Interview with Bart Cline

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I like the nook, because it can be read in the daylight, it was on a very cheap promotion, and it can be easily modified to run other Android apps. Thus my nook is also my Kindle.

Other than the nook, it's the Kindle app on my phone, because I always have it with me.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I remembered the stories that classmates had written in English classes in school. Someone gets into some terrible dire situation, near to death, with no way out, and then… he wakes up. It was all just a dream.

Everybody loves dreams, or at least I do, but it's a terrible way to resolve a story. And even some classic stories do it: for example, the Wizard of Oz, and Alice in Wonderland. What I wanted to write was a story that uses dreams, but not as a cop out ending. That brings a couple of rules to the dreams in my book: the dreamer must solve the problem in his dream before waking up; and the dreams must help him solve his real life problems.

Another thing I really wanted to do was to write in multiple genres. The dream format is of course perfect for that. My character experiences space opera, knights of the round table, western, film noir detective, war, and spy genres.

Lastly, I wanted to combine a happy ending with a sad one, which would be fully satisfying and bring complete closure.

Copout was originally written as a project in a screenwriting class. I never envisioned it as a novel, but it translates beautifully to the printed, or e-book, page.
When did you first start writing?
I was 15 and I have just been given a typewriter. This didn't last very long though because soon I got my first computer. Nevertheless, I wrote a couple of short stories on that typewriter.

The reason I started was that I had a dream that I thought would have made a fantastic movie. So I decided I needed to be a screenwriter. I still remember that dream, and a few others that I really wanted to write as films or stories.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
For one thing, it's a lot easier than finding an agent and then a publisher. If I went down the traditional route I might have to wait years before seeing my book in print. With this new model I can have it out there in a few weeks. It helps that I have experience in typesetting and graphic design.

For another thing, I really like the control it affords. Indie publishing means that I am the master of my work. I choose when to publish, how much to charge, and most other things.

I also like the idea that my work is permanent. It's always on the shelves, and always has the same potential for sales as it did at any other time.

Another appeal is the much higher royalties. You should be able to make a lot more money with the same number of sales as a traditionally published book. Getting those sales is the real trick.
What are you working on next?
A young adult science fiction series, for which I have not yet decided on a release date. I envision it as a four-volume epic, and I've completed the first volume, entitled Monster School. It involves thirty-two kids from around the world who are abducted by aliens, taken to a planet many light-years away, and dumped there to try and make a new life, against a backdrop of interstellar war. Given their ages, school is all they know, so to create normality they start a school of their own. Their school becomes their world within a world, under the watchful eyes of their alien captors.
Who are your favorite authors?
The big three of science fiction are my perennial favourites. This means Arthur C Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov. Michael Ende is another favourite, though only for two books (Momo and The Neverending Story). I love Clifford D Simak for his rustic approach to SF. Stephen Donaldson is the only writer whose entire published body of work I have read. Frederick Forsyth is always reliable for good thrillers. As you can tell, I'm very much an old-school reader.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Films and video games are my preferred leisure activities. Obviously reading is in there too! A big demand on my time is a Bible study group I teach every week, which takes a lot of prep time, but is immensely enjoyable and edifying. I have until recently spent a lot of time in the gym, but the habit seems to have fallen by the wayside, and I'm gaining the weight to prove it. I spend too much time on facebook too. I sleep, but not that much.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was a story about comic book collectors who came up with a way to travel back in time and buy comics that they could sell in the present. Somehow, someone followed them and stole their equipment, stranding them in the past. It was very dear to my heart, because I've always been a keen comic book fan, and I was quite the collector in my teens. Unfortunately I've lost that story.
What is your writing process?
Planning: I need to know the full story, all the characters, and the ending in advance. However, having planned in detail, the stories still goes places that I hadn't anticipated when I started. I guess that's just the creative process.

Writing: I dictate for about two hours, feed it through NaturallySpeaking transcription software, and then proof read in a local cafe. I end up with about 2000 words per working day.

