Interview with John R. Cobb

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
My latest book, Tales of the Cemetery Trees, is an eclectic anthology, including short stories about crime, fantasy, mystery, and the supernatural. I actually wrote many while toiling away on my first book, Judith: A Quoddy Tale. You see…I get kinda bored when working on a long project, so I took frequent breaks from my debut novel and wrote short stories. Many of my reading preferences were influenced by my favorite author, Ray Bradbury. I love writing short fiction as much as reading. 500 or 5,000 words, you can bang out an entire storyline in a fraction of time as compared to a full-length manuscript. If the reader market was robust enough, I’d probably write nothing but short stories.
Many of my story inspirations come about from my own personal experiences—excluding, of course, the boogiemen and psychopaths. At least, for most stories… Many story settings are actual places that readers would recognize if they ever visited, and characters are usually composites of people I have known throughout my life. And, sometimes, I have no clue where certain story ideas come from. Nor, do I probably wanna know… ;-)
How do you get inspired to write?
I wish I could say that I write x-number of words every day without fail, but I procrastinate terribly. My regular job as an IT Infrastructure Analyst drains my mental energy, so it’s a challenge to find the right moment to finally sit down and focus on a new narrative. As a result, I’m not overly prolific. I suppose if I wrote fulltime, there would be more words written down by the end of the day, but even then, I’d have to exercise great discipline.
Thus far, writing is a tedious endeavor where the fulfilling part for me isn’t the journey but the world that’s finally created in the end—a world populated with empathetic characters and powerful stories. I’m most satisfied when the story is said and done. However, I always feel a small twinge of excitement when I begin writing my next one.
What are you currently working on?
Although I normally write adult fiction, I’m actually working on a children’s’ story about a spotted turtle named Clemmie. I originally wrote the story when I was around eight or nine years old as a school project. For many years, my mother safeguarded the story, which was bound in a handsome handmade cover. Alas, it disappeared under mysterious circumstances several years ago. I suspect my sister had something to do with its disappearance, but she denies any involvement and seems to have an ironclad alibi. However, I’m still watching her. Someday, she’ll slipup, and I’ll be there to pronounce her guilt… Anyhow…I digress.
Rewritten in my adult writer’s voice, many details in the story are accurate in regards to turtle physiology and such, so I like to think the narrative is somewhat educational. Since the story is written with a rhyming, singsong prose, it should appeal to children of different ages, especially when read aloud.
Presently, I’m anxiously awaiting the last drawings from the book’s illustrator.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Since I procrastinate terribly, I’m not too afflicted by this malady. By the time I sit down in front of my computer, the next plot element for my storyline is already waiting to be written down.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
For goodness sake…please STOP!
Keep your regular job or get one where you can actually make a living because you may very well starve trying to live on e-Book royalties.
Indie publishing is great, and it has opened up the market to all writers, including myself. However, there are now a glut of authors clamoring to be read, and I hate to say it aloud, but perhaps, the quality of work on “bookshelves” has diminished somewhat. Of course, there are those, who say the same about my work. There’s just so much competition now, and it can very discouraging when you can’t find your readership.
That being said, perseverance is possibly the most valuable asset for an indie author—perhaps more so than actual writing talent and savvy online marketing. If you love to write, keep doing what you love. If you actually want to be a successful writer, keep trying. If you do happen to become a bestselling author, then please offer me some advice.
Good luck!
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
In my case, it certainly isn’t fame, fortune, and fawning adulation. At this point, I guess the best thing for me is having an actual book in hand to touch and smell. Yes…I like the aroma of a newly printed book. Just wish the toner tasted as good… And, it’s always a treat when a new reader emails and says how much he or she enjoyed the story. Oh…and finding a favorable review on Smashwords… Hopefully, fame, fortune, and fawning adulation aren’t much farther in the future. ;-)
Published 2014-08-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Tales of the Detectorists: The Wishing Well
Price: Free! Words: 4,190. Language: English. Published: December 3, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
Abandoned a century ago, Hebron Village was a thriving community until the tannery mill burned down, and residents were forced to look for work elsewhere. Now hidden in the Maine wilderness, little remains of the town but mossy foundations, rusty relics, and stories of an entity called The Hebron Witch. Undeterred by tall tales, The Detectorists, search for the ghost town’s fabled Wishing Well.
The Pact: A Quoddy Tale
Price: Free! Words: 8,550. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
A prequel to Judith: A Quoddy Tale, readers learn of an ugly incident alluded to in the original book but not fully realized until now. Beaten and raped by her ex-husband, Betty Bean is fearful and calls upon Jasper Mann to resolve the situation.
The Periwinkle Boy: A Quoddy Story
Price: Free! Words: 1,560. Language: English. Published: May 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Sea adventures
From the author of “Judith: A Quoddy Tale”, “The Periwinkle Boy” is the latest in a series of stories titled “Quoddy Tales”, an eclectic collection of short stories set in the farthest reaches of Down East Maine. Frankie had ventured onto the clam flats of Holmes Bay countless times in search of periwinkles, but on this night, he becomes lost in a strange fog with the powerful tide surging in.
Judith: A Quoddy Tale
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 80,710. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Adventure » Sea adventures
Though it has been years since the deaths of his wife and son, Ray Winn’s grief has not ebbed as he plies the waters of Passamaquoddy Bay aboard his lobster boat, Judith. Their lives deeply affected as well, Ray's father and brother-in-laws struggle through their own sorrow. When fishermen are beset by a spate of maritime accidents, stories are whispered about a melancholy song heard in the fog.