Tuesday, April 12, 2011

VBT-Guest Author Spotlight Stephen Tremp

Stephen Tremp, author of the BREAKTHROUGH series, is a suspense thriller writer. Stephen has a B.A. in information systems and an MBA degree in global management. He is currently completing his doctorate in business administration. Stephen has a background in information systems, management and finance and draws from this varied and complex experiential knowledge to write one-of-a-kind thrillers.

His novels are enhanced by current events at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and other scientific research facilities around the world. Theoretical physicists are searching for evidence of a wide spectrum of potential discoveries that were once considered fodder for science fiction, including: parallel universes and higher dimensions of space, dark energy, dark matter, anti-matter, and the Higgs boson particle—The God Particle—among other exciting concepts. These potential advances have the ability to change the way we perceive our universe and our place in it!

Stephen is also developing an animated children’s series featuring a brother and sister who have a unique way of exploring their world—using a wormhole—in order to finish school projects for science, history, and social studies.

A writer with a philanthropic heart, Stephen donates money from proceeds of BREAKTHROUGH to worthy charitable organizations, including the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and the Orange County Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
How did you get started as a writer?
I accepted a voluntary layoff after toiling over 10 years in the banking and finance industry and took advantage of the opportunity to write full-time. 

Breakthroughs in physics and technology are broadcast into millions of homes via numerous cable channels in layman’s terms and computer graphics anyone can understand. I thought I would capitalize on this particular niche and incorporate them into an action thriller series weaving together breakthroughs in physics and technology with greed, murder, and mayhem. Will these breakthroughs benefit mankind and be used to further civilization, or will they be stolen and used for greedy gain? I think we know the answer. That’s why the world needs a hero like my protagonist Chase Manhattan.

Now you self-published your book, what did you find to be the most difficult part of getting your novel published?
I signed a non-exclusive contract with iUniverse, who was acquired by AuthorHouse. During the transition, much information was lost and it took about two or three additional months to bring Breakthrough to market. iUniverse (really, AuthorHouse) originally sent my unedited draft off to print. Can you imagine my response when I received the (ahem) final product? This was just the beginning of a series of comedies of errors.

But iUniverse has terrific customer service. They fixed everything in a timely manner. So some of the sting of their mistakes (which were many) were soothed by awesome customer service reps.
How long did it take for you to write your novel, Breakthrough?
Two years from start to finish. I thought I could accomplish everything in about eight months. But after the first editing/proof reading, I realized I still had a lot of research to perform and character development to perform. Then I had a second editor / proof reader go over the entire manuscript a second time. This was money well spent.
Stephen, I've been following your blog for a very long time before I even joined the VBT group. You always have such interesting blog posts. Can you share with us what makes a good blog post?
Content and format are the two most important things to consider:

Content: Blogdom is a world of “What Can You Do for Me.” And rightfully so. People have busy schedules. They have jobs. They have families. They have limited time to visit and read blogs. You have to write about something interesting or offer useful and practical tips that help people. Incorporate a focused obsession and where it’s taking you. This is what brings visitors back again and again.

If you have a blog that states common knowledge, or is long, visitors will likely move on to another blog. I try to cap my blogs at six or seven paragraphs. Be concise. I suggest breaking a lengthy blog into two or three blogs. I do this all the time. And don’t forget to upload a picture of your smiling face. People want to see and get to know the person behind the message.

Most bloggers focus on one subject matter only, like children’s books, poetry, or a daily devotional. Others, like myself, blog on multiple loosely connected subjects. I blog on the following topics:

* My experiences writing books and the pros and cons of self publishing
* Promotion and marketing.
* Basic concepts of science and technology and breakthroughs mankind may be on the cusp of discovering (this goes along with the themes of my books).
* I interview bloggers and writers, especially children’s authors. I think it’s important to support those striving to educate our youth with quality stories and poems. I’m happy to help by giving these writers exposure to an audience they may not normally reach.

