Interview with Dennis Ervin

When did you first start writing?
I first started writing ten to fifteen years ago. The first pieces I wrote were spoofs on the office where I work, on the people who work there and the way things happen. These pieces were very much 'in-house' and basically incomprehensible to anyone who didn't work there. I DID learn, however, that I could write. I have since 'grown' into larger topics whose themes are more common to everyone.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Unfortunately, the story behind 'Innocent Bystander' is true. No one could make this stuff up, not even a fictional character. It is the story of my dysfunctional relationship with my father and the life I lead because of it. This tale clearly makes the case that truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Unfortunately, lives are ruined this way. His selfish desires stood in my way from the time I was ten until I was fifty three. My father's pursuit of another man's wife defined my entire life.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I became an indie author because agents take nearly forever to read a manuscript which they will inevitably turn down. Even worse are those agents that say 'if you don't hear from me in 2 or 3 months, you won't hear from me at all'. All I wanted was a forum to tell my story, not to make a million dollars. Now I'm an idie author.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords provided the forum that I wanted to address by working around the nearly impossible 'agent/publisher' gambit. Further, Smashwords puts my writing into multiple formats that allow me to take advantage of reading devices that are more modern than the standard book like the Kindle, ipads, PC's and Smartphones. Smashwords covers the world with my story-telling.
How do you approach cover design?
The cover of any book should provide two things. First, it should provide a clue to what at least part of the book is about. Second, it should create some mystery as to what in the rest of the book is about.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
The best thing I have done is to join Smashwords. Smashwords has provided the forum I needed for my work by making it available to the world.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Anyone who has read 'Innocent Bystander' probably knows where I grew up. In a memoir like this, the settings cannot be made up out of whole cloth. I refer to no less an authority than Mark Twain, who told Jack London to 'write what you know'. Now we have the 'Call of the Wild' and 'White Fang' based on London's trip to the Klondike. He went there intentionally to gather material and life experience.

In the 'Innocent Bystander', the chapter entitled Swan Dive takes place at Olympic Beach in Columbus, Ohio. The references to 'that great big university right down the street' refers to the Ohio State University. The Campus Green refers to the Campus Oval at OSU.
What do your fans mean to you?
A memoir such as I have written could be as simple as a series of facts. Therefore, I deeply appreciate those who enjoy the art of story-telling and the turn of phrase I hope I have included in this tale.
What are you working on next?
My next book is another work I have lived through and know about myself. I am writing an instructional manual of coaching youth baseball. There is more room for creativity here than you might believe, especially among old coaches like me.
Describe your desk
I assume that this question wants a description of my writing desk. Actually, my writing desk looks a lot like a laptop computer. Sometimes, it appears at the library, sometimes it appears at Penera bread and sometimes it's on my lap at home. The question presumes that there is some insight to be gained about the creative process by analyzing someone's writing desk. The truth is that there is no place in which the creative process does or does not happen. A writing desk may be surrounded by pictures on the wall, some or no windows, flowers, whatever. So what? Creativity occurs in a flash of inspiration while you're driving down the street, working at the gym, talking on the phone or late at night while you're in bed. Sometimes inspiration just pours out of your head and lands on the page. You may have no control over what comes out. Be ready for that. Accept it. It's as valid as sitting in front of a typewriter with a pipe in your mouth. Any inspiration is valid, from wherever it comes.
Published 2014-03-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Innocent Bystander
Price: Free! Words: 135,560. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Relationships & Family » Divorce
An innocent bystander is usually one who bears witness to some horrific event the human psyche` cannot bear. Some bystanders arrive at such events through an accident of birth. What intervention can we offer them? Are they doomed to a life of paranoia and guilt, or of inadequacy and shame? The events here are quoted verbatim. Only the names have been changed to protect the survivors