Interview with Robert E Vonne

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I think it was a first grade report on a field trip we went on. All I remember is concluding that "we had a ball." My teacher thought that was pretty funny.
What is your writing process?
I'm a person who can go to extremes, but when it comes time to write, I practice moderation: I eat well, keep the caffeine down to two cups, get a good rest, and tear myself away from the keyboard to take breaks. My product can get daft if I don't do what it takes to stay in a lucid state of mind.
Apart from those considerations, I meditate before I start writing, and try to focus exclusively on the job.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Robinson Crusoe. It made me want to be a lonely hero in life, and to survive all the obstacles as I came across them. Even a child can appreciate the strength of character, bravery and willpower Crusoe and Friday needed in order to survive and make a life on the island.
The story is dated in some ways if you look at the relationship between Robinson and Friday, but if you can put that aside, I think it's still a decent read.
As it turns out, I often have taken the road less traveled, and so my childhood dream of living a hero's journey has largely come true.
We are all heroes in important respects, and I believe that understanding that is one of the keys to overcoming cynicism and embracing philanthropy. Only in fiction are people ever bereft of good or admirable qualities. A good person's life, in many ways, is like Robinson's: You try to muddle through and build a meaningful existence, despite being ultimately alone as a spirit in this world.
How do you approach cover design?
I have to admit, I have been chaotic in my approach. I've settled on the notion of an eye-catching and vividly rendered cover, without pretensions to artistry. To the author, a book cover might seem like part of the mundane marketing process, but to a reader, it can be the first impression that makes or breaks the story they subsequently read. Once I figured that out, I think my cover design became competent.
What do you read for pleasure?
Lots of non-fiction; I find that factual inspiration is suited to the sort of fiction I write, as well as bolstering my essay writing.
For fiction, I read a lot of contemporary poetry. A great poem - and there are plenty to find here on Smashwords - is worth a long wait, and even a mediocre poem is entertaining. I often wish I had been a poet, but I didn't develop that side enough when I was young.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My laptop for pdf's and epubs. When Smashwords floods Amazon with titles, I think I'll look at a Kindle.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
You can try to go far with marketing methods, but I find that in the long run the best thing for sales is four and five star ratings, with detailed reviews that encourage others to buy/download and give my work a try. There's hope for the marketing-challenged Ebook authors out there: If your product is good, then you've got the most important thing going for your sales.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in an older (now gentrified) section of Ottawa that was lower-middle class and a bit looked down upon by surrounding neighourhoods. I can recall the almost daily brushes with snobbery for living there, and to give you a picture of how it affected my sense of justice and my writing, I'll tell a brief story:

As I mentioned above, the neighbourhood of older character homes has become gentrified. When I was still quite young, a yuppie family moved in down the street. They had a son about the age of my pals and I, but after a short time he wasn't allowed to play with us, apparently because we played too rough for the parents' tastes. Shortly after, a tall cedar fence went up around the property, and the husband announced that "We're going to get you people out of this neighbourhood." The other families had been there for decades - my father's family moved into the neighborhood in 1916, and the year of this story was circa 1977 - and the thought that these snobs would crash our gates and push us out filled myself and some of the other kids with rage. (We afflicted that family's property with countless harassing pranks for years afterward.)

The idea that money and supposed status entitle one to arrogantly displace people from their homes was an early experience with a sort of injustice that, sadly, is still very much a part of our society. It made me realize that in this sort of quasi-authoritarian democracy, we are all equal - equal, that is, to how much wealth we have. It was an experience that has stayed with me, and caused me to do a major rethink on how free-enterprise democracy ought to be designed.
Published 2014-04-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Farting With All His Might: The Endangered Status Of The Hetero Male
Price: Free! Words: 1,380. Language: English. Published: October 20, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor and satire, Nonfiction » Sex and Relationships  » Men's sexuality
(5.00 from 1 review)
He who makes of himself a sight/By farting with all of his might/Awakens to a new created plight/That all the women have taken flight. Can men catch up, grow up, stand upright and drop the clubs once and for all? Why is it, ominously, that for so many, the image of the ideal male derives from 19th century theories of cavemen? Can't a man be a real, authentic human being? In free society- yes!
One Man-Eating Muskadore Gone To Wherever They Go
Series: The Man-Eating Muskadores, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 1,670. Language: Canadian English. Published: January 21, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Adventure » Action
Sequel to "The Man-Eating Muskadores Of The Ottawa Valley". I thought my last piece yesterday would be my last. I never intended to get autobiographical with my writing, but here's my account of how I finally became a man....
The Man-Eating Muskadores Of The Ottawa Valley
Series: The Man-Eating Muskadores, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 1,310. Language: Canadian English. Published: January 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Adventure » Action
It's no sissy grizzly bear. It's no wimpy sasquatch, either. It just might be the worst opponent a person could have in battle...and I've seen one with my own eyes. My father left a mixed legacy for me, and now I have to pick up the pieces. For the first time in my life, though, I'm beginning to feel like a mature man. Definitely not a story for the faint of heart!