Interview with Ron Fritsch

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
"The Little Engine That Could." Wikipedia says: "The story is used to teach children the value of optimism and hard work." Well, yes, "I think I can."
How do you approach cover design?
My approach for my first four books is, without question, the wrong way to go about designing a cover. The books begin and end my allegorical Promised Valley series, in which prehistoric hunters and farmers fight wars over a fertile river valley their gods promised them in return for their good behavior and obedience. So I found a photograph by Brett Charlton on iStockphoto.com of a beautiful river valley in England, and I bought the right to use it. Using free Gimp software, I put the titles of my four books and my name on it, and those are my covers. The only thing that changes from cover to cover is the third word in the title: "Promised Valley Rebellion," "Promised Valley War," "Promised Valley Conspiracy," and "Promised Valley Peace." I admit what I've done is profoundly "unprofessional." On the other hand, I love what I see. My father always told me I was "contrary."
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I have at least five hundred "favorite" books. Who could possibly tell you why?
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything I read is for pleasure. I read to learn. What to do next this day -- a recipe for the evening meal. What it means to be a human living on planet earth -- The Iliad. What defines the present era -- the Gettysburg Address, On the Origin of Species. What the universe is -- A Brief History of Time. If whatever I'm reading ceases to teach me, it no longer pleases me, and I pick up, or click on, something else.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Writing a story I love.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a farm in northern Illinois -- the heart of the heartland. The flat prairie and the sunset at the end of it, the valley and the creek and the woods beyond the house and the orchard and the barns, the hard work expected of a child of tenant farmers, the mother and father and siblings who read and encouraged me -- were the beginning of it all. The beautiful setting, the daily struggle, the questioning, the wars in the distance our people supposedly cared so much about they gave their own to kill and be killed in.
When did you first start writing?
Like the answer to another question, "I've never not been gay," I've never not written.
What's the story behind your latest book?
This is the way the back cover starts out: "Promised Valley Peace is the fourth and last novel in Ron Fritsch’s allegorical Promised Valley series. The conspirators and their allies from the first three novels give up on the gods, whose existence many of them doubt, and discover how to use horses in warfare. They prepare to employ them in a last battle to bring the prehistoric enemy hunters and farmers together as one people in a “new kingdom” and end warfare between them forever. Individuals who partner with persons of the same gender are once again in the front lines, risking their lives for their peoples." Okay, I confess. Gods and wars make good stories -- but they're awfully hard to endure. Maybe we should try to get by without them?
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have no connections to the traditional publishing world. Nobody in their right mind in that world would take on a project like mine. I'd have to be a celebrity or somebody they were sleeping with. I'm okay with that.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashworlds is wonderful for writers like me. We upload our novels for free, and the e-book versions show up in all those online book stores. Sort of a loaves-and-fishes miracle.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Spending my days and nights with my characters and the wonderful story they're in.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life.
Published 2013-12-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Promised Valley Peace
By
Series: Promised Valley, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 86,700. Language: English. Published: November 7, 2013. Category: Fiction » Literature » Alternative history
Promised Valley Peace is the fourth and last novel in Ron Fritsch’s Promised Valley series. The conspirators and their allies from the first three novels give up on the gods and discover how to use horses in warfare. They prepare to employ them in a last battle to bring the prehistoric enemy hunters and farmers together as one people in a “new kingdom” and end warfare between them forever.
Promised Valley Conspiracy
By
Series: Promised Valley, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 84,780. Language: English. Published: December 18, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Alternative history
Promised Valley Conspiracy is the third novel in the four-book Promised Valley series, which is set at the end of prehistory and asks whether civilization and history might've begun differently. The first novel is Promised Valley Rebellion; the second is Promised Valley War.
Promised Valley War
By
Series: Promised Valley, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 80,220. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2011. Category: Fiction » Literature » Alternative history
Prehistoric farmers inhabit a fertile river valley they believe their gods promised them. Their enemies, hunters roaming the barren hills beyond the valley, believe the gods gave it to them. The persons among both peoples most curious about their "eternal" enemies and most willing to treat them as equals nevertheless set the stage for what they fear more than anything else: another horrifying war.
Promised Valley Rebellion
By
Series: Promised Valley, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 80,670. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2010. Category: Fiction » Literature » Alternative history
Prehistoric farmers inhabit a fertile river valley they believe their gods promised them. Their enemies, hunters roaming the hills beyond the valley, believe their gods gave it to them. When the farmers’ king refuses to allow the prince to marry the daughter of the farmer who saved the king's life in the last war with the hunters, her brother leads a rebellion to correct the flagrant injustice.