Interview with Israel Finn

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Usually reading. I also like watching movies, but overall I'm not a big TV fan.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Primarily through word of mouth. I'm friends with a lot of writers and readers on Twitter, and I get most recommendations from them. I also pick up a book on my Kindle if the blurb catches my eye.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yeah. I was twelve and I wrote a story about a man who went to hell. It was pretty bad.
What is your writing process?
Nothing too rigid. I don't use a desk or have an office. I just sit on my couch with my laptop. Sometimes I listen to music, but mostly I prefer isolation and quiet.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not sure about the first story I ever read, but the first one to have a major impact on me was Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. That story opened my eyes to what reading could be, to the movies that played out in your mind once you saw past the words on the page. I was hooked after that.
How do you approach cover design?
I've done my own covers before. But covers are hugely important and they shouldn't be given only cursory consideration. Now I pay for professional covers, though I still like to do my own fonts. I'm sure I'll eventually have someone else do the whole shebang for me so I can just concentrate on writing.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Stand by Stephen King
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
1984 by George Orwell
Wool by Hugh Howey
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Simple: great storytelling.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read the same kind of stuff I write. Mostly horror and dark fiction, and some science fiction thrown in for good measure. Occasionally I'll read something completely off my usual menu, just to cleanse my palate. But I love horror and it's always what I come back to.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Just being myself and making friends on social media. I think if you don't genuinely enjoy interacting with others it shows. So I just have a good time, share stuff I find interesting (usually dark art), share and comment on others' posts, and occasionally mention my work. I honestly believe an organic process works best, and that's something you can't rush.
Describe your desk
It looks suspiciously like my lap.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Indiana, and this shows in my writing I think. I live in California now, but many of my stories tend to have rural settings and situations, because it's what I know best. I know how Midwesterners think and behave. When I write about those people it feels honest to me.
When did you first start writing?
When I was around eleven or twelve.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's a collection, titled Dreaming At the Top of My Lungs. So there are a variety of stories there, but they are all most decidedly dark.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I thought about it long and hard. I listened to stories from authors on both sides of the fence, and in the end I decided that indie was the way to go for me. Mostly it's for the control, because I like to guide my own ship. But it also has to do with the fact that I get to keep a greater percentage of my royalties, which means I can pay more bills and buy more food. To me that's more important than the prestige of being a traditionally published author. Not to say I wouldn't consider a deal from one of the big houses if it was in my best interests to do so.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Nicely.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being able to dream up imaginary people and find myself lost in their world, sometimes almost to the point where the line between reality and fantasy blurs in my mind. It's a trip.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything.
What are you working on next?
Something that will scare the pants off of you.
Who are your favorite authors?
Richard Matheson
Stephen King
Ray Bradbury
Jack Finney
Robert McCammon
F. Paul Wilson
And many others...
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life.
Published 2016-02-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.