Interview with Buck Hunter

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
This may not be exactly the answer you are looking for. Writing is not particularly pleasurable to me. Ha. My problem with it is that time speeds up and before you know it, you are hours down the line, the world having gone on without you.

However, writing is necessary. It's something I have done since a very young age. I guess I'm what you call a born writer. There is a difference between born writers and made writers. One is not necessarily better than the other, I suppose, all things being equal, but a born writer who understands understands the elements of good writing, I think will usually produce a superior product.

I do thank God that I am fortunate enough to be in a place in my life where I can finally do the thing I was born to do, and that is to write! (And still have enough daylight to cut the grass, etc.)
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans mean more than money to me.

I'm blessed to be a member of a group of very successful writers and many have made a boatload of money writing for the money and even farming out their writing, and simply slapping their names on the finished product. As much as I love these guys, that seems like cheating to me.

When someone gives my work a good review it puts a glow on the whole week. I'm in it for the praise, man. I like the money, but an attaboy from a pleased fan sends me to the moon.
What are you working on next?
I'll tell you a secret. Buck Hunter is my pen name. I chose it because, heck, it more accurately reflects me than my real one. However, I have a whole other raft of books, mostly southern humor under my real one.

You asked what is my next project? My Survival Apocalypse series is my current, next, and future project. If accepted by the fans, there will be many more SA books featuring the life, times, and adventures of young Jed in the new and exciting world of the future that looks a whole lot like the world of the past.
Who are your favorite authors?
I raised myself on golden age science fiction with all the greats; Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, etc. The Barsoom books. Thousands of books over he years, I suppose. All of them golden age.

Then...I discovered cowboy books. Then I went really deeply hardcore with pioneer books. Now we're talking Amour, Terry Johnston, McMurtry...all those guys. I read EVERYTHING I could find in my local library. A couple of hundred books?

And now I have gone through every early America book written about the south and the Indians circa 1540-1830. Pickett, Adair, LeClerc Milton....all the contemporary authors who were actually there. Fantastic! A university of education in books!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am fortunate enough to have a great wife. We have been married forever. She puts up with me. I don't know why. We're best friends.

Besides all the normal things that must be done, about the same as you...for recreation I'm strictly an outdoorsman. I fish in the summer and hunt in the winter. I have also always been a volunteer of some kind. Currently I teach hunting safety. Did you know when you get caught out in the woods alone that a simple a thing as a lighter in your pocket can save your life?
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Would you believe that I poo-pooed the Kindle for years? When I finally got mine, long after publishing books to it, I discovered two important resources.... The Internet Archive and Google Books. This allowed me access to digitized books that would have either been impossible to find or very expensive to own. Thorough the agency of these free books I was able to amass enough knowledge of history to be able to write my exciting Jedidiah Reuel books!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember the first article I ever wrote. It was a piece on a river that caught fire. I won a contest and a prize from our local Mayor. That officially launched me.

Then, by and by I wrote a great many SF short stories, all of them rejected by the few places we had to publish in those days. After several SASE's came back (I'm pretty sure unread) I lapsed for a long while. I mollified myself by building websites and article writing with some success.

Then came Amazon! Wow!!!!
What is your writing process?
I believe there is a term for my method, but it escapes me right now.

After the big idea comes to me for a piece, I write out a short, broad outline the I begin to write. It's sort of like I'm a snitch. I watch to see what the characters are doing and simply report what I see. Many times they blindside me with the things they do! Totally unexpected.

After the first draft is completed there I go back over it twice and then publish.

I'll tell you a nifty trick I discovered. In a series, if you write three or four books at the time, editing is much easier, because you know a lot more of what's going on by the fourth book. This way it is much easier to go back and change names, places, and dates in the first book. You should try it, if you're a writer.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I read comic books from the age of 12-13 or so. I still have them. Then, I read juvenile SF at my local library. Thanks to an old book sale I even have many of them.

My first reading experiences made me a hopeless romantic. That is, romance as in chivalry, right from wrong...that sort of thing. Right always trumps wrong, etc.

Sometimes being a romantic can get you into trouble in the real world because real people often don't behave like the characters in books. Still, I wouldn't trade my outlook on life with a hopeless realist. That guy is stuck in Realville. I can do either. You see, the astronaut can become the cave man, but the cave man can never become the astronaut. Think about it.
How do you approach cover design?
I make my own covers.

I'm not such a bad graphic manipulator. However, I'm a terrible artist.

The Survival Apocalypse series presents a unique problem. It deserves to be portrayed by a really good artist. However, artists are either expensive or very difficult to work with. There are only so many Harry Potter type artists out there, which is what the SA series calls for in my humble opinion.

This time around, I chose to go dirt simple. The cover art of the SA series is based on the McGuffy Reader concept. The cover is made to appear old and simple, much as it might have looked a couple of hundred years ago. It's in keeping with the pioneer times our heroes are living in.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the deep south. It is what I know. I use my experiences extensively in my books...all my books. Potential readers either wildly love the south or hate the south. I can't do much for the snobs out there, but for the folks who have a fancy for things southern, I'm the goto guy! There are few better southern explainers writing today about the southern point of view than your's truly and I don't mind a bit making that claim.

You see, a big reason southerners don't come unhinged when redneck jokes are told is that often we know the guy the joke was written about. However, we also know that when it's all boiled down, it's not the heartland, but the south that is the strength of the nation.

I write about the way it "use to was" set in a time 90 or more years after civilization has collapsed. For my characters, settings, and all the rest I use as reference genuine data gleaned from contemporary sources who were living and writing about the goings on in the south (which at the time was the new west) from 1540-1830. I extrapolate how the old place looks in the future and how the southern stock acts, talks, and fares. It's an amazing thing folks! Really!

Here's a little FYI. When did the Pilgrims land? What? 1620? Well, that's pretty amazing, but guess what? Old Hernando de Soto himself may have trod over what would later become my back yard in 1540! This is a fact.

Also Andrew Jackson, if he didn't visit my neighborhood personally, was within a few miles of it. Fifteen or less. This was in 1813.

Ah, so much history here and so few know about it. It flavors and propels the whole great arc of the Survival Apocalypse series. I hope you enjoy it!
Published 2015-03-16.
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