Interview with Charles Rogers

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up all over South and Central Texas. I'm a product of the public schools in places like Killeen, Roma, and San Antonio. The time was after World War II and before the sexual revolution.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I'm a bit of a computer geek so I actually have several devices. I personally prefer the comfortable posture of a proper desk and chair with a full sized keyboard and monitor. I have friends who use Nooks, Kindles, and iPads. I own a Samsung Tab A Nook loaded with lots of books. I use it to verify the epub files that I generate on my desktop unit for my self published books. I'm not aware of any particular reason to like one device over another. After I've gone to the trouble to learn how to operate something, I need strong motivation to abandon it and learn how to operate something else for the same purpose. I'm happy for people who enjoy reading with small-screen personal devices. Greasy fingerprints on monitors and on phone screens are among my most powerful dislikes. Hewlett Packard tried to introduce touch screen technology to PCs way back in the 1980s. People wouldn't buy them then. Still not my cuppa.
What writers do you recommend?
I read Stephen King, John Grishom, Arthur C. Clarke, and Mark Twain, as do millions of others. There are others I read who aren't exactly household names. In my own circle, four I must name are J. J. Zerr, Doyle Suit, Andrew Atherton, and the late Nick Nixon.

J. J. Zerr is a great writer. He has several novels that describe the life of military men and their families.

Doyle Suit is a storyteller much in the same mode as I. He writes about people, times, and places that he has experienced. His Baker Mountain left me believing that he knows about living in the time and place he describes.

Atherton's Drafted is the most authentic, compelling, and soul-searing story about Vietnam since We Were Soldiers.

Nick Nixon was a well known band leader in the St. Louis area for many years. He was a great musician with a gift for story telling. Read his memoir!

Among mainstream, published writers, I'll name two: Pagels and Spong. Elaine Pagels is a Biblical scholar and writer who helps me to find understanding and reality in contemporary Christianity. The single most important contemporary writer on religious topics for me is Bishop John Shelby Spong. Pagels and Spong appeal to both my intellect and to my tradition of faith.
When did you first start writing?
I did some writing in elementary school. That didn't go very far. For most of my professional life I was involved in very dense technical writing such as specifications and training materials. I did some short essays and actually had one technical article published in a computer magazine back in the early 80's. That was also when I started writing about my life as a goat rancher. In about 1991, when I was in my 50s, I decided to write about my relatives. Sermon at Deadman's Bend, about my ancestor Hiram Enlow, took more than a decade to materialize. Rosebush, which centers about my grandmother Myrtle and is basically a compendium of family memoirs, came more easily. Conversation With A Barncat was a loosely connected collection of essays about life in the Ozarks. It went nowhere until the gifted artist Betty Singer agreed to provide illustrations. I think writing is a continuous, life long habit. Publishing books is a purposeful process that requires focus and dedication.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I said above, writing is a life long practice. Maybe even a habit. Publishing and selling books is not the same as writing books. Entirely different skill sets are involved. I read several accounts of the difficulties that some of the best known writers had getting started in conventional publishing. Stephen King and John Grisham both had good books rejected repeatedly before they became established. Today, of course, they both can expect millions of sales for everything they offer. I don't have the lifetime remaining to get discovered. Besides, I really don't seek to become rich and famous from my writing. My goal is to make my books available to my family and friends. As it turns out, my books have earned friends for me. It's pretty cool having a person say they enjoyed reading something I wrote.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords gives me, I'll repeat: they GIVE me, the tools to put my books on the web. Wow! Yes, I have to do a bit of work. I have to prepare the text file and get the cover right. But I have the computer savvy to do those things. I put in a little sweat equity and anyone with a computer or e-reader can purchase my book. Talk about power! I've achieved my objectives with each book on Smashwords. They are available for my friends. I realize that some writers sell hundreds or thousands of books. I don't seek that. I have no objection to making a buck when it happens. But for me, my success is that the books are available. Friends, family, anyone, can find them and read them if they choose.
Describe your desk
I have a beautiful oak roll top desk that my wife gave me as a Christmas present more than 20 years ago. It is piled high with brief cases, computer stuff, books, and photographs. I would have to say it's messy. But, please, don't anyone try to straighten it for me.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I teach adult Sunday School and serve as occasional Liturgist at my church. I really dig working on the Audio/Visual Team. We operate cameras, an audio mixer, a video controller, recorders, and other electronic goodies. I also maintain a website under my name which is something like a blog. But it's not interactive. I've looked into Twitter and Facebook and discovered that I don't have much interest in a social media presence. I do my socializing by actually sharing oxygen with other people.
How do you price your books?
I price my books to cost less than the price of a Starbucks latte. If someone wants to populate their e-reader with "gimme" and "free" literature, I've no problem with that. Mark Coker has some carefully researched and well reasoned comments on this topic. Absolutely read what Mark has written on this topic.
Published 2016-11-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Rosebush
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 32,150. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
Myrtle Allen was born in Paris, Texas, in 1896. She saw the doughboys go away to fight World War I, survived the flu epidemic after the soldiers came home, had children and raised them during the Great Depression. Over a lifetime of 99 years, she was divorced once and widowed twice. She met presidents and governors, politicians and judges.
Sermon At Deadman's Bend
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 47,510. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Religious biography, Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Christianity / Methodist
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
Hiram Enlow was raised in Adams County, Mississippi, near Deadman’s Bend. As a young man he moved to Wilkinson County where he married Nancy Ann Enlow. He became a regionally famous Methodist Episcopal clergyman. This book tells his story from the time of his birth until he was granted License to Preach. It highlights Hiram Enlow’s early years as an exhorter.
Conversation With A Barn Cat
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 4,740. Language: English. Published: April 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literary collections » American / General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.29 from 7 reviews)
This short collection of essays will bring a smile of recognition to those who love the people, the land, and the culture of the Ozarks. The author evokes the rhythms of a nearly forgotten life style. The overall tone is gentle good humor blended with love for the time and place. Illustrations by Betty Singer evoke sweetness and empathy.