Wednesday 9 January 2013

Self-Pubbed Hub #6 - Charles Sheehan-Miles & Just Remember to Breathe +++ Giveaway!

Just Remember to Breathe by Charles Sheehan-Miles || Published: November 2012.

Alex Thompson’s life is following the script. A pre-law student at Columbia University, she’s focused on her grades, her life and her future. The last thing she needs is to reconnect with the boy who broke her heart.

Dylan Paris comes home from Afghanistan severely injured and knows that the one thing he cannot do is drag Alex into the mess he’s made of his life.

When Dylan and Alex are assigned to the same work study program and are forced to work side by side, they have to make new ground rules to keep from killing each other.

Only problem is, they keep breaking the rules.

The first rule is to never, ever talk about how they fell in love.


 Charles Sheehan-Miles talks Just Remember to Breathe, Readalikes and Self-Publishing...

 Describe Just Remember to Breathe in a tweet (140 characters or less):

A college student and a wounded soldier who broke each other’s hearts are forced together in a poignant story of redemption and second chances for love.

Can you tell me five things that inspired the characters, storylines and settings of Just Remember to Breathe?

A lot of Just Remember to Breathe was inspired out of events in my own life.

The backstory: Alex and Dylan fell passionately in love with each other when they met during an exotic foreign exchange trip halfway around the world. Then they struggled with a long distance relationship across the country from each other when the trip was over. This is shamelessly lifted out of my own experience too many years ago.

Storyline: I was working on an entirely different book, and struggling with the characterization of two teenagers in love.  So I dredged up my old journals from high school, and re-reading the angst and emotion I struggled with my senior year, I posed the question: wouldn’t it have made an interesting story if two characters who loved each other, but then broke each other’s hearts, were forced back together due to school commitments?

Characters:  Dylan is a young soldier who has been badly wounded by life and by the war in Afghanistan. While his life and war experiences were significantly different than mine, he still has an edge, especially the loss and disillusion of coming home from war, that is very close to my own heart.

Alex is a smart, self-assured and confident young woman who has been through a very very tough year. As a whole character, she’s not inspired by any one person or thing: in fact, she just came alive while I was writing her.

Settings: The story is primarily set on campus at Columbia University, with two chapters taking place in San Francisco and some backstory in Atlanta, Israel and Afghanistan. I picked Columbia because of the best schools in the United States, they are the one which does the most outreach and recruitment of military and war veterans for their student body. In the context of the story, this made the most sense. Atlanta and San Francisco were Alex and Dylan’s hometowns: I grew up in Atlanta, and San Francisco was sufficiently far away for the long distance relationship to be very difficult.

Self-publishing is becoming increasingly popular and there are some great success stories out there.  What made you decide to self-publish?

My recommendation to anyone who wants to write as a career is to self-publish. I’ve been down the route of having a literary agent spend years shopping books around to publishers. In my case, it was my first novel, and there legitimately wasn’t enough of a market for a publishing house to be able to make a profit off the book. In 2007 I finally decided to go ahead and publish my own books. I’ve not made a fortune off of them, but I have made what would be a respectable amount for a midlist author, and that is steadily increasing as I establish a wider audience.

Increasingly, traditional publishers are using self-publishing as their field test: cherry picking the books that already proved themselves successful. I think that’s good for the industry, but to be honest, any publisher that approached me would have to make one hell of a good offer in order for me to accept.

What has been your best self-publishing experience so far?

Until this month, that would be my second novel, Republic, which sold about 20,000 copies since 2007. However, it’s starting to look as if Just Remember to Breathe is going to quickly outstrip it. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response: I’m getting a lot of very emotional emails and Facebook messages from people who loved the story. It’s selling about 100 copies to every 1 of my other books. That’s fantastically exciting, because it means that somewhere in the distant future I may be doing this full time.

On a scale of one to ten, how much work is involved in publishing your own book? What’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

One a scale of 1 to 10? A 10. If you’re taking it seriously, you have to treat it like a business. That means a lot of work. You have to put everything you have into it. That said: it’s no more work than traditional publishing, and potentially much more rewarding.

