Interview with Keith Ward

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I've been writing stories since I was very young. In fact, my best friend in elementary school and I wrote a series of stories that we acted out in front of the other students. The stories were about the two of us being in the army, and our misadventures therein. So I've had an interest in storytelling for a long time.
What is your writing process?
I try to write in the mornings; my mind feels fresher, sharper. I have a full-time day job, so I write early. I'm also a husband and father, so my writing time is limited. I write fairly quickly, which helps, and can crank out 1,000 words in an hour, if I'm locked in.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I read a ton as a kid. My favorites were the Hardy Boys books. I remember my excitement at heading to the local library to pick up a half-dozen more.
How do you approach cover design?
For my book "Internet Kill Switch," I hired a photographer and actors that I thought fit the book descriptions. I also had an art designer, someone I've worked with for years at my magazine. The cover is critical in getting folks interested in a book, so I didn't want to take a shortcut there.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
"Lord of the Rings" will always be at the top for me. Is that three books? Other favorites: "Lonesome Dove," "Ender's Game," "Flight of Passage."
What do you read for pleasure?
I used to read a lot of Stephen King and Michael Crichton. I enjoy westerns and sci-fi/fantasy (leaning more toward fantasy), and Conan Doyle.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
iPad. Since they came out with Retina display versions, it's become my primary device for reading, even over print books. I like the ability to have backlighting, adjust font size, and carry one thing around, instead of an armful of books.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I haven't been too successful yet. I'm hoping the audience keeps building. I started on Amazon, and have now broadened my reach with Smashwords. I also have a website and maintain a site on Goodreads. More marketing is on the horizon -- the paid kind!
Describe your desk
Imagine a tornado just went through my office.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Annapolis, MD and Washington, D.C. I don't know that it influenced my writing much; I'm more interested in ideas than in locations, at least when it comes to my fiction.
When did you first start writing?
A long time ago in a galaxy very, very near.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My first published novel is about three high school kids who experience life without the Internet. My next also has a strong technology component, but is a more interior type of story. It's not anything like "Internet Kill Switch." I'm not sure I'd like to write in just one genre.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The traditional publishing market seems to be closing in on itself, much like Hollywood. I agree with an author who recently said that the difference is no longer between traditional publishing vs. self publishing, but rather professional publishing vs. non-professional publishing. That's why I spent a lot of time on the writing, cover and editing.
Published 2014-04-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.