Interview with Alan Eisenberg

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was called "The The" and was a horror story that I wrote when I was about 7. My sister had written a horror story, so we competed to write our stories. I also wrote a story in third grade called "The Picker In Pete's Nose", which was about a person who could shrink down and get all the "mess" out of someone's nose. While the teacher gave the story an "A", she chose not to display it in the class due to the interesting "subject matter". I knew early on that my unique style of writing would hopefully find a home other than a third grade board at some point.
What is your writing process?
I began my process for my first book by spending seven years writing stories on my blog. At some point, I realized that those stories, along with some I had not put there, would make a good book if compiled right.

Since my mind collects and stores my stories, my usual style is to try to outline and write character names up-front, but really do most of my writing from my mind as it is there waiting to come out. With my own short patience, it's easier for me to write it all up-front first and then go back and fix all the mistakes or duplication I have. I depend on some great editors as well to make sure that the book is written well for the audience and not just me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I found great pleasure in reading early in my life. If we were really talking about the first story, then it would be "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss. I had read it so many times that I had memorized it and would march around my house saying it over and over. My parents would tell you that was a big impact.

As far as really getting into reading Novels, I read "Salem's Lot" by Stephen King and recall that being one of the first long form novels I ever read. Besides scaring the heck out me, I also identified with the characters, because I was living in New England at the time and Mr. King wrote so well about the New Englander. I found that, what stays with me when reading is the characters and my ability to empathize with them. I really enjoy that with Stephen King's writings and many other authors now, whose works have vivid and real characters. My favorite line ever is from Stephen King's short story "The Body", which was made into a movie called "Stand By Me". The last line in the book and movie is "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"

The line is powerful to me as I write about my youth and to youth often. It has multiple meanings and I get chills each time I read it again.
How do you approach cover design?
I hire my friend, who is one of the best graphic artists I know. While I do know a good bit about design and picture the cover in my head, I rely on my friend, Nic DiPalma, who is a professional artist, to develop my concept into a reality for a book cover. I believe the importance of an attractive cover for a book is just too big for me to try to do without the help of a professional.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
"Salem's Lot" by Stephen King, because it was the first book I read by him and is still one of my favorite stories by him. I think that if vampires were around today, they would act just as Mr. King wrote them.
"The Life of Pi" by Yann Martel. I couldn't put this book down and the ending just blew me away. It was such a compelling read.
"The Odyssey" by Homer. I might have been the only person in my English class in high school that loved this book. It is such high adventure and action and, while not easy to read, is the first book to approach the cliffhanger story that I know of.
"The Help" by Tate Taylor. Some books are life changing experiences and this is one of them. Telling the truth in a story and the obvious research to create this tale makes it one of my favorites.
"The World According to Garp" by John Irving. Really any book by John Irving, because his ability to take situations that would be bizarre to anyone else and make it seem real is uncanny. There are no other authors I know of like him and I am always surprised by each page he writes. It makes for fun reading.
What do you read for pleasure?
Actually, I read some comic books and graphic novels. Yes, even as an adult, these are a guilty pleasure, because, much like soap operas, they are never ending stories. I think the bigger world gets it now that all the movies about these characters are coming out. But for 20 minutes, I can complete a story and sometimes that's all I need.

I also enjoy reading blogs and positive affirmation sites online as well as other news. I like self-help books and anything that offers a positive message to me as I like to have that in my life.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use Kindle on my iPad. Since my library does Overdrive, I can easily download books onto my iPad through it and read them.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia. During my time in Massachusetts, I dealt with a great amount of strife and that led to my writing about many of the experiences I had there. I think the painful times created many of my stories that come out of bullying experiences that I dealt with. I also think the mentors in my life helped me to see life in a way that allowed me to be creative and use writing as an outlet.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, "Crossing the Line" is what I call a cautionary bullying tale. Over the past several years, the media and stories are being shared about the unfortunate and ultimate price that can be paid when people bully others. Crossing the Line looks at the lives of four teenagers that are directly affected by the bullying issue and the choices they make, because of how this has affected them. It really focuses on the extremes of what bullying can do, such as suicide attempts and school violence. I felt it was important to try to capture the voices of the victims of bullying and how they get to a point to make that ultimate decision...that crossing of the line, from being a victim to choosing a permanent ending to their personal bullying problem. I hope it is a book that can be used to open the eyes of the reader as to how drastic an issue bullying is and how it can hurt so many people through the choices that are made because of it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always dreamed of writing a book. I knew the difficulty of trying to be published by a major publishing house and never got around to writing, until I had more time as my kids grew up. By then, there were so many ways to self-publish, that I realized with my job skills and with my connections, I could learn to self-publish and hopefully get an audience for my book. I like to be independent and I have enjoyed the experience of seeing the path of the book from beginning to end.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords offers an outlet for a self-publisher, like myself, to reach a larger audience. Writing is a great outlet, but if no one reads it, then I didn't do all I could as a self-publisher. With Smashwords help, I believe I can reach that wide audience I want to reach and get the help I need to make my book dream into a reality.
Published 2016-11-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Crossing The Line
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 71,440. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Social Issues, Fiction » Coming of age
Four high school teens are going to find out just how much a bully target can take, before they decide that they can take no more. What lines will be crossed? On the surface, Berryville, Kansas looks to be a perfect Midwest town to raise a family. But hiding in plain sight are the issues of teen bullying and the effects it has on the students at Lincoln High School.
A Ladder In The Dark: My Journey From Bullying To Self-acceptance
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 69,070. Language: English. Published: June 20, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
This true and inspirational story of Alan Eisenberg's life offers a raw and honest portrait of a bullying survivor. Alan's story takes you on a journey that, in the end, leads to recovery and solutions to help heal from the trauma of the long-term effects of bullying. He tried to suppress the childhood trauma brought on by bullying, but has to confront it when anxiety and depression set in.
Standing By
Price: Free! Words: 5,040. Language: English. Published: May 25, 2015. Categories: Plays » American / African American
A one-act 30 minute play about high school students dealing with the various forms of bullying that go on in their lives. The play takes a hard and honest look at what high school students go through on a daily basis to deal with the bullying that happens to them. Many of the stories in the play are based on real life experiences of high school students.