Interview with Connie Cockrell

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?
Published 2014-03-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Mystery at the Book Festival
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 57,410. Language: American English. Published: June 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth
(5.00)
Locked in a race against time, Jean must solve this newest murder to prove her own innocence to those with more power than sense. With the help of her close allies, Jean might just be able to untangle this web in time to clear her name and save Nick’s job. But the truth, as ever, has no intention of being found…
Mystery in the Woods
Series: Jean Hays. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 65,510. Language: English. Published: December 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
After solving a murder at the county fair, an ex-AF project manager and her best friend discover the 12 year old mummified corpse of a man while on a hike and must uncover the murderer before he destroys the town.
Troubled Streets
Series: Zoe Ohale. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 78,880. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Zoe Ohale has had a hard life on the streets of Baia Mare, and it’s about to get a whole lot harder.
Kindred Spirits
Series: Brown Rain. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 41,170. Language: English. Published: March 10, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(4.00)
Alyssa and Kyra are on the move again, and winter is almost upon them. Finding another community is crucial for gaining shelter and their prayers soon seem to be answered when they come across the Ogonqwa tribe in Ohio. But not everybody is delighted with the strangers' arrival. Will Alyssa and Kyra be allowed to overwinter within the saftey of these walls? Or will they be put out in the cold?
Mystery at the Fair
Series: Jean Hays. Price: Free! Words: 54,810. Language: English. Published: July 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(4.00)
Between managing the annual Greyson fair and pursuing the shadowy trail of destruction left by a murderer, Jean Hays has her hands full dealing with drunken brawls and nasty falls, suspicious ex-wives and keen-sharp knives. And that’s not to mention the stubborn Police Chief himself. Will Jean find the truth before the killer decides enough is enough?
Lost Rainbows
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,510. Language: English. Published: January 25, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Shamus O'Malley must recover the Leprechaun Kingdom's lost rainbows and gold, stolen by the evil wizard, David Bannon, before the rainbows are lost forever and the wizard conquers the Leprechaun Kingdom.
The Downtrodden
Series: Brown Rain. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 21,040. Language: English. Published: November 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Adventure » Action
Wary after escaping from the Children of God, Alyssa and Kyra stop to help another survivor community but it's up to Kyra to save them all from a mad man's plans before they're trapped.
First Encounter
Series: Brown Rain, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 23,780. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Alyssa and Kyra find their first survivor community but after a cool welcome, they learn the community's secret and both women are threatened with imprisonment and slavery.
Gulliver Station: Revolution
Series: Gulliver Station, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 54,700. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas
While Lemuel Calahan, the leader of Gulliver Station’s Underground, fights to restore a safe and peaceful society the two crime families on the station are engaged in a fight to the death. Can he change the corrupt station government?
Gulliver Station: Hard Choices
Series: Gulliver Station, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 54,230. Language: American English. Published: May 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Political
In the title novel, Jolene Harris enjoys her first leave by herself since she joined the Space Forces but while she waits for her new ship, the freighter, The Adirondack, things go horribly wrong. Will she live to reach her new ship?
Gulliver Station: The Challenge
Series: Gulliver Station, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 59,260. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas
Expand her grandfather’s crime syndicate or alienate Gulliver Station residents against The Family – James McMahon thinks Erin Gillespie is weak, not moving fast enough, can Erin hold on?
Gulliver Station: A New Start
Series: Gulliver Station, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 52,300. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Fergus Boylan wants the new Gulliver Space Station to be a model of fair and peaceful life but Conway Gillespie wants to become the new crime lord.
Christmas Tales
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,450. Language: English. Published: November 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas, Fiction » Holiday » Family
A mix of western, modern and scifi, this collection brings together short stories that explore human kindness and charity.
Halloween Tales: A Collection of Stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,380. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Horror » General
A collection of five stories, from the American Old West, right up through a dystopian future, all of them a little creepy, a little horrific, and sometimes a little funny.
Recall
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 52,190. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
In a Pharmaceutical company where quickly bringing new drugs to market is critical, how can Dr. Elaine Sparks engineer the recall of a fatally flawed drug whose champion has the CEO’s ear?
A Trio of Animal Tales
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,800. Language: English. Published: February 19, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » General
In the annual great circle hunt, young Kobi has discovered a unicorn. Killing the unicorn will ensure his fortune and make him famous in the Seven Tribes. But the animal talks and she promises him good luck for his entire life if he lets her go. Now he must choose instant fame and fortune or good luck in the future. Unicorn for All is the first of a trio of stories.