Interview with Tony Alan Grayson

What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I write and publish an article online every weekend. My articles are free to readers. They have eye-catching, searchable titles. While most article writers pick one topic and write continually about it, I write articles on diverse topics. All of my articles link to my Facebook page where my Smashwords e-novels are listed.
Describe your desk
My desk is a traditional office manager's desk constructed of oak with a dark stain. The large surface accommodates my computer monitor, keyboard, printer, speakers, and mouse. The other hardware is stored in a cabinet below. I have plenty of room to spread out hard copy notes and scribbles under a banker's lamp. I am detail-oriented in my life and in my writing. The desk allows me to surround myself with a myriad of details which I craft into my stories.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in rural South Carolina. I was the eldest son of three boys. My father was a high school principal. My mother was a school teacher. Childhood experiences in that state have influenced my writing of some short articles. My novels have mostly been influenced by travel to foreign lands as a Navy Pilot and Logistician, and by vacation travel. It is the experiences that I have had meeting people in other cultures, plus a love of history, that has mostly influenced my major writing.
When did you first start writing?
I can trace writing fiction to grade school essay assignments. I got praise for the stories, but no encouragement to do more than the assignment. Most of my jobs have involved written reports. I liked to jazz up my reports to make people want to read them. My wake up call was in the mid-1990s when I wrote an expansive Navy Logistics exercise. About ten naval units and more than a thousand people played roles in the exercise, based on the script that I wrote. By the third day, people who had no role contacted me to try to get advanced copies of the script (which I released in parts over a seven day period). They were reading it to family and friends - who wanted to know what would happen next in the story.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is "The Star of India." It is the second book in a three book drama series called "A Voice from New Mill Creek." The story behind this book is the same one that is behind the first book, "A Voice from New Mill Creek: The Methodists." Much of the fictional drama is based on historical fact. An historian is studying the actual site along New Mill Creek in Chesapeake, VA where 4 mills were constructed (the first in the 1600s), the likely location of the first Methodist meeting house in colonial America (early 1700s), and a Union defensive battle line during the War Between the States. "The Star of India" introduces a French Royal who learned to be a world shaper in the French East India Company. He will be a dark and powerful force to come to New Mill Creek in the third and final book of the series.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
That was a natural fit for me. I am not one who wants to stand in a line or to be told what or how to write. I like to identify my goals, plan, and execute my plan on my terms. My writing is not commercial. It is not crafted to fit with the latest trend. Smashwords has been a significant enabler for me to publish my novels. Readers of my writing do not want to read what the crowd is told to read. They are dedicated Indie readers.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords' aggregation techniques, and distribution service are vital to me as an Indie author just as aircraft mechanics were vital to me as a Navy pilot. Mark Coker combined his experiences with a clear and strong vision when he created Smashwords. The staff of Smashwords that I have encountered are competent, helpful, and very customer (Indie writer) focused. Such success as I have had as a writer is due in large part to Smashwords. Thank you!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Measures of Performance. Most people call that feedback. I like to hear from my readers. I am thrilled to see a reader take the time to rate and write a comment about one of my novels. A reader who does that has been motivated by a writer. Seeing that happen completes my effort as a writer.
What are you working on next?
I have begun to write the final book that will complete the "Voice from New Mill Creek" three book series. I hope to publish it by early 2015. I have three novels lined up to write after that one.
Who are your favorite authors?
My reading interests are diverse. Now and then, I read again some of the works of the masters of the writing craft: Hemingway, Twain, Poe, Orwell, Michener, and Hawthorne, to name some.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I am fortunate to be a writer who does not experience "writer's block". While I sleep, my mind works on the riddles and clues that will lead me to craft the next day's writing. I wake up at 4:45 am and get up eager to write. I remember, for awhile, what my mind has worked on. I get a cup of coffee while my computer loads. Then, my fingers fly on the keyboard! I usually have about five pages of raw but useful writing in an hour. Then, it is time for me to go to work at my day job.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My day job consumes about 12 hours of each of my weekdays. I like to get outside to walk, work in the yard, fish, golf, go to the beach, and to sail on the Chesapeake Bay with a friend. I don't miss a chance to spend time with family. My children are grown and they have not provided grandchildren yet. But, they visit, and I love hearing their stories.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
A search on Smashwords first. I also websearch topics.
