Interview with John Sloop Biederman

Give readers a hint as to what can be expected in the first "Cosmic Misadventures of Floyd Pinkerton" novel where the free download leaves off.
Firstly, while the free e-sample gives a title, it's only a working one right now. Without giving too much away, I'll say that 1920s-styled gangsters, epic space battles and some downright Lovecraftian stuff is ahead--all still comic and, in fact, often downright silly.
Still completing the first novel, what about the characters, world, etc. makes this "series-worthy"?
I created the Floyd Pinkerton character around 25 years ago, for a short story then intended as a one-off. But the members of a writers' group I founded and ran at the time all LOVED him--so much so, they created their own Floyd "fan fiction"! For various reasons, I gravitated away from novels (don't want to rehash my Author Bio here)... In any event, getting back to the endeavor and seeking a novel topic/theme/etc., Floyd immediately came to mind. Humor's become my Main Thing over time, been diggin' sci-fi a lot lately--and also feel our turn-of-the-century obsessions with wellness, morality, etc. is priming the way for a backlash... Enter cigar smokin', hard drinkin' space putz Floyd Pinkerton!
So is the free download story the original Floyd Pinkerton tale from way back?
Yes...edited, tweaked, bell-and-whistled. Whenever I work with something written back in my rookie days, tossing it out is always a feasible option. And as a short story, it also required some jiggering to lead into a novel. But the way it set up the characters' chemistry--Floyd and his "frenemy" Bob Tripeman--worked swimmingly. Again, it was a huge fave among writer peers and it's usually best to follow what works. Most importantly, re-reading after so much time, it still had me laughing aloud. And I'm the type who usually only smirks at things I find brilliantly hilarious. Not to mention, it's even harder for me to make MYSELF laugh.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
While, on one hand, I appreciate the self-empowering nature of indie publishing, to be completely honest, circumstances drove me to it. The same bug that had me returning to a novel after decades also drove me to try reworking and re-pitching an old novel of mine (now on Smashwords). "'Hab" is a much different animal than the style I'm known for and, with experience under my belt, I now understand WHY it didn't see a traditional publisher. I obviously found it worthwhile enough to publish here but... When the new novel's complete, I'm in fact trying the traditional agent route first. As one whose print journalism career of decades was destroyed by the Internet, I'm deeply troubled by the state of copyright, publishing, etc. today. But "writer" is my lifelong identity; I'll go indie if I must.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I do receive joy in immersing myself in other worlds, escaping and such. But I feel I mostly write because I am COMPELLED to. The Internet's murder of journalism (and my print career), along with a rough hand dealt by the Great Recession, put me in quite a funk for a few years. For a while, I very near ditched the idea of a writing career as a valid goal. It was amazing how much my attitude, mood, outlook--whole life--improved simply by returning to novels and fiction again.
Who are your favorite authors?
Curiously, it can be a trick for readers to understand HOW some of my greatest influences play out in my own work. Edgar Allan Poe is one prime example as perhaps my single greatest writing hero. (My poetry takes much from his rhyme schemes, meter, etc., though I don't write on dark, depressing or horrifying themes.) My humorous influences aren't all writers. There's Mark Twain, but also Laurel and Hardy, George Carlin, Bob Newhart... Kurt Vonnegut is probably closest to what I'm actually writing now.
What is your writing process?
I'm the type who punches a time card, so to speak--I write every day and when writing needs to be done, I do it. It's been a long time since I had such severe Writers' Block that I didn't know what to write, but in those cases I wrote about how I couldn't write. I avoid Block by having multiple projects (if stuck with one, can shift to another), keeping notes on things to kick around in my head as I go about my day (chapter titles for instance--so I don't just sit thinking on such things)... I'm also usually big on outlining plot, etc., ahead of time, although for this novel, I dove in. (Then started rigorously outlining about half-way, as I had to write synopsis, query letter, etc. to pitch literary agents, since at least the skeleton of the whole story is necessary for those things.)
What do you read for pleasure?
I unfortunately rarely read for pure pleasure, although I do enjoy reading in any event. I keep up on the news, including local arts coverage in indie pubs. I read a lot about science, especially astronomy and related fields, to write science fiction. So I have a regular reading routine, daily and weekly--when finished with that, it's pleasure reading. Currently, on the last few volumes of "The Complete Peanuts." Naturally, I love science fiction, fantasy, etc. and humor, but I try to read most EVERY type of books/stories/etc., which I find helpful since I try to write "beyond genre." I've even went out of my way to read romance, Western and other genres I'm not generally compelled to pick up. Well written is well written. I hope readers who don't always go for scifi or humor will read me--remaining open minded in their choices, as I try to be.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I e-read on my iPad, but I'm still probably doing most of my reading via physical books and newspapers. Slowly moving my reading into the Modern Age, although for practical convenience, the old book works just fine.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Well... I'm working on it. Planning to approach a traditional literary agent and go a traditional publishing route with this coming book/series, if I can. But I realize, even with traditional publishing, that I'll be expected in this day and age to do some of my own marketing. So I'm learning as I go about utilizing selfie media and such. Seems to me that Twitter has so far been most helpful. In the end, I think great writing is perhaps the greatest "technique" for marketing said writing.
