Interview with Bill K. Underwood

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Bend, Oregon. I had a great high school English teacher, Julie Reynolds, who predicted I would someday be a writer. It only took me 40 years to fulfill her prophecy.
When did you first start writing?
I've written off and on most of my life. But I always hated erasing and rewriting. So my writing career didn't really take off until my first word processor, about 1995.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Unbroken is the story of Horses coming to North America. I grew up on John Wayne, cowboys and Indians. I recall having the thought that it would make an interesting story to write about Indians sans cowboys - Indian life as it was before Europeans came along... just Indians, horses, buffalo. I had a vague idea of a murder mystery set in an Indian village, solved by an Indian detective. Never wrote it.
About a dozen years ago I stumbled over the fact that there were no horses in North America before the Europeans got here. I hadn't known that. It immediately begged the question: What did that first Indian think when he saw his first horse? Did he want to eat it? Did he think it might eat him? I decided right then I had to write that story.
I was finishing rewrites of Resurrection Day as I was visiting my sister and my nephews wanted me to tell them a story. I started to tell them about this Indian meeting his first horse. They loved the idea, so I started working on it. But the research immediately led me to Cortes on Cuba putting together the expedition that came to be called the conquest of Mexico. It was such a compelling story, I felt like I had to tell it first, and leave my "Indian meets horse" story for another day.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I don't handle rejection well.
What are you working on next?
My next book will be 99 Ways to Fire your Boss. Becoming an independent author will be #57.
Who are your favorite authors?
James Lee Burke, Robert Parker, Patrick O'Brian, Bernard Cornwell, Lee Child, John Sandford, Michael Connolly, Robert Crais, John Lescroart... and about a hundred others.
What is your writing process?
Write, research, write, get stuck, discuss with wifey, research something else, write more. The most progress I've made has been since I learned to treat it like a job and chain myself to the computer for a set schedule.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I got my first library card when I was 9. I couldn't believe I had free access to all these books! I read an entire series called "We Were There..." Each featured a point in history as seen through the eyes of two kids. "We Were There at the Boston Tea Party" is one title that sticks in my mind. "We Were There With the Pony Express" is another. I hadn't realized it before, but I guess that format influenced Unbroken. It's basically the story of Cortes and Mexico but from the viewpoint of a 12-year-old.
How do you approach cover design?
I did the cover for The Minotaur Medallion myself in a tool called I found that tinkering with the artwork was a pleasant change of pace from writing when I was stuck for ideas. I did it again for Resurrection Day. I bounced potential covers off my very patient Facebook friends. (I put together one I liked and showed Facebook and a friend said 'Is that an ad for tractors?' Back to the drawing board.)
For Unbroken, I did some sketches in but decided it was time to hire a pro. I showed her my sketches. What I got back was, to my eye, worse than my sketches. So I just kept working on my own artwork. If I sell a thousand, maybe I'll try another pro.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Facebook, for sure. My blog, has helped a little. For Unbroken, I'm planning to do my first book trailer on Youtube. Depending on how many views that gets, I'll do more.
Published 2017-12-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 98,960. Language: English. Published: January 2, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Renaissance, Fiction » Christian » Historical
Felipe’s idyllic life in 1518 Cuba is shattered when Hernan Cortes rides into it. Cortes is desperate for horses; his father has one he refuses to sell. With one lie Cortes steals the horse, throws his father into prison and takes Felipe along to be the horse’s groom. Thus begins the greatest challenge of Felipe’s young life: Get free, get home, save the family farm and exonorate his father.
Resurrection Day - A New World Novel
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 32,870. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational, Fiction » Christian » Futuristic
(4.94 from 16 reviews)
It's your first day of life after death. Not heaven. You've been resurrected back to earth - a new world under renovation. What questions do you have? What led up to the declaring of "Peace and Security", the attack on Babylon, Armageddon? Who survived, who didn't? What work is involved in constructing a paradise and how is it organized? Resurrection Day presents a heartwarming answer.
The Minotaur Medallion
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 58,410. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Sea adventures, Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome
(4.67 from 6 reviews)
30 years after Jesus' death, the apostle Paul was taken in chains aboard a ship bound for Rome. It never arrived. 2000 years later, amateur archaeologist David Connor is on Malta looking for evidence of the lost ship, with the help of smart - and lovely - professor of ancient history, Caroline. But as the artifacts become more intriguing, so does the evidence that someone is trying to kill him.