Interview with S. Rodger Bock

What are you working on next?
I'm right in the middle of the second Trilogy of the Edenix Cycle. We pick up the story about 400 years after Queen’s Reign. All I’ll say is things are heating up on this little planet way out on the edge of human settlements. Completing that will be my focus and passion for a while yet. Look for the latest release here on Smashwords. While you’re waiting on me, you can pick up the first Trilogy and get caught up, or read my popular free short stories available exclusively on Smashwords. Check out my stand-alone contemporary novel, Unfolding too.
Can you give us the backstory for your latest novel, Revolution's Requiem?
Deception. Oh, how I am tempted to leave the answer right there! I’ve always been intrigued with revolutions and the tumultuous changes that come with them. They are, I think, rich fodder for drama. The conditions that lead to revolt are often the concentration of power in the hands of a few. There are parallels with our current times.
What do your fans mean to you?
As I convey in the acknowledgements of my first novel, I'm just a raving lunatic without readers. With you, I have the chance if being an entertaining raving lunatic. Seriously, fans are everything. Just as you're not a leader if no one is following, you're not a writer if no one is reading. I appreciate every follower my social media channels. I appreciate those who have marked me as one of their favorites on Smashwords. I appreciate every downloaded book, sample, and sale. Investing your time to read my stuff is an honor, giving me your money too, well, that's a huge privilege and I don't take it lightly. Thank
you! Now, go read my stuff. It's cheaper than a meal at Taco Bell and lasts longer. :-)
What is your writing process?
I definitely dream first. I spend weeks or months just churning through possible big arcs to cover. Then I dream up the characters. Who are they? What's their motivation? What do they want out of life? What sort of past do they have? When I get this roughly done, only then do I begin to draft. My drafting process has changed over the years. I used to loathe editing. Now, I start writing each day by reviewing what I wrote the day before, building and shaping what was put on the page in a prior session. Then new words go in. Each of my most recent novels has taken me about four months to write once the writing actually began.
Do you work from an outline or fly the seat of your pants?
No detailed outline for me. Even my editor doesn’t know what’s going on. I strongly prefer to tell the story as I write it. I like discovering along the way with the readers. I have a pretty good idea of where things are going, but I leak it out a little at a time. I think readers are very smart people and I think I leave enough clues to figure out what’s going on—but careful reading or even rereading may be required.
I thought you were a scifi guy. What's the story behind your novel Unfolding?
I like a lot of genres. Some things you just can't do with a scifi novel that you can explore with a contemporary piece. In Unfolding, we follow Edeanna McKinley—a young woman in a world of hurt. She’s married to a man who doesn’t love her and miscarried their baby just months before. She comes on an accident on the way home from work and minutes later her husband confronts her about something she’s done. He threatens divorce and leaves her. As if that’s not bad enough, people start shooting at her. Her story is centered around how any of us must rebuild our lives when everything in our control has come crashing down.
How did you become an Indie Author?
A friend asked me to help him publish his bio about growing up in a difficult circumstance. I did the research, read the style guide, and got it published pretty easily. Smashwords has improved their process since then and made it even easier. It was so simple to do, I suddenly saw my dream of becoming a published author within my grasp. I am so grateful for the platform to share my work.
Are you seeking to be “professionally” published?
Not right now. I love the idea of doing this my way, without a lot of corporate “help” telling me what to write, or what not to. Every author wants to be read, and I enjoy hearing from readers as much as anyone, but what I am not seeking is the pressures imposed by deadlines I don’t set. This seems to be a bit easier with a full time job.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Wow that takes me back. I was in fourth grade an a teacher, Brad G, asked our class to write a short story. Most kids wrote a page or so. I wrote about seven. My character lived on the moon and went on an adventure to a planet inhabited by monkeys (hey, I was 9 years old). That writing spurred me to keep scribbling until I had handwritten five stories of a combined length of almost 200,000 words. What kind of a kid does that during grade school and junior high? I guess I learned to love my stories.
How do you approach cover design?
For me, a cover should reveal a little about the people who are in the story. I try to arrange those people according to how they interact in the book. Lovers will be near one another unless someone is interposing in their relationship. My cover artist, a magnificent painter and graphic artist, Garrett Kaida, and I will sketch out where we want certain characters. I have him read about a third of the book to get a feel for who these people are. We started casting people we know to play the characters. Taking actual photos allows me to get the actors to convey the emotion behind the characters much more easily than photo collages can do. Garrett spends time with costumes and getting the details adjusted in PhotoShop. I am so proud of the work he's done for Edenix. We also designed a custom font for my novels that I believe conveys the genre as well as the modern look I was going for. The finished product looks as professional as anything I've seen in real bookstores. Remember bookstores?
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Well, I jokingly list my own novels. Seriously, I was shaped by a historic fiction piece about Italy in 1500. It's called Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger, written in 1947. It was also a film, as was another of his works, Captain from Castille. I hunted his books down and managed to get a copy of these two Shellabarger works. They are great character driven books. As a kid I read a lot of Allan Dean Foster. Later, I devoured all of Tom Clancy's original works. I love John Grisham, Harry Turtledove, Michael Crichton, and Ted Dekker. With all of those authors listed, I have to acknowledge the way film has also shaped my story telling. Star Wars and Star Trek were big formers of my imagination and even my beliefs as a child. Now, my faith is a big driver in what I write and how I see people. Each of us has amazing value and potential--even the villains have the possibility of choosing good over evil.
