I generally just read on my computer, honestly, though I have on occasion used my wife's Kindle. It's a nice device, easy to use and I might get my own someday.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm only just starting out so I can't really say, at least not as far as ePublishing is concerned. Within the furry community, though, it's simply been a matter of writing real, engaging stories that a reader can care about. Just because you're writing pornography or genre fiction doesn't mean it can't also be good. Treating my reader seriously has led to a lot of word of mouth suggestion. I have also found getting artwork of the characters and scenes draws in a lot of potential readers, too; the image takes less engagement but makes the viewer want to know more. In eBook terms I suppose this would translate to "Write a good book and get a good cover".
Describe your desk
I either sit on my couch or a table at a coffee shop.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Kent, Ohio. That's a college town most famous for that time the marines shot a bunch of college students during a hippie protest.
Growing up in a liberal island in the middle of a very conservative area definitely had an impact. I am a very open person, liberal in the sense that I want variety in people, including conservatives, but I'm always worried about the consequences of being so open. I look at all people as valuable and justified even when they disagree with me and I just want to understand why they think what they do. I try to carry this in my writing, where even the worst characters are fully fleshed out, have real reasons for their actions and are, I hope, lovable in their own way.
In short, I don't like propaganda and I don't want to write it!
Growing up in Kent also inspired my love of squirrels. They're kind of a big deal there.
When did you first start writing?
In third grade a teacher noticed that I really liked to read and gave me a sort of mini-journal. I immediately started planning a book that I was sure would get published and take off because I was kind of a silly kid. I still sort of remember most of it and it was heavily derivative of movies I'd recently watched. It also taught me early on that it's a lot easier to plan a book than to sit down and write it.
In high school I got more serious about writing, doing some very long 'short stories' as well as getting into writing poetry. Neither is terribly uncommon for the age and neither carried on too much into adulthood.
College was a slow time in writing for me. I did write a few things but I never attempted to publish them at the time. After college I decided it was about time I stop making excuses to wait and got to work.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My experiences with traditional publishers were not good at all. Those who aren't already with them have a hard time getting in, often flat out stone-walled. The pay is pretty bad on top of that and when you can work with them editors have massively different opinions that are completely unpredictable.
Finally another author suggested ePublishing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The joy of writing is hard to place. In its most basic form, writing is communication but it's far more satisfying and moving than simple saying what you wanted to convey. I suppose part of it is that you're making a case for your statement but I don't feel that goes far enough to explain why I love writing.
Our lives are, in the end, a series of stories. The fictions we write are like whole new stories, whole new lives, and the fact that they aren't real don't diminish how moving they can be.
What do your fans mean to you?
Well, fans are great! It's kind of like making new friends, something that can't be overrated. It might be impossible to really meet and get to know each and every one of them but you can give them a glimpse into your mind and they can appreciate it, you can pass messages back and forth, and in the best cases you might one day meet a like-minded person you already have all of this history with right out of the box.
Writing is about people, after all. Without the fans writing is meaningless.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on three novels.
The first is a pornographic fantasy novel. Like my other adult works it's a serious story and the sex is an active part of the plot.
The second is sort of Victorian era biopunk. I don't want to give away anymore of that surprise, though!
The third will be a novel following up on the Evil Petting Zoo short stories I've done. I will probably continue to do cheap and maybe even free short stories as well that take place after it, or I might continue the story in novels only. The idea is to move the metaplot forward so I can get to the real meat of the story.
Who are your favorite authors?
John Milton, author of 'Paradise Lost'.
Harper Lee, author of 'To Kill a Mocking Bird'.
John Varley, scifi author (I'm especially fond of 'Steel Beach').
Steven Erikson, fantasy author of 'The Malazan Book of the Fallen' series.
I'd like to think a little of their influence shows in everything I write.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
But getting out of bed is so hard....
