When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm definitely a movie (and TV series) lover, so there goes a great deal of my time! I enjoy live comedy as well so I make it out when I can. I play piano and like donating my talent to charities like the local Piano Playathon.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I search for free and low-cost ebooks to see what grabs my interest. I prefer to start with a short story to see if I like the story and author's style. When I like an author, I'll seek out his or her other works and be more apt to invest in it. I need to develop a better habit of leaving reviews. I know I like them!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do...and I'm still very surprised I was not immediately sent to a therapist! I distinctly remember writing a story in elementary school (I think 1st or 2nd grade, 3rd at the latest). It was a sunny spring day, and I sat against the warm bricks of the school. I had colored pencils (maybe it was crayons) and large sheets of manila paper. I proceeded to write a story about a babysitter who cooked and ate her charges. Complete with illustrations. Yikes. The teacher read my story and said it was very good...but maybe she was scared?! I guess that explains why the other kids wouldn't play with me!
What is your writing process?
I'm a bit old school - I don't usually sit down in front of a computer and write. I've found that taking along a wide-rule composition book and a plethora of pens helps me to write wherever I go - whether it's to my lunch break, an outdoor concert, waiting for a comedy show to start or out to dinner (but only if I'm by myself - otherwise, that'd be rude!). Then I rip out the pages I've written, bring them back home and transcribe them into my working digital copy. When I think of a story idea, I have a good sense of what I want to happen but I try not to force the characters to act a certain way. For instance, in the novel I'm writing, I am often surprised as to what any character might do or say since I didn't have their dialogue and actions planned out ahead of time. It's kind of a wild feeling and I like it!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read was Stephen King's "The Dead Zone". I found a hard-bound copy in a church sale for $2. I had never heard of this author before, but I decided $2 was worth it and I was intrigued by the description on the back and inner flap of the dust jacket. The story became one of my favorites, and Stephen King an author I seek out. I still have that $2 copy of The Dead Zone on my desk and I hope one day he can sign it!
How do you approach cover design?
I've never pretended to be an illustrator so it was a bit daunting to find a cover for "No More Weekends". I looked at stock, free images on the web but none of them fit my needs. Then I found a stack of out-going cubicle walls leaning against a wall. I laid on my back and took some pictures of them. I wanted to present the cubicle walls as looming and unending, and I'm overall happy with my choice. I found a free font I liked and it made sense to use it for the title and author byline. It was fun to do the cover, and I'm thinking of how to put together covers for upcoming books.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
"The Dead Zone" by Stephen King - it was the first novel I wanted to read (and not made to read in school!). It inspired me to write.
"A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving. A book that made me laugh but also broke my heart. I can't place my finger on why I like John Irving's writing - I just do.
"NOS4A2" by Joe Hill. An excellent novel by Joe Hill. While i can definitely see where he got his talent from his father, he also found his own voice.
"1984" by George Orwell. I didn't like it, or get it, when I had to read it for H.S. English, but I definitely appreciate it now.
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl. I loved this book as a kid and it's one I could keep re-reading. I still have that hard copy..wonder how it's held up?
What do you read for pleasure?
I switch off between novels and short-story anthologies. While I pick up the latest Stephen King books, I like to try other authors too. This is why I love ebooks - those who can write don't always get published traditionally.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I am slowly moving to an e-reading device although I'm older and stubborn - I still like the feel of a book in my hands. But ebooks are a great thing and I'm getting used to a first generation Nook I have. I also have the Kindle app for my phone which is good in a pinch but a bit too small of a screen for my liking.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Good question...I'm still figuring that out!!
Describe your desk
My desk is made from the top of my Grandma's baby grand piano from the 1930s, which was painted an antique white. I didn't have room for the piano nor the money to restore it, with no guarantee that it would keep a tune. I hated to have to take it apart (no one else wanted to invest the money to restore it either..go figure!), but I did retain enough pieces to make a desk out of it. On top is my laptop and a 1940's style desk lamp I have a copy of "The Dead Zone" on the desk to serve as inspiration, unlike the Dalek who threatens with its gunstick. Good thing there's a mini-TARDIS nearby.
How do you promote yourself?
I'll admit, I'm bad at promoting myself. However, I have no problem promoting others' works. Here are some books from indie authors that I've really enjoyed!
The Monstrumologist (Rick Yancey) Sour Candy (Kealan Patrick Burke) Horrorstor (Grady Hendrix) Night of the Living Trekkies (Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall)
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