show that seventy percent of all eBooks are read by women. My biggest challenge was to shape the first person narrative by a male protagonist into something that female readers could relate to. I purposely chose to work with women editors to help me achieve a tone that would appeal to women as well as men.  I’ve also been fortunate to have several very strong women in my life, so the female characters evolved from qualities that I respect in them.

Do you have any advice for first time authors attempting to finish their first novel? Do you have a daily writing routine?

Finish your first draft before worrying about perfecting it. I think many of us have a tendency to start second guessing our work before the first draft is finished, which may mean we never complete the manuscript. The feeling of achievement from finishing the first draft can be empowering and inspiring to a writer. As far as a routine, I actually binge write as opposed to keeping a daily schedule. I’ll spend twelve to fourteen hours a day writing for several weeks, but then take a break for a week or two to think through the next part of the story.

When writing Krymzyn, did you complete multiple drafts? Did you show unfinished versions to friends or beta readers for feedback?

It’s absurd how many drafts of Krymzyn I went through to get the book where I wanted it to be. After three drafts, I sent it to an award winning story editor in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. She gave me an in depth critique with pages and pages of notes that helped me shape the elements into a much more cohesive story.  After two more re-writes, I gave the book to a beta reader who had very good character notes. The novel then went through two editorial phases with an outstanding editor who really picked the manuscript apart.  By the time I sent it out for the final proofread, I’d completed eleven drafts of the book.

The self-publishing industry has really exploded, especially in e-books. What advantages and/or challenges do you see in self-publishing your work?

The biggest advantage to self-publishing is the short amount of time to publication. Once I have the manuscript back from final proofread, I can format, upload, print proof, and click “publish” within a few weeks. Indie authors today have access to exceptional freelance editors and cover artists, so the end result is just as polished as any book from a major publishing house. But the challenge becomes promoting the book in a way that makes it stand out from all the other self-pub titles. Marketing can be very time consuming which takes precious hours away from writing the next book. Exposure to new readers is the reason I’m so excited to be part of the SELF-e program, and I really want to thank the wonderful people at LAPL for featuring me on the website.

Explore the SELF-e collection to discover more great new talent!

If you are a self-published author please consider submitting your work to the Library’s SELF-e platform. Click here to learn more.