Interview with D. X. Logan

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first novel I read was Golem in the Gears, by Piers Anthony. My father read from novels to us when I was younger. We'd sit and listen as he didn't just speak the words, but lived them. Each character spoke in a unique voice and seemed to have their own existence separate from the book. I don't know if his work became busier or if he perhaps misplaced the book, but for whatever reason, he never finished that novel.

It ate at me. I wanted to know how it ended. I wanted to find out what happened to those characters. Until that moment, reading was something I did because school required it. Afterwards, I was reading for myself. I can't say what I did, as I don't remember it. What I can say is that within the span between first and second grade, I had pushed myself far enough that I was able to read the novel myself. After that, there was no going back. Thankfully my father had a reasonably large library of novels.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Aside from school assignments, yes. I first got serious about writing somewhere in the transition between junior high and high school. Without the benefit of planning out a plot, adding themes or much skill at developing characters, I wrote a short story. It was about an elemental that went to a high school prom. Government agents had become aware of his nature and grabbed both him and his girlfriend. He shifted forms to fight but ended up going down. The conclusion had them both on a table, him as rubble, her having been opened up to 'study', and the protagonist reforming to go on a rampage in the facility. I still have it tucked in a folder. What it lacked in skill, it certainly made up for in ambition. I can't say my stories have gotten any less fantastical, but I believe they've become far more refined over the years since then.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is a tough list. I don't tend to categorize things by favorites. It would be hard enough to select from a single genre or from 'novels'. Instead, I am having to look at 'books' as a whole and try to compare them to one another. Even so, here goes.

For Love of Evil by Piers Anthony
Considering I cut my teeth on Anthony's work, I have to include one of his works on this list. Of everything he wrote, the one that stuck with me the most was this novel. It was the 6th in the series and focused on the unlikely protagonist of the devil. Without giving away spoilers, I will simply say that it was cunning. To be seeing events that had come from each of the previous books from the other side. Finding out the deeper events associated with them was a real pleasure.

Jhereg by Steven Brust
A fantasy world used to explore a mystery style novel. Add a snarky protagonist and it created a delightful mix to read. It came out years before the Dresden Files would do something similar. The book took fantasy in a new direction for me at the time. I loved how he wove the mystery and its solution into the nature of the setting.

1984 by George Orwell
Oh look, a classic made it into my list. One of the first classics I read and enjoyed, this novel was powerful. It makes my list because it was one of the earliest speculative works to influence my thinking. Looking at what was and considering what may come of it. Until this book, I had almost exclusively focused on fantasy novels.

Your Engineered House by Rex Roberts
The question said nothing about my books having to be all about novels. It's a book on house building, so no doubt many would wonder why that makes my list. In truth, it was a well-written book by a man who ignored convention. Instead of accepting what was, he considered why. It makes you question many of the common building choices we make. If nothing else, it inspires a lot of interesting thoughts.

The Frontiersman: A Narrative by Allan W. Eckert
Another of those firsts for me. When I picked this book up, it felt daunting. Reading a massive tome on history that wasn't a school textbook? Even so, the topic of frontier life interested me deeply. I dove in and consumed the book in short order. Was it perfect? No. Still, it was well written overall and powerful. The revelation that history could be more than a pile of disjointed facts is one that has stayed with me.
What do you read for pleasure?
Fantasy will always be my true love. At this age, I enjoy a broad range of books. Fiction and nonfiction alike, I don't limit myself by genre. Still, at the end of the day, it is fantasy that draws me most. Blame perhaps those formative years listening to my father reading to us. I make no apologies for my love of fantasy novels and the sense of wonder they offer.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover art has been one of those tricky areas for me. I dislike much of modern cover art. Bright colors set in sharp contrast. Simple designs that feel like they tell you almost nothing of what's inside. I grew up loving the detailed covers that felt like they were trying to pull you into the pages of the novel. That love clashes with the modern problem of thumbnails. Even if you avoid a dark picture or minuscule details, many epic visuals become lost to the tiny scale. If your cover looks muddled or unclear at that size, you lose readers before they ever take a look.

Because of this, I aim for a cover that gives a sense of the contents. Something that looks like more than a children's cut-out in larger formats. At the same time, I also try to make sure there are sharp contrasts to key elements. I strive to find a clear visual when scaled down to thumbnail size.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
So far, I am still pretty new to Smashwords. I considered manually working with the various distributors (Amazon, B&N, etc) and may do so in the future. With Nighteyes, Smashwords was the right choice and gets the book out onto multiple sites. It seems to be a great way to test the waters with the various distributors and to be honest, Smashwords seems like a good site in its own right. Time will tell how strongly it contributes to my success.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Currently, I use Kindle. I'm not overly brand loyal though.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I've always favored the feel of a physical book in my hand and the ability to just jump straight to a section. That doesn't mean I don't use ebooks as well. More often than not, I find that I use ebooks as a testing ground. I seem less drawn into the digital format, so by reading books there, I can find what truly compels me. When looking for new books on Amazon or through chance searches of media, I often take a moment to note what price range they fall under for both physical and ebook. When I find that the ebook is significantly cheaper, I will sometimes buy it outright. Once I've been able to read some of it and get a feel for the writing, I either finish reading in ebook form or buy a physical copy as well.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
At the time of writing this, that's tough for me to say. I only have the first book on the market so far. That said, in my smaller endeavors, I have found that promotions with broad appeal work best. Offering something that makes people want to share it on social media can drive a lot of traffic.
What is your writing process?
That is a tough question to answer. I tend to vary from one project to the next. I like to constantly try new methods to develop out a story and add to the woven tapestry without adding undue complexity. Regardless of the length, I first try to hammer out which idea I want to go with. I have page after page of story ideas jotted down to pick from. Once I know what I feel most inspires me that day, I start an outline. For a short story, that's just a few sentences long. For a novel, it can span as much as 40 pages of notes on characters, locations, setting, and plot. Where things go from there varies greatly. Sometimes I follow the outline closely, sometimes I just use it as a vague guide. One current project I decided to drop an outline entirely and write in the 'as it comes' manner of so many authors. As long as the content proves to be quality, I don't really worry about setting down a 'one true method' style of writing.
Describe your desk
My desk is cluttered and chaotic. I've tried to keep a neat desk, but two things get in the way of that. The first is that I tend to want to everything close at hand when I am working on a project. The second is that a clean desk is like a blank page of paper for an artist. It feels too sacred to mar. To me, if my desk is clean, I find it hard to be creative. Everything feels too formal to let loose.

I've learned to embrace the chaos. To one side is a shelf of books on a broad range of topics. Things relating to my writing or common topics I often need to do a quick bit of checking on. Several stacks of papers rest here as well. Most of them are things like outlines, setting notes, etc.

Other than that, I have a second monitor I got when a friend was throwing things out. It sits tilted off to my left. If you wonder what value an author has for a second monitor, realize that it lets me keep research open to the side. Since I write in full-screen mode, I don't have to tab out of it to glance over those. That's no small thing.
Published 2017-05-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Nighteyes
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,040. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Dr. Harris Foster has discovered the cure for a modern plague, then gone missing. His daughter convinces the company funding him to let her own team look for him. They find out that the cure isn't the only thing Dr. Foster found. The race to find him is being observed by a pair of eyes in the night.