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Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The very first story I wrote that was published was called "The Dog in the Night", a science-fiction who-done-it. Looking back on it now I can see it wasn't very good but it was exciting to see it published on the old Galaxy eZine. It actually received some very favorable reviews.
What is your writing process?
I read. Actually, I read a lot. I'll see something that really catches my interest - a concept or a plot point - and then I'll start to wonder how the story would have evolved if it had gone this way instead of that. Once I get an idea it has to bounce around in my skull a while. Sometimes nothing happens and it peters out. Other times it sticks with me and I'll start jotting down ideas or dialog in my notebook. If it really has legs I keep at it until I have a story. I've tried laying out detailed plot structures but that never works for me. I just write, then I go back and shape it up.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The story that sticks in my mind is "A Wrinkle in Time". After that I read everything Madeline L'Engle ever wrote. Even to this day I'll re-read "A Wrinkle in Time". It's just a great story, even if you're not a kid anymore.
How do you approach cover design?
I go by concept. I don't try to be too literal. The cover should give the reader a sense of what the story (or stories) is about. It's more about atmosphere for me. If the content is creepy, the cover should reflect that but not in an obvious 'hit you over the head' kind of way.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
That's a tough one, but "A Wrinkle in Time" goes to the top, I think. I'm also a huge Asimov fan. I've recently read every work of his fiction that I have in my collection. I must say all the foundation stories are in my list of favorites.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love history, science fiction, horror, dark fantasy and science. I have a bookshelf next to my favorite chair where I have at least twenty books I am in the process of reading. Which book I grab at any one particular time depends entirely on my mood.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a plain old vanilla Kindle. Nothing fancy, but it is loaded with books, the screen is easy to read and the battery life is fantastic. Some day I'll move up to a newer model but for now this works just great for me.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Since I'm so new at this I can't really say. This is a learning process and I have a long way to go. At this point I'd say my author's page on Facebook gets the most attention, but Smashwords is also a wonderful tool to help people sample my work.
Describe your desk
It's a battered Oak monstrosity with pits and scars and missing pieces, but it has a large surface area and I need that - I like to spread out.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent my childhood years in Kansas, in a couple of small towns no one's ever heard of except people who have lived in them. I also lived in Wichita, which I always thought was a big city until I moved to Denver. Growing up in small towns surrounded by wide open spaces instilled in me an appreciation for isolation. The countryside in Kansas can be such a lonely place. People can do terrible things in such isolation and on one will ever know. That gives me the chills.
When did you first start writing?
I started a new job back in 1996 that I loathed. I decided then that there had to be more to life. There has to be something you do for the shear joy of just being creative. I deicded to start writing since I had at least one hour a day for lunch where I could create new worlds just for the pure fun of it.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I am currently working on my first novel, "Chasing the Weasel". It takes place in Denver about fifty years from now. The main idea behind the story is that techology is only available to those who can afford it. You know, the internet started out as this utopian concept of openess and freedom. Anyone could get on the web and start their own page or blog. You can read just about anything you want, watch about anything you want. But lately there has been movement to tighten control, to limit access. I just took this concept to the next level where it's not just the net that is restricted but all forms of technology. If you can't pay, you can't play.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
That's simple. If you want to be published you have two chioces - send your love child out to an unkown, uncaring editor or publisher somewhere who doesn't know you from Adam and take your chances, or do the work yourself and get your stuff out there where people can actually see it. You have to wonder how many great stories never reached an audience because the poor author could never find the write editor/publisher/agent.
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