How do you approach cover design?
My son designs my book covers. He likes the challenge, and he is a driven learner. I like the opportunity that it gives me to work with him on something that is uniquely ours to share. Plus, he is good at designing book covers!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use the Kindle. I like the features and it has never disappointed me technically.
How long do you intend to write e-book novels?
I expect to be found one day blankly staring at my computer monitor, with one hand on the keyboard and the other on the mouse. Those who find me will say, "I wonder how this book would have ended?"
Published 2014-06-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Monkey Shorts!
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,510. Language: English. Published: February 16, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » 12-step programs
Monkey Shorts is a collection of five inspirational articles by Tony Alan Grayson
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,940. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Ancient
Pondicherry is a short story to introduce a significant setting in the novel, The Star of India, which is available online today. Pondicherry, India is a destination to the past as well as the present. Located on India's Coromandel Coast, Pondicherry celebrates its French colonial history, blends it with the local Tamil culture, and fills the senses with a rich and varied heritage.
Sharon Ann
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,600. Language: English. Published: November 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Historical
Sharon Ann is a short story to introduce a main character of A Voice from New Mill Creek: The Methodists, an historical fiction novel that is available online today. She was a teenager who grew up in England during the rise of the Methodist religion. Circumstances caused her to be among the first group of Methodist colonists to arrive in Norfolk Towne, of the colony of Virginia in 1737.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,770. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Paige is a short story that introduces the main character of Goodnight Paige, a contemporary romance novel that is available online today. She is an interesting and fortunate young woman, who has lived both a racy and a contemporary life. Circumstances have created this incongruence. She walks from one life to the other as if passing room to room in a house.
The 21st Century Warrior, Writer, and Publisher
Price: Free! Words: 7,150. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Biographical
The 21st Century Warrior, Writer, and Publisher, is the title cover of a series of short stories to introduce the guidebook, How Tony Wrote and Published Two Novels, which is available online today. Take a step beyond reading. Create your own stories, personal and family experiences that mean something to you. Family experiences printed online can be read by your future generations.
The Star of India
Series: A Voice from New Mill Creek, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 170,010. Language: English. Published: May 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Colonial America, Fiction » Christian » Historical
A young Frenchman of noble birth becomes a world shaper. Set in the colorful time of the 18th century European East India Companies, Jean-Louis Dupon perseveres as he strives to take his place as a royal of France. The Star of India is the second novel of a three novel drama series called A Voice from New Mill Creek.
How Tony Wrote and Published Two Novels
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 37,420. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2013. Categories: Essay » Literature
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
How Tony Wrote and Published Two Novels is a guidebook to explain how I researched, wrote, edited, published, and marketed two novels in the e-book format. A Voice from New Mill Creek: The Methodists, a Drama, is both Historical Fiction and Christian Fiction. Goodnight Paige is a Contemporary Romance.
Goodnight Paige
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 138,460. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
True Love rarely happens, and when it blesses two people it is powerful enough to light up a room! Enjoy the unexpected surprise that awaits Paige and Harry in the storied city of Savannah, Georgia. Goodnight Paige will capture your heart and leave you with a bittersweet memory of a woman and man who experience life's finest feeling.
A Voice from New Mill Creek: The Methodists
Series: A Voice from New Mill Creek, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 161,090. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Historical, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
A powerful Protestant religion rose in 18th century England to spread throughout the world by the passionate efforts of extraordinary men and women of God. A Voice from New Mill Creek: The Methodists, is a fictional account of the early days of Methodism in the American colony of Virginia.