Interview with Desertphile

What is your writing process?
The great writer Robert Louis Fontaine was asked that question. His reply was "I sit at my typewriter, open a vein, and bleed." That is the process I go through, too. Unlike writers such as Louis L'amour, who could write at any time and in any place, I struggle to write unless I am free from distractions. My best places to write are in remote, isolated, desolate areas of the American Southwest desert--- the environment that Zane Grey found conducive to writing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No, I have no idea what the first story I read was: does anyone remember what they first read? I doubt it. "The Monkey's Paw" short story by W. W. Jacobs was one of the most notable stories I read as a child. My mother and I read the short story together, frighting ourselves silly. The story is about making wishes, that would come true, that "changed fate" in ways that demanded a monstrous price.

"Desert Solitaire" also. Edward Abbey was the last of the great American writers.
How do you approach cover design?
I approach cover design with dread, dismay, and fear. I then ingest a pint of whiskey to steady my flagging nerves, and I call up a graphic designer and beg for help. I then tell the designer, in a slurred and drunken voice, that I want the main character depicted in the foreground, the secondary character in the mid-ground, and the setting of the story in the background as the "back drop." I then modestly tell her or him that I want my name on the cover, in the smallest font possible while still being readable.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love science, and I read peer reviewed science papers, published in science journals, for pleasure. I also love history, and specifically the history of the American Southwest.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
At the moment I like the Kindle Paperwhite. It is the only ebook reader I have used, however: perhaps there are superior devices.
Describe your desk
Heh! I have Season Two of "Breaking Bad" in DVD formation to my left. A large soup spoon, with which I scratch my back when it itches, is also on my left. A pocket watch, which I must wind twice a day, is in front of me. A magnifying glass, sans handle, is next to the pocket watch. A pile of chocolate chunks lays temptingly next to the watch also. Unpaid medical bills take up about 53% of the rest of the desk. Finger picks for my Dobro are in the distant left corner.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I have never grown up, and I do not plan on doing so, ever: why bother? This fact colors everything I write, mostly beneficially: mature people write like shit.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was 13. That's 13 months old, not 13 years. Professionally I started writing when I was 20 years old, freelance for the magazine that used to be titled "American Astrology." As every sane person knows, astrology is bullshit but I needed the money and I was happy to prostitute myself for $80 per article.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My love of the East Mojave Desert prompted me to study the geology, biology, and history of the region. I have had a love affair with the desert for over 40 years, and I write about what I love.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Money.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am not a success: check back with me in a year.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My ego demands that I tell a story that people want to take their time to hear. Writing feeds and gratifies that ego.
Who are your favorite authors?
Edward Abbey; Stephen R. Donaldson; Edwin Corle; Douglas Preston.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
There is a rooster here at the ranch that insists upon standing in front of my bedroom window before screaming at the world every morning. I bought a shotgun to solve this problem, but so far I have not applied the fix. Stay tuned....
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am always writing, constantly, every waking second. That does not mean I am always sitting at my type writer hammering the keys; it means that I am always polishing a story or two in my head.
Published 2015-01-21.
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