Interview with Charles Scott Curtis

What motivated you to become an indie author?
The thought of going through a years-long process writing my first book (several drafts, many periods of self-doubt, long months of inaction and indecision, all of which were my fault), a year-long quest to get an agent, another long process of finding a publisher followed by a year's delay in my book seeing the light of day was too much for me.

The most attractive thing about being an indie author means that my success or failure all comes down to me. Rather than someone else tell me that my work doesn't fit their idea of a market, my answer is to go and find the market, which may or may not exist but it won't be because of someone else's determination.

Finally, while I am new to the field of self-promotion and bound to make a few mistakes, there is a certain freedom in controlling your literary destiny.
What is your writing process?
I try to be flexible, since stories have a tendency to not go the way you thought they would when you started. I keep a basic outline but I'm not afraid to go off in a different direction if I reach a point in the story and ask myself, "What if (insert possibility here)? Even if I end up coming back to what I had originally planned out, the overall story ends up being much stronger and I inevitably will have new ideas for other parts of the book.
Once I have an idea of the story I'd like to write, or even scenes within that story, usually I sit down and sketch them out. This can take the form of action bits or just dialogue with no other description. Sometimes I am lucky enough to create a fully formed scene the first time I sit down and write, but it usually takes me several run-throughs before I end up with the scene looking the way I want. It's why I admire writers who still use typewriters.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a voracious reader and try to include wide variety of genres, subjects, et al. I also love to travel, binge watch movies and Netflix, and brew craft beer.
Who are your favorite authors?
Bernard Cornwell, Khaled Hosseini, Charlie Lovett and Jack Higgins
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk- I first read this book in high school and, about every 6-7 years, I take it out and read it again. Willie Keith was a character I strongly identified with, and I am still waiting for Hollywood to make a movie version centered around him (although the 1954 film was good, it was incomplete IMO)

2. The Once and Future King by T.H. White-I grew up on the King Arthur stories and these (along with Sir Thomas Malory) are still my favorite.

3. The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour-This book was one of the reasons I chose to become a historical fiction writer. The exotic locales and larger than life hero, Kerbouchard, provided one of the most exciting reads I can remember. My dream project would be to finish the trilogy, as L'Amour died before he could complete the sequels.

4. The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins-When it comes to fast-paced action, Higgins is my favorite and this story based on a real attempt by the Nazis to kidnap Winston Churchill during World War II has all the elements of a great adventure.

5. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr-Just a well-crafted story. Drops you right into World War II more vividly than any other book I can think of.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The seed for this book was planted way back in 2003 when I was living and teaching in Pensacola, Florida. I was making $100/day working as a long-term substitute before I got hired in December, so I had to be creative when seeking out cheap recreational activities. One of these was to visit the local bookstore, buy a cup of coffee and sit down with a book off the shelves and read (the people working there knew I did this and did not have a problem with it). One of the books that drew my attention was The Battle That Stopped Rome by Peter Wells, about the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 A.D. Other than Hannibal's victories in the Punic Wars, I was not too familiar with Rome's major defeats, so this one was a surprise and it stuck with me, even though I wouldn't begin research on the novel until 2009.

At its core, Blood of Eagles is a cautionary tale about countries that overstep their bounds in trying to influence the destinies of others. Growing up, I was always a fan of stories with rebellious elements (Star Wars, Robin Hood, Braveheart, The American Revolution, Martin Luther, Spartacus, etc.) and there has always been something in me that has resisted forced compliance.
What are you working on next?
I am continuing the Blood of Eagles story. As of now the plan is for six parts, roughly the equivalent of two full-length novels. I am also working on a couple of non-fiction projects and a sci-fi time travel series.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I can't remember who said this, but someone said that the way he knew we were made in God's image is that He gave us the ability to create. When I write I feel like I am creating and when I edit, I feel like I am molding and shaping. It is such a joyful feeling.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Call me old-fashioned, but I still prefer to hold a book in my hand.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's too early to tell since I have only just begun, but it has given me a platform to get my writing out there, especially given that so many people are now using e-readers, Kindle's, etc.
Published 2018-04-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Blood of Eagles: A Story of Ancient Rome
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 113,300. Language: English. Published: April 28, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome, Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure
9 B.C.-The Roman Empire circles the Mediterranean and stretches north to central Europe. Beyond the Rhine River live a disparate group of warring Germanic tribes, out of which Rome is determined to craft a province in her image. Ten-year-old Arminius is taken to Rome as a hostage to be trained as a future vassal of the empire, setting him on a path that will forever alter the fate of two peoples.
Blood of Eagles #3: The Forest of Death
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 42,240. Language: English. Published: April 17, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome
Cassius Severus journeys north to seek assistance from an unlikely source. Arminius launches an attack that will forever alter the future of two peoples. The Forest of Death is the third entry in the Blood of Eagles series.
Blood of Eagles #2: The Burning Lands
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 43,360. Language: English. Published: March 17, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome
As rebellion breaks out in Pannonia, Arminius is forced to postpone his long-awaited return to Germania. Meanwhile, his friend Severus survives Rome's most infamous dinner party only to face off with Augustus himself
Blood of Eagles #1: Shadows of the Aventine
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 26,660. Language: English. Published: February 26, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome, Fiction
Arminius, son of a German chieftain, is taken to Rome to be trained at Emperor Augustus' elite school for princes as a future vassal of the empire. Forced to endure harsh treatment from his instructor, the brutal veteran Gaius Petronius, Arminius patiently absorbs the knowledge he hopes will one day free his people from Roman rule while awaiting the chance to confront his tormentor.