Interview with Alan Livingston

What are you working on next?
I've learned that I can be more productive when I have more than one project going at once. Right now, I actually have three novels in progress, all of which I think readers will enjoy. As special a book I believe "Gabriel's Creek" is, at the same time I can acknowledge it might not be for everyone. It's pretty thought-provoking and moves at a pace to allow a depth of thought. The three novels I'm writing now have more action, and, without really trying, arguably have more aspects of more interest to more readers. I'd like to say all three can be out in 2017, but we'll see. Look for "Bogeys" first, a story of unlikely friendship in the form of historical fiction from post-World War 1 France.

I also hope to begin sharing more short stories by publishing them, instead of leaving in my document files or occasionally sharing on my website, www.alanlivingston.com.
Who are your favorite authors?
I've been a Kurt Vonnegut fan forever. I actually had the chance to take an English elective in college that was exclusively his works. (That was a long time ago!) I'm on Goodreads, and you can see my reading lists there. For contemporary authors, I really like Robert Crais, Ward Larsen, and especially David Rosenfelt (I love dogs). I respect as well as enjoy Stephen King, Dennis Lehane, John Grisham, and Dean Koontz, although I admit I haven't read them extensively. Fiction authors I enjoy who are no longer with us include John Steinbeck and Michael Crichton. I love the noir books of Cornell Woolrich, James M. Cain, Charles Williams, and David Goodis.

Probably about half my reading is fiction. I love golf to the point I swallow up golf fiction, most noteably "Final Rounds" and "Billy Boy". I also love golf non-fiction, including instruction (you'd never know from playing with me), but especially golf history, of which "Tommy's Honour" is required reading.

A child of the "space age", I enjoy going back into a lot of what I would call the history of manned space flight. For example, one of my favorite books is "The Last Man On The Moon" by Gene Cernan. I also particularly enjoyed two books by long-time space broadcaster Jay Barbree.

I hope those answers match what's on my Goodreads profile!
How did the story of "Gabriel's Creek" come about?
When I began, It was really the combination of a couple of dreams that I had, pretty close together. In the first, I was shopping in a golf shop, one that began like a Golf Galaxy or any typical golf paraphanalia store. It started to kind of morph into, let's say, one of lower quality as I looked through some individual clubs lined up against a wall. When I wondered what was happening, I looked up to a window, and outside was not what it should have been: it was the golf course I grew up playing as a kid. Well, calling it a golf course is a pretty loose interpretation - goat ranch might be more appropriate. Hey, it was great with us at the time! Anyway, I saw that entire municipal course in west Fort Worth (no longer there) out the windows. That created a get-zapped-to-courses-I've-played theme that's prevalent in what became "Gabriel's Creek".

The other dream was being told I was going to die soon, and quickly realizing that all I wanted to do before I died was to play one more round of golf. (A working title for a long time was "One More Round of Golf" - it didn't make the cut.)

What I find odd about this book is the fact that, when I wrote it, I didn't really know what I was talking about, as it relates to what goes through a person's mind when they're told they don't have long to live. I didn't when I finished the first draft, anyway. Then, I was diagnosed with the first of my cancers, and dealt with being told things along the lines of what my main character had been told, fictionally. I'll grant you, I did further editing before publishing, but the story itself was born before I had the experience of being told by doctor's that time was short.

Let's just say that as I write this answer, I'm a long way past what should have been the end, and, knock on wood, things are good. I also know intimately how quickly that can change. Again, that's a lot of what the book speaks to, and I wrote it before I was the authority on the subject I was to become. I might be the only one who finds that interesting, but I do.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, the youngest son of older parents. My dad was an aeronautical engineer, while my mom was a teacher. She taught grade school before I was born, but taught piano in the home until after I left for college. You learn a lot about our home life in "Intersection With History", which is mostly about my mother.

In "Gabriel's Creek", the main character grew up in a Texas town I'm really familar with west of where I did. He then went to college at TCU in Fort Worth, a university I'm as familiar with as I could be without attending it. There's more about all that in the Acknowledgements at the end of "Gabriel's Creek". That might be a good place to find subliminal answers to this question.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle. Mainly Paperwhite, but i-phone app as well.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
That might be one thing I like most about Goodreads: that's my primary shopping point for books of any kind. I sure love my Kindle, but sometimes, I still like that hardcover book for my shelf. More often than not, I'll read a book electronically, and then, if I like it, I'll buy a hard copy for my shelf. Sometimes that's for reference, but sometimes, it's just to have it.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! That sounds really corny, but it's true. The fact that anyone would invest their time, much less their money, in reading what I've got to say is the ideal reinforcement that I'm doing something positive. If you write, and receive no feedback, it becomes what my mother once called, "talking to hear your head rattle".
When did you first start writing?
I remember in grade school publishing a school paper for the first time, using the school office's mimeograph machine to crank it out. I recall a story about Catfish Hunter pitching a perfect game. Since everybody there probably had families connected to aircraft manufacturing, I remember some articles related to the nearby air force base and the plant where my dad and many others worked. By high school, I was pretty immersed, through a Journalism elective, in a very good school paper where I became Sports Editor with a regular column.
How do you approach cover design?
I seem to have a vision of what the cover will be, developing in my mind as the story comes together. Then, I try to get a cover designer to share that vision. Unfortunately, the old accountant in me means the designer has to put up with a lot of revisions until I get where I want to be.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I kept being steered to finding an agent, being told I HAD to have an agent. None of them wanted to touch me because I came with no back list, no inventory of books already written. The more of them I talked to, the less impressed I was with THEM, and began dreading the thought of having THEM representing ME. So, I switched to dogging publishers, learning as I did how indie publishing would skip a lot of the grief a "new" author would go through, IF I was to find one willing to take a chance on me anyway. Put that all together, and that led me to self-teach self-publishing.
Published 2017-07-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Intersection With History
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 35,310. Language: English. Published: July 21, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » History » American, Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
November 22, 1963, Fort Worth, Texas: Air Force One carries President Kennedy and his party to their next stop in Fort Worth’s sister city. But when shots ring out in Dallas, lives change. Among those are the author and his family. Intersection With History tells how that day refreshed old memories for a mother and former teacher, and how her oldest son’s life was changed forever by a hand shake.
Gabriel's Creek
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 97,510. Language: English. Published: July 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Inspirational
The enchanted 18 holes of a mysteriously unlisted golf course prove much more enlightening for a dying man’s final round than he might ever have imagined. Reaching the final green, he learns Gabriel’s Creek Golf Course exists somewhere between the earthly world and the next.