Interview with T.B. Kitsmiller

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember falling into Tolkien's Hobbit world head first. I loved Strider and the Elves. I was fascinated by his ability to create whole worlds with back story and mythology, cultures and rivalry within the larger story of the knight on a quest. Those were the largest books I had ever read and I couldn't get enough of it.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My first writing experiences were poetry. I still get ideas and my natural expression is a poem. Over the years I've learned to write stories. The first story I every wrote was a short story for a college English class. It was a silly little thing call "An Story Due Thursday". The thing was, every student had to read each story submitted and write a review. Everyone like my story and found the humor in it, but because my spelling was bad and grammar sloppy the story got a poor grade.
That has always been my struggle. I have a mild form of dyslexia and no matter how hard I try or how many time I read what I've written, there will be errors. Thank God for my wife Cindy. She's able to correct and edit without making me feel foolish or stupid
What is your writing process?
I try to follow the advice of Steven King from his excellent "On Writing" . I download from my imagination to my finger as fast as I can and do my level best not edit. I let the characters lead and I follow. Some time I get lost and have to back up but for the most part just trusting the thought process if what go me through the first draft.
The real struggle comes with the editing and arranging. There again, I follow Mr. Kings advice to let the story rest for a while after the first draft. Then return to it after a few weeks and read through it. I found the second and the third revisions where the story gains depth and flow.
How do you approach cover design?
I have worked for years in the area of marketing and advertising; print, video, audio and digital marketing. So I had a friend who's business is print marketing. Through him I was able to work with a graphic artist. I wanted to cover to hint at the spiritual natural of the book without being overtly religious. I wanted the image of a roadway leading to an expanse of space like the Sandhills. So I went through a number of website looking for pictures that fit my eye. The graphic artist was able to take a section of a Nebraska state map and combine it with the country road picture I found and added the chapel. I would've like to have the cross but couldn't find one that was like the cross in the story so.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
All time favorite is Price of Tides; I was a huge fan of Mr. Conroy's style and prose. I love the characters of the low country. I've never forgiven the makers of the movie for writing the older brother out of the story.
The Lord of the Rings series, The Two Towers is my favorite of the three. Tolkin's world is a place I can always escape to.
Tom Clancey's "Hunt for the Red October" I was engrossed in the depth of knowledge wrapped around a truly compelling adventure. I loved Jack Ryan and all the people he came in contact with.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorites. I don't always agree with Mr. Gladwell's conclusion but I like to follow his research and the case he makes. No one is as self made as we want to believe; time, place, economics and social support have everything to do with success.
I could argue that is more than five but I will add one more. The Prophet by Kahill Gabran. A story I return to again and again. It never gets old and every season of my life I understand it more.
Describe your desk
It's a classic 1950's office desk. It is wide and heavy, with a wood-grain laminate top. The center draw has dividers for pens, paperclips, rubber bands and stick pins. On the left side is a faux drawers, which are actually a door. Inside the cabinet, behind the doors, is a shelf for a typewriter. The shelf raises up, by springs and hinges, so the user could type at it and then store the typewriter away after. I use it to hide my printer. It's a great old desk with a lamp, books and papers on it. That is until my wife comes and put the books away and cleans up the papers.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in South-central Oklahoma, just a wide place in the road, just east of nowhere, about thirty miles from the Red River. The kind of community you have to be going to, to get there. A local writer and teacher called it Cow Creek Water and Brick Red earth. The old Chisholm Trail ran with a few miles of my home. My Uncle own a section of land with one of last undisturbed stretches of the trail. It was a great place to grow up. A good place to be from. I'm influenced by my grandfather and my father. Two very different men but both great storytellers. Stories with depth and charm, full of meaning and memories.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing poems and prose preteen, thirteen or fourteen. I never knew where the ideas came from. Sometime they would wake me up at night. I would have to go scribble the idea, usually a poem, on a scrap of paper before I could get back to sleep. My problem is that I've always struggled with an un-diagnosed mild level of dyslexia. or ADHD. I took special reading classes in grade school. I was blessed to have a few teacher who could read past the spelling and grammar errors to encourage me to keep writing. I started college to be a newspaper journalist but life didn't take me that way.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I had read a newspaper story, years ago about about a cross up in the Sandhills. There was a mystery about who put it up and how it was maintained. I liked the "what if" and "why" nature of that cross. I added a chapel along with it for symbolize. The other element was the farm crisis. I studied and read for years on the cause and effects, the fall out from the crisis. I wanted to write a story that blended the two story lines. The historical and the mystical, the ethereal and the earthy nature for farming.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I don't know that I sat out to be an indie anything. I wouldn't have minded a publisher picking up my book. The problem for this book is that it doesn't fall into any easy category. It's too long for a romance. It's a little too edgy and raw to be a Christian story. It's historical but not in the classic time frames of earlier centuries. It doesn't have the happy ever after ending where all the story-lines are tied up in neat little bows. So, I grateful to have the option of indie publishing. It has been a real learning experience but one I'm happy to have.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's given me a platform to work from. I'm still learning how to use it but it's a resource and channel that I'm happy to explore and learn from. I hope to publish more soon.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I get great joy in telling a good story. The joy is having people respond to the story. To have them says, "I like it. Its a good story. I couldn't put it down."
Published 2017-08-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Crossroads in the Sandhills
Price: $4.99 $1.25 USD. (75% off!) Words: 113,100. Language: English. Published: June 3, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Romance » Adult
What do you do when you find yourself at life’s crossroads? Willy Beam discovers many crossroads in the Sandhills of Nebraska. The country is at a political and economic crossroads. Farm families facing crossroads in the struggle for a way of life. When a fascinating story kindles his curiosity, Willy is pulled into an ethereal mystery that leads him toward his own crossroads.