Interview with Eric Praschan

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I remember reading was The Hardy Boys The Tower Treasure. The mystery, intrigue, and suspense of the brothers' detective work and interaction captivated me. I recall reading many books in The Hardy Boys series and thinking to myself, "I want to write these kind of books one day."
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was an action thriller entitled Icefort. I was twelve years old and enthralled with action and suspense stories. The plot of Icefort was over-the-top and ridiculous, and I threw everything into it, including the kitchen sink--car chases, boat chases, airplane chases, even submarine chases. It was fun and invigorating, and the moment I set my pencil down from the wide-rule paper (yes, we still had those things back then), I knew I was hooked and would never stop writing stories.
What is your writing process?
I write in spurts seasonally. When I am inactively writing, the ideas are still germinating in my mind. I gather story ideas or scenes on Post-it Notes over time, and then connect single scenes together to form a plot line. I used to get frustrated over spells of inactivity, but I soon learned that I needed them to recharge me so I could revisit the scenes with fresh eyes and an open mind. I also struggled with perfectionism, wanting each word, each paragraph, and each page to be polished and perfect from the first effort.

I’ve slowly learned over several years to allow myself freedom to embrace the drafting process. For me, the first draft is the spaghetti draft, where noodles, sauce, and uncooked meatballs go flying all over the walls, smearing and staining everything. But at least there’s something to work with, even if it’s messy.

The second draft is meat cooked rare, where there’s some flavor present, but it’s not quite ready to serve. The third draft is a hearty helping of meat and potatoes, where the dish is prepared and ready to be plated. The final draft is a perfectly seasoned meal served with a decadent dessert.

The polished quality of writing comes by rewriting, so I allow myself liberty to revise, rinse, and repeat. Revising is about quality, not speed. When I begin a scene, I might have a general idea of where I want the scene to end up, but I allow myself the opportunity of total exploration as I begin, so the characters determine where the scene goes based on their interactions.

This method keeps it fresh and exciting to see what happens; I feel like I am a reader as I write, holding my breath, laughing with glee, or cringing with trepidation as the characters engage the story full force. This approach enables me to take my hands off and not interfere with the story being told. It keeps me flexible and removes the perfectionism and rigidity of pre-planning and pre-determining everything ahead of time.

In terms of the overall writing process, I make an effort to take real-life observations and continually ask “what if?” about them, creating ever-expanding hypothetical character/plot situations out of everyday life circumstances. The “yes, and” rule of improvisational comedy also applies, where nothing is stifled, squelched, or stopped in the ideation process, because brainstorming implies that whatever kernel of an idea I am working with receives affirmation and extension by applying the “yes, and” principle. I ask “what if?” to start an idea and then plug in the “yes, and” rule to expand it even more.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read suspense fiction for pleasure. I always love a character-centered thriller. Some of my recent favorites include Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson, and Desecration by J.F. Penn.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Along with Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, I've found book promotion sites to be helpful and effective. In particular, EReader News Today is an excellent way to promote your book, and they charge 25% of your overall earnings for a two-day period ad, rather than charging you up front. This method works well and is anxiety-free because there is no fear of losing an up-front investment.
Describe your desk
My desk is clean and organized. Everything has its place, and it is difficult for me to work if it becomes cluttered. I organize, then I create, in that order; otherwise, my brain is overwhelmed and will only focus on the mess until it disappears.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and its rich cultural heritage and diverse population gave me insight into differing family dynamics and an appreciation for people from various backgrounds. For most of the past decade, I have lived in Missouri, and I love the mysterious Ozark Mountains, forests, and farmlands, often using them as inspiration for settings in my books.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing at age eleven when I penned my first song. It was a trite and simplistic song, but I didn't care. I knew I had fallen in love with words, and I felt as if I had stories brewing within me that had to be told.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest psychological thriller, Blind Evil, was inspired by an awkward experience in which my wife and I were booked to stay at a "scenic, beachfront cottage" in Florida for our honeymoon. Upon arrival, we discovered that the cottage was set deep in a creepy part of the woods. We joked that it was the type of cottage where honeymooners go to die. Needless to say, we cancelled our reservation and stayed elsewhere. The experience left me imagining a scenario where a killer stalked newlyweds. More than seven years later, Blind Evil was born.