Format: You want a format that is pleasing to the eyes. Bloggers can be a fickle bunch and may not return if they do not like your format. Here are two examples (IMHO) of competing sites: http://www.iuniverse.com" title="link title" target="link target" class="link class">iUniverse and Dog Ear Publishing. One site looks professional and one looks, well, not so much. I will not use actual blog sites as I do not want to offend anyone. 

First, both sites have white backgrounds. Personally, I like that. A funky green or hot pink might cause me to leave and not return. However, it’s common to see blogs with a color scheme that reflects their theme, such as earth tones for an agricultural theme, or black for dark mysteries, or red for murder mysteries. 

Notice the tabs on both sites. It’s clear what iUniverse has to offer. I can easily navigate the site and understand what they can do for me. How much their services cost. And a toll free number I can call and speak with an actual person. However, Dog Ear has too many contrasting colors and font sizes (for me). It’s difficult to read and I spent a lot of time searching for the same information I found in moments at iUniverse.

You probably don’t want to have a cluttered look, or upload lots of videos, music, and a collection of large photographs and other graphics.  These can cause your site to open very slowly. Clutter is an art some bloggers can get away with. In fact, clutter enhances their page. But for most of us clutter can detour visitors from returning.
If I can motivate and help people to publish their story or poetry, I feel I’ve accomplished something meaningful. And I’m always willing to listen to feedback and make corrections and changes to the material on my blog. I accept constructive criticism and encourage visitors to leave a comment.
Stephen, please share any links or additional information about yourself with us.
The next two installments of the Breakthrough trilogy entitled Opening and Escalation take the story on an international level. The setting is the United States, China, and the Middle East. These next books are very exciting as I use more discoveries and breakthroughs in physics in these books. Its too early to give away anything from these books, but for those who read Breakthrough, they will have a pretty good idea what direction Opening and Escalation will go.

What’s awesome for me is that I do not have to not have to set my stories centuries in the future and use characters with pointy ears. Since mankind is on the cusp of discoveries and breakthroughs in just about every facet of our lives, I can use our modern day setting and not have to resort to using a science fiction genre.

I’m also outlining an eerie Stephen King-type thriller entitled Murcat Manor set in Michigan. 

Readers can visit my blog site at http://www.stephentremp.blogspot.com

Currently, Breakthrough can be purchased through traditional retailers. Currently, Breakthrough is cheapest though Barnes and Nobel, but can also be purchases through Amazon, Borders Books and Music, and Target.


  1. What a fascinating interview, Stephen. I'm excited by all those scientific topics too - what could be more romantic than a hypothesis! And I found your comments about iUniverse interesting too - nice to read something positive.

  2. Great interview. Love your tips on blogging.
    Good luck with your books

  3. Great tips on blogging, Stephen. I also like sites that aren't too cluttered! You take on iUniverse was very good. I think self-publishing is the wave of the future!

  4. Enjoyed reading the interview. Thanks for the tips on blogging. Excited to learn more about the children's series. Will definitely read that one. I also look forward to learning more about the Stephen King type thriller set in Michigan.

  5. Thanks Magdalena, Martha, Nancy and Susanne for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    Stephen, I'm excited I finally was able to host you on my blog. I've really enjoyed following your blog and love the tips you always share on your blog tours, on the group pages and at your blog.

    Wishing you much success.

  6. Stephen is a mastermind at blogging successfully and to read his insights and advice is very valuable to me. Thank you!

    Best wishes,

  7. Great advice on Blogging Stephen. Keep up the writing. Can't wait for your next couple of books!

  8. Stephen you are an A+ blogger! Consistent and interesting blogs on a variety of subjects is the key for me.

    I love your book because you learn a great deal of science and technology in it.

    God bless and great success!

  9. Stephen, excellent tips on blogging and websites. I read that you have a second to grab a visitor's attention, so it's important to go for simple and clear websites rather than complicated slow loading sites.

    Your books sound intriguing; best wishes for their success.