Interview with L.A. Ferris

How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Recommendations from friends and online reviews are both helpful in the discovery process, but there's still a lot to be said for browsing a cover, reading the description, and then sampling a couple pages at random to see if it draws you in. The most unexpected discoveries are always the best because you feel like you're steering the ship of your own destiny in those moments. I remember buying my first Frank Zappa record, "One Size Fits All," simply because I liked the cover. My intuition was a great guide that day.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was in Grade One so I don't remember the specifics, but I remember being greatly enamored with the twist ending I had concocted. In that moment of childlike naïveté, it seemed genuinely clever and original. It probably wasn't, but my teacher was very complimentary and that type of encouragement can't be understated in those impressionable years.

As an adult, the first good story I wrote was about an iconoclastic radio personality confronting intolerance in the wake of abuse allegations towards a prominent member of the religious community. It was a bit like Oliver Stone's 'Talk Radio' meets Footloose!
What is your writing process?
In many ways, it almost feels like acting as I have to fully inhabit a character before I can truly visualize everything they would think, say and do. I remember when I first started writing and I felt a bit frustrated that the dialogue of my female characters was not 'ringing true' in my own estimation. In reaction to that, I started bouncing that stuff off my wife constantly and she's been hugely insightful in helping me inhabit these characters from the perspective of a wife, sister, mother, etc.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I think the first story that truly had an impact on me was S.E. Hinton's 'The Outsiders.' I was probably around 12 years old when I read that and it was the first time that I'd read something that was so authentic and resonant to my own life experience to that point. Most of the books of that era that were intended for adolescents seemed to talk down to their audience so it was absolutely astonishing to find subject matter that recognized that many kids were actually in distressed situations, fighting to survive, and having to grow up and face adult situations far sooner than they would've liked. It's always amazing when a book can pivot your perspective on life like that. Years later, Jack Kerouac's 'On The Road' and Henry Miller's 'Tropic of Cancer' had a similar impact for me.
How do you approach cover design?
I like simplicity in design so I gravitate towards the core elements being strong: an eye catching image, a bold legible typeface, a simple but effective color palette. I much prefer that over excessive Photoshop layering.

One of the things I love about the self-publishing experience is the cover becomes another form of personal expression for the author themselves. The entire novel is truly a full expression now of the author's aesthetic - from cover to content.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. Henry Miller: Tropic of Cancer
The first book that taught me that prose could be truly lyrical. Miller's ability to describe life in Paris is positively Shakespearean.
2. Stephen King: The Shining
Where does Stephen King end and Jack Torrance begin? It's impossible to tell and therein lies King's genius.
3. Nick Hornby: 31 Songs
Brilliant concept for a book. Wish I'd thought of it first. Plus Nick is a genuinely funny guy.
4. Franz Kafka: The Metamorphosis
A parable tackling the big questions of life. It's a book that I wish everyone on the planet would read once.
5. Naomi Klein: No Logo
Imagine an episode of Mad Men where Don Draper and Naomi Klein talk about corporate branding. That would be riveting television.
What do you read for pleasure?
Pretty much everything I can get my hands on. Fiction. Non-Fiction. The Classics. Comic Books. In Flight Magazines. 'Feed your head!' These are good words to live by.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
iPad
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Discussing it with musicians. That's the tribe I most identify with and the one that my book, Heathen, was inspired by. Musicians are innately social people. It's why they prefer to form groups, so word of mouth advertising is particularly effective with these cats.
Describe your desk
Photos of the family, sports memorabilia, coffee at hand.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Edmonton, AB, Canada. Like many Canadian youths trapped in the house over the long cold winter, I gravitated towards those pursuits that kept you warm and entertained. The two primary obsessions were reading and playing music, and both influenced my life and writing tremendously. If you want/need time in life to think and reflect, Canada is a good place to live. We're a nation of frustrated poets and free thinkers.
Published 2017-09-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Heathen
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 167,960. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
Mötley Crüe’s ‘The Dirt’ meets ‘Rosemary’s Baby.’ Following the death of founding member, Billy Carvin, legendary rock group Heathen, shocks the world choosing unknown prodigy, Jake Emmett, to replace their infamous lead guitarist. Want to live the rock star life where no dream is out of reach, no desire unfulfilled? Here’s your ticket. The question is: Can you survive it?