Interview with Lee B. Mulder

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. The place, the weather, the family, the politics... there is no shortage of copy. Also working from age 11 at everything from newspaper deliverer to caddie to restaurant kitchen slave to cab driver to quality control inspector at a meatpacking factory, the stories just pile up... they must be told. It's a curse that's followed me my whole life. The stories must be told.
When did you first start writing?
I think i was seven when I showed mom a short piece I had written. It was all about blood and gore. She laughed. I didn't put pen to paper again for five years. In junior high school, I had an inspiring teacher. She encouraged us to write whatever was on our minds. I found a voice of satire and sarcasm there and the more passionate the pieces became, the more encouragement she piled on. I found freedom and a voice working with that teacher, something that's never left me.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The latest book published on Smashwords is "The Canvas Can Do Miracles: Seven Sailor Tales," a collection of stories about sailors and sailing, mostly in the Caribbean. Each of the stories expresses a miracle; it is up to the reader to find it. The subjects are quite varied - a charter boat crew ends up building an experimental sailing craft, the first wind-powered boat on a volcanic lake at 6,000 feet of elevation in Uganda, East Africa. A grizzled old tar interacts with the Virgin Islands police department. A lone sailor discovers a mysterious girl on an island is not all she's pretending to be. A sailor on vacation rescues a sorry, sad girl from being marooned on an island and, in the process sets off a chain of events that will change both their lives forever - a bit of a fairy tale. And a couple that's sailed together for most of their lives eagerly awaits a hurricane in order to take a voyage for all time. Each story is different from the other. I hope my readers will enjoy the variety.

The next most recent book published on Smashwords was "Toddler Tales: An Older Dad Survives the Raising of Small Children in Modern America" This book was actually published as a print book in 2007. These stories, like many others I have written, were a release - a way of expressing humor, frustration, anger, etc. in a situation where I was absolutely not in control. My son at 2 was a difficult kid. But I marveled at how he operated and tried to report situations I encountered. Did I already mention satire and sarcasm? Those stories became a column in the local newspaper and ultimately the book. Some of the details are a little dated but the essence remains the same. And dang if the Teenage Ninja Turtles aren't still a franchise? My son is now 24 years old and a productive adult. How he got that way I'm still unsure.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The print publishing path is very difficult, I'd say nigh on impossible for the average Joe to crack. It used to be you could send stuff to publishers. They quit taking mail and now depend on agents. Now try to find an agent. I shopped a book about ten years ago and got rave reactions to my pitch but in trying to followup, hit a dead end. Even if you get a deal your earnings and exposure are limited and your book will probably be dead within a year. As an indie author and e-author, I can offer my best work to the world without all the middlemen, business factors, lousy royalty structures and the demand to do more, more, more. As an Indie, I can work just as hard, produce much more work and benefit better financially. What's not to like?
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords - what a beautiful surprise. After years of trying to figure out how to make a Word document into an acceptable ePub, in a technical environment that changes every ten minutes... and then, oh, you want to sell it? Format it? I went through an author services company that took 12 weeks to process a book and cost a thousand bucks. Heck, the idea of buying an ISBN for $125.00 just didn't fit. So along comes Smashwords that takes my copy, formats it into a zillion formats overnight, assigns an ISBN and pushes me to build tools to sell the books. I love it. Thanks a million.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
That's easy. Hearing how someone enjoyed the finished product. Writing is just keystrokes until someone reads it and is moved by it.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. They are the reason I get up in the morning and write/revise/write/revise and write some more.
What are you working on next?
I don't know about other writers but there is never any single project that's "next." I have four novels in various stages of development. There are short stories coming every day. There are blog posts and commentary every day. Who knows what'll gel next. I hope my readers enjoy the surprises as much as I do.
Who are your favorite authors?
Patterson and Cussler for their uncanny ability to keep the reader engaged. Shakespeare for the sheer genius of language, wit and plot. Ogden Nash for creative poetry. Nora Ephron for her philosophy about life: "Everything is copy."
