Interview with A.P. Fuchs

Published 2017-01-16.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was an uncompleted novel about spiritual warfare and followed a warrior angel. In terms of a completed story when I started taking this business seriously, it was called "Rag-man" and was for a small publisher. I believe I received a token payment for it and it is collected in my book, "Magic Man Plus 15 Tales of Terror."
What is your writing process?
It's very simple: write draft one, run spellcheck, print and edit longhand, type in those edits, print and edit again, type in those edits, then send Draft Three off to my editor. Get it back, go over his edits, which I count as Draft Four, then go through it once more myself before publication.

I don't edit as I write, but just let the story come as it does, scene by scene, bit by bit, careful that each word serves the story and keeps the plot moving forward.

I like to write on a portable unit so I can write wherever, and then do the other drafts on my desktop computer because that's when the production process of turning that first draft into a published book begins.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Probably "Harriet the Spy" by Louise Fitzhugh back in elementary school. All I remember was finding it fascinating Harriet had this notebook and that she filled it with info on the different people she spied on. The idea of a notebook full of writing was very appealing. I probably tried duplicating Harriet's notebook in real life, but don't recall if a notebook was ever filled. There is something special about writing longhand and filling a notebook. I wrote my second [unpublished] novel that way. It was satisfying to see page upon page of longhand story. I think I used a binder of looseleaf for that book but could be mistaken.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Bible - Manual for life. That simple.

Batman: Knightfall by Dennis O'Neil - It was the first superhero prose novel I ever read and it was interesting to read about superheroes--my favorite genre--in prose format instead of comic books.

Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind - The second book in the "Sword of Truth" saga. It was massive and dense and the way Goodkind paints pictures with his words has always astounded me. I remember being drawn into every moment of that story, completely sucked in.

Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz - It's part of his "Christopher Snow" series and it all takes place at night. Most books take place both during the day and night, so to read something that was solely "nocturnal" created a world of its own. It was the first book I read that carried with it its own vibe as a result.

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass - Non-fiction, and I used it early in my writing career. I learned a lot about upping the ante and the stakes for the characters and, since then, that sort of thinking/effort has been put into all of my work.
What do you read for pleasure?
Namely graphic novels, but I also make an effort to read books by fellow local authors, who are also my friends. Genre-wise, they write a bit of everything.

Genre book-wise, I tend to gravitate toward horror and the supernatural, but superheroes for comics.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
None. I tried eBook reading and couldn't do it. Terrible reading experience. I'm a paperback guy.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Conventions and book signings. Meeting readers. Telling them about the book beyond a plot synopsis. Showing them myself as a person instead of a digital bio. I have more success with off-line sales than on-line.
Describe your desk
Simple, fairly bare. Just holds the desktop machine and a few pieces of paper with notes on book administrative items that need to be entered into the computer. Seldom do I have story ideas written down for later entry. Distraction-free.

Regarding my writing station, since I like portable, I turn the Internet off on the device and my lap is my desk.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Nearly all of my stories take place here and are accurate in terms of describing different buildings or locations within the city. Local readers really appreciate it because they can visualize the exact place I'm talking about.
When did you first start writing?
Did a little bit back in elementary, but started seriously writing in 2000 and began publishing in 2003. Originally I was going to write comics, but as one thing led to another, I began my first book in June of 2000, which was an accident. It was supposed to be a series of four or five short stories that all linked together, but when I looked at the scope of the story, I realized I had the makings of a novel. I was 19 when I finished it.
What's the story behind your latest book?
B-horror fun. Friends. A monster. Tons of blood and gore. That's all I'll say.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was duped by a vanity press and my first book, "A Stranger Dead," came out in 2003. It was a nightmare of an experience but ironically I fell in love with the book-making process. My original plan was to self-publish comics anyway, so I took that plan and applied it to self-publishing books. My first truly self-published books came out in 2004, back before it was a popular thing to do. Back then, it got you laughed right out of writers' circles. Also, a lot of what I write isn't mainstream fiction. I do an independent superhero series called, "The Axiom-man Saga," which is eight books long as of this interview. That's something that's very niche and wouldn't be picked up by a major press.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's been a one-stop shop for eBook distribution and makes the task of getting my eBooks out there very simple. I also find, because of all the distribution outlets, I'm more successful here eBook-wise than at a certain other place.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I'm well past the point in my career of giving cliched answers to this question. I just write simply because it's fun and can do whatever stories I want. If you like them, great. If you don't, well, I liked it so that's enough for me. Bottom line? Got to pass the time somehow. Might as well write something. At least at the end of that chunk of time you have something to show for how you spent it.
What do your fans mean to you?
Quite a lot. Not only is it satisfying to know they've enjoyed something I've written, but when they've told me stories on how a tale has impacted them, that makes this job worth it. Besides, if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have this job and there'd be no point in publishing. I only publish for them. Not for me. I mean, really, why publish a book with you as its only audience?
What are you working on next?
As of this interview, I just wrapped up Secret Project No. 1. I use code because the title hasn't been announced yet. I'm in between books at this exact moment, but Secret Project No. 2 is up next. Also, getting items ready for Secret Project No. 3, which the first draft is completed. (I wrote the Secret Projects out of order because the first two tie together, the third is in a different medium: comics.)
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Terry Goodkind.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My stupid alarm clock.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Writing and drawing is how I spend most of my time, about 98% of it. The rest is a bit of video games and TV.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I don't read eBooks. Next question.
How do you approach cover design?
Something eye-catching that suits the tone of the book. Cover design basically boils down to those two things. I either make the image myself or hire it out, then put the text on, again following those two principles. I apply the same to the covers I'm hired to design for others.
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