Interview with David Reinhardt

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The very first? Well, the furthest back I can remember properly would be about fifth grade. We had an assignment to write about anything we wanted, and I chose to write about a father and son that were separated. I wrote about how the father had impregnated the boy's mother at a hotel and abandoned her there. Pretty dark material for an eleven year old to write, but that was the sort of stuff that I saw or heard about in my daily life. Write what you know after all.
What is your writing process?
First off I like to list out the events I want to occur for the chapter I am writing that day, I prefer to write a chapter a day rather than let it be split up, keep the same idea going. Once I have a few good ideas for the chapter I start up music and go about writing out those ideas. Each one a paragraph I get the basic idea out, and then when I am satisfied that I covered the basic ideas I tear the chapter apart for what other ones joined in. With this new mix of ideas I set out to repeat the process, adding more and more until the chapter feels like a mini-episode in the life of a character. That's for fiction, for non fiction I found that chapters are harder to define, ideas come in as I'm writing and they don't quite fit in with the rest.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
That's pretty far back now. In my childhood I had very little, just some old dictionaries and mythology books. The bible and Greek books. I read both of them, well, all of them to the best of my ability as a small child. Over time I realized that the gods presented, be they singular in their world or many, are all just flawed people. The mighty beings that we are to look up to were flawed people just like us, and from that I learned that we are who we worship. But in the case of the stories we try and present them better than we are, and over time values dissonance kicks in. No longer considered right to beat women, treat your children like property, stuff like that. But people still do it, and we look down on them, so we shift our worship over to either new entities or edit the old ones. Overall I learned to think for myself and to reject what authority tried to force me to do, even if it took a long time to fully kick in.
How do you approach cover design?
Well, if you look at the first attempt at a cover that I put out you would see that it's rather not good, to say the least. I wanted to let my friend make it for me since I knew that my design was lacking something, my design was a reference to a popular video game but I lacked a part to it that would make the joke work due to my lacking artistic skills. In general I would say that I prefer minimalism, something that looks clear and clean. Also, something that is a reference to something else, I rather enjoy using references. Helps make a connection with your target audience, or to just laugh at since it's an in-joke.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Of Mice and Men, the Greek Myths (in general, just books containing them), Lost Souls, 1984 and Lord of the Flies. First off Of Mice and Men was something that at first I was not too into, the puppy drowning really got me. But the treatment of Lenny really got me, I have had complicated thoughts about the mentally disabled for years, and the treatment of this man by George really touched my heart. Not to spoil it for anybody, but if you've read the book you would know of the event at the end that showed compassion in a way that few could possibly understand. For me the Greek tales will always have a place in my heart, I really am into the idea of a pantheon of Gods. They are flawed, powerful, and stand for ideals that just about anybody could get into, at least one of them is. I look for similar set ups in other fiction, be it video games or movies. Movies never really have the same depth to show off such things though, it's a real pity. Lost Souls was a pretty good book that I read what, five years ago? The author interested me, transgender, and thankfully he has been going well as of the last I read of him. The book itself showed off vampires as basically parasites, but the humans were just as bad really. Humans being monsters as well really fascinates me. With 1984 we have a book that is sort of like a contraceptive, or a meme of anti-government tyranny. Because of it people are more genre savvy of life, and thus are better prepared for stuff that the government tries. Similar to Zombie films, if we had a real zombie threat we would be able to handle it fairly well I think. The Lord of the Flies book is a good study into how children are basically at heart little sociopaths by and large. Well, humans are, but adults tend to have social mores better pounded into them than children.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy reading about subjects that I find interesting, so more articles and he like than actual books. ADD runs in the family and I find it hard to stick to a book for long periods of time. That, and the small size of a book makes it hard for me to get comfortable, I prefer to read on a large screen. But for story reading I enjoy low/heroic fantasy, post-cyberpunk sci-fi and crime drama, be it modern or more fantastical. My preferred stories tend to focus on the daily lives of the protagonist(s), slice of life stuff. Be that just their lives in a city that is nearly under martial law or adventures in a forsaken land full of a chance at riches. High fantasy and space opera that focuses on large events tend to lose my attention, I prefer to latch onto a small cast and see how they do than hear about vague numbers or white/black conflicts.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I don't really like to speak about my upbringing all that much, but for the sake of reaching my readers i would like to give them some insight. Now, my memory is a bit hazy but I'll do my best for the general events. I was born in Traverse City, Michigan, to a woman that I dislike calling my mother. Birth father nowhere to be found as he was just used for genetic material, an individual that wanted a son was dating the woman however. My early life was apartments and trailer homes. Poor upbringing, not much to read, just old movies and video games that nobody wanted any more. I did well in school though, teachers wanted to jump me up a few grades but family declined, wanted me to not be more stunted socially than I already was. When I was around eight or so I lived in an apartment complex with a good deal of general scum/blue collar workers. Not to say that blue collar workers are scum, it's just that they were stuck there with the scum like I was. One of my neighbors was a crack addict that was obese. He showed me this game that until recently I had no idea what name it was, but I enjoyed how it looked. It was Morrowind, and that began my love for RPG games. They helped me escape my surroundings and get into stories of another place. When I was moved into my grandparent's care I played them more and more, over time I even wrote fan fiction. I'd say that it was those games where you could make your own stories that is what influenced me the most. My stories tend to be about poor but skilled individuals growing up beyond their birth status to be something in life, although life is filled with strife.
When did you first start writing?
