Interview with Shaun Sturz

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Bakersfield, CA, 4th generation on my mothers side to be exact! A majority of people there worked in the Ag business or Oil business. This is why my father ended up moving to Bakersfield during the start of his high school years. My grandfather was in the oil business and they had just moved back from the Middle East. My biggest influence in writing to this day is because my mother was the librarian at my school. She would give me books for every special occasion and always talked about wanting to write a children's book herself.
When did you first start writing?
During college I found myself reporting for the school paper and local film festival in Santa Barbara. I got in to all of the events for free, had a great time, and got paid for it. I was hooked. It wasn't until after college when I was working as a "Manny", male nanny, that I got the bright idea of writing my very own children's book.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It is based on a true story about a dog running away from home along the beach. This dog was music legend Kenny G.'s lovable family dog. Of course the story evolved into what it is today, but it all started the day that Baxter Bu decided to run away from home. I am so happy with the way it turned it and the themes that resinate with the young and old. It may be a picture book, but this book is for everyone.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It is the way that the business is going these days. Do everything yourself, be in control of everything yourself. The same applies to music artist as well. I went on a TV show thinking that it might help me get a book deal, but that was not the case. I am so happy with the journey that I went on to where I am now that I can look back at the entire situation with a bit of perspective. It made me more driven.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It is a great platform to share on, but I think the readers will contribute the most to my success. Thank you readers!!!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Knowing that I am putting something of value in this world. Knowing that my talents are being utilized. And knowing that my work will be saved for future generations to enjoy.
What do your fans mean to you?
They mean EVERYTHING. I am literally nothing without them. They inspire me to write and illustrate new material. They are the reason I keep writing, even when some days I don't feel like it. Thank you to all my fans!!!
What are you working on next?
I have a few books I am working on. Its nice to go back and forth between them all. One book is a continuation of Baxter Bu which will be a holiday book. Another is based on my grandmother who was an archeologist and spy (shhhh its a secret). She literally is the female Indian Jones. Lastly, the other book is based on a male nanny, "manny". Wonder where that idea came from?!
Who are your favorite authors?
Favorite children's book author is by far Dr. Seuss. I enjoy Jamie Lee Curtis as well. But what most people do not know about me is I am a big history buff, so I like a lot of historical and factual pieces.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee! All jokes aside, the fact that I set high standards for myself and make way too many lists everyday that need to be completed. I don't always get to cross everything off the list, because I am constant adding things to it. I love the feeling of completing something you set your mind too. I wake up everyday thinking I can do better than the previous day. Carpe Diem
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to learn in all areas of life. I love watching documentaries, I just love knowledge. Traveling and exploring keep me inspired and grounded. It doesn't matter if I am in a different country or downtown LA, a new experience is generally a good experience in life. I love working out and being on a bike, road bike or stationary bike. It is like therapy for me and makes me happy. I could not live a day without music in it. Oh, and a great glass of wine...or maybe a tequila drink!
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
A lot of finger tapping and swiping.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No, but I remember the first musical piece I wrote in Mrs. Kempens second grade class. She played it in class on her piano and I titled it "Different".
What is your writing process?
A lot of awesome ideas collect in my head. I make a note. I get very inspired. I sit down to work then pull my hair out, kick and scream. Get not much work done. Then repeat until I have a finished product.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Of course, the book that inspired it all. "The Superkids And The Singing Dog" This book made my imagination run wild!
How do you approach cover design?
It has to happen organically and have elements from the story in the first image you see. It is usually the last thing I do.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Social media is the best thing out there. I love Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Describe your desk
I built my desk with my buddy from high school. He owns a ranch in Santa Barbara and I went to visit one weekend and we built it together. Its HUGE, like 8 feet long. Its tall too, I have to sit on a stool. I didn't take measurements when I built it so it almost didn't fit through my front door. I distressed the wood and painted it so it looks rustic. The frame is made out of metal. You can see this table on my Instagram account, @ShaunSturz, I do a lot of art videos from above head. What can I say? I love to create.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is hard, but I will give it a shot!
In no particular order:
"The Super Kids And The Singing Dog"
A picture book my grandma gave me from when she was a child that was given to her from her from her father. Its has amazing pictures.
My Art History book from college.
The Bible
"Baxter Bu's Epic Beach Day"
What do you read for pleasure?
A few different news sites and my Twitter feed.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
iPad
Published 2015-07-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Baxter Bu’s Epic Beach Day
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 550. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Social Issues / Friendship
Baxter Bu, the dog, and his best friend Noah learn what self acceptance and true friendship is really all about. All while hanging ten at the beach. Baxter Bu goes on an epic journey of gnarly proportions to discover he already has what he has been searching for.