Interview with Ilyan Kei Lavanway

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing, for me, is the opportunity to express my thoughts in a way that is often impossible during daily conversation. I enjoy knowing that what I write remains available long after I have forgotten what I wrote or what I was thinking when I wrote it.
Who are your favorite authors?
Two of my favorite authors are W. Cleon Skousen and John M. Pontius. My short story, Sevenfold, was partially inspired by their works.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Getting my son ready for his school bus. He has Down's syndrome.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I like to watch my son play in the water in the back yard, or put his favorite music videos on YouTube and watch him jump around. And I'm a movie fan.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. Earth Sink. If you read it, you'll remember it, too.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Wenatchee, Washington. In most cases, that does not influence my writing. In the case of the book of short stories I co-authored with my father, Victor G. LaVanWay, titled Out of the Picture and Into the Picture, the Wenatchee area is a key location in the two stories.
When did you first start writing?
Around 2005. I was on active duty in the United States Air Force, serving in an academic capacity, when I began to realize I enjoyed writing. I did not become a serious author and indie publisher until after I left the Air Force for medical reasons in 2006. In 2007, I began drafting Earth Sink, which I published in 2010. Since then I have written short stories and built blogs and websites. I have some micro-fiction out as well, on my Wordpress blog at ebooksscifi.wordpress.com.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My short story, Sevenfold, was originally written in 2012 as an entry into a writing contest. The idea for the story came to me from a passage in the Old Testament regarding a prophecy about the last days. Stories for the contest were limited to 750 words. I did not win the contest, but readers enjoyed Sevenfold and gave positive feedback. That encouraged me to expand the story into a 1900-word eBook and publish it on Smashwords and on Amazon Kindle.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My passion for writing what I want, the way I want, when I want, and retaining full control over pricing, profit margin, and distribution options, are key factors motivating me to be an indie author and indie publisher. Don''t get me wrong, it would be a boost to my author ego to have some major publishing house take interest in one of my books. But, in a market flooded with authors, that how long would that take? And if it were really about boosting my author ego, wouldn't it be more fulfilling to eventually become an influential author having done it myself, with my own name, rather than having been carried on the coattails of some publishing house?
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is the single best indie author tool out there. The biggest factor for me is the fact that Smashwords converts my source file into all major eBook formats and then makes it available to major eBook retailers, all from one central location, and without charging me any fees up front. The primary detriment to publishing a printed book is the printing cost. Ebook publishing is free on Smashwords, and not limited to one platform like Amazon Kindle. Not that there is anything wrong with Kindle. But, why limit your eBook to Kindle when there are so many readers out there who do not have a Kindle?
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are an inspiration and a source of encouragement. Don't get me wrong. I would still write my heart out even if I never had any fans, and even if the whole world were to hate my work. I write because I love to write. I have thoughts and ideas I am determined to express, even if no one is listening. Fans make the journey all the more enjoyable.
What are you working on next?
By reader request, I am working on breaking down my epic, Earth Sink, into individual episodes. The episodes will introduce more characters and dialogue. Individual episodes may be read as stand alone stories, but they will expand on subject matter touched upon in the original book. Episodes will be intertwined as a saga. I have one episode nearly completed. I hope to release it by the end of 2013. It is a slow process, because I have other works I want to publish between episodes.
What is your writing process?
Highly dynamic. I start by writing a basic premise on one or two pages. Just the idea. Then, I think of how I want the story to begin, and I start writing and developing the plot and the characters as I go along. Perhaps there are better ways of composing a book, but one of the joys of writing is the ability to let ideas flow like water and then channel them as they flood forth. Often, I do not begin a story with the end in mind. I write until an ending comes to mind. Other times, I know exactly how I want the story to end, and I write toward that ending.
How do you approach cover design?
I like to have clearly legible title and author name printed on the cover. I try to use imagery that is high impact and relates to the story, but does not clutter the cover. I try to imagine my book sitting on a book shelf or a table in a bookstore. What would it look like to someone standing across the room? Is the cover image simple yet captivating enough to catch a reader's attention from across a room?
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth, Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn have generated most of my sales. Word of mouth is most effective.
Describe your desk
My desk consists of two translucent, green-tinted glass sheets forming an L-shape and supported by gray, painted metal frames. My low-profile, back-lit keyboard and 23-inch Sony LCD monitor sit between a set of monolithic Genius stereo speakers.

Under the right side of my monitor sits a Plextor external DVD drive. Between the monitor and the right stereo speaker sits a Western Digital 500GB hard drive in an external docking station and an external USB hub with three thumb drives plugged into it.

Leaning against the lower left bezel of my monitor is palm-size digital device showing room temperature and humidity. To the left of my monitor, between the monitor and the left stereo speaker, sits a modem. To the left of the speaker sits my telephone, and to the left of that, a Brother Black and White laser printer.

The surface of my desk is usually clean, except for a spare pair of reading glasses, a pen, a calculator, and a few bills that I place in front of my keyboard so I won't forget to mail them out. Some notes and appointments jotted down on loose leaf papers sit to the left of my keyboard.

My mouse, computer mouse, not a real mouse, sits on a large, black mouse pad to the right of my keyboard. My archaic personal computer sits on a metal tray attached to the right tube-steel footing of my desk frame.
Published 2013-08-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Sevenfold
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,710. Language: American English. Published: August 17, 2013. Category: Fiction » Christian » Short stories
Young wife, Gracie yearns for newlywed innocence. Abiathar wants to secure it for her. Their trek has been anything but blissful. Stomach their journey, and let your faith be strengthened through their experience. Glimpse miracles and tribulations of future pioneers as you live vicariously through this young family.
Intelligent Universe
By
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 10,000. Language: English. Published: May 22, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christian Theology / Anthropology
What does our universe look like? How are we connected to it? What did the inhabitants of Babel intend to accomplish by building a pyramid? What of our Heavenly progenitors? Is there an eternal pattern of creation and redemption common to the Fathers of our God? Inquiring minds and sincere hearts may find a springboard to soul stretching questions in this candid, concise, and well sourced work.
Platypus Boy on the Duck Farm
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 180. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2012. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
This hilarious micro fiction children’s story is dedicated to my Down’s syndrome son. He enjoys making humorous sound effects and funny faces. He likes ducks, so I imagine he would like platypuses, too. Platypus Boy visits America and discovers strange similarities and stark differences. He learns valuable lessons and makes new friends in a far away land.
Duck Boy on the Platypus Farm
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 200. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2012. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
This micro fiction children’s short story is dedicated to my Down’s syndrome son. He enjoys making humorous sound effects and hilarious faces, and he likes ducks. Duck boy goes down under and discovers strange similarities and stark differences. He learns valuable lessons and makes new friends in a far away land.
The Modern Day Gadianton Golden Boy
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,020. Language: English. Published: May 9, 2012. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
This short story is a politically charged speculative thriller composed in 2008. It was visionary when originally written. It is alarmingly uncanny today. It’s only fiction until it’s not.
Post Omerican Easter
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,200. Language: English. Published: May 8, 2012. Category: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic
This short story provides a powerful and touching encounter and an imperative message. Experience the significance of Easter up close and personal in a manner you have probably never considered.
Out of the Picture and Into the Picture
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,390. Language: English. Published: May 7, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Out of the Picture and Into the Picture by Victor G. La Van Way and Ilyan Kei Lavanway is a fantasy adventure book containing two short stories about a pilot who is miraculously reunited with his father in a strange storm. Experience superimposed worlds and altered realities. Relive the thrill of flight as you follow this pilot's mysterious journey. Find a renewed hope and youthful determination.