Is it cliche to say Stephen King? Well, he is. The man never fails & never lets me down. And he can write the hell (sometimes literally) out of anything. I'm also a big fan of his son Joe Hill. I love his contemporary outlook and writing style. And he remains true to the horror genre, which I love. Justin Cronin kicks ass, too. But given my personal writing interests (I'm a huge fan of the literary genre--vague and sweeping as it is), here are some authors I can't go without:
Kent Haruf (sadly, he passed) Lee Martin Leif Enger (So Brave, Young, and Handsome shows his ability to simply write a straight-up story--check it out)
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything. But I never read a book twice. Far too many great reads waiting and not enough time to read them all.
What is your writing process?
Avoid. Debate. Avoid some more. Commence reluctantly. Stop. Commence again. Stop. Commence and let the story build. Eventually, I get caught up. Then I stop.
Describe your desk
I've always related it to a ship at sea.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes! I was around eight. It was about a magic portal in my closet. You stepped through it, and it took you to different places. To illustrate my story, I drew the portal on the wall of my closet in black crayon. My parents were thrilled with that.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
In the MIdwest. It didn't influence my writing until I worked as a reporter and photographer for an area media company and took assignments in rural (sometimes very rural) areas. I fell in love with the culture and landscape and developed a deep appreciation for the hardships of the people living in these towns. I throw all this into my writing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I read, but Walter Dean Myers' Fallen Angels had the biggest impact on me. It took a less-than-enthusiastic young reader and turned him into a reading machine (I read and/or listen to between 20-30 books a year).
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Nook GlowLight. I'm not a fan of the blue color so much as I am of the white of Kindle's Paperwhite, but I find Kindle devices fragile, and I'm always afraid I'm going to break them. I'll take my Nook any day. Blue light and all.
How do you approach cover design?
Very carefully. I first start out trying to capture the essence of my story. I then ask myself if it's appealing to possible readers and if the cover fits in theme with other covers in the same/similar genre. It's a bit of a balancing act, getting the two to converge into a marketable cover. Luckily, there's plenty of room to make changes as you go.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Write more. Write GOOD more. This is as true for the big authors out there as much as it is for indies. I was fortunate enough to work as a publicist for a boutique publishing company that released limited editions by some of the biggest authors out there. It put me in direct connection with this process, and while very big authors have the luxury of publishing companies handling their marketing, they still agree that authors should spend more time writing and less time promoting. Basically, good writing will promote itself.
Maintaining communication with fans, well, that's a different story. It's a MUST.
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