We could not be more pleased to announce that the 2017 ShoreIndie Runner Up's book has been released into the world! All For One by Sophia Beaumont went live on Amazon this month, and Sophia took time out of her busy launch schedule to do a brief interview with us about her book and her experience with the ShoreIndie Contest. Read on to learn about this gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, what Sophia got out of the ShoreIndie Contest, and what advice this self-publishing author has for those who are considering the path.
SB: I love reading classic literature, and one of my all time favorites is The Three Musketeers. I love the comedy and the setting and the characters, and I just wanted to do something with that. But so many classics are rife with sexism, racism—every form of bigotry imaginable. If I was going to work with an old story, I wanted give it new life through a more modern lens.
My mom also happens to be from Montreal, so when I was playing around one day, brainstorming, combining the two just seemed natural. Adding elements of the American Civil War, steampunk, women’s rights, immigration issues—it all just came together very naturally.
SI: Tell us a little about why you decided to self-publish this novel. What are the benefits to self-publishing?
SB: One of the things I like about self-publishing is that there are fewer restrictions. For example, with my first series I wrote a lot about mental health. When I first started working on querying and publishing Evie, that was kind of taboo. After my publisher closed, I felt like I had a lot more freedom with the subsequent two books.
With All For One, I felt like it gave me the freedom to tell the story I wanted to tell without being hindered by word counts. It’s a little on the short side—less than 70k—so a lot of agents/publishers wouldn’t look twice at it. At the same time, I am not Alexandre Dumas and I am not paid by the word. I saw no need to add an extra 20,000 words just to meet an arbitrary “industry standard.” I think we can all agree that Dumas, Dickens, et al could have done with removing a few thousand words from their novels, no matter how wonderful they are.
SI: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect(s) of self-publishing?
SB: Promotion! I am such a natural introvert, it can be very hard for me to talk about my books, especially with strangers. It can also be expensive, which is a huge difficulty when you’re living hand-to-mouth already. Since I can’t afford ad space or any of the big promotions on Amazon, I rely a lot on social media, word of mouth, and forming relationships with readers and reviewers. I also attend as many events as I can that are free or low-cost to authors so I can hand sell and get face-to-face interaction with my readers.
SI: What had your writing and revision process entailed at the time you entered the 2017 ShoreIndie Contest?
SB: This book was a lot different from other books I’ve written. Because it was inspired by another novel, I already had a blueprint to follow in terms of the plot arc. In The Three Musketeers, D’Artagnan goes to the city, gets in a fight, meets Milady and the Musketeers, is rejected by the Musketeers, gets in a duel, etc. All of those plot points happen in All For One, I just have a different take on them. I think I wrote the first draft in 4-6 weeks, revised it myself, maybe sent it to one beta reader, and then entered the contest. I wasn’t even planning to enter this manuscript, but there was so much enthusiasm for it on Twitter that I really buckled down to try to get it finished in time for the contest. It was a very near thing. I put in a lot of long days trying to get it done by the deadline, so it was really only a 2nd, maybe 3rd draft at most that I entered, but it’s the…9th? book I’ve written (not all of them are published), so I’ve pretty much got my writing and editing process down to a science at this point.
SI: What were the highlights of working with your ShoreIndie editor, Jeni Chappelle?
SB: Jeni has been great to work with. She has been so enthusiastic and encouraging, and she made some really good points about character development. For example, she pointed out a weakness in the plot and character arcs that resulted in me turning Louise’s partner on the guard from a woman to a man, to provide more balance, and adding another character from scratch. Both were excellent decisions that I think add a lot to the world and the book in general.
It's also always good to get another set of eyes on any manuscript. As clean as I tried to make it, there were, obviously, a lot of really basic errors (typos, grammar, punctuation, etc). It was so embarrassing to have all of them pointed out! It made me really glad the story was so strong, and lucky to make it as far as I did in the contest.
SI: Now that you've got a few books out there, what advice would you give authors who are at the beginning of their self-publishing journey?
SB: It is a lot of hard work. The best thing you can do is make a lot of contacts, and learn from them. Just talking to other authors, editors, and agents can be so educational. I’m a notorious lurker (ironic as that may sound), but don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s something you don’t understand.
Also, it’s vital to invest in a good support system, whether that means paying a little extra to make sure you get the right cover artist or editor, or investing your time to work with an amazing critique partner or forming relationships with readers and bloggers.
SI: What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
SB: I will be releasing a mystery novel later this year (also self-published; check my blog in August for more info), and I’m hoping to make All For One the first part of a collection—not a series, per say, with sequential books all in the same world, but a series of re-imagined, gender-bent classics. Next on my list is Robin Hood, but I won’t have more info on that until 2019.
About All For One
In 1775, Quebec joined forces with America to declare independence from England. Marie Antoinette fled another revolution around the same time, becoming Monarch in Exile and establishing a constitutional monarchy in the New World. Ninety years later, the Republic of Quebec, under the influence of their matriarchal leaders, is the first country to grant equal rights to all citizens, regardless of gender.
Louise Drapeau is willing and eager to take advantage of these rights as she travels from her small town to the capital to join the most elite fighting force in the country, the Queen’s Guard, also known as the Musketeers. She’s barely in the city twenty-four hours, however, when she uncovers a plot to kill the queen, headed by Quebec’s First Minister, Cardinal Lefebvre.
With the help of her three new friends—Portia, Athena, and Arabella—Louise must unravel the increasingly complex politics of the palace in order to save not only the queen, but to keep neutral Quebec out of the Civil War raging just a few hundred miles south in the United States.
Surely this will be enough to get her into the Musketeers—if she can survive.
Check out All For One on Amazon!
Sophia Beaumont is an author, knitter, and occasional seamstress from Ohio, where her degree in textile conservation eventually led to volunteer work as a living history interpreter. When not writing, she spends most of her time immersed in fashion and history from 1860-1960.
Her Evie Cappelli series (The Spider’s Web, The Ferrymen, and Moreau House) is #ownvoices for mental health representation. The series is now complete and available on Amazon.