Interview with Tony C. Skye

What motivated you to become an indie author?
When I was younger, I had a propensity towards the arts. I learned the piano and became quite good at it. Everything I learned I learned by myself - self taught. As I grew up, pursuing a musical career was not in the cards for me. This is mainly because of my choices - they weren't so great.
Today, I am no different than when I first loved the piano. My mind still enjoys the artistic side of our world. Whether it be beautiful pictures and/or paintings, a masterpiece of a song, or an excellent story...I am a complete sucker for the arts.
I believe an indie author is a person who desires to create a piece of art and then share it with the world. This is the reason I became an indie author. For me, it is about sharing the art I have made for others to enjoy. In return, I may be lucky enough to hear their thoughts about the story(s) they have read.
Not all will enjoy the same pieces of art. Art is not about that. It is about touching lives on some personal level with the ideas we form in our minds. If I can cause a person to smile, laugh, cry, become angry, or feel any other of the many emotions we have within us, then I feel that I have created a piece of art. It might not be the best art. This is not my goal. My goal is to make the best art I can. And this is what motivates me.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It started out as a question: If the mother of the antichrist was a real person, would she be like the stereotypes given (i.e. completely evil and/or a woman who has been forced)?
The following questions then came to mind: Would she be a regular girl? Would she care about fashion? Would she desire love? Would she long for friendships? What could lead a teenage girl into embracing such a notion? And if she did, then how would she balance this seemingly insane concept within the realms of normalcy, intimacy, friendships, etc.?
As I pondered over these questions, it came apparent to me that a reality such as this would be laced with emotional conflict. Many of us would never desire this upon ourselves or someone we love. We might refuse this road because of fear, lack of understanding, lack of acceptance, etc. Or we may demonize the situation because of the very foundation upon which it stands.
For those of us who would desire this within ourselves, would we actually understand the realities of diving into this oddity? If this is the case, then would this, also, mean that we have been guilty of a romanticized idea? And if we are not, then how would we handle this calling, per se?
What if there was real power to be had from this sort of life? Would it change our desire to be like her? How can we relate to such a character? Maybe, there is a real chance that she desires everything we desire. She could be as normal as the concept implies. That is, she might not be inherently evil, whatsoever. She might just be a teenage girl trying to move her way through this insanity we must call our lives.
Because of these questions and so many more, this first book in the Vessel series was born.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'll let you know when I know.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy for me is the reactions from others who read my work.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans mean everything to me. As a first time author - with my first book - I haven't had the distinct privilege of truly understanding what it means to be blessed with the symphony of the fans' voices. But I assure you, I look forward to it.
As a fan myself, I know what it means to be appreciated by the artist in whom I have looked up to. On the other side of this coin, I have not spent much time upon its surface. Therefore, I am humble within this regard and appreciate anyone who would call themselves a fan of my work. In other words, fans rule.
What are you working on next?
The second book in the Vessel series. It utilizes more of the power aspect gained by the characters in the first book. I don't want to reveal too much, but it is a wild ride. The first book hints at the characters within this regard. The second book exposes and expresses those hints.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
This is easy. Writing.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like gardens. There is something magical about planting a seed and nurturing it as it grows. Until I done this for the first time, it never crossed my mind of what I was missing out on. Out of sight out of mind I suppose. There is a sense of success and pride whenever the garden flourishes. And like with so many aspects in our lives, if the garden is neglected, the results are less than desirable. A flourishing garden is the result of constant work and guidance. The more I care for it, the more driven I become to ensure it reaches its optimal blossoming. When it peaks, I can stand back and say, "I helped to do that."
What is your writing process?
First, I come up with an idea. I brainstorm by asking myself all kinds of questions. After a question sounds interesting, I then ask myself if the question has been addressed with overkill. That is, have we been in essence drowned with the answer(s) to that question? If we have, then I start asking new questions again. If not, then I start questioning why we have not been flooded with these supposed possible answers.
Secondly, after I get an idea I like, I begin storyboarding. I do this in a mental fashion long before it reaches paper, as it were. The mental part of my storyboarding generally consists of creating a single character within my mind and then placing that character into all sorts of situations. Is the result believable? Or is it so far-fetched that I am unable to relate? If I believe a character has potential, then I start a character sheet. Not all characters that make a sheet will make it into pages. But some will.
For me, characters will always create themselves. If I find that I want to include a character, then all I must do is to start writing about them. They all seem to form their own personalities as they interact with their environment, a situation, or another character. I take care with speech. If two characters talk similar, it is because they spend a lot of time together. Otherwise, each character should have their own distinct voice. Whether it be through a laugh, a hand gesture, or a variety of other clues, each character will always be unique.
As for storyline, I ask myself what is being conveyed in the overall picture. Do the subplots embody this or pull away? Misdirection and mystery is one thing. But to needlessly go off into left field for no other reason than to write, I do my best to stay clear of this.
Next, there is the daunting task of proofreading. I will go through and sometimes eliminate entire scenes. Other times, I add to a scene or add in a new scene altogether. I don't spend time with the nuances of language and spell checks through this process. It is all about the overall content.
Finally, once I am happy with the overall picture, I begin editing. It amazes me how much I can miss on the first time through. With this first book, I went through each page line by line a total of five times before I considered it art worthy. A painstaking process, but the quality I feel is worth the effort.
The main rule of thumb I follow is that nothing must stay. If I can remove a scene and it does not destroy the overall storyline, then why is it there in the first place? If it is a subplot that has bearing, then by all means I will keep it. But if it is irrelevant, then it must go. I can't begin to describe the frustration I feel as a reader; whenever, I read a book that has fifty pages about a flower when the flower has nothing to do with anything other than the scene it is in. My writing style reflects this pet-peeve of mine. So while I do describe the environment, I never dwell on any one object that has no real bearing on the story other than to set up a scene.
Basically, I am not willing to release a book that I, myself, would not enjoy reading.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Ha. I sure do. It was a love song. I was around thirteen years old. I had this little keyboard with tiny keys. I spent hours each day learning how to play it. I met this girl who lived across the way from me. I never played her the song because I was afraid she wouldn't like it or thought she would make fun of me. But the song's lyrics were a description of how I viewed her in comparison to the world around me. I can't remember the lyrics today, but I will never forget creating the song...because it was the first time I began to understand love on that level. She was a girl that caused me to see the world in a different light. And because of this, I wrote my first story.
Published 2015-06-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.