Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Like what, Green Eggs and Ham? Hell no I can't remember the first story I ever read. I admit I love Dr. Seuss and think that his work taught me that writing should be fun. The first novel I remember. Or better stated the first novel that had an impact on me was "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George. Her novel made me want to leave my suburban life and see if I could make it in the wild. I truly related with Sam. Thanks Jean!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
FIVE? I'll give you three. When I was in College I read Old Man and the Sea - Hemingway's classic battle between man and nature and man v. himself. After that I read For Whom the Bell Tolls. His tight prose and penchant for dead hero made me a fan. On the opposite side of the spectrum a good friend turned me on to John Dies at the End by David Wong. What I loved most? Complete irreverence, humor and monsters thrown in for good measure. Ransom Riggs use of photos for his Miss Peregrine series is groundbreaking. Samual Clemens Pretty much everything he wrote I have enjoyed. Bottom line, he looks at life from a perspective that is outside the norm.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Whatever I have in hand. While working in New York I took the subway from Soho to Queens every day. My iPhone was the reader of choice for The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evinson and Eats Shoots and Leaves, Lynne Truss's fun scamper through the world of grammar and prose.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Damn good question. I will let you know. I am going to use everything I can find... Website, FB, Tweet, Linkedin, Smashwords.
Describe your desk
There is an old fashioned inkwell and rubber blotter resting on a leather padded desk top with framed pictures of famous authors and Colonel Sanders to inspire writing. The desk top is the size of a pool table and made of teak recycled from sailboats that have circumnavigated the globe. Nah, right now I am sitting on a couch with a leather folder on my thighs. This acts as my desk while I type.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
South suburbs of Chicago. Chicago is what I consider a relatively new city (compared to our European counterparts.) that has aged fast and enjoys a checkered past. I love to walk around downtown snapping pictures and watching people. And, what do you know. This became the setting of my first book.
When did you first start writing?
When I was 10 my Grandfather told me a story about how the family came to America. His story, one that included a dead British soldier, captured my imagination. Later my dad wrote it up and distributed it to us. In this story I could see the main character come to life. In a barn where the light of the moon shone through the gaps in the planks and horses snorted and stomped in their stalls. I could see a young kid sitting cross legged at a location where the moon beams collected. Around him danced the fairy folk. It isn't make believe, it is the lore of the Emerald Isle. This is a story that I will be completing soon.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I've answered this before. But never completely. Yes, I dreamt about the main character and the Abbey. And yes, I used to travel from Peoria to Chicago through the abandoned strip mine area where the story is set. There were other things behind this story. Jane Addams and Hull House. I studied this material as a practicing community planner. Her work was a major influence regarding white slavery. The Sanitary Ship Canal was my playground when I was a kid growing up. We used to believe that there were bodies buried in the depths of that brown water. My life as a Gypsy, traveling from town to town helped me understand how people think and helped me build characters. I suppose I could have saved you time and just said "everything." But hell, I am a writer.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is a launching pad for independent publishers... Of which I am one. Thanks
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There are a bazillion bullshit answers for this question. The honest answer is... Writing is effing hard work. Publishing is tantamount to running into Kujo, Norman Bates, Damien and Ghostface in a dark alley with a full moon and a Werewolf coming for your backside. Putting your work out for the world to purchase, read, and hopefully enjoy is scary shit! If there is joy in doing this it comes in the form of positive reader feedback. Oh, by the way, I really enjoy having characters walking around in my head.
What are you working on next?
There is a character in the Cinder Hill novel named Fast Eddie Pavolik. He has a very small part in Oota's story. But, he stayed with me as I was working on the Cinder Hill book. I realized he was going to become my next main character. I wrote the main story through NaNoWriMo a couple years ago and currently have a friend doing editorial review. I am shooting for Spring 2015 launch for "The Redemption of Jonathan Prouty."
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.