Interview with Jerry Sciortino

What is your writing process?
Beginning with actual historic or scientific happenings, it is fun to take small excerpts and "fictitiously bend" them slightly to provide the main point on or about which a story line is spun. Subplots, whether they be adventurous, romantic, tragic, etc., can be roughed out separately. Here too, real life happenings may provide nuggets to build a setting around. Then, when a few of these separate subplots are roughed out, the fun begins... and you start to weave or braid these threads into a loosely woven tapestry of words. The color, texture and quality of the story is finished by depth of the characters, places and details that will provide "verbal brushstrokes" for the readers to visualize and admire the work.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not the first story I ever read... but the first story that made me wish that I could create wonderful, extra-worldly fiction? That book would be the fantasy fiction novel, Moon Pool by A. Merritt.
How do you approach cover design?
Having been a photographer in my younger days, I am fortunate enough to be able to set up and photograph my own covers, using objects that provide the reader a "first glimpse" into, at least, one part of the novel.
Describe your desk
When I began to write For The Want Of A Musket, the desk was piled with printed sheets with one or a few paragraphs, Scotch Tape and a scissor. It was easier to literally "cut-and-paste" the chapters into sheets a few feet long. I learned to use MS Word and I was able to see parts of the desk top regularly. Writing Where Have All The Muskets Gone? went easier, and only a few dozen pages lay on the desk...I was almost a "pro" using Word software. Now that I'm into the third book and got a new computer with new software...I'm going to have to dig out the scissors and tape again!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Staten Island, NY. Until I enlisted in the Army, there was seldom much reason to leave it. My novels deal in part with time travel. I never dreamed that my experiences in rural Staten Island in the 40s and 50s would provide me such a richness of visual and sensual detail to draw upon. When characters in my novels were transported to places and situations in that timeline, I was able to describe the surroundings and other detail so clearly that readers of the soft cover editions say it was like they were actually in the shoes of my characters.
When did you first start writing?
My first (as yet unpublished) short story was written some time in the 80's. It was to be the first of my time travel experiments.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I suppose I could "take the fifth" on this, but at this point, all I can say that it will be the third book in the trilogy. A few of the favorite/familiar characters will appear, but once again, it will be a free-standing novel. All we may be certain of is the word "Musket" will appear in the title.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The Indemnification Agreement that seems to be a part of virtually every contract we are obliged to sign in this litigious world today. Publisher's contracts are no exception. As a retired insurance underwriter, I resented having to assume liability for publishing empires that employ hoards of legal personnel. People take on such responsibilities lightly, not realizing that in doing so, their own insurance policy coverages may be at risk.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
To sit back and listen to a few readers discussing, criticizing and sometimes identifying with the characters and wishing they could share in such adventures.
Published 2014-04-17.
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