Interview with Raymond Dean White

What's the story behind your latest book?
"When the Impact destroyed civilization and re-sculpted the globe the only survivors were the hastily expanded crew of the ISS, who watched the devastation below with growing horror, while wondering if they would ever get to go home, a few Preppers, whose stores of food and other commodities made them irresistible targets and the desperate hordes who would do anything--eat anyone--to live."

That's the "jacket blurb" for The Dying Time: Impact and I hope it works as a hook for the book, but try this.

Imagine being a thousand miles from the actual impact site and being almost deafened by the sound and seeing buildings flattened by the shock wave. You are thrown off your feet by jolting earthquakes that peg the Richter scale, nearly burned to death by fire falls--think rain showers but with magma--and if you live along a coastline (or likely anywhere within several hours drive) you'll be swept away by tsunamis large as mountains. And those are just the immediate effects. Follow them with Impact Winter that lasts for years, plagues, starvation and having to defend your family against those who would murder, enslave, or eat them and you have an inkling of what Michael and Ellen Whitebear must endure to survive and begin rebuilding.

Meanwhile, aboard the International Space Station, the hastily expanded crew view the devastation below with growing horror and despair. Sent up to the ISS as our last hope at repopulating Earth should humanity become extinct there observing the cataclysm makes them wonder it they will ever get to go home. Besides, they have problems of their own.
How did you get interested in Apocalyptic Action Adventure fiction?
My fascination with Apocalyptic fiction began when, at the impressionable age of ten, I read "Star Man's Son" by Andre Norton and found myself having a series of exciting adventures in the post-apocalyptic landscape of 2250 A.D. I was hooked and later on, when I read Stephen King's "The Stand" and Robert McCammon's "Swan Song" I was addicted. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading the genre ever since. And when they started making movies like Mad Max, Armageddon, and Deep Impact, I was in heaven.
So you've been reading fiction since you were ten?
Oh, no. My mom and my Aunt Betty taught me to read before I started school. They started me on comic books, so I've been reading fiction since I was four. Now, I think every child should be taught to read as soon as they can hold an E-reader.
When did you start writing?
In 1983 I wrote a post-apocalyptic short story called "After The Dying Time" which simply wouldn't let me go until I'd expanded it into a full length novel. In fact, "The Dying Time: Impact," which I hope you've read or will soon read, is the prequel to that book. I'm in the process of updating "After The Dying Time" and will release it shortly as book two in my Dying Time trilogy. Though all of my books are complete, stand alone novels, I've always been a fan of books where the same characters reappear and I can enjoy them as they grow and develop. Since I write what I love to read, that is what I offer my readers.
What authors most influenced your writing style?
Stephen King (The Stand), Robert McCammon (Swan Song), Louis L'Amour (love those Sackett novels), and Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (Lucifer's Hammer). Those are the major influences though I'm certain Elmore Leonard, Robert Heinlein, J.R.R. Tolkien, Clive Cussler, Robert Crais and Carl Hiaasen have nudged me in certain directions as well--at least I hope so.
You've been traditionally published so what motivated you to become an Indie author?
A combination of frustration with traditional publishing, where, as an unknown writer you have a better chance at winning the lottery, and the realization that being an Indie simply fits my personality better. I also believe that indie publishing IS the future of publishing and that this democratization of print media is a good thing.
What is your greatest joy as an author?
Are you kidding? Playing God, getting to create a world, breathe life into characters and put words into their mouths. I love it when they take on a life of their own and surprise me by "saying" something or "doing" something that wasn't part of my original plan. I think when a character steals a scene from me and takes it in an entirely unpredicted direction it can lead to my best writing.

