Interview with Connie Cockrell

Published 2014-03-28.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I actually remember is Gone With The Wind. The sucker was huge! If any classmates read, they certainly didn't read books that were 3 inches thick. I first read it in the 6th grade. I was twelve. I read it every year after that until I was a junior in High School. I think if I read it now, I'd find I'd missed a lot of the inuendo and cultural clues I know about now.

That leads me to SciFi. I was 13 when my best friend brought me a whole box of SciFi books she got on a paper drive. Muahha, Pam. Thank you so much for making me a huge SciFi fan.
How do you approach cover design?
I want my cover to reflect the contents of my book. So far, I design my own covers and with many kudos to my husband, have been able to use his pictures to make my covers. The rest, I have to admit, is a bit of discover and experiment.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I love SciFi and Fantasy. I love the What If's of those genres. I'm also an Action and Adventure kind of girl. Who doesn't love the underdog secret agent trying to elude the big bad government. When the two genre's merge, Hoo! What's not to love. I'm not sure I could pick just five books. There's the Foundation Series by Asimov, Heinlein's stories, especially the Lazarus Long ones. C.J. Cherryh and her Chanur series. I love the Anne McCaffery Crystal Singer series and Elizabeth Moon's Paksennarion series. There are just too many to mention.
What do you read for pleasure?
A broad range of genres. My absolute fav is SciFi. But, I'll pick up a Clive Cussler, James Patterson or for funnies, a Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't have one of my own. My hubby has a Kindle. The very earliest kind. He loves it.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
As a new author, I'm still building my reading audience. I'm using Twitter, Google+, Linked In and Facebook to drive potential readers to my site, www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com.

Someday I hope to capitalize on these efforts.
Describe your desk
LOL. It's a glass topped, two sided affair that holds my overly large screen, the PC, various desk miscelleny, and the multi-tasking printer/fax/copier. I like the glass top because it's cold. It makes the arthritis in my hands feel better when I lay my hands against the glass.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Upstate New York. Many people associate New York with New York City. That's farthest from the truth. North of Poughkeepsie NY, things tend to get a little depressed. I love my hometown. It has a great Main Street and when I was young, it was the major shopping area. The streets bustled. Now, big box stores have made Main Street obsolete. The town is trying to fix that and I'm all for it. A good many of my short stories are based on my hometown. I love the atmosphere of the old Main Street and how it affects the denizens of the town.
When did you first start writing?
Grade school. This is a cheap answer as everyone writes in school. There are themes and term papers galore. But I've always dabbled in creating a novel. I just never knew how to go about it. In 2011, my daughter persuaded me to participate in the National Novel Writing Month. I accepted. It was mid-October. I needed to figure out how to write a novel and get an idea in two weeks. Fortunately she had the book Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.

Many thanks to that book and to the Arizona Elsewhere Municipal Liason, JA Marlow, where I found a path to writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is actually a series. Gulliver Station. I stumbled into it actually. I took a class from Holly Lisle, How to Write a Series. I was looking for something that I could turn into a series. So for the 2012 November NaNo, I began writing about a young woman spacer.

She was leaving the Space Force and joining a cargo ship. She ended up having a very bad 24 hour leave on Gulliver Station. At the end, I decided I liked the station more than the story I was thinking about for my main character. After that I developed 3 more stories, based on the history of the station and it's devolution into crime and mayhem.

All of the books are drafted and the first two, A New Start and The Challenge are now out. The other two will be released at the end of May and end of July.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
There wasn't any other choice, really. I'm learning the craft as I go. The mantra is to write, publish, write. My entire learning experience is online. I hope my followers will bear with me as I learn.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been a great partner, enabling me to reach a lot of markets I wouldn't have otherwise tried to reach. Example: Barnes and Noble. The Nook market would have been too difficult to reach without Smashwords.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love writing because I love exploring other worlds. Modern, SciFi, Fantasy, Western, and all the others. Who doesn't love exploring the 'What If's"!
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are precious to me. I do my best to write entertaining stories for them.
What are you working on next?
Now that the Gulliver Station series is nearly complete, I'm working on a fantasy novelette about leprechauns, several short stores and somewhere in there, hopefully by July, I'll have a story outlined to be written and produced for Christmas.
Who are your favorite authors?
SciFi authors: Heinlein, Asimov, Clark, C.J. Cherryh, and so many others.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Daylight.

Really. I'm a Day person. I'm up with sunrise. So understandably, I go to bed early too.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I hike, I do crafts, I read and to be honest, there's a lot of TV in there too.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first book I finished was The Bad Seed. It's on Amazon if anyone cares to read it.
What is your writing process?
I like to have an outline, even a bare bones one will work for me. On flash fictions, I'll go in by the seat of my pants but even then, it's 50/50 planning vs pantsing. I don't listen to music. There's enough noise in my head already. Mostly I write in the afternoon. House is quiet, hubby is napping. That's not set in stone though. If my schedule demands, I'll write whenever I get a spare 1/2 hour.

Yeah, reading over the previous paragraph, I don't seem to have any sort of process at all do I?
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