Interview with Wim Baren

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Everybody has a creative spark inside.

I started serious writing in 2014. It's the most enjoyable thing I've ever done. Who wouldn't like to just let their imagination go for a while, first thing in the morning?...

Creating and developing three-dimensional characters is enormous fun. It is getting easier with every effort I make on a story. Once i create a character, he or she must behave consistently with their personality make-up in the story (Duh!). Inconsistencies show up really fast. I know when I need to go back to the drawing board to clean things up.

To sum it up, I think this mode of personal expression is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I am so grateful for the chance to become self-published, regardless of any market success. Boy! Does that sound impractical, or what?
What is your writing process?
I'm still new at this, so it probably will sound a little too mechanical, too structured. That's because I was an Engineering Major in college, and a Project Management consultant for many years, with a very disciplined and structured way of looking at the world. It probably got me in trouble, because it made no room for unbridled creativity

In my first work, I was a very deliberate. I used a step-by-step process - from notes, to general outline, to detailed outline, to tweaks, to the actual writing of the narrative. Sometimes I feel it's too much process, not enough free-flowing creativity.

I don't have the same easy way of writing that Mozart had for writing music - which, by the way, he wrote completely, right through, without any corrections on his music sheets, blowing the minds of his most important rivals.

But, if I can write something creative, and if it is successful in the market, then for sure, anyone else can do the same or even better.
Who are your favorite authors?
I've read a huge number of the classic novels, and an even huger(?) array of other writings - histories, biographies, scholarly texts, business histories and case studies. My literary library is stuffed with a lot of wonderful things to draw from.

I've always had a soft spot for some of the classic romances - Austen, Bronte, Gaskell, Dickens, Hardy, to name just a few - and others who wrote some of the more robust fiction, such as Haggard's action romances (especially "She" and "Ayesha"), and George Meredith in - believe it or not - his Arabian nights fantasy, "The Shaving Of Shagpat."

Some of the finest literary narrative I've ever had the pleasure to read are Churchill's histories of WWI and WWII, and Lord Macauley's "History of England". For sheer majesty of the use of the English language, these are magnificent!
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are incredibly important for a simple reason.

They offer by their approval a response to the deep need everybody has - providing something valued, something others want, and the sense of competence which goes along with it.

They can also put into their own words why they value one's work, and give insights the writer may have had no clue about. I think that's what learning from one's fans is all about, and it is that gift for which I am most grateful.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the northeast - New York and New England, mainly.

Went to some good schools. I was in fairly well-educated company for most of that time.

Picked up a lot of disparate things, but one thing in particular was my exposure to music. I played in the high school orchestra (before I opted to go to a state swimming championship meet and skip a scheduled performance, for which I was fired from the orchestra!), and found a natural love of music itself.

I was mediocre at the violin, but I must have listened in a rapt adoration to so many of the great classical and romantic period pieces, and learned their melodies by heart, that even today, they inspire me whenever I sit down to write.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I know this could look like a paid pitch, but it isn't.

I looked at not only Smashwords but several other sites offering services for self-publishing, and chose Smashwords because it was the most exhaustively helpful (and like any brand-new beginner, I had lots of questions).

It offered both the path and the tools to do a complete job of getting the book published and distributed to as wide an array of major ebook retailers as possible. Again, not a paid-for pitch, but if you've read this far, and are thinking of writing your own works (which I could not encourage you more strongly to do!) and want them published, you probably won't do better than Smashwords as your partner.
What are you working on next?
I have a third novel conceived, and in the notes stage.

It is a second historical novel set in Byzantine times. It is a climactic sequel to The Crimson Emperor (that novel's time setting was about 580-610 AD).

I have no idea how long it will take me to produce the next work, but I hope to complete it early next year (2017), as well as starting a fourth work thereafter. But, hey, I shouldn't make predictions, especially about the future.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I look in topics of interest on the Smashwords site (haven't tried Amazon or B&N or others yet) in romantic fiction, and in historical fiction, and flip through any number, taking in titles and what the cover image tells me about the story, and looking at the sample to see how I feel about it, the writing style, and the emerging story. I also look at the Historic Novel Society's listings by period to see what they've reviewed. Lots of good things there.

This is probably close to what anybody else would do if they are looking for works of interest - it's no more scientific than that. It's astonishing how many works there are, and how many writers - good ones! - there are out there!
What do you read for pleasure?
A short answer here.

Histories of people and places, and classic romantic novels (fewer of these now that I have not read, though).

