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An author interview with B.T. Keaton, winner of the 2020 Indie Book Cover Competition

April 2020 marked the launched of the international Indie Book Cover Competition hosted by crime mystery author, Samantha Goodwin. Over 198 indie authors from across the world entered the contest and a voting team of over 50 people, including authors, designers and book bloggers, selected the longlist. Over 1,800 votes were then cast during public voting on social media to eventually crown a winner.

A Stranger’s Tale by Natasa Xerri from Australia and The Reckoning by D.M. Taylor from Michigan, USA were two of the finalist books and To Dance by Stephen McClellan from Tennessee, USA received the Runner Up position. But the well-deserved Winner position went to New Zealand based author, B.T. Keaton for his sci-fi novel, Transference.

Sam Goodwin sat down for a virtual chat with B.T. Keaton to find out more about his book, what makes a good cover and what writing advice he would give his younger self.

Sam: First, off tell us a little about yourself.

B.T: Really, I’m just your average Joe.  I’m in my 40s.  I live in New Zealand, and work for a construction supplier.  I love animals.  My younger sister calls me “Peter Pan” and she’s mostly right… I still like comics, and toys, and I have a generally immature sense of humour. I really love to laugh and to make other people laugh.  That’s me in a nutshell.

Sam: For those who don’t already know, what is your book Transference about?

B.T: The story takes place roughly 80 years from now. Humanity has discovered a way to capture a human soul, and then “transfer” it from body to body. This process allows for people to, in theory, live forever.  The technology itself has fallen under the complete hegemonic control of Jovian, a mad-cleric who calls himself “the Prophet.”  Jovian has used this tech to keep the world under his thumb, yet there are small pockets of those left who resist him and his Church.  One such man—and his companions—know part of the truth behind transference, where it came from, and they take it upon themselves to potentially rid the world of it. 

Sam: What inspired your novel?

B.T: I had it in my heart to honour my late father’s memory by turning what was originally a movie script into a novel.  My dad was a true science fiction fan, so it just felt right to do that because my love of sci-fi naturally came from him anyway.  And I wanted to see women at the forefront of sci-fi again, so my saint of a mother and other women in my life definitely inspired a lot of the characters. 

Sam: Transference was the winner of the Indie Book Cover Competition 2020. What do you think makes a good book cover?

B.T: I’m still reeling from the win!  There were so many great covers.  I’m sure there’s legit reasons for what makes a cover good, and why that is.  Colour selection, fonts, et cetera.  I concede to the amazingly talented graphic designers out there who could tell you far more than I can.  Though I did understand that I had to hook people with the cover—to make someone do a double-take.  Like, oh wow, wait a sec—I gotta check this out!  

Sam: How has becoming an author changed you?

B.T: Oh, I’m painfully obtuse now.  I walk around in smoking jackets at all hours speaking the Queen’s English. No, but seriously… the process itself, of publishing a book I mean, has really opened my eyes in terms of the sheer amount of work and money that’s involved.  I’ve seen “behind the curtain,” and the knowledge that’s come with that has proved rewarding, frustrating, and surprising.  Mostly rewarding.

Sam: What behind-the-scenes tidbit in your life would probably surprise your readers the most?

B.T: Once upon a time, my nickname was “Ponyboy.”  The name had become so ingrained that most of people I worked with didn’t even know my real name.  So yeah, have fun trying to figure that one out.  Actually, on second thought, scratch that… it’s probably not that interesting. (laughs)

Sam: If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?

B.T: I probably would be too firm with him.  I would say stop being afraid.  There’s nothing to be afraid of.  What you’re really afraid of is hurting your fragile little ego in a finite place in time.  Having a big ego—not that I ever did in the first place—never did anyone huge favours in this life.  So, just set all that aside, and keep writing.  On the other hand, with all that said, I think those sorts of things just happen with time.

Sam: What is your favourite genre to read, and why?

B.T: My first love was comics, and that never really went away.  Probably because they still make me feel like a kid. I never tire of Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, Jeff Smith’s Bone, or Michael Ende’s The NeverEnding Story.  So, I mostly stick to fiction.  But if it speaks to me, I’ll pick it up.  If someone recommends it, I’ll give it a whirl.  If I make friends with a fellow writer, I’ll nab their work purely out of a desire to support them.  I want all of us to succeed. 

Sam: Where can we connect with you online?

B.T: Oh, I love to connect with readers and other writers!  I’m kinda sorta an Instagram addict, and my handle there is @keatonisbatman.  That’s probably the best way to reach out to me, so don’t be shy.  I’ve also got my own webpage at www.brandonkeaton.com and it would mean the world to me if you looked me up on Goodreads and Amazon.

Sam: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat, I can’t wait to read your book! It’s next on my TBR list…

For fellow indie authors who are interested in applying to next year’s free Indie Book Cover Competition, it will open for entries in March 2021.

You can find Transference on Barnes&Noble, Amazon, or Target.


Post by Samantha Goodwin for World Indie Warriors.

Samantha Goodwin, author, bookblogger, World Indie Warrior

Samantha Goodwin has written professionally for her business career as a Chartered Marketing Manager for over a decade before turning her hand to fiction. As an avid crime fiction fan, she regularly participates in the renowned Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate and completed their prestigious Crime Writing Creative Workshop. She also relishes attending literature festivals across the country as well as engaging in numerous online writing communities.

Keen to support upcoming authors, Samantha recently launched the #IndieWritingWisdom initiative on Instagram to collate and share inspiring, original quotes from a wide range of different writers to encourage others. 

When she is not writing, Samantha enjoys reading, countryside walks, movies, musicals and almost all chocolate (but controversially not Oreos). She lives in Leeds with her husband, Chris, and son, Jack.

Murder at Macbeth is her first novel and was longlisted for the international Flash 500 Novel Award in 2017.

You can follow Samantha on Instagram: @samanthagoodwinauthor
She invites readers to join her World Book Tour by sharing photos of them reading Murder at Macbeth from where they live or travel and she will repost. Remember to tag her and/or use the hashtag #MurderAtMacbethWorldBookTour

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