Interview with Keith Soares

What do you read for pleasure?
I read a variety of sci fi, horror, and fantasy, mostly. I'm currently trying to read as many of the Hugo-nominated books as possible, since I'll be voting on the Hugos and attending the Hugo Awards ceremony at Loncon3 this year.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I either read on my Android phone or an iPad 2 that sits forever at the side of my bed. Either way, I use the Kindle app for everything, so it's always in sync no matter which device I pick up. I work on a lot of mobile device in my 'day job' so I have a somewhat ridiculous number of iPods, iPads, iPhones, Android phones, Android tablets, Kindles, Nooks, and Windows Surface tablets to choose from. Glad the Kindle app is universally available.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I've read up on the topic a lot, and tried my best to practice what I've learned. I tried paid advertising, but that has always seemed like throwing money in a bottomless pit. For now, a good story plus word of mouth plus free promotions seems to work the best. The first book in my Oasis series is free all over the place now. That helps get a lot more attention on the series.
Describe your desk
Ha. I work at three desks. But they're all virtually the same. Large Mac 27" screen (my vision has been less than perfect all my life, so the big screen helps), various devices scattered around (cell phone, etc), usually too many little note papers and nicknacks on my desk. It's funny. I can't stand having any clutter in my car at all, but my desk is definitely cluttered.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Readers of the Oasis books will certainly recognize where I grew up: suburban Maryland. I later moved to Northern Virginia, but I've been in the DC area my whole life. When I was a kid, my family did I-95 corridor drives fairly often, and that is the primary area where the first Oasis book takes place. The second book is on Maryland's Eastern Shore - a place where I've spent a lot of time, especially since my father lives there now - and the last book is in Annapolis and DC. I know these places pretty well, which helped frame the world I was creating.
When did you first start writing?
I've written ideas for fiction for many years. In fact, I considered writing fiction as video games in the 1990s. Turns out it takes a LONG time to write your own fiction story and then make it all read in a 3D video game. I made some progress then gave up. Later, I toyed with various ideas without completing anything. Then, in 2013, I got the idea for The Oasis of Filth, and it had a beginning, middle, and end. I thought, "well, heck, I could write that." So I did. I wrote it almost exclusively at night (I tend to be up later than anyone else in my household) and a bit on vacation. I was mostly done before my wife even knew I was writing at all.
What's the story behind your latest book?
With the completion of the Oasis series, I've turned to two new projects. The Fingers of the Colossus is a collection of 10 short sci fi, horror, and revenge stories. I have more than half of them complete and outlines ready for the others. Hopefully done in summer 2014.

At the same time, I am beginning a brand new series of about the same size/scale as the Oasis series. It's a totally new story about two young boys who become linked when they're both struck by a car and then realize the are experiencing strange changes in their minds and bodies. It's called For I Could Lift My Finger and Black Out the Sun. Part 1, Dawn, is complete and in the editing process now.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Well, I actually do business with several of the big publishing houses, so in a small sense, I chose indie so that I would not be "that guy" -- the guy who keeps bugging his publishing company friends to look at his book.

But there were two other reasons as well. First, I didn't really think anyone would care too much that I wrote a book. And second, in my day job, I frequently produce and publish apps. So the idea of self-publishing -- the control, the royalty structure, the direct-to-consumer approach -- was familiar to me. I'm more of a 'Hi, how are you doing?' kind of person than a 'Speak to my agent' kind of person, I guess.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My biggest joy of writing is having people respond to my stories. Ask me questions, be frustrated with me for something that happened. Be shocked, tell me the characters seemed real, like friends.

The fact that these characters were just figments of my imagination but now I don't own them anymore -- they belong to anyone who reads the stories and connects with them -- that's amazing to me.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Ha. I don't have a choice. Someone has to make the kids lunches and get them off to school!

Well that, and I have a day job.

But I have a great wife and two great kids, wonderful family, friends and coworkers. Days can be stressful, but we always try to have some humor -- usually completely impromptu. I am a total wisecracking goof. I truly enjoy spouting off some random comment and having my wife crack up. If I can make her spit out her drink, that's a good day.
Published 2014-06-16.
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Books by This Author

The Oasis of Filth - Part One
Price: Free! Words: 29,940. Language: American English. Published: April 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
From its seemingly innocuous beginning, The Oasis of Filth is the chronicle of the outbreak of a mysterious disease that ravages mankind. The story is told by a doctor in suburban Maryland who is on the front lines of discovering the disease, but finds himself quickly overwhelmed by a world that collapses into paranoia, fear and loneliness.