In between, I read national and international newspapers, and occasional magazine articles that look accidentally interesting.
Published 2016-07-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Bach's Heart 1.3
Price: Free! Words: 1,650. Language: English. Published: November 2, 2017. Categories: Essay » Literature
A creative writing insight based on the use of literary 'dioramas' to add richness and depth to scenes, settings and characters for our stories.
Bach's Heart 1.2
Price: Free! Words: 1,420. Language: English. Published: September 19, 2017. Categories: Essay » Literature
A small insight about character development when writing fiction you might find helpful...
Bach's Heart 1.1
Price: Free! Words: 1,400. Language: English. Published: August 11, 2017. Categories: Essay » Literature
A series of short 'flights of fancy' which connect inspired writing with an exploration of deeper emotions giving rise to how we seek to express ourselves through our creative writings. These follow the pattern of our "Mozart's Brain" and "Mozart's Brain, Too" broadsheets
Mozart's Brain, Too - Number 2.9
Price: Free! Words: 1,590. Language: English. Published: September 29, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
(5.00 from 1 review)
A short informal essay on what I've learned about character expression and emotions in fiction and other creative writing forms, and what I learned about my own emotions.
Mozart's Brain, Too - Number 2.8
Price: Free! Words: 1,730. Language: English. Published: September 28, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
One in a series of short light-hearted essays on creative writing and sources of inspiration for the aspiring writer.
Mozart's Brain, Too - Number 2.7
Price: Free! Words: 1,370. Language: English. Published: August 22, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
Why it helps in creative writing to start with the end first, and proceed from there to the beginning...
Mozart's Brain, Too - Number 2.6
Price: Free! Words: 1,440. Language: American English. Published: July 9, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
Having written two novels of 85 and 320 thousand words, respectively, I wonder about Simplicity and its role in helping craft jewels of literature in any genre, and set some thoughts to screen in this Broadsheet.
Mozart's Brain, Too - Number 2.5
Price: Free! Words: 2,600. Language: American English. Published: June 8, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
A conversation about characters in our writings, and why there are some Good Things we might be wise to observe when we create our actors in our stories...
Mozart's Brain, Too - Confessions
Price: Free! Words: 2,060. Language: American English. Published: June 2, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
A short side-track on my creative writing journey and how it came to me, even if I'm the only one who thinks I'm creative...
Mozart's Brain, Too - Number 2.3
Price: Free! Words: 2,800. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
A short broadsheet chock full of musings about all sorts of things related to music and creative writing, along the lines of - but not the same as - the other broadsheets in this series. This one is the one I forgot to publish, which is why it's out of sequence to readers. Fortunately, no problem with this sort of thing.
Mozart's Brain, Too - Number 2.4
Price: Free! Words: 1,930. Language: English. Published: April 29, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
This short broadsheet looks at creativity and creative writing from a different perspective. It draws on inspirations from ancient Mesopotamia and Babylon, and speaks to how Play and having fun are more important then most people think in the successful and sustained creative outpouring. Also, it offers hope for those who want to write, but who don't think they 'have the right stuff.'
Ptaath's Hammer
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 84,340. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
A 17,000-year old city is discovered, pre-dating all other known civilizations. It is the heart of a mythic tale of Destiny, of a man and a woman born of the gods. A nightmarish blight threatens to overspread the world, and brings with it a clash among the Immortals themselves. From it, an Earth-shattering cataclysm changes the world forever, foretold by a prophecy from the beginning of Time.
Mozart's Brain, Too - Number 2.2
Price: Free! Words: 2,340. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2015. Categories: Essay » Literature
Rewrote this - tightened it up, added some insights. See if you like it better than the initial version... --------- Why do we need diligence in our creative writing efforts? Doesn't it just get in the way, slow us down with detail, mess with our wonderfully flowing mindset of imagination? Not really, as I attempt to set forth in this little work...
Mozart's Brain, Too - Number 2.1
Price: Free! Words: 1,780. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2015. Categories: Essay » Literature
Yes, it's another in a string of writings about inspiration, events, and the world around us, and the links to creative writing. And it offers yet more ideas about the ways we can think even more productively about our creative art. This broadside starts by introducing the notion of how we use a project mindset to get what we want. It's fun and light, not dull and boring. Isn't that great?...
Mozart's Brain - Number 10
Price: Free! Words: 1,990. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
This is my swan song. Yep, the final instalment of the Mozart’s Brain series. You’ll see thoughts on why you’ll want to decide who you are writing for, and why you must have courage to make your decision. It’ll be followed by a new series based on related stuff associated with managing a creative writing endeavor, but won’t be quite the same. A light humorous tone will be built into it.
Mozart's Brain - Number 9
Price: Free! Words: 1,860. Language: American English. Published: June 21, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
