Interview with John Draper

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Sunshine. One of my bedroom windows faces east and every morning light comes through it, so I get up.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly, history and mystery.
Who are your favorite authors?
Sue Grafton, Bernard Cornwell, Ellis Peters, Dorothy L. Sayers to name a few. David Baldacci. James B. MacPherson. Shelby Foote. Donald Norman for "The Design of Everyday Things." I read a lot and it is really difficult to single out a small set of authors.
When did you first start writing?
Kindergarten, I suppose. Serious writing started for me in graduate school but that was technical and science writing, which is a different animal. I first started writing fiction on June 2, 2014, when because of encouragement from a good friend I started putting down some fictionalized versions of real post Civil War events in East Tennessee. I wove those stories into "The Postman and the Spider."
What is your writing process?
Part of it is daydreaming. I visualize scenes and then write them. Part of it is more intentional. Having created a set of characters and having daydreamed scenes, I imagine how they might come together in a consistent narrative and write that.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Doing family history research I came across some compelling real-life stories about events in East Tennessee in the years after the Civil War. I became fascinated with the period. I wrote "The Postmaster and the Spider" to put together some of these stories in a way that I hoped captured the period and the experiences of the people living in it. Originally I thought of emphasizing the changes the people would have to cope with and, in fact, the original working title was "Adjustments." But the characters led me in a different direction. The result isn't "Tombstone on the Holston River" or "The Grapes of Sherman's Wrath" but it lives somewhere between those extremes.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
That's a two part question. The first is "author." I started writing to keep my sanity and because I was intrigued by the real-life stories I found about the post Civil War era in East Tennessee. The second is "indie." That's easy: I didn't want to put up with the long process of finding an agent, finding a publisher, etc. And I wanted my story available sooner rather than later.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing and researching these stories is just plain fun. I enjoy the research, I enjoy imagining the stories, it's all very entertaining.
What are you working on next?
A sequel tentatively titled, "The Postmaster and the Terror." In "The Postmaster and the Spider" the setting is immediately post war and the backdrop is, in a way, individualistic. It is about men returning from the Civil War and the community they come home to. "Terror" is set a few months later when the several political groups of the time and place become more organized. "Spider" is about the immediate aftermath of the War; "Terror" is more about the beginning of the peace--although "peace" is not really the best word for what happens.
How do you approach cover design?
With trepidation.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My computer.
Describe your desk
Well. I made it myself from plywood and 4X4 posts. It's sturdy. My monitor and keyboard occupy half of it and the other half has piles of books, notes, keys, coffee cups, and other miscellaneous junk.
Published 2014-08-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Postmaster and the Spider
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 75,150. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure, Fiction » Historical » USA
Spring 1865--Thinking his war is over, Sevier Russell returns to his home in East Tennessee to find Hawkins County in shambles. A guerrilla leader runs the town, night riders threaten his family, and a string of brutal murders points to someone who is using the chaos for their own ends. It seems that when the armies stopped marching, the killing got personal.