I love reading everything, but mostly fantasy and science fiction. I read a lot of non-fiction, also.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an Amazon Kindle Fire, the $50 dollar version, and I've read a lot of books on it. Now that I have one I don't see how I could manage without it.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth is still the most effective marketing tool. I've had both a Facebook and Twitter account in the recent past, but I've sold more books by telling people than by posting it on Facebook or Tweeting about it.
Describe your desk
It's an old metal computer desk that has plenty of room to set things on. It's very sturdy and spacious, and that's a good thing, because there are plenty of things on top of it. I try to keep it organized, but most of the time it's pretty messy.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town called Dewey, Oklahoma. It's just north of Bartlesville and fifty miles north of Tulsa. I think small town life gave me an opportunity to experience the wonder of the world, and explore the combination of both a small town and country life. The land has a magical effect on people, and I think it gave me an appreciation for beauty, and a spirit of adventure and exploration which I try to infuse into my fiction.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was in the sixth grade. I wrote a science-fiction story in English class about a machine hooked to the planet's core that would cause all sorts of natural disasters left by an alien race from another galaxy. I've since used that idea in a science-fantasy epic I've written called The Storm Shield, that takes place 40,000 years in the future on a planet of magic and and adventure 20,000 light years from Earth.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's the story of a young man who thinks he's running away from his problems, but he's actually running toward something much worse. It's called Tales of the Open Road: Winter Train to Desolation. It's a morality tale with horror elements and kind of a Twilight Zone vibe to it. It's more of a surreal story that examines how people believe we're escaping our past when we should face up to it. It's different, but that's okay, because I'm kind of a different person.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to write exactly the kind of stories I like to read, which aren't always mainstream fantasy or science-fiction, or mainstream fiction of any sort. I love Tolkien, but I also like Lin Carter, J.T. Edson, and Alan Burt Akers, who are all mostly pulp writers. My first exposure to fantasy was the Conan the Barbarian Marvel monthly comic, which lead me to read Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs. The freedom to pursue any writing project at any time, without being told, by an agent or editor, that it may not be a good idea is the motivation for becoming an indie author, The freedom to experiment.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm new to Smashwords, but I'm going to say "yes" to that question. I believe good things are in store for me at Smashwords.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's the sensation of being alive. I believe that's what we all strive for in life.The thing that we feel we're meant to do, and that's the joy I get from writing. The ability to create and express myself freely without constraints is the thing I love most about writing.
What are you working on next?
It's a science-fiction novel co-written with my friend Robert Bright called Far Station Zero. It takes place during the 27th century aboard a medical space station that orbits a planet 1,000 light years from Earth. It follows the lives of two paramedics who have a tough time understanding each other until circumstances force them to put their differences aside. It will examine class warfare, the role corporations play in society, morality, military conflict, and a few other philosophical and societal issues. I'm also co-authoring a paranormal romantic comedy novella with my wife. The book is called Olivia's Chance: A Gypsy Love Tale.
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