Creative writing can be seen as a visual form of artwork. Not as a painting, but as something that helps your readers move through what you’ve written more effortlessly, more comfortably. This can be done by carefully using space to break up your writings, and to offer your readers visual rest stops every so often, so they can sense where they are and how far they’ve come. That’s what I share.
Mozart's Brain - Number 8
Price: Free! Words: 1,950. Language: American English. Published: June 5, 2015. Categories: Essay » Literature, Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
This broadsheet looks at something we have all suffered from in our writing efforts – the ‘dry spell’. I’ve run into it more than once, and have found some things that have helped me get out of this rut and back into a creative writing burst more than once. So this short note offers them to you, for those times when you find yourself stuck and wondering how to get going again.
Mozart's Brain - Number 7
Price: Free! Words: 1,340. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2015. Categories: Essay » Literature
“The Wellsprings of Inspiration” is a more personal broadsheet of what creative writing means to me, and how it helps me satisfy some deep yearnings for creating beautiful things - written or otherwise. It expresses ideas that appeal to that core in all of us that seeks out excellence, competence, exemplary performance. It is a heartfelt hymn to the creation of Beauty Itself.
The Canary In The Mine
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,080. Language: English. Published: April 25, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Two friends – Max and his mysterious companion Henry – walk through a shared world of cultural beauty together in New York City. Along their way, Max discovers a vaguely disturbing connection between his friend’s well-being and sinister events taking place around them that are changing their world, and not for the better.
Mozart's Brain - Number 6
Price: Free! Words: 2,320. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
Habits form what we do often in almost every field of effort. They are present in creative writing as well, although we might not know it. The point of this broadsheet is to encourage the right habits, those that make you most creative and prolific. We don’t speak of bad habits, but be aware that these exist also. Breaking these and replacing them with good habits is essential for success.
Mozart's Brain - Number 5
Price: Free! Words: 2,010. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2015. Categories: Essay » Literature
Mozart was a prolific composer, and he had a huge amount of material to draw upon as he continued to compose new pieces. This is very liberating, helping him find more thematic ideas. As a writer, you also can help your efforts by seeing again what you’ve already written. At the same time, you can – and should – get the courage to throw out stuff you’ve written and start over.
Mozart's Brain - Number 4
Price: Free! Words: 2,310. Language: English. Published: February 4, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
So, what exactly is creativity, anyway? This short broadsheet offers insight into the creative thinking process, and what makes it up, and shows a light-hearted view of what your brain does when creating stuff. It also shows why you can be creative when you least expect it - those ‘Ah-ha’ moments that we all get, and wish we had more of.
Mozart's Brain - Number 3
Price: Free! Words: 2,080. Language: English. Published: January 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational
Mozart’s legendary genius for composing beautiful music inspires others in many fields to be as creative, as wrapped in the beauty of their works, as he was in his. These little broadsheets reflect personal inspirations gained from my creative writing efforts, while drinking in all the wonderful and inspiring compositions of a young man two hundred years older than me.
Mozart's Brain - Number 2
Price: Free! Words: 1,870. Language: English. Published: January 24, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
Creative writing demands a wise and effective use of words – especially words that describe. Mozart’s compositions did not waste notes or runs, and never used too few. This little broadsheet speaks to this challenge, and how important a well-designed and assembled vocabulary – or anything else that seeks to persuade – really is for a story .
Mozart's Brain - Number 1
Price: Free! Words: 1,980. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
(5.00 from 1 review)
Mozart’s legendary genius for composing beautiful music inspires others in many fields to be as creative, as wrapped in the beauty of their works, as he was in his. These little broadsheets reflect personal inspirations gained from my creative writing efforts, while drinking in all the wonderful and inspiring compositions of a young man two hundred years older than me.
The Muse
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 9,460. Language: English. Published: January 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
A writer seeking inspiration is visited by a girl who exerts a mysterious influence over him, bringing him success and good fortune, but who has unusual qualities. She is not what she seems, and he senses he is entangled with someone who is far older, but who is just as susceptible to human passions that are as dangerous to her as they are to him.
The Crimson Emperor
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 317,350. Language: English. Published: January 28, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
(5.00 from 1 review)
The Byzantine Empire faces extinction under its deranged emperor from its ancient and powerful Persian foe, unless something can be done about its misrule. A heroic figure arises from Carthage to challenge the fracturing Empire’s ruler, in a tale lived through a young Imperial Guards commander. A tale of loyalty, betrayal, majesty and passions that sweeps across the Eastern Roman Empire.