Smashwords Interviews

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Jay Johnson

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Frustration with time lengths to publication, weird publisher hurdles like 'don't have more than one lead character' or 'only write in a particular tense' - basically trying to control style as well as listening to marketing people who were telling them things that I've never heard anyone who actually likes books say as true. That kind of thing, and also the amount time editors stay in positions - there are no 30 year tenure lines now. People stay a couple of years, and if you don't get orphaned or scooped by a book packager, you're lucky.
What do your fans mean to you?
I have very few 'fans'. I have really enjoyed the times where someone has come up to me after a showing - usually in an airport, at some punk venue, or a barista with a complete tat sleeve slinging coffee at me, and said how much they liked something. It's rare because I have tried to maintain the public relationship as a provocateur - which is not always popular - and don't associate myself with the work publicly much.
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Pen

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have studied the publishing industry since the age of 12. I watched as publishing houses went under, especially with the advent of the Internet. They also drastically reduced support and services for authors, particularly new and "undiscovered" authors. These days traditional publishing houses still take up to 85% from each sale while the author is expected to do much of the legwork involved: promotion, marketing and sales. I actually investigated self-publishing in the early nineties to discover it was a costly venture. These days, it's as easy as the click of a button (well, almost that easy.)
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The creation of characters and different worlds. Imagining each scene then getting it down on paper (or computer.)
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A.K. Mann

What's the story behind your latest book?
I had a cafe back in 2003 and most of my server/cooks were college students - some with honors. They were prepping for lunch one day and having a lively discussion of some sort. When I listened, they were debating which war Hitler was in - they decided on WWI. Ouch. Then about two years later the sixth Harry Potter book was being released and I decided I should go because there would never be an event quite like it again. So I'm out at the bookstore at midnight and here are all these children running around ticking off a history of Hogwarts and discussing quidditch teams, etc. I decided there must be a better way to teach actual history. So I took the challenge.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It's the old catch 22. You can't get published unless you are published. And even in that case, I've learned from successful writers, there is no guarantee that you will be picked up for your next book. I had experience publishing a small press mag back in the 80's and decided to give it a go.
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Betsy Streeter

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I fall in love with the characters. Sometimes I think characters are souls that just didn't find a body yet. So one greatest joy is getting to know these people with all their agendas, and flaws, and fears (and powers). The other greatest joy is when somebody, anybody, reads something that I've written.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean there's a reason to keep going and get around that next bend in the road and see what's there - and write about it.
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Casey Peterson

What's the story behind your latest book?
Out of all the little nuggets I had stored away in my notebook, this one appeared the most promising to my wife. It just so happened to be the newest idea to pop in my head too. Beyond that, the story comes out of my love for superhero comic books and my dream to complete a novel/be a full-time author.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had no luck sending out my query to agents and I know that this is something I want to do with my life.
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Savannah Todd

What are you working on next?
I am currently working on Kedo's story, as part of the Mitchell brothers series. It is so close to being finished with a tentative release date for early fall 2014. I really enjoyed his character. He's a misunderstood character with a penchant for being blunt, aggressive, and a little chauvinistic at times. You will either love or hate this character but his tenacity inspires me.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to workout and exercise. I love to jog or walk on a sunny day outside on the track. To soak up the sun rays is bliss to me. Its sounds like a cliche, but the weather can really brighten my day.
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Leon Gower

When did you first start writing?
Must have been around grade 3 when I first became inspired to write. I had no idea how at the time, didn't really start writing until I was an adult, but my teacher became so impressed by my imagination that she sat down with me. I recall she had me slow down as I told her a story and she turned it into a book.
As a child I won several contests at school for my stories, all written out by different people because I had no idea how to write; enabling me to be both creative and complacent.
What's the story behind your latest book?
In the blink of an eye I create a story, the story of a world which exists in the blinking of my eyes. The distant worlds explored in my sleep are given life as I dwell on each one and how they overlap; a reality more fantastic than even I can understand.
Universal Constance is a play on words, the story of truths that hold regardless of who you are and where you live.
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Amanda Cobb

Where did you grow up?
I grew up primarily in Snohomish County, Washington. I was born in Edmonds and bounced around the county for most of my childhood.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing when I was 15. I was assigned poetry by my sophomore english teacher. I thought I would hate it since I hated essay writing. Before that I had done some short stories, mostly for school. They were always hit hard for spelling and grammar so I thought my writing sucked. Until one of my first poems made my teacher cry.
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Ellie Midwood

When did you first start writing?
I first started writing at my University, back in Moscow. I was studying at the faculty of foreign languages and writing essays for my literary class was one of my favorite things to do. Here in New York I started writing reviews for different restaurants (my boyfriend and I go out a lot, at least 3-4 times a week), so I wanted to share my experience with other people in my blog.
What's the story behind your latest book?
This is my personal story, from the day one when I stepped on the American ground, and it basically describes everything that happened to me within this several years that I've been living here, in New York. It's not an easy story, I had to go through a lot to finally find myself at where I am now and I thought I had to share this personal story with the readers. I had to struggle to survive here, I had to turn to an option that, as a well-educated Jewish girl from a good family, I've never considered before: I had to become an exotic dancer. And after working over a year at different gentleman's clubs and meeting a lot of customers, all messed up in their own way, and listening to stories behind every girl I met, I though it would be great to lift the curtain up a little bit and let the readers into our night world. Because 9 times out of 10 people who are not familiar with this kind of business, have no idea what is really going on behind the closed doors of a strip club.
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Alex Blythe

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small little seaside town on the NW coast of a small island unknown to humans, called England. A retirement place with no much going on except for the crazy weather. Friends at school used to compare to the Goon Docks (Goonies), only slightly more wet. My little town has more colourful characters than a small city, with ample stories to tell. These stories influenced me to tell my own, and scribble poems about the place I left behind.
When did you first start writing?
Yikes! About the age of 6. I used to emulate TV or films, write fanfic.
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