Interview with Jim Liston

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in South St. Louis, Missouri. The neighborhood is about 6 blocks from the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and is known as the Soulard district. It's being rebuilt now, but in the 60s it was a rough, inner-city neighborhood. Some of the characters in my stories are based on people I knew as a kid. The story, Ronnie and the Smoke Bomb, for instance, is a true story with some altered facts thrown in.
When did you first start writing?
I've been a musician all my life and originally wanted to be a song writer, so I've always written down ideas that came to me. The past few years I've started writing short stories and flash fiction on my website, and the positive reaction from readers has encouraged me to continue writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The main character in my book, Jim Gotweb, owns a computer store called Jim's Got Web. It's a play on his name, get it? Well, you try coming up with something for a name like Gotweb! His wife, Diane, is killed during a robbery while working in the store. Jim sees the killer leaving and notices a spider tattoo on his face. Being a computer nerd, he finds a way to search for the killer by hacking into people's computer.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always been a hands-on kind of guy. I've taught myself to play the drums, guitar, and mandolin. I've also learned how to write computer programs and develop websites on my own. It's more satisfying to be in control of my work. It's more work for sure, but you only have yourself to answer to.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is an indie author's dream come true! I wish I would have thought of it! The information and support is amazing. I can't imagine how much more difficult publishing would be without their help.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I enjoy the feeling of sitting down to a blank screen and watching a story develop. I'm always surprised at how the story turns out and what choices the characters make during it. A close second is listening to readers comment on how the story affected them. I've gotten insights from people about my stories that haven't occurred to me.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on another short story collection. The story I'm working on now is about a serial arsonist who is starting fires on a regular basis. He's being chased by a Detective that is also a fire fanatic, so he completely relates to his motivation to create fires.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love to read O'Henry, Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, and I've been enjoying a lot of the new indie authors arriving on the scene.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My wife and I live in a house in the country with our dog, and three cats. We love to play our acoustic instruments on the deck and sing bluegrass songs. The neighbors are too far away to hear us, so we don't get any complaints.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use a Kindle to read on. I still read print books, but the convenience of having all of my books on one device is amazing, especially when traveling.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I think the best thing that works for me is word of mouth. I carry business cards with me and tell everyone I meet to read my book. I've also had great luck guest posting about my book and using social media sites like GoodReads and facebook.
Published 2013-08-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Invasion of Privacy and Other Short Stories
Price: Free! Words: 17,640. Language: American English. Published: August 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » Anthologies, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
(4.75 from 8 reviews)
If you're the person who murdered my wife and think you've gotten away with it, think again. I'm looking for you, and I'll eventually find you. Is someone watching you through your webcam right now? No? Are you sure? Jim and his team of computer hackers are searching for a killer. They know they're invading your privacy and it's illegal, but they don't care.