Interview with Backwoods

First off, is it true that you live "Off The Grid"?
It surely is. I live back in the woods and I'd have it no other way. I have found that life holds a much deeper meaning without the chaos and nonsense that fills our day-to-day lives. Most people hear 'Off Grid' and they jump to drastic ideas of life in a little grass hut and running around in buckskin clothing. In reality, well my reality anyhow, it is not all that different. I do have a wood-burning stove in place of a television, but I have never lost reception with it. We have a generator for electricity when it is needed. We have propane (and propane accessories) for refrigeration, heat and lighting. We listen to the radio and we poop in a toilet.

The main thing that separates my world from yours is, well, I don't have to deal with the idiots. Where I live, people wave hands instead of fingers. If your car breaks down, the next car will likely stop to see if you need assistance. Where I grew up you can't go shopping without someone squeezing their way by in a hurry or cutting you off in the parking lot. The peaceful serenity of the woods seems to have an effect on people that you can't truly understand until you see it first hand.
When did you first start writing?
"Unremembered" was my first story, which I wrote some twenty years ago as a teenager. I dug it up in late 2012, revised and published it. I officially began my career as a fiction writer in January of 2013.
What, to you, is the most difficult aspect of being an author?
Well, the most difficult, i would say, is publishing an e-book while living off the grid. Internet access would indeed make things easier as far as marketing and publishing.

Aside from that, I have few complaints. Although, to be completely honest, I have, at times, found the grammar nuts to be somewhat difficult to please.

I am no English major. I certainly understand the importance of proper punctuation. I know how truly difficult it can be to read and understand a story that is not laid out properly, but with that said, a story should focus first on, well, the story. Unless of course you prefer a very well punctuated story that bores the hell out of you.

I pride myself in my ability to tell a story. I am more involved with the twists and turns, or the character development, than if a comma should go here, or there. I am a student of the industry and have learned a great many things since beginning this journey, but in the end, I feel that nit-picking grammar, is best left for the editors to worry about.

I is a hillbilly, after all.
What do your fans mean to you?
In a word, EVERYTHING!!! My first story remained unread for nearly twenty years! Had I realized my gift and known the reaction and enjoyment it would bring to others, I would have published it back then. Fans provide not only the recognition that every writer seeks, but also the drive and motivation to continue. The emotional ties that they build with my characters, and the way their faces light up when describing one of my stories, are the reasons I do what I do. Simply put, a story is nothing without someone to enjoy it.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Pain!!! Pain has become a constant factor in my life, but in all seriousness, it is my family. I truly enjoy each day that I have to share with my wife and children. They fill my days with joy and my life with love. It is them, and them alone that allow me to wake up each morning.
What motivated you to become an author?
The motivation has always been there, as has the desire. However, I also enjoyed the danger, physical labor, and constant pay that came with my former career as a utility line clearance specialist. My days playing with trees and power lines came to an abrupt end in 2006, when I re-injured my shoulder. Having had prior instability and surgery in both shoulders, the next few years were dedicated to my recovery and return to the physical lifestyle that I had enjoyed. I have now reached a total of five major shoulder repairs, all of which have failed. I live with a daily struggle of repeated dislocations in both shoulders and have now fully committed to my long-lost love of writing.
Who are your favorite authors?
People ask who my writing style reflects, but for me, that answer is no one. I am my own writer and I write in my own way. That said, my stories, and life, are constantly influenced by everything around me. Are there writers who have had such an influence? Most certainly.

I was introduced to the stories of Louis L'Amour as a child and he remains my favorite, but I also enjoy the works of various writers, including Larry McMurtry, Stephen King, James Patterson, Robert B. Parker and many others.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have always had a love of storytelling. The ability to create a character and begin a journey into the unknown is a fascinating adventure that few get to enjoy. My physical situation may have forced the issue, but in writing, I have found my true calling.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I do remember. Ironically, it is titled "Unremembered".
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Although I was born and raised just east of Akron Ohio, I grew up in the woods. At the age of seventeen, I purchased 25 acres of land in southern Ohio. As a wild and crazy teenager, I spent many days and nights roaming the hillsides. From throwing keg parties, to learning how to track and hunt, to learning how to build an off the grid cabin, my life's education began, and continues, in the Backwoods.

