The first time I tried I was seven. I failed miserably and didn't try again for a few years. Then I failed again. I remember thinking, maybe I will never be able to create these bound treasures that I love so much. It wasn't until years later I learned the secret of writing. I will share it with you for free. Rewriting.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do, it was a supposed to be a full length book about some space aliens that came to take over earth. The story ended up about three pages long and really had no discernible plot. I was nine at the time.
What is your writing process?
I like to plot out the highlights of the story. I begin with an event, often one that occurs near the end of the story or one that precipitates the action. From there, I either build backwards or forwards by asking lots of what if questions. Once I have the bare bones of an outline, I begin writing. I rewrite the first draft several dozen times.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Maybe not the first story I ever read. When I was young, my mother would read to my siblings and I after dinner. I remember sitting around the table realizing I loved stories. My favorites at the time were anything by Roald Dahl. I think Fantastic Mr. Fox really did it for me.
How do you approach cover design?
I find someone else who is really good at it and let them go to town. That isn't my strength and so I don't try to manage the process except to cheer when they get it exactly right.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss. Unbelievable characterization--I think I fell in love with Auri as I read these pages. She and I experience many of the same things in life and for Patrick to be able to write that on paper is absolutely stunning to me. The Saga of Recluce--I know I'm cheating here--that represents way more than one book but Modesitt has an incredible ability to build a world that makes sense and then deal with real issues that face each of us each day. He deals with moral issues in a manner that helps me see the world more clearly. The Way of Kings -- Brandon Sanderson makes me ask myself over and over--how can one man write so much and still create excellent stories. Sometimes length and quality don't mix but Sanderson seems to do it with ease. I finished this book and asked myself--How long do I have to wait for the next one? Making Money -- Terry Pratchett taught me writing can be funny, and probably should be. He deals with political issues that cut right to the core of what we face in our everyday lives and has me laughing the whole way through. The Lies of Locke Lamora -- Scott Lynch you amazing, incredible, fantastic bastard. You create worlds I wish I could visit in real life. This swashbuckling tale takes you by the neck and pulls you into a masterpiece of a vision.
What do you read for pleasure?
Nearly anything I can get my hands on. I'm voracious and omniverous. Fiction, fantasy, science fiction, politics, action, history, religious--I love it all.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use an early edition Kindle.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Anything that gets me noticed.
Describe your desk
A big giant flat thing with several stacks of various things scattered around a computer. Each stack represents a different project. You might even find a few stacks on the floor.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Hollister, CA. I think I spent most of my younger years reading and observing. There was a whole lot to observe in Hollister--it was truly a crazy, marvelous place to live.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.