Interview with Derek Fox

What do you read for pleasure?
Generally, I'm not limited to any specific genre. If the story is good, I'm in it. If the characters are believable, I'm in it. Basically, if an author can get me to read another chapter after I planned to stop, then I'm a fan. One thing that turns me away is an overabundance of cliches that make the story or the character predictable. If I see too much of that going on, I'll close the book. Generally, I'm not into Romance novels, but I'm not opposed to romance in other stories where it pertains to the plot.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Central Florida and North Alabama, back and forth, back and forth. There are cultural differences in those locations, so I got to be around a wide range of folks growing up, and that allowed me to put a certain degree of diversity in character development that I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. It helped me develop multiple points of view in any given situation so I get to apply that to characters.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
One of the great things about writing is that you can discuss things that would be too weird or too awkward in normal conversation, and when you're the kind of person with a truly unique and thoughtful point of view, you can say things that can't be said in only a few words. This really applies if you have a complicated POV. The hard part is presenting that POV without making your characters you. You have to show it as a whole picture that is implied when all of the actions of every character are connected. Sometimes, this happens naturally. Other times, it's work. Your reader will either see it for themselves or they won't. Either way, it shouldn't affect the entertainment value of your story.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Waking up. I'm not gonna lay there all day, that's for sure. Your back will get stiff pretty quick.
What is your writing process?
Well, for me, it's not really a process. It's more of an Osmosis. If I get an idea for a scene, a character, or a plot development, I usually think about it and then throw it out of my mind. If I think about it again after a few days or weeks, then I know it interested me enough to write about it. Something that's easily forgotten doesn't deserve to have any time wasted on it. As far as drafting or free writing goes, it all varies. Sometimes I let it flow for pages at a time, and then rewrite. Other times, I write one paragraph or sentence at a time and then rewrite it. I usually do the last one when it's an important scene of the story, so it gets the attention it deserves. One thing that I do not do is intentionally try to find the most clever and quirky way to say something. If it happens that way, then its natural. I just like to tell the story.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I believe I was a young boy when I read "The Hobbit" by Tolkien. I remember after reading it, I thought "Hey! Books aren't THAT bad!" I didn't read another book until later because I thought that book was special, and that no other book could possibly be that good. But then I found out that there were other books with Dragons and Swords and Magic and I dove right in. And as I got older, I expanded to other genres, mostly horror, surrealism, legal thrillers, and psychological thrillers, and then stuff like Tom Clancy. Now, all of that is mixed together in my head like a stew simmering on the pot.
What are you working on next?
Different projects simultaneously. I have a contemporary novel that I'm working on that I'm taking my time with because I don't want it to be a cliche. On stuff like this, I like to take some familiar element of the real world and blend it it with a fictional story. You can really come up with some fantastic ideas, but the hard part is tying them in effectively, and that's the thing that slows me down but its worth the time you have to take to think it through.
I'm also working on my series of guitar instruction books because I have a ton of knowledge and experience on that subject. And just for fun, I'm working on a novel based on a fantastic TV show that I love so much that I have to write about in the off season in order to get my fix. This will probably never be published, but who knows?
What is your e-reading device of choice?
If I'm reading electronically, I prefer to read on my PC. The main reason is because the screen is so much bigger and it makes everything easier to read. Also, if I'm on the go, I'm doing stuff besides reading so I don't read on smaller, portable devices.
What advice would you share with fellow writers?
More than not, when I'm reading fiction, there are too many bland characters, as if the author gave the character a name and just put them in action. There is more to it than this. I follow a specific rule when I'm writing and it goes like this, "With every action, the character must have a motive to perform the action." The motive can be implied, clearly stated, or it can be a characteristic of the character itself (anxious, giddy, feisty, etc.). When a writer applies this rule, it not only provides the reader with more detail that makes the character stand out on the page but it also aids the author in character development. Sometimes the action and the motive can be flipped, but this usually happens accidentally. A characteristic, as a motive, can cause an action, and an action can show a characteristic.
What advice would you give to the novice writer?
1) Read a lot. That's the first thing. 2) Stop fantasizing about it and do it. If you're merely fantasizing, you're probably not a writer. 3) Don't try to write stories that have already been written by someone else. 4) If you want to fine tune your craft, a good exercise is to take your favorite characters from books you've read or television shows you've watched and write short stories about them. When you're done, read over it and determine if the character in your story behaves in the same way as they do in the source material. It's good practice and it's good when you're drawing a blank. I do this all the time and it actually spurs more ideas that I would not have invented otherwise.
Published 2014-07-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Guitar Fretwork Compendium - Beyond the Basic Chords
Series: The Guitar Fretwork Compendium. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 14,420. Language: English. Published: January 18, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Instrument - Guitar, Nonfiction » Music » Instruction & Study - Composition
The Guitar Fretwork Compendium - Beyond the Basic Chords combines Parts 1 - 3 of the series into one volume. Topics include Major and Minor Triads, Pedal Tones, Broken Chords, Intervals, Scale Construction, and the Basics of Music Theory.
The Guitar Fretwork Compendium Part III - Music Theory Fundamentals
Series: The Guitar Fretwork Compendium, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 6,370. Language: English. Published: June 21, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Instrument - Guitar, Nonfiction » Music » Instruction & Study - Composition
The Guitar Fretwork Compendium Part III - Music Theory Fundamentals introduces the guitarist to intervals, ear training, spelling chords, chord inversions, and harmonized scales. These concepts are the basic foundation for all music and will greatly aid the guitarist when learning any style.
The Guitar Fretwork Compendium Part II - Pedal Tones and Broken Chords
Series: The Guitar Fretwork Compendium, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 5,190. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Instrument - Guitar, Nonfiction » Music » Instruction & Study - Composition
The Guitar Fretwork Compendium Part II - Pedal Tones and Broken Chords introduces the guitarist to the concepts of Pedal Tones and Broken Chords and teaches players how to apply them both together and separately. The repeatable exercises blend the lessons of this book with the lessons learned in Part I of the series.
The Guitar Fretwork Compendium Part I - Major & Minor Triad Shapes
Series: The Guitar Fretwork Compendium, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,100. Language: English. Published: May 4, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Instrument - Guitar, Nonfiction » Music » Instruction & Study - Composition
This book takes the guitarist beyond the basic chords and teaches Major and Minor triad shapes all over the fret board. For all styles of music, the lesson contained in this book is a repeatable lesson, one that can be continued over and over again using a different set of chord shapes every time. With over 200 chord diagrams included, it is essential to increase knowledge and ability.