Interview with Al Carroll

Who are your favorite authors?
Vine Deloria, James Loewen, and Jack Forbes for history, Noam Chomsky for political analysis. For fiction, I grew up reading mostly science fiction, the old classic authors, Asimov, Clarke, Clifford Simak. I later enjoyed authors like Henry Miller and William Burroughs, partly because I saw their influence on punk rock, which was also a big influence on me.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Just being glad to be alive and enjoying my work, both writing and teaching.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work as a college history professor. But when I have free time, I still go to punk and metal shows, not so different from when I was a teenager. When I'm not working, I travel, and have been to close to three dozen countries, as a tourist, working, or speaking.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
On my own, many of them. Some of them from the professors who trained me as a historian.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
There were some not very good sci fi stories I wrote as a teenager that I didn't keep, thankfully.
What is your writing process?
Just write, every day, whenever there is free time. If you get writer's block, write anyway, just switch subjects.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
How far back are we talking? I remember Encyclopedia Brown mysteries in the 4th grade or so. The first stories that had a real impact on me would be Asimov's sci fi, his robot stories, when I read it at age 11 or so. About that same time I started reading Voltaire, and Orwell's 1984. All of them taught me to try to understand the larger world beyond the small Texas town I lived in.
How do you approach cover design?
The cover for Medicine Bags and Dog Tags, showing a Navajo Code Talker, was chosen by my university press, but I was pleased with it. For my recent book, whatever is the most visually striking color combination to catch the eye and get someone to read the title.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read for knowledge and understanding, which gives me pleasure.
Describe your desk
Overflowing with papers, student papers, research, you name it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
South Texas, small town, then later San Antonio. The isolation of a small town turned me into a big reader. San Antonio is where I first felt really at home. The southwest is the only part of America I feel like I'm really part of. It's like me, hybrid, mixed.
When did you first start writing?
First as a teenager, but not seriously until grad school, and not really being driven to write all the time until I survived a cancer scare. Then I feared dying before getting all my writing done.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I was fed up with the inane way presidents are always ranked. It's usually a shallow "hooray for my side" exercise, people naming whoever fits this shallow ideology. I say rank the presidents for the good and evil they did, especially how many lived or died because of them.

It's especially galling that many admire Reagan, given his part in the deaths of over 300,000 people, mostly by genocide. It's almost as galling that some consider Nixon such a skilled president, when he was incredibly incompetent. When people die in huge numbers because of your failure, as happened in Vietnam, or downright evil, as he carried out in Cambodia...you can't be a bigger failure than that.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The big publishers are dying. No author should try to publish with them. They can't match the royalty rates you get from self publishing. And the big companies do very little for you for publicity or anything else.
What are you working on next?
An alternate history work, Confederate Tyranny. I also plan a sequel to Presidents' Body Counts, but one focused on the greatest and worst world leaders.
Published 2014-03-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Trump Fascism: A Very Possible Future
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 35,290. Language: English. Published: July 10, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(4.71 from 7 reviews)
"My name is Chief of Staff of the Army General Ulysses Benito Butler, and this is my story. This is the story of how Mr. Drumpf (Trump) became president, destroyed American democracy and turned the US into a fascist state, started two disastrous wars, threw America into a Second Great Depression, tried to expel millions, imprisoned hundreds of thousands, and even tortured and executed thousands."
A Proposed New Constitution
Price: Free! Words: 35,470. Language: English. Published: February 8, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » History » American, Nonfiction » Politics and Current Affairs » US Constitution
(3.15 from 13 reviews)
Fifteen proposals for a new constitution and constitutional convention that would end the power of the 1%, guarantee voting rights, limit corporate power, guarantee privacy, and end American colonialism and wars far sooner. Ending Citizens United, or passing just one amendment will not be enough. Protests or voting will not be enough. A new constitution of, by, and for the people, NOW!
Notes for Presidents' Body Counts
Price: $2.00 USD. Words: 5,670. Language: English. Published: August 13, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » History » American
Notes for Presidents' Body Counts
The New Age Speak to Plain English Dictionary
Price: Free! Words: 6,970. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Mysticism, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor and satire
(2.33 from 9 reviews)
For anyone every wondering what the heck New Agers are talking about, here are humorous translations into Plain English, from American Indians and former New Agers mocking New Age pretentiousness and falsehoods. Includes a helpful list of links for further sources for debunking New Age lies and exposing imposters posing as spiritual leaders.
Presidents' Body Counts: The Twelve Worst and Four Best American Presidents Based on How Many Lived or Died Because of Their Actions
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 162,740. Language: English. Published: March 14, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » History » North America, Nonfiction » Biography » Presidents & heads of state
(4.20 from 5 reviews)
Endorsed by Thom Hartmann Show! 1000 downloads! Speak No Evil About Presidents. So say most textbooks, journalists, commentators, and even some historians. Not in this book. An eye opening look at all the evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, and terrorism, and the noblest presidents also. The most insightful damning expose of presidents you will ever see, by a historian and professo