I would add that next to that is the thrill of being contacted by a reader who just read one of my books and was moved to tell me what it meant to them.
What do your fans mean to you?
The simple and obvious answer is that, next to family and close friends, fans are the most important people in an author's life. Without fans there would be no authors. On a personal level, I am a fan of dozens of authors. So I will treat my fans the way I want to be treated. I will do my best to deliver an exciting and entertaining tale that makes them glad they bought my book and leaves them wanting more. Often times we writers/authors like to think we work for ourselves. I've often said I'm self-employed or even self-unemployed and that I write what I love to read, but the reality is I'm an author and I work for you, my fans.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use a Kindle Paperwhite, and read so much I sometimes neglect writing.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth. I tell everyone about my books (in person and online) and hope that if they read them they like them enough to tell their friends about them.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I either look for a specific author I've read and enjoyed or simply browse. For instance, I might search for "Apocalypse" or "Prepper" or "Action/Adventure" or "Thriller" and then scan the books listed for covers or titles that catch my attention. Then I check out the book description and if it interests me I read a sample chapter and if that clicks I buy it.
What do you read for pleasure?
The same stuff I write--Apocalyptic Fiction. Though I do have eclectic reading tastes so I can read the latest Robert Crais (I'm a big fan) then gobble up a Carl Hiaasen or Janet Evanovich book on my way to a non fiction treatise on growing herbs or designing a photovoltaic system for my home. I'll bop over to the American Prepper's Network and read what's new on the homesteading forum, then dive back in to whatever book I'm currently reading.

Since I also write Thrillers with terrorist subplots, I read that genre as well.
You say your books come with a "prepper bent." What does that mean?
It means they offer useful information and resources for people interested in preparing for emergencies. For example at the very back of "The Dying Time: Impact" I included a pair of appendixes that list dozens of websites and useful links for Preppers, Survivalists or anyone else interested in the topic.

When I say "they offer useful information" I don't mean I dwell on how to can tomatoes for pages and pages. That would interrupt the flow of the book--and I like things to be fast paced. I work the subject into the plot in such a way as to entertain the reader. It also, means that Preppers are a large part of my natural readership, since I'm writing about subjects that intrigue them.
So, are you a prepper?
Yeah, I'm a Prepper. I think anyone who doesn't prepare for emergencies isn't thinking things through. I mean, you have home insurance, car insurance, health insurance and maybe even life insurance, right? I consider Prepping to be Emergency Situation Insurance. Besides, I'm not off grid (yet) and we lose power almost every time there's a storm so I spend a bunch of my free time finding ways to be more prepared. For example I'm working on designing and building both solar PV and hot water systems for our little homestead, as well as getting started raising chickens and rabbits.

Now, I'm not saying everyone should take preparedness to the extremes of the folks in the show "Doomsday Preppers" because everyone has their own comfort zone. But absolutely everyone should have a minimum one week supply of food and water on hand, and a generator and fuel to produce electrical power in case they get hit by a hurricane, tornado, or some other disaster. That's just common sense.

Besides, it's an oft cited fact that local grocery stores have at most a three day supply of food on hand. What happens if roads are broken or bridges are down or there's an EMP? The trucks that deliver those groceries can't get there and in the event of a widespread disaster like an EMP they won't be coming for months or maybe years. Three days--think about it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm an avid gardener of organic, non-GMO, heirloom vegetables. I mostly grow heirlooms because I want to be able to save seeds and have a crop next year without being dependent upon a seed store. Also, I love the flavor of a Mortgage Lifter tomato that was out in the garden ten minutes ago. Or how about a Hale's Best cantaloupe that just slipped from the vine? You get the idea. If you've never tasted garden fresh produce you simply cannot believe how much flavor you've missed out on.

I'm also a Denver Broncos football fan (lived in Colorado for 30 years) so during football season I WILL watch the game.
Where did you grow up and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in rural Kansas, small towns and farms mostly. We were poor in terms of money and rich in terms of life. We had a two acre garden, chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits and a beautiful Jersey milk cow. As a kid I enjoyed hunting, fishing, trapping and tracking--skills taught by my grandfather. I was raised to value honor, duty, liberty and justice, to protect and defend those weaker or smaller than me, to never back down from a bully and, as my grandfather would put it, to clean my own fish--his way of saying I should solve my own problems.

That background has had a profound influence on my writing as you will see if you read my books.
What are you working on next?
I'm in the process of updating and formatting other books I've written for release as ebooks. For example, I'm polishing up the sequel to "The Dying Time: Impact," which is titled, appropriately enough, "After The Dying Time." A short blurb for that book would be: In a post-Impact world there are Kings, subjects, slaves and those fighting to remain free.

