Interview with Herbert Grosshans

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My wife.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I do chores around the house and yard, like cutting the grass, fixing things that need to be fixed. Do renovating. I go shopping with my wife. If the weather is nice I go fishing for a couple of hours in the early morning. In the summer I do gardening. Sometimes I accompany my wife to babysit our grandchildren. I go to family functions. In the Fall, my wife and I make make Salsa and pickles. I go hunting with my son. I'm an executive member of a Hunting and Fishing club and I fulfill my duties. Watch TV in the evening. I make wine and beer. In the morning, I feed my tropical fish and when necessary I clean my aquariums. I do research on the internet and other stuff like that. I never have a dull moment because I like to be busy.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I hardly read ebooks by other writers. I'm too busy writing my own stories. The only books I read now are information books. I find them through research on the internet. However, my wife reads a lot. I search for them on the internet by author.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I do. It was a cartoon: Cowboy Jippi. It was a thin booklet which I made myself. I was nine years old.
What is your writing process?
I used to write everything into a scribbler and then I transferred it onto paper with a manual typewriter. Now I sit at my computer and write. I don't have a special time or system. I write whenever time allows. Every story starts with an idea. It usually is quite vague. Then I sit down and write a sentence to get the creative juices flowing. I might write a short paragraph without knowing where I'm going with the story. As I write, ideas pop into my head, the characters begin to become more real and they 'tell' me where they are headed. I might stop for a while and make a list of the characters, give them a background and give them a past life. Then I may write a background to the world I created. Slowly, as the story progresses, more background, more history of that world and of the characters appears. If I write a contemporary novel I may have to take time out from writing do some research.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I ever read, since I started reading at an early age. However, I remember some of the first stories I read. They were about knights and kings, heroes and gods, like Thor and Odin. Thor, the Thunderer with his big war-hammer, was my favorite.
How do you approach cover design?
When I do the editing of a new novel, I also take note of the scenery I created. I let it go through my mind what kind of picture would look good on the cover. Then I may look at other book covers to get an idea. I go to the sites that offer cover pictures and I look at pictures, hoping to be inspired. If I find something I like I buy it and use my paint program to add text. I couldn't find anything useful for my book 'A Matter of Integrity', so I had my wife take a picture of me with a gun against a light background. I didn't really want my picture on the cover of my book, but as a partial silhouette it turned out okay.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I have so many favorite books it wouldn't be fair to name just five. All those books are still in my head. I loved reading them because they took me away from the mundane world and they inspired me to write my own stories. Ever since I started publishing my own stories I haven't been reading other authors and sometimes I miss that. Once in a while I do take time off from my writing and read the odd book. In fact, I just picket up a book at a garage sale by Philip José Farmer 'More Than Fire', the sixth book in his World of Tiers series. I loved reading those first five books and I will read this one.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Sony e-reader. It wasn't really my device of choice. I bought it because it was a good deal.
Describe your desk
My desk is usually cluttered with printouts and scribblers. There is a Solar calculator and there are a few pens. And there is my folder where I keep all of my passwords handy. There is also a desk calender. My monitor is sitting on my computer desk right beside the main desk. On the computer desk is also an older fax machine with a phone.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Germany. I'm not sure how that influenced my writing. Perhaps because there wasn't much to read in the small library of our School and my first reading experience was reading books about knights, heroes and gods may have had something to do with the fact that I like fantasy stories. As a teenager I was introduced to Science Fiction stories, something completely new in Germany at that time. I fell in love with that genre and my first stories were Science Fiction. Just the thought of traveling through space and to visit other planets fascinated me. It still does. That's why my favorite stories are still Science Fiction.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book 'A Matter of Integrity' is a crime novel featuring PI Lews Canon. I wanted to write a humorous story and one day I just wrote down a couple of pages without knowing where it might lead. Those pages sat in my computer for a while until I decided I should make something out of it. So I wrote a couple more pages. Slowly a story developed and then I was hooked on writing it. It was difficult to keep the humor going throughout the story without it becoming silly, I also did want some suspense and a bit of action. I believe I succeeded with that.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to write a story the way I wanted it, without following some publisher's guidelines. I also didn't want an editor take out parts of the story just because that editor didn't like those parts. I like the challenge of doing everything by myself, even designing my own cover. Another reason was the financial side. With a publisher an author gets very little of the proceeds. As an indie author the cut is much larger.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
So far, not much. Sales are low.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I enjoy writing because I can let my imagination take me to anywhere I want to go. I can create new worlds and populate them with weird and wonderful creatures and people. If I want to get lost on a hostile planet I can do so without worrying I may never find home again. Kings and Queens invite me into their castles to have dinner with them. Beautiful women sit by my side and I entertain them with my wit and charm as they listen to the stories of my adventurous life. When the evening ends they invite me into their chambers. Gods are my companions and the Devil cringes with fear when I look at him with my flaming eyes. Heroes want to be my friends. I am all powerful and I can do anything I want without fear of being punished or even criticized. In my imagination the sky is the limit in what I can do. I can be a king or I can be a beggar. It doesn't matter. I can be trapped in a snowstorm one moment and the next I'm sitting in a plane on the way to Paris, where I will have lunch with the most powerful leaders of the world, because they need my advice. Or I can just sit in my sun-room and look outside watching the birds in the feeder (Oops, sorry, that is not in my imagination. That's actually happening. It is relaxing but would be boring in a story). I can make my imagination come alive by weaving my dreams into stories and I can share these dreams with my readers. I enjoy writing my stories and it gives me great pleasure to share them with my readers.Through my stories they can experience great adventures and become gods themselves as they identify with my characters and travel with them to distant places.
What are you working on next?
I'm writing a Science Fiction novel. It is part of my 'The Spider War' series, but the story stands on its own. So far the title is 'Codename: Outpost Salamander', but that can change.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors? Wow, that is a long list. Just to name a few: Philip José Farmer, Jack L. Chalker, A. E. van Vogt, Andre Norton, Timothy Zahn, Keith Laumer, Harry Harrison, Leigh Bracket, Edmund Hamilton, Mickey Spillane. The list goes on. You may notice most of them are dead. That's because I don't read that much anymore. Too busy writing my own stories. All those authors influenced my writing.
Published 2014-05-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.