Many and varied. My earliest favorite has to be Poe. Then there's Chekhov, Hesse, Hawthorne, Melville, and of course Conrad. But I write Science Fiction and when it comes to influences there Arthur C. Clarke is tops. Vonnegut and Philip J. Farmer are pretty big influences. On the fantasy side, I grew up reading Weis and Hickman's Dragonlance series and even as an adult I can't get away from that heavy-handed kind of character development. Ursula K. Le Guin's Wizard of Earthsea was an important one too.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I read what I'm familiar with, which means a lot of classics. This is convenient because most of these are free. I'm especially fond of Plato.
I also read books by people I know. Turns out some of my friends are very good writers.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
There's one from high school I'm still trying to forget. I was very much into A Clockwork Orange and I kept using made-up Angle-Russian future slang. "Come and get one in the yarbles. If ya have any yarbles."
Describe your desk
I don't keep a desk on purpose. Some mornings I write on my balcony, other times I stand at the kitchen counter. I have a handful of coffee shops I like to visit. Changing locations and chairs helps prevent the kind back and hand problems common among writers.
What do your fans mean to you?
Poetry is very different than fiction. Fans of poetry respect the artistry of the creator above any individual poem or subject. But good fiction creates a bond between the reader and the characters. So while I like all fans, it's the ones who remind me of that old relationship that are the most fun to talk to, people who see me as an artist and creator and not just a medium through which they can connect with the world I've invented.
What are you working on next?
I'm always working on the next book in my series. I'm as eager to find out what happen next as everyone else is. It's a little frustrating how slow the story unfolds. But when the story is slow to happen, I have side projects, novellas that tie into the main story. I've also got my painting career, which helps to give me a break form writing while still being creative.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I'm not writing I'm painting. That's really all there is right now. Even my favorite hobby, sailing, is on the back burner until I am a little farther along in the Atlas series.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There's no "greatest joy" each 1000 words is as good as publishing the final draft. I get so excited about each thing I write that it interrupts my flow. The better the writing the harder it is not to jump up and down.
How do you approach cover design?
I have some very talented friends. I usually go to them first. I've got some design skills, so I can work with whatever images are available to me. Whenever possible I use one of my own paintings, but because I paint nature scenes, they don't always fit with my unnatural stories.
What do you read for pleasure?
Sailing stories, and boating manuals, Books of philosophy. Old-school scifi, and new-school fantasy. I'll read a little of everything but never too much of any one thing. I don't know how people can do the same thing over and over. I like to keep my mind limber and not get stuck in a rut.
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