In Blind Evil, police detective John Grayson's worst nightmare comes to life when he investigates a chilling double homicide and discovers that his best friend, David Vincent, is the prime suspect. As John unravels the mystery and trails the killer across Missouri, he finds himself caught in the web of David's twisted psychological schemes. The terror increases when Emily Dolon, the woman both John and David have loved since childhood, becomes the target of David's macabre mind games.

Trapped between his duty of solving the case and his devotion to his best friend, John struggles to find the truth, knowing he must execute justice, even if it costs him lifelong loyalties or his own life. Blind Evil is a taut psychological thriller that explores the dark place where sanity and madness collide.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I decided to become an indie author because I wanted to be able to choose each aspect of my book, including formatting, editing, cover design, price point, and release date. I tried the traditional publishing process at first, but then I made a decision to go indie because it afforded me the most expedient way to publish while still maintaining a quality finished product. Being an indie author is a lot of work, especially while still working full-time, but it is also very rewarding and exciting to be part of the larger community of authors.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing is feeling empowered and moved by the creative process. The biggest thrill comes when a reader connects with something I've written and expresses how they were impacted by it, whether it made them cry, laugh, cringe, or hold their breath with suspense. I love the sense of escapism that writing provides—the entrance to an entirely new world where anything is possible. Writing is an exploratory process, a joyous path into unknown territory. Writing stretches the bounds of our narrow perceptions and allows us to connect with something greater, the intangible essence of art, which is all at once a mental, emotional, and spiritual experience.
What do your fans mean to you?
Readers who enjoy my writing are like fuel in a gas tank--they help keep me running. That someone would take time to read one of my books is a gift I never take for granted. I'm humbled and blessed to have wonderful readers who are enthusiastic and encouraging, and I only hope to return the favor by writing gripping books that will keep them happily biting off their fingernails with suspense.
Who are your favorite authors?
Some of my favorite authors are Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Chelsea Cain, Thomas Harris, and J.F. Penn.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The opportunity to think, feel, question, learn, move, and be moved inspires me to get out of bed each day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I enjoy watching movies, listening to music, playing video games, and playing basketball.
Published 2015-05-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Burden of Silence
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 71,120. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
After his sister is killed in broad daylight and those who witness it silently scatter to their homes, Jack Stoneman returns to the small Missouri town of Hollow Valley and tries to piece together the mystery of her death by following clues she left behind for him. As he uncovers the truth in a place mired in bonds of silence, he must face his demons and fight for the lives of those he loves.
The James Women Trilogy Box Set
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 185,660. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas
Box set of bestselling James Women Trilogy novels. This suspenseful family saga trilogy explores the power of family secrets in the lives of the James women.
The Furrowed Brow
Price: Free! Words: 3,200. Language: English. Published: February 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
London, 1705. In an isolated country home, Anthony, an eccentric bachelor obsessed with studying human behavior, embarks on an unorthodox experiment: switching places with his butler, Philip. What begins as an innocent, amusing analysis soon turns into a perilous ordeal, leaving Anthony with a life-altering choice to make.
Blind Evil
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 54,170. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Police detective John Grayson's worst nightmare comes to life when he investigates a chilling double homicide and discovers that his best friend, David Vincent, is the prime suspect. Trapped between his duty of solving the case and his devotion to his best friend, John struggles to find the truth, knowing he must execute justice, even if it costs him lifelong loyalties or his own life.
The Reckoning (The James Women Trilogy Book 3)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 59,260. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas
In the conclusion of The James Women Trilogy, the James women must rally for a final stand against the darkness that has plagued their family for generations. The Reckoning, the final chapter in the saga of the James women, showcases the courage to break a family curse and change a legacy forever.
Sleepwalking into Darkness (The James Women Trilogy Book 2)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 64,090. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas
Nineteen years have passed since Cindy James endured therapy and reconciled the demons of her childhood, but a new secret threatens to plunge her deeper into the twisted world of the James women. Desperate for answers, Cindy travels across the country with her husband, Tony, and her daughter, Lexi, and uncovers the real story of her mother and grandmother, a legacy 100 years in the making.
Therapy for Ghosts (The James Women Trilogy Book 1)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 62,460. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas
When therapist Cindy James experiences bizarre panic attacks that trigger memories of a forgotten childhood, she must embark on a harrowing journey back into the heart of her darkest fears. As she undergoes therapy with her unconventional therapist, Tony Prost, Cindy discovers dark family secrets that leave her with a choice: to repeat the family curse, or to forge a new future for herself.