As for my writing, I try to incorporate all of the skills and lessons that the wilderness has to offer. Whether it is survival, off grid living, or simply the peace and enjoyment of nature's creations, my strongest influences have been, and will remain to be, my life experiences and the woods that I call home.
What are you currently writing?
I am currently working on the third book in the "Off Grid" series, titled "This Land We Call Home". I have also begun work on an autobiography titled "A Father's Tears".
What audience do you target?
First things first, my books are not for everyone. I do include some profanity and drug use, although mild, and even legal now in some states.

I do feel that my stories offer much for many. Some will not like my stories, but many will. If you enjoy survival skills and off the grid living, hunting, nature, serial killers, ghosts, premonitions, vigilantes, or even a strong will to live or love of family, I have written something that you would likely enjoy. My wife and I share a strong faith and I try to include that as well. I would love to say that my books are for everyone, but I will settle for most.
Describe your desk
I have a desk?
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
I gather my ideas from many places.

As I mentioned earlier, I incorporate many of my life experiences into my stories. I have personally experienced much of what I have written.

I have endured shoulder dislocations and can detail the multitude of ways that I must adjust to do the things that once came easily. I can describe what it is like to use a fork with the wrong hand, because I have. I have tracked, hunted, and processed deer. I have had several very severe concussions. I have even had the misfortune of roaming alone, soaked to the waist, suffering from memory loss due to one of those concussions, on a 13-degree night. I recall pulling at my jeans as they continually froze to my knees. I recall the sting of frost, like fire in my legs, and the relentless throbbing in my head. I know the fear that accompanies lost time.

I have always felt that in order to depict a scenario accurately, you have to have a solid knowledge of it, and I do. I will not claim to have experienced everything within my stories, but much I have. Of those that I have not, some are a recollection of dreams and nightmares, while other times I simply let my imagination take the reins.
What is your writing process?
Honestly, I don't have one. I prefer to start writing and see where it leads. I often don't know the ending myself until a day, or even moments before it is completed. I must also give credit to my wife, as she is a vital part of my writing and stories. I have days when my shoulders do not allow me to write, or even type, and without her assistance my stories would likely remain in my mind.. She is my inspiration, my support and my best friend. Without her, I would not be me. Thank you babe, I Love You!
Published 2015-02-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Soldier, Left Behind - Tales From The Backwoods, Story #4
Series: Tales From The Backwoods. Price: Free! Words: 5,050. Language: English. Published: April 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational, Fiction » Adventure » War & military
Brotherhood knows no bounds. Private Tommy Sinclair knows this better than any man. Read this short tale of a soldier and an act of heroism unlike any other.
An Unlikely Angel - Tales From The Backwoods, Story #3
Series: Tales From The Backwoods. Price: Free! Words: 2,840. Language: English. Published: February 13, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Taking a break from the chilling, suspenseful stories that the 'Tales From The Backwoods' typically offer, 'An Unlikely Angel' is well suited for all ages and remains one of my all-time favorites. I hope that you take the time to indulge in this short read. I am sure you will enjoy. Thank you kindly. ~Backwoods~
Lost Time - Tales From The Backwoods, Story #2
Series: Tales From The Backwoods. Price: Free! Words: 1,730. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
What if today, was really tomorrow? Read this chilling tale of a man, who has lost his time.
Stronghold
Series: Off Grid, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 30,440. Language: English. Published: August 21, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
After a devastating attack changed the country forever, Johnny and Rae Lynn Tapper have survived solitude in the wilderness, bitter winters, brutal injuries, a deadly encounter with wolves, and the birth of their child while alone and trapped by a very unpleasant bear. Now they face an even greater danger, Howard Harvey, the serial killer who has moved into their town of Stronghold.
Seven Years - Tales from the Backwoods, Story #1
Series: Tales From The Backwoods. Price: Free! Words: 2,110. Language: English. Published: August 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
The only thing worse than a prison sentence, is the ghost inside your cell.
Off Grid
Series: Off Grid, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 36,790. Language: English. Published: July 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Johnny & Rae Lynn Tapper find safety in solitude, hidden deep within the shelter of the Rocky Mountains. Terrorists have taken away the country they once knew and they survive, secluded and alone, by living off the land. They live wild new lives in a wild new world, living among the wild animals of the vast Colorado wilderness. There are no phones. There is no power. They are 'Off Grid'.
Unremembered
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,140. Language: English. Published: January 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
After a fatal crash, Ethan Wolfe must survive the wilderness to evade capture. He flees to Colorado to seek asylum with friends, only to find them facing an evil beyond imagination. A twisted dream and a shocking premonition leave him wondering if they face the evil, or are the cause of it.