Interview with Robert Deming

What's the story behind your latest book?
In recent years I have vacationed in Fort Davis, which is quite a bit different from the urbanized part of Texas. Like we say when we're there, "There's nothing to do in Fort Davis, and we're good at it." After the Rock House Fire of 2011, I was walking in the Davis Mountains and saw that with the trees and grass gone, the whole place is made of rock. I made a friend there and heard stories about the place. When I was looking around for a story to follow my Enchanted Rock stories, Fort Davis kept coming to mind.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I haven't got a chance in hell of getting traditionally published. I believe my writing is as good as anyone in my genre, but it is a crowded field. I don't have time to chase a publisher.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The Smashwords Style Guide, while daunting at 117 pages, has taught me a lot about formatting a novel. My earlier novels look somewhat amateurish in comparison, although the stories are very good. Writing and editing/formatting are two different skill sets, and fortunately I have just enough in both to make it work.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love it when a scene comes together. Half way through writing Enchanted Rock Red, I pushed my chair back from the kitchen table and said out loud, "Damn, this is a good story!" I wasn't sure what I would do with it up to that point, and that is when I decided to write for publication. I often get to the end of a scene and say to myself, "Where did that come from?"
What do your fans mean to you?
Having readers is more than an ego boost, it is validation that I have written a good story. I am better known in my town than anywhere else because most of my readers have read a print copy they bought from me in person. When I run into them around town, they often say, "When is your next book coming out?" That's fun. I have something over 1,000 readers around here, so I hear that often.
What are you working on next?
I just started another flying story set during the Cold War. My first was AWOL 21, a novel about a US Air Force T-38 instructor pilot. The story is based on my experiences but is not autobiographical. I am using the same character in Killer 21, but flying the KC-135 tanker. I flew it prior to my T-38 assignment. Flying a fighter over North Vietnam would make a glamorous story, but I wasn't there, and I wouldn't do justice to the brave men who were. The tanker wasn't glamorous, but it was an adventure, and death was always lurking around the corner. The story starts on the runway at Guam in 1975.
Who are your favorite authors?
I read a lot while I was on alert duty at Rickenbacker AFB, Ohio, with my airplane outside, ready to go to war. Tony Hillerman (Navajo Tribal Police stories) and Edward Abbey (Monkey Wrench Gang, Desert Solitaire) were my favorites, and I read everything they wrote. My biggest compliment as a writer came from two different people who told me my stories remind them of Hillerman.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I get up when I can't sleep. It is dark and quiet, just me and the cats; the dogs aren't early risers. I read the financial news, look at client accounts, then slip over to my current story and re-read what I wrote the night before.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
i walk every day, these days at Cross Mountain City Park at the north edge of Fredericksburg. While writing the Enchanted Rock stories, I walked there - longer walks, usually between one and two hours. Many plot details have popped into my head on these walks; not a paragraph, not a sentence, just a word or two. I rush home and write it. I also see clients, mow the lawn, cook; the mundane things. For adventure, I kayak rivers and climb mountains, and I have been known to wet a fly in search of the elusive trout.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I hear about books on NPR. I used to write titles on a scrap of paper while driving and hope I could get to a bookstore before long or get it through the library. Now - poof! - I have in in my Kindle. Love it!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote a scene in college at age 20 - just a couple of paragraphs - from my recent experience in Air Force ROTC summer camp. I didn't know what to do with it, but that made me believe I was capable of writing. I minored in English in college; I was one course short of a minor in French, but I was a slacker, and I knew I would have trouble getting through the last course, taught by Bubreski.
What is your writing process?
I write at the kitchen table on a laptop computer, usually late afternoon, after the financial markets close, before I make supper. My first three novels were written on a computer missing the C key tab; it would make a C, but you had to push the key deliberately, so I avoided words with a C. I have no process, I just write. I start by going over the last scene, and by the time I've read that, I usually know what happens next. If I don't know, I go for a walk. I have no outline and I don't know where the story will go until it gets there. When I get to the end, I have to go back to the beginning to make it match the end. In Fort Davis Rocks, the end is the beginning, which was brilliant, if I don't say so myself.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
"The House at Pooh Corner" or "Now We Are Six" by A A Milne. My parents read to us (all five of us) and those stories were about Winnie the Pooh and Toad Hall. I was an avid reader as a kid.
How do you approach cover design?
I took the cover photo for Enchanted Rock Red on my iPhone while walking at the park. The cover photo for Enchanted Rock Blues(s) was given to my by a German photographer I met there. The cover for Awol 21 was a drawing of a T-38 I found on the internet, and purchased the rights to use it from the artist's widow. I saw the cover for Fort Davis Rocks on a friend's Facebook page and purchased the rights (she lives there and is a magazine publisher). I used Create Space Cover Creator for all, but recently contracted with a Smashwords-referred cover artist to do the design for Fort Davis Rocks. I am quite happy with the result.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up one of five kids in an Air Force family and lived all around the world. That experience had a lot to do with who I became. I have some Greek in one of my novels, because I lived there during Jr High and High School.
Published 2014-12-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Fort Davis Rocks
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,040. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Thriller set in the high desert of Fort Davis Texas. The police officer at the state park; the daughter of a rancher gone 30 years and now a trial lawyer; a best selling writer looking for peace and quiet to finish his current novel; a poetic bartender; a greedy banker, and a malevolent motorcycle gang member who stays behind when the rest of the gang leave, all collide as wildfire threatens.