Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up traveling, living and going to school in various places in Asia and Europe and the US and never outgrew the passion for new places. Of course my perspective is a mish mash of cultures and attitudes. Influence is an elusive beast.
When did you first start writing?
When I learned to read.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always been an independent person and enjoyed doing things my own way. I also make decisions quickly and the tedious and time-consuming pace of traditional publishing is appalling.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
By being there when I first was sorting out distribution, Smashwords gave me a fairly quick and easy way to start. As I've learned more about the ins and outs of dealing with the various outlets, I like working with them even more. I spend more time writing and less having to worry about uploading and the large number of formats and special concerns of each distributor.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing lets me explore ideas and situations. That is sheer joy for me.
What do your fans mean to you?
Unfortunately, I don't know my fans well enough to provide a meaningful answer, except to say that having fans, readers, encourages me to continue publishing.
What are you working on next?
I am always working on several things at once, but the project looming ahead is to complete an erotic steampunk novel about the designer of an airship.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are too many to list, but I will mention the wonderful lyrical quality of Milan Kundera's work (and his attention to exploring existential questions) and the evocative settings of Somerset Maugham.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I travel and absorb and think about writing, and read and make love and revile in being alive.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No. Not in the least. I think it was a script for a sock puppet show some friends and I put on when I was about eight. The hard part was copying out scripts for each player--I hated (and still do) repetitive chores.
What is your writing process?
I start with characters and situation and see where it goes. When I finish a draft, I try to let it rest, perhaps get beta readers to review it, and then go over it again.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first real story must have been The Jungle Books (other than the silly readers written for children). I was astounded at how I could see what it was like to live among the animals. Wow!
How do you approach cover design?
Awkwardly. I have a somewhat heavy hand, not deft at all with visual media. I am shifting over to using people who do this well, although many of the pros I've checked out are far more cookie cutter in their approach than I am, and I tend to favor originality and an artistic aesthetic to caricature.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
It is nearly impossible to narrow it down to five and the five change. Currently, thinking on my feet, THE CASUARINA TREE (Somerset Maugham), SOUTH OF THE BORDER, WEST OF THE SUN (Murakami), BURMESE DAYS (Orwell), THE ART OF THE NOVEL (Kundera) and perhaps TROPIC OF CANCER (Miller). Each taught me a great deal, although in the case of Murakami I would be hard pressed to say exactly what it was.
What do you read for pleasure?
So many things. Isabel Allende, Barbara Kingsolver, James Jones, John Cheever, and always trying new authors on to see how they can twist the light.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I am a luddite, I'm afraid, and a rather poor one at that. Living on the go, I haven't caught up with the devices and all e-reading is on my laptop.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I wish I knew. I go in all directions. Gave up on Facebook as an inordinate waste of time and effort--a black hole. My mother told me not to play in black holes and it I think that as I live my life I should try taking her advice at least once.
Describe your desk
It varies. Basically, my laptop is my desk, plus or minus a cooler (especially in the tropics), sometimes a printer... and lots of pads of paper. I write longhand at times. If I didn't hate typing so much I would write all my first drafts in longhand. But I do hate typing.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.