Interview with Len Calderone

What is your writing process?
The concept comes first. Many of my stories have a basis in nightmares that my wife had, but the essential element in all of my stories is that the ending be a surprise even when you think you solved the mystery. The ending is what drives the story. Then I write a general story line; go back and fill in scenes, and then look at every senteance to see if I can make it better.
How do you approach cover design?
I look at the story and try to make the cover fit the story line. I personnally never buy a book because of its cover. I need to read a synopsis to see if the story intrigues me.
Why do your stories have to have a surpise ending?
Most stories have a beginning, middle and end without challenging a reader's imagination. With all of my stories, the surprise comes in the last few paragraphs, so the reader must follow the story line to the very end.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Lunch. I like to write at night, so I usually sleep until around noon. Actually, I look forward seeing what my mind creates each day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I not only write short stories, but I also write technical articles for three different emagazines. This takes a lot of research, which I truly enjoy. When I do get a minutes or so, I like to sit out by the pool and read.
Who are your favorite authors?
Isaac Asimov, Dean Koontz, Brad Meltzer, Wilbur Smith, Michael Connelly, David Baldacci, and John Grisham.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Wow, that is a good question, as I was always a reader. My earliest recalled story was "Riders of the Purple Sage" by Zane Grey. His writing was so beautiful and simple, but his stories kept me glued to the page. Because of this, I always tried to write and read.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Very much so. It was written back in 1970. It was called "It's so cold." I actually wrote the story at a picnic table in an Arizona park when the temperature was near 100 degrees.
What do you read for pleasure?
I do not read just one type of book. I could read science fiction today, a detective mystery tomorrow, or even politically based books. I especially like horror books and "Twighht Zone" types of stories.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I am just starting out in the ebook market, so I don't have any real results yet, but I am building a strong following on Facebook ( and hope that this will spur sales.
Describe your desk
Chaotic. As my wife is my inspiration, I have a portrait of her directly in front of me, which I took, as I was a professional wedding photographer. My computer screen is set off to my right while the remainder of my desk is cluttered with story ideas, scrap papers and research notes.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Baltimore, but my writing did not start until I moved to Phoenix in the late '60s.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Actually, I do not write books. I prefer short stories. I have written a non-fiction DIY book on wedding photography, which I am in the process of editting.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy that writing gives me is to write something that challenges the reader so that they look forward to reading other stories that I have written.
What are you working on next?
Since I have been writing stories for many years, I am working toward publishing one of these every month. Some of the older stories need a new facelift first.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in the 60s. I started writing short stories and continue today. I also write articles for industrial publications.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It is a real hassle to work with agents and publishers. They are not favorable toward short stories, which I like to write.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has given me exposure that I would not normally have.
Published 2014-10-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

For the Trees
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,710. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
There was nothing scenic about tress that hid the sky, fallen stumps to climb over, vines that seemed to grow around Brian’s legs, even as he moved, and the silence, the deathly silence. He hadn’t heard a single car since he entered this . . . this, whatever it was. Brain couldn't see where he was For the Trees.
The Robots Among Us
Price: Free! Words: 17,110. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Engineering, trades, & technology » Robotics
Not long ago, robots were just in the realm of science fiction. Today, we find them everywhere in our daily lives. This book is a compilation of non-fiction articles that I have written for an emagazine, which delves into robotics. Beware, the robots are among us.
Juror #6
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,190. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
What if you were called to jury duty just to discover that you have been selected as a juror in a murder trial of a man that you knew was innocent because you committed the murder. Do you try to get him off or allow him to be convicted. The question is what happens after the trial.
From Theft to Murder
Price: Free! Words: 5,990. Language: English. Published: April 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Have you ever seen $10 million piled on a desk? What would you do for $10 million? What would you do if you thought that someone knew how you got the money? This is John Pierpont Ward’s dilemma. Greed drives John to "borrow" money from his firm's accounts without anyone knowing. Was his theft found out? Was he being blackmailed? Did he have to murder to cover it up? Was it all necessary?
Photograph Your Own Wedding and Save Money
Price: Free! Words: 12,250. Language: English. Published: March 19, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Weddings » Wedding planning & checklists
Save lots of money by having a friend photograph your wedding. This book takes a bride and groom step by step through the process of photographing their wedding with clear instructions on how to pose, light, and capture the memory of a wedding. Extensive details are given on every important photograph taken during a wedding.
The President's Agenda
Price: Free! Words: 4,770. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(2.00 from 1 review)
Stephen is an analyst for the CIA. He discovers a plot by the President of the United States, whose aspirations would take him to a higher world leadership position at the detriment of America. Can Stephen stop the President's Agenda?
I Die Everyday
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,980. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Adventure » Action
Jim is a civil war enthusiast. He finds an old box at a yard sale that takes him on a most unusual journey.
For 35 Years
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,510. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Sam and Mary were happily married for 35 years. She’s the love of his life and means everything to him. Then, Mary had a stroke and Sam had to cope with the outcome. How does he handle his best friend's inability to respond to him? And then . . . This story will touch your heart.
Portrait of the Lady in Black
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,800. Language: English. Published: June 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
Accountant, Aiden Brayden, falls in love with the portrait of the Lady in Black, which was painted 147 years ago. He visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art daily, until he meets Emma, the living image of the Lady. Is he betraying the Lady in Black by seeing the stunning Emma?