Hmm, well, if you mean actual stories on my own and not for school or fan fiction I would say about five years ago. That would be 2010, and I was about 16. Might seem old, but until then I lacked a good writing method, notebooks cost money that my family did not want to pay every month. So, with the family desktop computer I would work on short stories, started with a series about some kids in high school. It was sci-fi, focus on human augmentation and the ruin of old ideas of what it means to be human. From there I worked on other ideas, all short stories, never full on books. Not until now.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Technically speaking my latest book was my published one, but I am already working on another. Since the published one is non-fiction I'll go with the currently worked on book. So, the story behind the new one is about a former cutpurse who has turned his lie around for the most part. Being a former criminal he knows the streets well so he becomes a private investigator for the city. It's fantasy, real low, even for my setting. He lives in a coastal town known for it's issues with drugs and the slave trade, but with him starting on the other side of the law now he will slowly work to break down the vices of the city. I want to focus on a non-combatant sort of guy, normally you see heroic individuals fighting or anti-heroes going to town on worse villains. The protagonist is a man that made a living off of keeping track of people, knowing who to rob from and who to avoid. He's not one for fighting, he'd rather track you down and break you in other ways. It's that idea of a person fighting crime non-physically that really excites me, show people how they can overcome their issues through more than brute dumb force.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I grew up poor and loving stories. That's the short version anyway. I grew up wanting to not have to live the life I did. To not be in a family of degenerates that neglected me at best. So I made other worlds to avoid the one that I was born into, and I want to share those worlds with others because I think they are really cool. That, and I have a natural knack for story telling, be it telling lies or just being imaginative. I might be horrid at grammar at times and need an editor, but at the end of the day a good imagination is something that is quite hard to come by, let alone aim at a proper goal. Also, I like control, I would never want to have to write for somebody directly. I might write to help make fans happy if that would also interest me, but to have to edit my work to make some publisher happy is not something that pleases me in the slightest.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me would be the sharing of my imagination. It's hard to exactly put to words what I have in my head but what I can get out is something that I want to share with people. With friends, family, total strangers on the internet, I enjoy making stories for other people to read and immersive themselves in. Be it my fantasy world in which humans are war-mongering jerks that irk the other races or the sci-fi one in which wet work is normal for any business to stay ahead. I really want to show off what it means to not be just human, but a person, a person with feelings that has to suffer others in order to live. People tend to want fiction to be power trips for them, self-inserts, but I want to basically do the opposite and take the suffering I see around me and insert it into the fiction. Make people see it and accept it, if possible deal with it. But at the same time I love to show the beauty too. A mother's love, a town's adoration for your good deeds. You don't see that often at length, you might see the town cheering, but you don't see the homeless woman tearing up because you helped save her life. Our actions have impacts on others, good and big, small and large, and I want to help show that off in the fiction I write.
What do your fans mean to you?
Now, fans are something that I see other people try to avoid, as in the term fans. I have no issues with it what so ever, because of the duality of it. They can be what it's short for, fanatics, or they can be simply people that just love your work. In work such as this fans are your life-blood, they get you money and are what drive your work. Not to sound cynical, they are more than just numbers on a screen or just little pockets of revenue for me. I know that each purchase tends to mean that somebody said that I was good enough for them, that I'm good enough to support. They could have illegally downloaded my book, or just read the short bit that I let them read before they buy, but they read what I put out there and said that I was good enough. That's something that means a lot to me. Growing up I have always been treated like I failed, even though I graduated with honors and with enough scholarships to cover years of college. So to do what I do, and to have people say that I'm good enough for them, it means a lot. My first book is about addiction and abuse, how it's so ingrained in American society that it's cyclical in nature now. I want to show people issues, real issues, and have them face them. So what I want most, beyond just to make a living, is to help people. I have low standards of living, I don't need a lot to get on with, but what I do need is to feel like I've helped people personally. You see people, youtubers and other celebrities, do all of these charity drives where they convince people to donate money towards something. That feels empty to me, and is more of a personal marketing tool than anything of real value. I want to personally speak with people, either through book or skype or whatever, and actually help them. Anybody can have a lot of money moved towards some vague goal, but in order to go out to the goal and work with the people is something that I want to do.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The desire to overcome generations of failure and make something of myself via the tools I have. Everyday I try to get some work done on something, be it a book or some scheme I've got going. I don't have much, but what I have is drive and intelligence.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a big gamer, that was my tool for escapism growing up and it's become a life-long hobby of mine ever since. Role-playing games are my favorite, you get to exist in these large crafted worlds made by fellow geeks that were in your shoes when they were your age, young and in love with fantastical things. Other than gaming I also love to walk around, that's how I get ideas going, and to binge-watch stuff on Netflix. I also chat with online friends, try to make new ones to help out with issues, I like to spend time with people in need of personal help online. People with depression, transitioning genders or other personal issues. Sometimes you just need a helping hand and I want to be that for people, even if I'm just a stranger on the internet.
How can fans help you further your work?
Well, due to the payment method of this site I won't get steady money, so I need it via other means. I have an account on a site called patreon.com, it's sort of a play on words of patron. Patrons in the old days of artists would hire them to make works for them, and with the modern patreon web site fans can donate to an artist to help them with their work. Mine is set to monthly, so that I can get regular payments in. With donations I will be able to rent a place with my best friend and editor, thus allowing me to write with less issues arising. We don't need much really, I just live in a rather crap place right now and need somewhere that I can get my creative juices flowing. You can find my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/silentbros?ty=h . Please excuse the name, I have plans for other creative work and needed a name to cover all of it.
Published 2015-09-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

No Gods, Masters or Drugs
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 11,830. Language: American English. Published: September 22, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Social Science » Sociology, Nonfiction » Social Science » True crime
This is a non-fiction book detailing the cyclical nature of substance abuse and child neglect/abuse that has happened in America for generations. Detailed inside are a brief explanation of each of the last three generations, a few brief looks into popular substances that are abused as well as a personal anecdote about my own family and how substance abuse has damaged it.