Interview with Frank Buchan

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on the run. Or, with less dramatic flair, I moved a lot, never staying anywhere more than a few short years. In some cases I traversed thousands of miles (kilometres if you prefer) in mere months. That lack of roots left me detached from places and people, and gave me a desire to explore both.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote a short novella at the age of nine, which won several awards; but, in fact, my grandmother used to play tape recordings of me at the age of 4, regaling my brother, sister, and cousins with adventure stories. Had I been able to write then, I probably would have been. And since I basically learned to tell stories verbally, my writing tends to reflect that focus on storytelling, and an aware disregard for perfection of grammar. (After all, people do not speak perfect English!)
What's the story behind your latest book?
I woke up one morning with an amusing idea about an isolated, abandoned town on an island; and an IT industry investor who has a mind to claim the family seat that was once on there. I still haven't a clue bout whether I intend to write it in full, or just leave it in draft form.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I write obsessively, and my one-time agent regularly complained I refused to sit in one genre. So, since she dropped me (too hard to sell), I continued to write and eventually the technology caught up to me.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I haven't had much success in practical terms, but I have had a number of great folks read my work, enjoy it, and contact me for chats via email. That was worth the effort.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Escaping the world, which is no place at all to live.
What do your fans mean to you?
I write for myself, and so when someone professes enjoyment, and decides to become a fan, they are essentially an extension of me. Creep though that sounds, what it really means is that I have no closer relationship with non-family members than I have with my small fan-base.
What are you working on next?
I am always working on at least a dozen books, either editing or writing, or experimenting, One of the best parts of the indie world is that I can price at a buck, making the experimentation reasonably acceptable. Tell a good story, charge a low price of admission, and play with words...a perfect combination!
Who are your favorite authors?
Patrick O'Brian, M.C. Beaton (I know that's her pen name, but it is the books under that name I enjoy), Johnathan Kellerman, Michael Connelly, Edgar Allan Poe, Murray Leinster, Arthur C. Clarke, J.R.R. Tolkien, and J.K. Rowling. Though, frankly, I love to read anything creative.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My daughter.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Lately, looking for paying work. I'm a software developer, so it absorbs way, way too much time.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Smashwords, often; Goodreads, occasionally; and blogs of all sorts.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I still have it. It's not half bad, and I often think about editing it and making it a freebie.
What is your writing process?
Think about the people and stories in my head, then sit and write in bursts, overwrite to excess, and then edit brutally about a month later. I have a scary memory for details, and a memory palace tuned to write, so I don't spend specific excessive efforts on research (though I do a lot of it).
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes. Brothers Grimm tales, from a ratty old book my grandmother had. Not the watered down ones, either, but the brutally direct ones. It made me aware of the idea of the parable, I suppose.
How do you approach cover design?
Finger-crossing. I hate covers, am bad at designing them, and weep to see the finished ones I produce.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Lately, an iPad, but only because I broke my Kobo e-Ink device.
Describe your desk
What do you read for pleasure?
I will read anything from reference books to romances, just because you never know where you will find a gem.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm a terrible marketer. It isn't that I don't care, but that I find the process distracts from what I care about most -- the writing.
Published 2013-12-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.