What is the most fascinating aspect of writing fiction, in your opinion?
People, in their endlessly diverse selves. Once in high school journalism the teacher asked everyone what they were interested in, to get an idea what sort of assignments they should get. I answered: People, because then and now, I find them intriguing and basically unknowable. The class laughed and moved on; the teacher was expecting an answer like sports or drama, I guess. But that spontaneous moment has defined my interest in fiction. I majored in both journalism and sociology -- you see where I'm going here -- because the only writing I felt competent in back then was reporting. Now that I've had a few years (!) to observe human nature my interest is still the same. Last week I heard of an unusual mental condition and made a note to myself about it. There is no end to the weird wonderfulness of humans.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have published six books with New York publishers, in two different series. (Available here.) But when I wanted to break away from mystery series fiction for awhile and write a stand-alone my publisher at first agreed, even gave me an advance and a contract. Then he renigged. This is a dirty little secret of traditional publishers. So I went indie and never looked back. Would I like the backing of a big publishing house again? Sure, but the money was never good enough to entice me. (I made five times as much money in one month on that book than the advance from the publisher.) I like having more control over my work, the story itself first and foremost, the cover, the pricing, all of it. This is a great time to be an indie author.
What's the story behind your latest book?
In 2009 a gas leak blew up most of a city block in Bozeman, Montana, killing one unfortunate woman who set off the blast by flipping on a light switch in an art gallery. This dramatic scene inspired me to feature a different sort of explosion, the kind planned and executed by a vengeful arsonist, at the start of PLAN X, my new thriller under my pen name, Rory Tate. I grew up in college towns and Bozeman, home of Montana State University, was a perfect setting for a laboratory blast, a Shakespeare professor who wasn't at all who he said he was, and a secret hidden away for decades that could bring down the Royal family in Britain. All wrapped up in the story of Officer Cody Byrne, just back from Iraq with a case of PTSD, who must find next of kin for the professor while chasing down her own estranged family. Lots of action in this one. Plenty of fun to write.
What inspires you to get out of bed every day?
The sun! Every morning the damn thing through yonder window breaks!
Seriously though -- coffee. Then conjuring tales that somehow make somebody smile, or laugh, or cry, or squeal.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.