It should be ready for release in a few months.

One of my terrorist thrillers will be titled "Tap Doubt." Terrorists are poisoning America's water supplies using an environmental cleanup firm as cover for their activities. Ousted CEO Nick Kuiper hires a beautiful con artist and her legendary grifter father to get his company back. When they tumble to the plot all hell breaks loose.

Then there's "American Jihad." When the towers fell on 9/11 American Arab Aden Saud lost his parents and ended up with a piece of shrapnel in his head, which made him unsuitable for military service when he tried to join up. Still, inside he has a burning desire to take the war to the terrorists--one bullet at a time. But can he and the CIA operative assigned to stop him prevent another attack on American soil?

Finally, I'm about a third of the way through the final book in the Dying Time trilogy. I don't have a decent title for it yet so I'm open to taking suggestions from those who read The Dying Time: Impact and After The Dying Time.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
As I said before, I'm a gardener. I live in the desert SW, which is a mixed blessing when it comes to growing veggies. On one hand it's hot and dry but on the other there's a long (pretty much year round) growing season. But since it's hot I'm inspired to get up early so I can get "outside work" done before I melt. Also, I've always been a morning person so I get a lot of my best ideas for scenes and dialog soon after I get up.
What is your writing process?
I like to let my characters drive the story so I'll start a scene with a good idea of where I want to go then let my characters take me in possibly unexpected directions. The cool thing is, my characters never take me anywhere I don't want to go. I know this sounds a little nuts, referring to my characters as if they were real but I believe that's a good thing because if they are real to me maybe they'll seem real to my readers.
How do you approach cover design?
I can't draw worth squat so I come up with a concept for the cover, then I discuss it with Jennifer at Acapella Web Design. She takes it from there and produces a tentative cover we can build on. She's a real pro and I rely on her to make my covers look good. She also designed my author website at www.RaymondDeanWhite.com. If I may continue to plug her business I'd add that her rates are fair and her responses are very fast--excellent customer service.

The aim, of course, is to develop a cover that grabs a prospective reader's attention and screams for them to click on the link and find out more about the book. I think cover design in terms of coming up with a concept is one of my strong points. Thank God, executing those designs into reality is one of Jennifer's strong points.
Describe your desk.
Absolute chaos, but I know where everything is. I took a page from Albert Einstein here and decided not to sweat the small stuff, just focus on the big picture. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Me and Al, desk buddies.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm only at the beginning stages here and don't really understand all the ways Smashwords will contribute to my success but without the Ebook revolution basically begun by Smashwords my books would languish at home on my computer. No readers. No fans. No success. So the main way Smashwords helps is by providing a platform that allows me to get my books out there. Basically, they have given me hope where there was none.

Now I'll undoubtedly release my books on Amazon as well, but Smashwords made it easy and, above all, possible, first.
Published 2014-11-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Bugging In: What To Do When TSHTF and You Live In Suburbia
Price: Free! Words: 96,860. Language: English. Published: July 13, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Sustainable living, Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Green living
What if The S**t Hits The Fan and no help is coming? How would you provide for your family? How would you protect them and defend your home? This book will help you develop a plan to survive and possibly thrive during hard times. It offers specific, real world, time-tested survival strategies tailored for suburban life. Be prepared and you won't have to be sorry.
After The Dying Time
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 180,030. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
As with THE DYING TIME: IMPACT (Book 1 in the Trilogy, which is garnering rave reviews) Fans who liked Lucifer's Hammer or The Stand will enjoy AFTER THE DYING TIME. In a post-Impact world there are Kings, subjects, slaves and those desperately fighting to remain free. The ISS crew is now on the moon where a mutiny is brewing and the second asteroid threatens another Dying Time unless destroyed.
The Dying Time: Impact Book One in The Dying Time series
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 136,070. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00)
When the Impact destroyed civilization and re-sculpted the globe the only survivors were the hastily expanded crew of the ISS, who watched the devastation below with growing horror, while wondering if they would ever get to go home, a few Preppers, whose stores of food and other commodities made them irresistible targets and the desperate hordes who would do anything--eat anyone--to live.