Interview with Bruce Fottler

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I moved to the Boston area in 1979 when I was 14 years-old. It was a rough transition for a kid raised in the Midwest, and I ended up going through four new schools in three years. I suppose that experience helped awaken my imagination and writing became an outlet. It wasn't until my senior year in high school that I entered a writing contest and won second place.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A few years ago, when I first considered writing a novel, I attended a lecture by an author agent who talked about the traditional publishing business. One of the things he said about it was that it's one of the slowest moving and quirky industries out there. When I finally finished my novel, self-publishing had entered a whole new era. I seemed a faster and easier way to get published.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
For many years, writing was more of a hobby because I never had a lot of time to dedicate to it. I was much more interested in film directing and producing. I did some amateur film-shorts and dreamed of someday getting a call from Hollywood. That call never came (no surprise). Writing, on the other hand, was something I could always do without worrying about budgets, actors, or securing locations. There's never any limit in my imagination. It's like directing a movie with infinite resources.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a short-story I wrote for a contest back in high school. While I won second place, I honestly look back on that story with a great deal of embarrassment over how poorly it was written.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I released “The Juncture” in February 2013. The story is inspired by a couple of things. First, it’s loosely based on a high school I attended. My wife and I attended the same school, but not at the same time. She had already graduated by the time I transferred in as a junior. I’ve always wondered what it would’ve been like if we were in the same high school class together (let’s just say I’m quite happy we met years afterward instead).

Second, the notion of being able to travel back in time and change the future is something that has become a primary theme in many time travel stories/productions (particularly since “Back to the Future” in 1985). That’s one theme I wanted to explore with this book. Hint: My views run counter-culture.
Do you have a favorite quote about writing?
There is a quote from author CS Lewis that drives my writing: “The world does not need more Christian literature. What it needs is more Christians writing good literature.”

As a Christian, I understand how heavy-handed and preachy Christian authors can get. I'm personally not out to beat people over the head with my beliefs, but just strive to write good stories that have a wide appeal. I like to weave virtuous principles and themes into my stories, but (hopefully) not in a way that's overly moralizing. Maybe just a bit thought provoking.
What is the best writing advice you have ever heard?
Keep writing and avoid chasing popular trends. Try to be the one that comes up with the new trend other authors want to copy.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
While it's helpful to have an extensive retail and social media presence, it's word-of-mouth that's the most effective marketing tool. Setting the first sparks to ignite a word-of-mouth wide-fire is the real challenge. Good reviews can help, but you first need to have a good, well-written story for people to talk about.
How do you approach cover design?
I've always been taught to never judge a book by its cover. Then I published, and quickly found that nearly everyone judges a book by its cover. Covers are incredibly important. They give a reader a first impression of a book. It's often what draws in a reader to further explore a book by reading the description, or maybe the first few pages of the preview. Then, if all goes right, it leads to a sale.

I approach a cover design with the understanding that I don't know nearly as much as I should about it. At this point of my indie existence, I'm forced to create my own covers. My main goal is to come up with something that's not terrible, and won't end up on the "Lousy Book Covers" website. Down the road, I look forward to hiring a professional cover designer, because seriously, most authors (including me) aren't good enough to design their own covers.
Describe your desk
I have a desk, but don't spend much time sitting at it. I write on a laptop, and take it around the house (or other places) to write. I don't like to sit too long in one place while writing.
What are you working on next?
I’m currently working on a couple of projects. One is a new thriller book series. The other is a follow-up to my first novel: “Chasing Redemption.”
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has always embraced the indie author and helps to get our works widely distributed. I appreciate all the work Mark has done to draw positive attention to all us indie writers.
Published 2013-08-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Initiative: In Harm's Way (Book One)
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 89,380. Language: American English. Published: August 10, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
(4.00)
Something mysterious is lurking beneath the prestigious veneer of the Blanchard Corporation, and their newest employee, Sam Maxwell, is about to find out what this multi-billion dollar technology giant is hiding. His life is soon surreptitiously evaluated by a board of directors who are anxious to recruit candidates for their clandestine consortium: The Initiative.
Paladin's Odyssey
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 78,830. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(5.00)
Joseph Paladin is a renowned national hero, but is he really the person who many hold in high esteem?
The Juncture
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 47,290. Language: American English. Published: February 25, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational, Fiction » Christian » Suspense
(5.00)
A miraculous event returns Gary Olstrom to an obscure day in his past; a key juncture in time that he never suspected held importance. Disoriented and frustrated, he learns that he has only hours to stop something that will irreparably damage the future of everyone he knows and loves.
Dover Park
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 50,480. Language: English. Published: October 11, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.57)
A runaway girl returns home two days after she left. There’s just one problem. Nobody seems to know who she is.
Chasing Redemption
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 113,570. Language: English. Published: January 18, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Military
A missing commercial space vessel threatens to undo decades of fragile but enduring peace between superpowers. A reinstated captain, whose promising career in Earth Space Defense almost ended after a tragic accident a year earlier, is tasked to investigate. He and his crew soon find themselves drawn into events that uncover deep secrets with alarming ramifications.