Editing: This is the stage where I spend the most time in the cafe. Carrot cake is my best friend during this phase, because I loathe editing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I'm not sure I consider writing a joy. It's more like a burden. I've got these stories I simply have to tell. I feel a bit like my life will mean nothing if I don't. So I exercise the discipline of writing.

I carry around ideas. In my head are a number of concepts for books I want to write. Some of these have been with me since childhood, while others are more recent. But all of them I feel I have to write. At some point I must either commit them to paper/keyboard, or decide to throw in the towel and give up. But the writer's burden is that these ideas won't go away, nor will the need to do something with them.
It's possible to suppress the burden, but not to kill it.

For quite a few years I gave up on the idea of being a writer, simply because I thought my life responsibilities would not allow for it. But after awhile I decided to get back to work, and I structured writing around my full-time job. So I began getting up at five o'clock every morning, and wrote Wanderlove over a period of perhaps two years. I had suppressed it for awhile, but so deep was the need to write that I was willing to get up before dawn to do it.

But the only joy is in having people read it and like it.

Like it? Is that really worth the years I spent on these creations? Shouldn't they love it? Shouldn't it change their lives? Yes, but I'll take what I can get.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I was such a voracious reader as a child, I have no idea what the first story was. I remember reading the Uncle Wiggly books. Dr Seuss was a big favourite, and still is, especially Green Eggs and Ham. A book I got from the library again and again was Gwot!, an amazing book of funny scary stories for kids. Another over-read library book was The Thing at the Foot of the Bed by Maria Leach, which was full of juvenile scary stories which I loved. (Funny though, because I don't read horror.)

I was probably about twelve when I gave up on kids books and started reading hard SF. I was probably inspired by Star Wars, but I gravitated to Arthur C Clarke at first.
Published 2013-08-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Copout
By
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 65,390. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: August 21, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Donovan Stone loves three things: movies, police work, and his best friend Jessica. But despite being a hero in a terror siege, his abrasive attitude gets him fired from the force. And Jessica won't have him. And his movie posters are gathering dust. But in his dreams Stone processes the clues, and they're coming together. Can he get the police to listen to him before the terrorists strike again?
The Treasure of Sirius Major
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,730. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: July 9, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
A pair of tramps between jobs meet a vagrant who has a treasure map. Joining forces, they raise the money to buy a ship and treasure-hunting gear, and cross light-years of space to the planet of Sirius Major. But first they must deal with the bandits who want to kill them for nothing more than the second-hand junk they possess. Only then can they "dig" for the fabled riches hidden for millenia…
Swordplay
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,290. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: July 2, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
A knight and his squire, on their way home to Camelot, encounter an advance party of ruthless and deadly dark knights. While rescuing fair maidens from the evil warriors, the heroes uncover a plot to plunge the kingdom into darkness. But they have precious little time to save Britannia, and for the squire to prove he can be a knight – the enemy forces are already at the King's gates!
Business of Blood
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,440. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: June 24, 2013. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
A woman under threat from her jilted fiancé hires a down-on-his-luck detective to help. She seems like an ordinary client, but the case gets dangerous as it becomes clear she is acting strangely, hiding something. But the detective's penchant for whiskey and wisecracking are minor issues compared to his nocturnal lifestyle. What bloody secret does he harbor? A story after Chandler and Stoker.
20,000 Yards Across the Frontier
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,840. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: June 18, 2013. Category: Fiction » Literature » Western
A lone gunfighter crosses the plains looking for a mysterious force which has been destroying farms and driving men insane, indians and settlers alike. But when he catches up to his quarry he finds himself at its mercy, and its creator at his throat. The Spaghetti Western meets 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Wanderlove
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 84,270. Language: English. Published: December 3, 2010. Category: Fiction » Adventure » General
A naïve backpacker falls in love with an experienced traveller who encourages her to do something she should not. They become separated. Carrying a load of guilt, she sets out to find him. With all of Europe to search, she realises she does not really know that much about him. But having learned some uncomfortable truths about herself, will she still love him? Will she ever love anyone again?