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The notion that I have limited time on this earth and if I'm gonna make a mark, I'd best get at it. Along the way, making people think, smile or cry... and hearing that people are moved by the words they have read... make it all worthwhile. I have had unique experiences with people in many remote parts of the world and I believe we are all motivated by the same thing which is caring for others and being cared for by others. I can do those things by telling stories. I'll do it until my fingers don't move anymore.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, traveling, encouraging my kids and making love to the most beautiful woman in the world.
You write across genres. Isn't that difficult?
Every story demands its own form. It may be fiction or non-fiction. It may be a short story, essay, reportage, novel, or even poetry. I try to fit the form to the message and not limit the end result by sticking to one subject or one format. I suppose if you look at my full inventory of books at you might wonder how one guy produces material in so many formats. I've been at this a long time and have tried just about every type of writing. Only you can be the judge of whether or not I've been successful.
Published 2014-06-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Missionary: A Novel
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 113,370. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Christian » Contemporary
Muslim fanatics are methodically moving to establish the first Islamic State of America. Millions of innocent people will die if billionaire arms merchant Mullah Muhammad Zakair Sheikh has his way. But one man, a sailor who calls himself a missionary, stumbles across a vital part of the Mullah’s plot and, using only prayer and email, rallies thousands to meet the face of evil.
The Canvas Can Do Miracles: Seven Sailor Tales
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 47,620. Language: English. Published: June 10, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
If you love sailing in the islands - or even the idea of sailing in the islands, this book is for you. These highly entertaining tales present stories of adventure, emotion, imagination and just good old humanity seasoned with the salt tang in the air and the lapping waves of the shore. Close your eyes. Feel the sun. The boat is moving. You are aboard.
Landfall: The Tale of the Solo Sailor
Price: Free! Words: 11,560. Language: English. Published: May 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
A lone sailor races the sun to find a safe anchorage near Virgin Gorda. It is a race, for if he does not anchor before dark, he risks losing his ship and his life. At last light, he finds a protected cove where his life is about to be changed forever. This is a tale of love and lust and the spirits that inhabit the islands... with an ending that will leave the reader lusting for more.
They Call Me Mzee: One Man's Safari into Brightest Africa
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 71,930. Language: English. Published: May 6, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Christian Life / Inspirational, Nonfiction » Travel » Essays & Travelogues
A remarkable story of discovery, They Call Me Mzee: One Man's Safari into Brightest Africa charts the cultural and spiritual life of present-day Uganda, East Africa. Includes commentary on present-day issues such as the nation's controversial stance on homosexuality, HIV/AIDS, faith and burgeoning economic development.
Marooned: A Fairy Tale of the Virgin Islands
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,800. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult
Late at night at a lonely bar in the British Virgin Islands, an angry young woman, overweight and over-served, bursts through the door declaring loudly, “I’ve been MAROONED!” A lone sailor at the end of the bar takes pity on her and moves to her side. “So what’s your story?” he asks. That simple question starts these two people on a sailing journey neither of them will ever forget.
Caution: God Working
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 35,630. Language: English. Published: April 9, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Christian Ministry / Missions, Nonfiction » Religion & Spirituality » Christian Life / Spiritual Growth
If you've ever wondered if God is at work in the world, if God answers prayers, if there is value in going out into the world to work with a missions team, come with me on a journey through this book. There are amazing things happening today made possible only by people who step out as God's hands and heart. A word of caution though: working for God changes your life.
Toddler Tales: An Older Dad Survives the Raising of Young Children in Modern America
Price: Free! Words: 28,250. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Inspirational
“Couples that get pregnant in their 40’s and 50’s must be nuts,” the author writes. “These are people with productive jobs, breakable furniture, cars without Cheerios and a comfortable lifestyle. But from the moment the rabbit dies, that all changes.” These tales present child rearing from a whole new point of view... funny, moving and all too close to home for many of us.