Honestly, though, it's my wife. I used to oversleep all the time until I started taking responsibility for helping her get up each day and get her own day started. Honestly, she's my inspiration for a lot of things.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Occasionally working on artwork, even more occasionally on a video game or movie. On a really good day I'll get to do so me tabletop gaming, even! Most of my free time is spent socializing, though. I just like being around people.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
In grade school we wrote little children's stories one time. The best of us read ours to kindergarten students. I recall mine being highly praised by the kids. It was about a teddy bear that got left behind when a kid moved and found its own way to the new home. I know, it's been done SO many times, but I was like ten or something. Cut me some slack.
What is your writing process?
So, planning can happen one of two ways. The first is to start with a general concept like "I want to write a Western" and then I talk to some other writers/particularly helpful friends about it and hammer out a real plot and characters and all. Alternatively, if I'm alone for a long drive, preferably silent and in the dark, I'll plot out stories in my head with surprising efficiency.
Then I start making notes about the story in a word pad. It's all stream of consciousness, often telling myself I'm awesome or stupid. This is where I discover most holes in the plot. As I find more holes and issues I write more notes, conversing with myself sort of, until I have it all worked out.
Then I write a summary of the story, each paragraph representing a scene (or more paragraphs for really long ones) where I detail all of the major actions and necessary content.
Finally, I start writing each section directly above the summary, erasing it as I write out the sections corresponding to each sentence, until I have a story.
Then I re-read it over and over, changing wording and adding things. I'll do readings where I specifically only look at clothing (did I remember to even discuss it?) and physical features, others where I keep character details in mind and watch for when I bring them up and when I forget to, etc. Of course, I also read it out loud. I watch for word repetition, repetitive sentence structure, etc.
Then I finally send it out to readers and rewrite based on their suggestions.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was five we moved house, to another city, without my father. I was handed "The Cat in the Hat". I may have read something earlier, most certainly even, but this is the first book I remember reading. Since it was about, basically, the invasion of a child's house and it took place while I was moving it became pretty emblematic for me. It really showed me how situations that aren't identical can still carry a lot of the ideas and feelings that yours does. It's a big part of why I think books are important; our stories may be different but we're feeling the same things.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This will overlap somewhat with authors, but ok.
Paradise Lost: John Milton To be honest, I think this is the best thing written in the English language. The prose is just amazing, the structure is tight and while I'm not religious I can be moved by the power of religious ideas. It also had such an incredibly impact on our culture and the way we see institutions, including the whole concept of 'sympathy for the devil'.
To Kill a Mocking Bird: Harper Lee Harper Lee is an astoundingly skilled writer. That she only wrote this book is unbelievable. It's also poetic. She had one story to tell and she wrapped up so much into that story, and so tightly, that it became one of the most important books ever written. Everyone should read this book. If you didn't like it, well, you should read it better next time.
Steel Beach: John Varley Before I read Varley's writing I hadn't taken scifi all that seriously. I thought of it as better for movies, with neat imagery, than for books. Varley taught me how wrong I was and now I'm obsessed with scifi. He takes a realist approach to scifi, not in terms of technology but in terms of the stories he tells. Regular people living regular lives in alien places. This book also totally reshaped the way I thought of gender and how it relates to people.
Gardens of the Moon: Steven Erikson Before reading this book I had gone from a childhood love of Fantasy to considering it largely pointless. I'd read too many formulaic, derivative stories by that point. I wanted books with real, deep meaning and new ideas and it just didn't seem like fantasy was capable of that. Boy did Erikson change that... using history, archaeology and anthropology to inform his world and its history he built the most engrossing and meaningful fantasy I've ever seen.
Cherry: Christa Faust The last choice is always the hardest... and I went weird with it. Kind of cheated, too. This is a short story published in "Love in Vein", a collection of erotic horror edited by Poppy Z. Brite. This story surprised me. A lot. I expected another vampire sex story (it had to do with my dissertation, honest) and instead I got a deep, thoughtful and creepily sexy examination on gender, dissonance and our cultural symbols. An amazing little story that deserves more credit.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly high fantasy lately, but mostly because Steven Erikson's series is long it'll be a while before I can read anything else. I like to dip into scifi, too, and break it up with pulp fiction. I absolutely love pulp fiction and I don't understand why it gets so ghettoized.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.