Interview with D.R. Lloyd

Who are your favorite authors?
To anyone who's familiar with my first published book, "The Sillymarillion", it should be obvious that I'm a Tolkien geek, not just of the somewhat uncommon variety who enjoyed "The Silmarillion" but of the even rarer breed who absorbs all the biographies, analyses, and posthumously-published scraps. It's for people like me that the late author's estate keeps publishing books with titles like "Lost Napkin Scribblings That Might Have Been Tolkien's From The Pub Where He Used To Hang Out, Volume MCXVI".

Other fantasy and SF authors I enjoy include, unsurprisingly, such names as Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, Harlan Ellison, George RR Martin, Naomi Novik, SM Stirling, and prolific alt-history writer Harry Turtledove. Douglas Adams of "Hitchhiker's Guide" fame is the writer who I most wish I could be more like in my comedic writing. Terry Pratchett's not half bad either.

I love Mark Twain, not for his novels but for his essays and plethora of great quotes. "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." Words to live by.

On the non-fiction side, Carl Sagan is a hero of mine for showing me just how unbelievably awesome is this universe around us. His "Demon Haunted World" is a recipe for critical thinking and "Pale Blue Dot" is probably my favorite non-fiction book. Mary Roach and Susan Jacoby are other non-fiction writers whose new work I actively keep an eye out for.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Weekdays: The necessity of gainful employment.
Weekends: Lunch isn't gonna make itself.
How do you approach cover design?
My only experience so far with cover design was during the run-up to publication of "The Sillymarillion" in trade paperback form via a traditional publisher in 2004. The process went something like this:

Me: "I asked my wife to put together some concept sketches of ideas for the cover based on some of my favorite scenes from the book. I've attached them to this e-mail."

Publisher: "Thanks for the sketches, but here's your cover. It contains only a vague semblance to any particular scene in the story and oh, by the way there's an obvious typo that nobody will notice until the first printing is done."

Obviously these aren't direct quotes, but that's more or less what ended up happening. I'm looking forward to having more input on the cover design of future work, but with a little trepidation, because I acknowledge the possibility that I could be rather bad at it.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
There's 2nd generation Kindle around here on a shelf somewhere, but these days for its multifunction convenience I mostly read e-books from the screen of an Android tablet that's seldom far from my side at home.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
When the paperback, traditionally published "The Sillymarillion" came out, the publisher purchased some front-page banner ads one of the larger Tolkien fan sites during the period of time when the Lord of the Rings movies were generating a lot of excitement and new visitors to the site. So there was an initial burst of buying during that short period of time - it even made Amazon's top 100 for a day or two - but when the ads went away it slowed to a trickle.

Though I have some familiarity with (and dislike of the often misleading or mindless-fluff-generating nature of) search engine optimization, I'm new at e-book marketing and have a lot to learn. I do think that word-of-mouth trumps word-of-Google, and would like to see independent writers working together to help gain exposure for one another. To that end, I've set up an old-school link exchange for fantasy writers at http://books.drl2.com/independent-fantasy-writers-link-exchange/. It won't rocket you to the top of the charts, but it might get you a visitor or two who are interested in your work and could end up blogging about it...
What do your fans mean to you?
Outside my family I've never met one and am not sure if I even have them. To be honest I'm not totally comfortable with the idea of having "fans" - it seems like a big responsibility.
What are you working on next?
There are two books I've been working on in spurts over the last 5 years or so. One is a traditional fantasy story tentatively called "Spirit's End", which was "done" several years ago, but which on re-reading afresh I decided needed more work to flesh out a number of important characters. The other is a humorous modern-era detective novel with a fantasy/SF twist.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I get really "into the zone", when the words are flowing fast and furious out of my head and onto the screen, I find it to be meditative and cathartic. In just the right mood, I find the act of turning ideas into sentences to be very rewarding in itself.

On the flip side, the least joyful part of the writing process for me is re-reading my work after some time has passed. I can be my own worst critic, and find myself thinking over and over that I should have worded something differently or started a new paragraph somewhere else or named a character something different. I like to hope that this is just a sign that I'm maturing as a writer and my skills are better now than they were... uh... yesterday when I wrote that blog post that I now feel the need to edit extensively.
What is your writing process?
Writing is for me an iterative process that goes something like this:

1. Come home from work and either surf the net for a while or take a nap because I'm so exhausted from staying up too late last night.
2. Eat dinner and socialize with my family so I don't become "that guy who in our house who comes in and stares at a monitor".
3. Enjoy a vigorous workout. (Ha! Just kidding here, of course. Coffee counts as exercise, right?)
3. Convince myself that it's too late to start writing anything tonight, because if I really get into it I'll end up staying up too late and be exhausted tomorrow. Instead, decide to surf the net and play some online games for a while and go to bed early so I'll be wide awake and get some writing done tomorrow night.
4. Stay up into the wee hours of the morning surfing the net and playing games.
5. Repeat for weeks or months at a time.
6. Finally shame myself into writing something. Re-read what I wrote during the last cycle and decide it's garbage that needs a rewrite.
7. Write & revise consistently for a 1-5 days and then begin again at step 1.
Do you find it awkward to be essentially interviewing yourself to to take advantage of this Smashwords feature?
Why, yes... yes I do.
Published 2014-03-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Sillymarillion - An Unauthorized Parody of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 52,730. Language: English. Published: February 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
Blasphemy! Heresy! Not since Bored of the Rings has there been such a blatant desecration of the sacred works of J.R.R. Tolkien! True fans of Middle-earth, rise up against this upstart and his distorted retelling of The Silmarillion, Tolkien's history of the world before The Lord of the Rings.