Interview with Erika Dillenger

Who are your favorite authors?
I am inspired by so many: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Harper Lee, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway... those that wrote honest, tough, and touching stories that have forever made an impact on society. If I'm lucky, my writings will touch just one reader in the way they have reached millions.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
To simply do the things I am meant to do, and help better the lives of others, whether it be through my writing by inspiration or talking to people face to face.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love playing video games! I am a huge fan of Minecraft and some other nerdy games I choose not to mention. I also enjoy being with friends and being involved in my church.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I simply visit websites like Smashwords and scour all the genres, seeing what's out there. I also love reading the biographies of successful eBook authors, so I always look at the books they have put out, and read the ones I connect with.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Wow, this is very thought provoking. I remember in middle school and high school writing two different novels that I had given to some of my English teachers to edit. I can remember that one was about a girl who discovers and bonds with a ghost in her school and tries to discover how he died, because he tries to keep it a secret. It makes me laugh to think about that now. Truthfully though, I've written so much that it has all blurred together!
What is your writing process?
Usually I am inspired by a name or a photo and then the process of developing a story begins. I've tried to do outlines, but they've never worked for me, as I am terribly impatient. Instead, I jump right in at chapter one and write until the story concludes. I usually get a couple chapters in before I go back to the beginning and start editing, and that's a repeating cycle as I work my way through. I in no way recommend my process because it can really hold me up (I'm a picky perfectionist), but it works for me (eventually).
How do you approach cover design?
Almost every eBook author out there says hire a professional, but I knew I wouldn't have too. Because I love design and already feel I have a talent for it, I bought the rights to the image I used for the "Afeldae" cover and simply added other things to it in Photoshop. My budget was too small for a professional, anyhow, and because I wanted to keep it simple, I did the work myself. A lot of fun!
What's the story behind your latest book?
Because I'm both impatient and a perfectionist, I came to realize if I was ever going to publish something in a decent amount of time, it would be a short story. I also like the idea of keeping something short and sweet as well, and then expanding upon it later if there is enough interest. I've been a long time lover of horses, so the thought of writing about an immortal one excited me.

Fantasy has always been one of the top genres throughout time, so I thought fantasy readers that found my story would enjoy it too. After all the years I've spent writing, I'm glad to finally have something available to the public!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The answer here is easy. Who has the time to go to a traditional publisher and get rejected relentlessly? After doing my research and reading about a lot of eBook authors who found success, I decided I could work as hard as they did to see if I had a chance. Plus, there are so many websites out there now wanting to help indies and offering free service. Because I felt confident in my writing, cover design ability and marketing, I knew this was a possible route for me to inspire others through one of my passions.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Possibly telling a story that touches the heart and is not forgotten. I love what Ernest Hemingway once said about writing: "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." I don't make up as much in my stories in comparison to what is true--themes, thoughts, feelings, struggle--all these are in my books and are very real to me.
What's coming next?
As of right now, I'm not sure. My hope is the sequel to my short story Afeldae, and the way this would happen is if any of my readers contact me requesting it, and/or sales are good. But if not, I have loads of other stories just waiting to be developed further and finished on my hard drive.
Published 2015-05-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.