Interview with Alen B Curtiss

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing (for myself or for others), I like to read - horror, fantasy, and sci-fi mostly, but I enjoy books in most genres too. I'm also a big fan of video games. I received a Commodore Vic 20 way back in 1981 when I was 11 (giving my age away there), and have been a gamer ever since. I currently have a PS4 which I use a lot to relax after a hard day's writing, editing, proofreading, formatting....
What is your writing process?
When I get an idea I quickly sketch out a beginning, along with a possible middle and end in note form, before I forget it. I'll then write at least the first few pages properly. It's important for me to do this, as it captures the tone in which I'd like the story to be written - serious, dark, humerous etc. If I don't capture the tone in this way then the notes lose most of their meaning for me when I eventually get round to reviewing them, I'll have lost the essence of what I wanted to write, if that makes sense. I also like to write my stories from start to finish, though on the rare occasion I have been known to write a scene from further into the book than I've reached.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I've been reading books from a very early age, and once I got past the 'Peter and Jane' stage, most were far above my age range. I first read The Hobbit as a small child, and that opened up a whole new world for me, literally. The books I'd read up until then had all been set in the real world, and J.R.R. Tolkien showed me that there are many more worlds out there, somewhere, just waiting to be written about. I was also entranced by the great Jack Vance as a young teenager. His version of the end of the world in his The Dying Earth books mesmerised me, and still do. His descriptions, his word play, his character and world creation have yet to be surpassed, in my opinion.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Only five? Ok, well, I'm going to have to cheat a bit here then. From my early years I have to say The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series. Just because I had never before read anything like them, and they broadened my imagination no end (I could also mention the Sword of Shannara and following books here too, and Frank Herbert's Dune series...). Then of course there is The Dying Earth by Jack Vance - such an imaginative, descriptive all round brilliant read. Then there's Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury - all 'boys own' stuff to fuel a young and very imaginative mind. Later years are taken up with most of Stephen King's works, especially The Stand and The Dark Tower series. Then there's... but that's far more than five. Needless to say, I have a lot of favourite books.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have two devices I use to read ebooks on - an iPad, and an original Kindle device. These are just what I've ended up with, I'm not sure I really made a conscious decision to get either. Well, ok, the Kindle I meant to get for ebooks, as at the time it was cutting edge technology. Now though, I'm sure there are many, many other excellent devices available.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Twitter has been my main avenue into self promotion through social media. It's simple, quick and easy, and has been very effective. Facebook used to be good to use, but most of the recent changes they've implemented have made it a less viable option. Word of mouth is also extremely effective, and also dropping 'oh, I'm a writer', into a conversation works wonders, along with the timely presentation of a business card.
Describe your desk
My desk is... messy. In my head it's extremely neat, tidy and organised. But in reality it's a bomb site. There are days when it's as tidy as I imagine - at least once or twice a year, but mostly the little people who live inside the drawers enjoy making it really messy. Having said that, I always seem to be able to find whatever I'm looking for without too much trouble, so I can't complain too much. On the wall which my desk faces are timelines for various stories, as well as deadline dates for various ongoing projects.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up all over the UK. By the time I was 20 I'd lived in 21 different places. Now I'm 45 I think I'm up to about 36 or 37 places lived - I've lost count. Sometimes I'm a little sad that I didn't get to grow up in one place, and have lifelong friends like in all the feel good movies. But mostly I like the fact that I've been able to experience so many different places and met so many different people.I guess all the moving around has influenced my writing by teaching me that there are a million different points of view and opinions for everything, even the things that most people take for granted. Through the years I've had to adapt to these new and different viewpoints shown by the new people I've met, and as such this has seeped into my writing, enabling me, I believe, to create a diverse array of characters and situations.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy I get from writing is when somebody says they liked the story, whichever one it was. And if they say that they felt a specific emotion - laughed if it was meant to be funny, cried if it was meant to be sad, got angry if I put a reason for anger in it - then I feel on top of the world. To be able to write so many different stories is great. But to be able to share those stories, those places, people, situations I've created, with other people, and have those people enjoy my words - that is truly awesome. There's no better feeling.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans mean everything to me. Without them, there is no Alen B Curtiss the writer, there is only plain old Alen Curtiss, and probably unemployed! Fans create a reason to write more, write better. Yes, I can write the stories for myself, but why would I when they're already in my head? They're written for people to enjoy, and that enjoyment is priceless. Fans definitely give me a reason so keep dragging the words out of myself, writing and rewriting until I think it's something they'd enjoy. I'm eternally grateful for that.
What are you working on next?
At the moment I'm working on quite a few projects for myself, but the one I'm hoping to publish next is a novella called The Negative Bind. The story revolves around a young teenage boy - Paul - who is slipping down into depression, and worse, after his younger brother is involved in a serious accident. Paul blames himself for the accident, and believes the rest of his family do too. But he believes he's found a way to make them all feel better. The solution, he thinks, all started with his brother's fish, then really began to cement itself into reality with the cat... Paul's approaching insanity leads him down a dangerous path, one which can only end in tragedy. But for who? The Negative Bind, coming soon, hopefully!
Published 2015-01-13.
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Books by This Author

Price: $1.25 USD. Words: 14,020. Language: English. Published: January 13, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Horror » Crime
Driven by a need even he doesn't fully understand, the stalker is forced to play his game until the very end, forced to ensure he and his chosen Play Mate are locked together, as close as lovers, as the End Game concludes. It is his game. They are his rules. But what happens if one of his victims refuses to play his game? Will the End Game be completed, or will a new, more sinister one be created?