Smashwords Interview

When did you first start writing?
Pretty much since about the time I was old enough to pick up a writing utensil and spell my name.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My first story I wrote when I was five. It was a silly little escapist piece of my adult self driving KITT, the car from “Knight Rider.” Obviously, I didn’t know then that this style of writing was called fanfiction. When you think about it, it’s no surprise that I cut my writing teeth on fanfiction in addition to penning my original poetry.

What are you working on next?
Now that I’ve released my poetry book “Apocryphal Musings” and my vampire novel is on the way, I’m currently planning two YA books: one is fantasy, and one is a thriller.

I got the ideas because, after reading so much YA and New Adult, I’ve gotten sick of the jerkish male leads and the spineless love interests. Where’s the Buffys and Xenas for the new generation?

So, like the saying goes–because I want it done right, I’m gonna do it myself.

I’ve also got a series of non-linked short stories in my idea bucket. No, really; I actually have a doc file labeled “MY IDEA BUCKET.”

What is your writing process?
I used to be a “pantser” …but I quickly realized I was only making it harder for myself, and have since started using the “Snowflake Method” (Google it, it’s awesome). I’ve always done a lot of research on what I’m going to write–but 90% of that used to stay in my head until go time. Nowadays, I write everything down beforehand… it just makes it easier to keep everything straight (and I know what you’re thinking, “WELL, DUH!”).

After outlining, I write the story in order, walking myself through the events I want to play out from beginning to end as the main character will see them, and giving my cast plenty of room to decide what direction they want to go in. I only plan the top-level elements in my outline, which can lead to the most wonderful creative surprises.

After the initial draft is complete, I do some seriously heavy editing so the cream will rise to the top.

Describe your desk
Lots of notebooks, pens and one corner is positively deluged with books.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Finally getting all those story ideas out of my head!

In all seriousness, the sense of accomplishment at having completed a story–and getting feedback from readers–is more addictive than any drug. I would be happy to spend my entire life writing for an audience of any size, as long as I have a computer to type on and a roof over my head.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Being an audiophile, I listen to a lot of music and am very open to trying new things. From classical, to pop, to Broadway, to dubstep, to heavy metal–anything goes!

I’ve recently signed up to Spotify and have been enjoying the seemingly endless supply of music. Currently on my playlist are songs by Jennifer Lopez, Donna Summer and Andrea Bocelli, as well as the official “Supernatural” soundtrack.

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I’m frankly disappointed by the poor quality of works being pumped out by traditional publishing houses, and how other, more talented authors are all too often shut out of the business because they don’t have the “right” kind of book to sell. Then too, some writings aren’t intended for large-scale audiences, anyway.

Also, people in the publishing business seemed to have developed a rather nasty habit of not bothering to answer queries at all, leaving authors hanging in the process. I find that exceptionally rude. Whatever happened to a timely, polite refusal? It takes five seconds to write, “Sorry, but this isn’t for us. I wish you better luck in the future.”

I suppose it’s disillusionment with the business combined with my desire for control over my work that has lead me on this path. I cannot imagine where it will take me, but I can certainly hope for the best!

What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Twitter has actually been the most helpful for promoting “Griffin Unbowed”, as has Instagram. I recommend collaborating with Twitter promotional companies such as TweetYourBooks. But social media is definitely something indie authors need to embrace, and promoting that way isn’t nearly as costly as more traditional advertising methods.

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Well, I don’t remember the FIRST story I ever read, as I’ve been reading since I was just three years old… but I do remember the first book to have a huge impact on me as both a reader and as a storyteller.

It was “The Rowan” by Anne McCaffrey, which I first read when I was twelve years old. I loved the title character, because I have a soft spot for the survivors, and I loved the mix of sci-fi, fantasy and romance. I took to it like a duck to water, and I’ve been reading sci-fi and fantasy stories ever since. I actually loved the story so much, I completely destroyed the bindings of TWO paperback copies within as many years! Of course, I now have a much sturdier hardcover… but “The Rowan” is definitely a story I love to revisit whenever I can.

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use the Kindle for Windows. I’m trying to install Kindle on my Google Android tablet, but I’ve had a few hiccups in the process. Good thing Android is open source!

How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually, I snap up the ones that are cheap or free. Now, of course, I have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, so that gives me more options to read without dropping huge coin.

I’m broke, okay? I’ve got to do what I can to get my “hit” of my preferred drug. 🙂

Who are your favorite authors?
William Shakespeare, Anne McCaffrey, Edgar Allan Poe, JK Rowling, Tara Sue Me…

Oh yeah, my tastes are pretty darn eclectic.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Being able to create, whether I receive applause or not, is enough for me to get out of bed. I have so many stories stuck in my mind, that it leaves me with two choices–stay in the sack until the memory of my little flight of fancy fades, or I can commit it to a doc file or piece of paper so I can always return to it.

Typically, I choose the latter. And that’s how I get out of bed in the morning.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
Nicole and I started writing “Griffin Unbowed” back in 2007. It basically started out as a forum RPG thread between the two of us and, after more than two years of back and forth between us, we realized we had something special on our hands. From around 2010 to 2015, we went through multiple drafts, excising and moving story concepts around as well as creating completely new scenes.

Throughout 2016, we worked on melding our two very different narration styles together into a single unified voice. Throughout 2017, we painstakingly edited what we had. In 2018 and the start of 2019, my mother (a retired teacher) acted as our beta reader and final editor. Throughout the spring and summer of 2019, Nicole and I worked on the formatting of the digital and paperback versions.

“Griffin Unbowed” was released on both ebook and paperback formats on August 6, 2019 via Amazon, and has since been released to Smashwords and its distributors.

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Mostly, I write stuff. And, like the Egyptians and the Internet, I put cat pictures on my walls. Also, I can read your Tarot.

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