Please tell us a little about yourself and Down the Well.

I’m an attorney with a large law firm who works primarily on high-profile class action lawsuits. I also have an active pro bono practice representing inmates facing unconstitutional life sentences. I also represent victims of sexual harm. I began my full-time writing career five years ago. Down the Well is my first novel to see the light of day. I have two “practice” books in the bottom drawer—padlocked twice. The desk is set to detonate if the drawer is ever unlocked.

How did you choose the genre of your book?

I didn’t. For better or worse, I disagree with the notion that a writer must consider genre and marketing from the outset. Granted, I have a secure day job and do not need to write for the money. I understand the privilege of ignoring genre is not available to many working authors. Regardless, I encourage writers to simply write their story and see what comes out. If genre were at the forefront of all writers’ minds, I assure you there would be no James Joyce or Vladimir Nabokov novels. I also disagree that a writer needs to be well-read in their genre. Innovation often comes from the writer who is blissfully ignorant of the tropes and expectations of their genre.

Any advice for others starting the process of independent publishing?

This advice is more to help writers arrive at the decision to publish independently: It’s okay to skip the process of submitting your manuscript to agents altogether. Some novels simply don’t fit the traditional path to publication and forcing it will likely lead to wasted time and disappointment. My novel, Down the Well, is a unique metanarrative that doesn’t fit into any genre or have many comparable titles. Understandably, agents couldn’t see how to sell it. Querying agents on that novel wasted a year and a half and led only to three hundred rejections. Accept that innovative manuscripts are a tough sell. Be proud to publish them independently and begin work on your next novel.

What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up my next novel, The Reddening. It’s a more traditional sci-fi story about a girl being raised to become a slave driver in a cruel, post-apocalyptic world. The story is her journey to learn to question generations of misinformation to determine what is right. Comparable titles include Dune by Frank Herbert and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I expect to query agents in the summer.

Portions of this Q&A were edited for clarity.