Describe your desk
Haha! My desk is a mess. Good thing I can't upload photos of it. Most of my home is tidy and organized. Not my desk. It gets piled up with all sorts of stuff. It takes a concerted effort to keep it clean enough to work from. Over the years I've written most if my works from a decent desk. There was a summer in college that I wrote a long book sitting in a dumpy little vinyl folding deck chair. My keyboard was on a box. Despite that, I pounded out 115k words in just eight weeks. Those were some late nights of fast, furious writing. I love windows (the glass type, not the software), but I get too distracted if there is a window by my screen.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Flagstaff Arizona. It's not the desert people think of, but at 7,000 feet, there are lots if trees and a 12,000 foot mountain in sight. I used to go for walks as loved to look at the snow capped San Francisco Peaks. A lot of my settings involve action taking place in the forest. I love the smell of ponderosa pine and aspen trees. The decaying leaves underfoot in the fall. The crunch of the snow in winter. The sweet bark of the aspen in spring. All of it works it's way into my stories at some point.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Oh, I still have to earn money the old fashioned way and work a full time job. So, eating and having a home drive me to get up.
Besides that, I think the spirit of the question goes to this:
I'd like to leave the world a better place than I found it. If I can make someone happy or sad or even mad and help them escape from their reality for a few hours, I think I will have contributed the way I intended. Ultimately, I hope my readers actually think about their own lives and how they might behave or react to the circumstances my characters find themselves in. Hopefully, we will all aspire to something a little nobler than our default would have us to do. If I've made a difference in your life, or just entertained you, I'd like to hear about it. Contact me through srodgerbock.com.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Other than my full time job where I work with numbers and excel programming, I love spending time with my family and friends. Life is all about choices and writing is just one choice to make. It's gotta be balanced by home life and my service to my church.
You've mentioned faith a few times now. Why is that important to you?
I was given a second chance in this life. Years ago I pulled a pin on a grenade and blew up my marriage. When I lost everything, I began to really appreciate what I had. Now, the morning seems brighter. I'm going from "it's all about me" to "it's not about me at all". That's one of our sayings at my church. I have this second chance because of something called Grace. We've all blown it, many not as badly as I did, but Grace is undeserved, lavishing, uninhibited love from a god who knows everything I've ever done. If the creator of the universe can love me then maybe I should get up everyday and serve others. It's pretty simple, really. I'm just doing my best to love God and love people. My writing is an expression of the creativity our creator instilled in me. Giving back by writing great stories is what I hope to do.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I’d have to say my iPad. It's not only a great way to read, but as an author I save my books as PDFs, upload them to the iPad, and use the accessibility function to have the iPad read my work back to me. I've found countless errors this way that my readers, editor, and I all missed. It's a great tool. Tied into Dropbox and equipped with Word, I can write on it in a pinch, though I prefer the ease of a full keyboard and precision a mouse brings.
Published 2017-02-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Edenix Cycle: Revolution's Requiem
Series: The Edenix Cycle, Trilogy II / Act I. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 86,320. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(5.00)
Meganne Mills’s father has been arrested on suspicion of aiding the rebellion against the generous government she supports. Meganne must choose between the love of her papa and the law. Their journey takes them through the heat of battle and the worst injustices, challenging how she sees the world around her and those closest to her. Will Meganne stand for her papa or the execution of justice?
Unfolding
You set the price! Words: 85,970. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Suspense, Fiction » Christian » Contemporary
(5.00)
Edeanna McKinley is married to a man who doesn’t love her. She has miscarried their baby only months before. She barely avoids a grisly auto accident. Minutes later, her husband threatens divorce and leaves. As if that’s not bad enough, people start shooting at her. Edeanna must run for her life while trying to rebuild what's come crashing down around her. Can she find hope despite her turmoil?
The Edenix Cycle: Queen's Reign
Series: The Edenix Cycle, Trilogy I / Act III. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 105,690. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00)
Seven years after the dramatic events in Par's Complex, the peaceful citizens of Bayo Town find themselves under attack. Dirk Bayo and the new young mayor, Washington Gray, must rally those willing to fight back against the superior invader. Behind it all is a treacherous plan conceived by a warped and twisted leader. Will the fledgling colony on Eden IX come to a bloody end?
The Providence of Rudy Nes: An Edenix Cycle Story
Series: Edenix Cycle Stories. Price: Free! Words: 8,060. Language: English. Published: January 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » Action
Rudy is an out-of-place loner who doesn't have much to live for until a series of strange experiences transport him to another reality…or is it merely a glimpse of what could be?
The Edenix Cycle: Edenix Asunder
Series: The Edenix Cycle, Trilogy I / Act II. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 89,190. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00)
Morgan’s plan to escape mundane mediocrity has succeeded—so far. But when she arrives in the new town full of hope and promises, her scheme immediately encounters obstacles. Against overwhelming odds, she must persevere in her plan and win the heart of the only one who can give her what she most desires. Will Morgan’s scheme unravel? Is she doomed to be a slave? What is her dangerous design?
The Pennell Predicament: An Edenix Cycle Story
Series: Edenix Cycle Stories. Price: Free! Words: 5,610. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(4.33)
Amelia Pennell must make a horrifying choice in the aftermath of the destruction of a colonization ship which crashes on Eden IX.
The Edenix Cycle: Acrimony Arising
Series: The Edenix Cycle, Trilogy I / Act I. You set the price! Words: 84,170. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(5.00)
Crash! In an instant, life changed for the dreamers who traveled to this virgin world. Death and devastation followed. However, when three of the town's young women are abducted, the people rally behind Dirk Bayo, a broken-hearted self-exiled hunter. Dirk must utilize his tracking skills to bring the women home before the kidnappers spirit the girls too far from reach...or vanquish them forever!