Interview at Self-Publishing Review

There’s a new interview with me up at Self-Publishing Review. Here’s a brief excerpt:

MR: The cover blurb of Chion poses a question – “How will you survive?”. By the end, I think that most readers will have asked themselves this question, because in Chion, there are no easy answers. Once the full effect of the disaster becomes apparent, survival depends on the result of some agonising decisions.

DS: I’m always fascinated by the grey areas of life, where our notions of right and wrong are put to the test and we face challenges and where there aren’t any easy answers.

MR: Do you think that you would make a good survivor in a post apocalyptic scenario?

DS: I think I would. First, it’s a big help if you’ve watched everything by Ray Mears! But more than that, you’ve got to have the sort of mind that can remain calm in a crisis and can see the big picture rather than just the danger right in front of you – to ask yourself not only where the next meal is going to come from, but how we’ll sustain ourselves indefinitely.

This was a big theme in Chion. Even the larger food supplies that everyone was clamouring over were merely postponing the inevitable. Most people were prepared to live in denial of what was coming, as long as they could see the next meal, when the real solution lay in facing up to the scale of the crisis and thinking outside the box.

[ Read Full Interview ]

Chion reviewed at Books For Youth

Another great unsolicited review of Chion has cropped up, at a site called Books For Youth. Here’s an excerpt:

This story makes many ‘traditionally published’ books I’ve read pale in comparison … It’s an original story idea – which seems to be hard to find now-a-days–and has a good underlining message … This story is filled with a constant moral dilemma: how far do you go to save those you care about?

[ Read Full Review ]

Chion reviewed at Self-Publishing Review

Chion has clocked up yet another excellent review, this time at Self-Publishing Review. Here’s an excerpt:

The book is a similar high-concept apocalypse similar to M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening” or “The Mist” based on a Stephen King story. Except where those movies fail – and fail deeply, as “The Mist” has one of the most distressing and frustrating endings in movie history – Chion succeeds. Perhaps movies are the best comparison for Chion because the book is seriously cinematic – one of those books where you forget you’re reading.

[ Read Full Review ]

Final version of new Chion cover

ChionI appreciated everyone’s comments on the proposed new cover design for Chion. I wanted the helicopter to stay, partly because the fly-by related to a scene in the book, but mostly because it gives substance to the purpose of the letters on the lawn, but commenters were right about it being a major distraction. Hence, it’s now a smaller and more distant chopper. The arrangement also provides a nice path for the eye: starting with the message on the lawn, moving into the distance to read it all, reaching the school, then going beyond the school to the helicopter. The old Aliens font is also back (as are the Greek letters, if you look carefully). It’s a nudge in the sci-fi direction worth hanging on to.

You’ll notice the back cover has been amended drastically, to gruesome effect. It’s a bit over-the-top, but it was just something I played with and liked. I even wondered if I should swap the front for the back. Nothing like a striking image to capture the attention. However, without the accompanying blurb, it looks like gruesome murder, so the back is where it stays.

I’m a perfectionist, and I could fiddle with this forever, but I had to pick a moment and commit. So I’ve now uploaded the new file to the printer and I’m in the process of placing an order for another batch of 250 copies. That will make 750 in print. Not bad going for less than two years. The original cover will still be available until I run out of copies.

I have to say, Chion is selling brilliantly. There are times when a week goes past without a sale and other times when I’m posting four books in one day, each to a different address. If anything, the pace has picked up over time. The plan now is to bring my first novel Ulterior back into print.

Proposed new cover design for Chion

I’m fast approaching the 500 sales mark on my novel Chion, and that’s when I run out of copies. I’ve never been entirely happy with the existing cover, so if I’m going to change it, now’s the time. Here’s my current proposal (please click the graphic for a larger and much more detailed version). Opinions, positive or negative, are welcome and valued.

Prior to the book’s publication, the cover design went through several variations. You can have a look at the older designs in my Graphic Design category.

Two Irish sci-fi authors chat

This month, Chion is being toured by the Christian Fiction Review Blog. In short, that means that reviews of the book and interviews with me will be posted by participating members of the blog (see below). It’s mostly an American-based affair, but I had a nice surprise when one of the reviewers, a New Zealander called Grace Bridges, turned out to be currently living near Dublin, Ireland, not that far (on a global scale) from me. In a strange coincidence, I happened to be reading her own novel, Faith Awakened, at the time. Spooky.

Instead of doing a typical email interview, we decided to meet up and do a proper in-person audio interview. And it’s not just an interview with me about my book. I decided to make it a double interview, where we’re both asking the questions. Here it is.

Download interview: [ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ] [ Part 4 ]

CFR Blog interviews with Darryl Sloan, conducted by:

CFR Blog reviews of Chion, written by:

Mrs. Giggles rates Chion 95/100

Romance fiction reviewer Mrs. Giggles has just posted a terrific review of Chion on her site. What’s an apocalyptic sci-fi thriller doing on a romance site? Well, my bleak and harrowing novel does have its tender moments. Here’s my favourite snippet from the review:

The main characters of Chion are teenagers and I can easily imagine that some people would view this book as one aimed at young adults, but there is nothing dumbed-down or kiddie-like about this story. Some of the scenes here are not for the faint of heart though. Not that they are violent or gruesome, but because they drive home the evil men can do in situations such as this one. A teacher is driven to insist that the students starve so that the teachers can eat, for example. There are more disturbing scenes here, but I’ll let the reader discover them for herself.

[ Read Full Review ]

“A story that you simply mustn’t miss” – Jeffrey Allen Davis on Chion

Independent Christian fiction writer Jeffrey Allen Davis has just posted a review of Chion on his blog. Jeff’s review is a bit different from the others, as he made a couple of unique observations:

The book does set up some disturbing images. It shows how a major disaster like this would affect society. We see people killing one another over food. We see a man murdered in front of his small children. We see a child held at gunpoint by a teacher who has decided that “survival of the fittest” means that the teachers should live and the students should starve. Sloan didn’t put these things in for shock value. Indeed, the bloodshed is not detailed very much at all. This is not a boiled-down thriller. We see a sense of realism that shows that even our society’s innocents would be harmed in these events.

With a bittersweet ending, this is a story that you simply mustn’t miss.

[ Read Full Review ]

Chion one year old today

Today marks exactly one year from the arrival of the first print-run of Chion. I’ve sold/distributed 373 copies since then. I’m pleased with that result, especially since I concentrated on online sales rather than bookshop sales. Bookshops are an administrative nightmare to deal with when you’re an indie, as I found with Ulterior. I made a decent amount of money through that avenue, but I mostly decided it wasn’t worth the hassle this time round. I’m happy to carve my niche online. The best news of all is that Chion is selling with greater frequency now than ever. I can only put that down to the excellent reviews the book received.

POD People rates Chion 9/10

Chion has just received its sixth review, this time by novelist Emily Veinglory at POD People. She rated the novel 9 out of 10 and said:

I read a lot of mediocre books, but this wasn’t one of them. Seamless, engaging and appealing … Chion is effortless to read and the story unfolds strong until an ending that is perhaps too pat in some ways but still manages something of a clever twist.

[ Link ]