Describe your desk
I do a lot of writing on the go--on the bus/train between gigs, wasting time downtown between gigs outdoors, etc. So, to some extent, my "desk" is wherever I am. Even in those cases, I usually set out my attaché case as a desk of sorts, have a water or iced team at the ready, get a desk-like environment working... When home, though, I do find it helpful to have a Work HQ--actual desk I do indeed sit at, even if I don't really have to with wifi and such. This has the typicals like printer, a holder for pens and such, tape dispenser, etc., but also knickknacks--an Edgar Allan Poe action figure, a monkey carved from a coconut shell I bought as a child visiting Hawaii, old 1950s-style mini-robot, page-a-day "Word Origin" calendar as well as an astronomy-themed wall calendar... Guess this all sets the mood and immerses me in...well, who I am.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are everything. Without readers, there's no communication and thus no art.
What are you working on next?
The novel I'm now finishing, which continues where the free download here leaves off, should be finished by late summer or perhaps fall. While I am trying the traditional route, approaching literary agents, which can take some time, I'm going to start the pitching process this month (May 2016). If I'm still courting agents when the novel itself is done, I'll put a different free sample here on Smashwords to keep buzz going and tide over readers. In any event, readers will be able to read it as an e-book and hopefully in traditional format as well. Depending on how arrangements would shake out with an agent, an e-version may very well still be on Smashwords--and, in any event, I'd in some way, perhaps through another interview like this, keep Smashwords fans abreast of news. Note that the upcoming novel is the first in a series, The Cosmic Misadventures of Floyd Pinkerton, too. The end of the first novel sets up the next adventure, which is already kicking around in my mental gears, but readers will have to wait and read a hint on that.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life itself. I'm an optimist and even when things are tough, I greet each day as something to be better than the last. Even with a schedule-packed, ugly day ahead, you never know whom you may meet, what ideas may come... I honestly also look forward to my writing and performing projects and sometimes beat the alarm clock up to get going!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I do performing and acting, but then again I consider a lot of that writing, too. Rather than writing about a character's facial expressions or gestures on paper, for instance, I "write" on the spot what my acted character's may be. I'm a homebody and love hanging and watching tv, fireplace going in cold months, kinda part watching, part reading, part working (thinking on story ideas, title names, etc.)... As far as pure relaxation, I like cooking, trying new restaurants, theater, art and dating women much younger than I.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No. But I do remember writing extra credit fiction in grade school. They'd give you a paragraph or two and have you make a story from it. I do recall one about a giant elevator that went far into the sky, but don't recall what I did with it. I wrote "radio plays" around then, too, including a murder mystery "Who Killed Mr. Hammond?" I recorded these with neighborhood kids as actors. Still have that recording on cassette. Not bad, all considered, but now can't imagine how anybody'd Guess The Killer, as was the intention.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not sure of The Actual First, but loved reading as a child. I remember the psychological dilemmas in Poe's "The Black Cat" as really what spurred the writer in me. Late grade school or early junior high, it let me realize that writing could be more than just telling an escapist story--it can spur thought and perhaps even change the world. Mark Twain's stuff reinforced that idea, too, read around the same time.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Chicago area. Ringwood Illinois, McHenry County, sorta country, sorta suburban. Maybe someday professors will figure this one out, but I don't feel that influenced my writing nearly as much as my life's experiences and reading.
Published 2016-05-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Night I Partied with President Trump: An Alt-True Story
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,250. Language: English. Published: February 23, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Alternative history, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
The alt-true story of a chance Chicago encounter with President Trump, soon after his 2017 inauguration. In this tribute to New Journalists of the 1960s and ’70s, especially Hunter S. Thompson, Trump hides out, and parties down, in “fringe famous” author, performer, etc. John “Sloop” Biederman’s home. In Gonzo style, the tale blends fact and fiction not to deceive, but to pursue Higher Truth.
Drunk Space Driving in the 21st Century (or Prelude to the Cosmic Misadventures of Floyd Pinkerton, Space Crock)
Price: Free! Words: 9,120. Language: English. Published: November 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(3.00)
In 2091, partying Floyd Pinkerton crashes on an ice planet in a stolen craft. Soon Earth frenemy Bob Tripeman also crashes a stolen ship. They team to fix Bob’s, of Zzurkwin design (insect-like aliens), to face the beings’ reclamation attack, and being located by Earth authorities, on launch! Their escape primes Floyd’s next on-the-lam space misadventure…after witnessing Mother Earth’s dire fate!
'Hab: The Other Side of Rehab
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 104,460. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
This POV Big Rehab tour tells the Other Side of our Sacred Recovery Cow. Follow 23-year-old free-thinker Boris, and a diverse band of fellow 'Habbers (half on repeat stints), as he's floored to find 12-Step religious indoctrination via a 20th Century hospital. Desperate to quit, fearing for his very life, Boris learns he must recover by rejecting the Program, rather than through cliche acceptance.
The Complete Daily Limerick (1999-2000)
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 33,160. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs, Essay » Sociology
The first two years of DailyLimerick.net from Sloop Biederman (MAD to Chicago Tribune; Comedy Store LA to Double Door Chicago)! This series watches it grow, from traditional Limerick per day to plug hosting 1999's 10th National Poetry Slam: Limerick Slam, to noted media source (TV, radio, print) with anti-partisan commentary section as Limericks, too, evolved to include news and human experience.