Interview with H.A. Howard

What is your e-reading device of choice?
i do a great deal of e-reading on my laptop (Adobe Digital Editions) for the purposes of research and teaching. But for fun, I tend to read on my iPhone or iPad using iBooks and Kindle.
Describe your desk
My desk is a minor natural disaster. And the mess is seasonal, just like hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards. Typically I clean and organize my desk at the end of term. Over the following months a morass of papers, forms, essays, off-prints, books, pens, pencils, paper clips, staples, and M&Ms develops, slowly swallowing my family photos. Then term ends and the process begins again.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in Southwestern Ontario. It was a pretty staid and pragmatic place, but one where education was valued. It didn't hurt that both my parents taught English. Consequently books were a huge part of my life as far back as I can remember. A love of reading combined with a vibrant imaginative life led me quite naturally into telling my own stories - first with my Lego creations and later with pen and paper.
When did you first start writing?
My first attempts at creative writing came as an undergraduate. The weren't terribly serious, but they were seriously bad. I continued to dabble with creative writing as my academic writing career took off, but had little time to pursue it seriously until relatively recently.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It is an outgrowth of a research project I began in 2014. A chance discovery of an unusual memoir in an archival collection led me down an unexpected path and into uncharted territory - for a professional historian at least.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My patience for gate keepers has been exhausted by 15 years of academic publishing. Moreover, decline of editorial and marketing support for all but the most established authors in traditional publishing makes it less and less attractive given the affordances of digital publication and promotion. Besides, I enjoy the creative opportunities (and challenges) of producing my own website and videos for promotional purposes.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
That remains to be seen.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Moments of 'flow' are just the best. Nothing beats the feeling of absolute focus and immersion in the creative process. Although I will admit that finding the perfect solution to a structural problem is a close second.
What do your fans mean to you?
Not sure that I have any... yet.
What are you working on next?
My current project is the second volume of E.A. Allen's memoir. Watch for it later this summer.
Who are your favorite authors?
Are you ready for a long list? In no particular order: P.G. Wodehouse, Tolkien, Tadd Williams, Guy Gavriel Kay, George MacDonald Fraser, Kipling, Poe, Rowling, Robert Graves, Wilfrid Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Pat Barker, Le Carré, Mary Steward, Hugh Laurie, Conrad, Martial, Juvenal, Joseph Boyden, Mary Beard, Stephen King, Saki, Timothy Findley, and George R.R. Martin, and John Morressy.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The fact that I have to get my kids to school. That and the promise of coffee.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Teaching, reading, Netflixing, skiing, playing hockey, paddling, and dreaming of new adventures.
How do you approach cover design?
Find a professional (in my case Toma Feizo Gas of Vulcan Design Forge) and rely on her/his expertise.
Published 2017-04-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.