My favorite part is the writing: I love getting so wrapped up in a story that I lose track of time. I love it when a story gets so intense it makes me want to cry. 

Least favorite part? It’s a tie between promotion and doing taxes. Doing taxes may have the edge on that one.

What’s your advice for all the aspiring authors out there? Do you have any top tips to share?

Write about what you passionately believe in, revise, edit, make it the best possible story you can. Stories are escape, but they’re also how we make sense of the world around us. Use that, delve deep into the things that make you sad or afraid and bring those out and people will connect.

‘New Adult’ books such as Just Remember to Breathe are becoming increasingly popular.  Personally, I’m a big fan!  Can you name three other books that you think readers of your book would enjoy?

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller – fantastic book with a lot of similar themes to my own work
Slammed by Colleen Hoover – far and away one of the sweetest and saddest books I read this year
If I Stay by Gayle Forman -- I’d describe why I think so, but I’ll start crying all over my keyboard if I do.

Finally, what are you working on next?

My next project is about Julia Thompson, one of Alex’s several sisters, and Crank Wilson, a down and out punk rocker from South Boston. It’s a romance, but also digs pretty deep into some issues that have had impact on my life: social isolation, bullying, autism, and grief. Tentatively I expect to have it out ready to go before Christmas. We’ll see. I’m really 
enjoying writing it.

Note: I'm little (actually a lot!) late in posting up this interview and just wanted to let you all know that the project Charles was working on when this interview was conducted is out now! A Song For Julia released on December 5th 2012. You can see the cover below!


Find Charles Sheehan-Miles OnlineWebsite || Twitter || Facebook

If you are a self-published author and would like to take part in Self-Pubbed Hub send an email to and I will get back to you if your book is a good fit! Please include book cover and synopsis in your email.

Giveaway!! Win a copy of Just Remember to Breathe with thanks to Charles Sheeehan-Miles. 
Giveaway is International and ends January 20th 2013. 
Fill in the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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  1. I really enjoyed this one. I must get around to reviewing it - I am so bad for stock piling the review writing ((sigh))

  2. Just wanted to drop in and say thank you so much for the interview! It was fun!

  3. What a brilliant interview :) I absolutely fell in love with Charles' writing after reading Remember To Breathe and actually sent a message asking if there would be any more in that series.
    My first thought was of a Carrie story.. I needed to know her life! So when Charles said it was Julia's I was a little wary but I couldn't have been more wrong. It was fabulous. AND I'm still going to be getting Carrie's story.
    Brilliant writing and series.

  4. I hadn't heard of this book before but now I really want to read it, love the cover too! Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!

  5. Haven't heard of this one but it sounds good! Am surprised to hear that it was based on your own past experiences!

  6. I never knew there were so many self-published books out there until Self-Pubbed Hub - now I'm always looking out for new posts! Loved the interview, definitely adding Just Remember to Breathe to my TBR list!

  7. Just Remember To Breathe sounds fantastic! I am going to add it to my TBR list. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  8. I'm a huge fan of NA also. Something Like Normal was a phenomenal read and I can't wait to read Just Remember to Breathe

  9. Sounds like a wonderful love story with lot of emotion and pain. Please enter me in contest.

  10. I'm always on the lookout for great self published books. I wish you every success.

  11. Great interview! I can't wait to read these books, they look great and the covers are really nice :)

  12. my bff said this book is really good...she gave 5 stars on goodreads...

    i really want to read it...i hope i win this giveaway :)

  13.  Thanks for stopping by, Charles! :)

  14.  So glad you like the feature, Allie! :)

  15. Can't wait to read this book--it sounds absolutely amazing! And I completely agree with what Charles said about books being about how we make sense of the world around us--the best books, whether they're fantasy or paranormal or contemporary, are the ones that we can relate to in some form. :)

  16. This looks like a pretty powerful book.  I like the idea of it being set in NYC, and I appreciate the research that the author did to pick a school that fit the characters.

  17. I really enjoyed reading the post. The book sounds just wonderful. I feel so sorry for Alex who has to deal with the person who broke her heart. I would love to read this one. Thanks for this chance.

  18. The story seems very enthralling and I can't wait to read it :)


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