Smashwords Interviews

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J.M. Turner

It's a pleasure to finally meet you Mr. Turner and thank you for chatting with us. As a published author, do you enjoy dialoguing with your readers?
Yes, absolutely! I enjoy responding to questions and comments from readers all over the world. In essence these ebooks are about spiritual warfare and the pursuit of holiness that leads to eternal life in Jesus Christ. Since eternity is forever, our standing before God should be of great concern to us. This is just one of the messages I hope to share through these manuscripts.
What do you think might be inspiring you to write this series of eight ebooks, paperback books and audiobooks?
The short answer to your question is that I'm writing this series for the "glory of God" and the "salvation of souls." If you look at the state of our world today, you'll find there's a universal life and death struggle going on between good and evil. While some people are keenly aware of this conflict, many others remain completely oblivious. Given what's eternally at stake, I wanted to highlight the spiritual nature of this battle to help people become more aware of how this conflict will inevitably affect their lives. I used to do a lot of classroom teaching for the Catholic Church in a program called The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). This is an adult religious education program for candidates and catechumens seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. With my heavy flying schedule, however, it's difficult for me to be available the same night each week to teach. Consequently, I found myself asking God to show me another way I could use my Masters Degree in Theology to help spread the Gospel message. Then, one morning about five years ago, I simply woke up and told my wife that I was going to write what became my first ebook. At that point in time, I only knew what the title was going to be. Now, I've actually written four ebooks (with three more in the works) and I get to share them speed of light (electronically) with anyone I meet. I have to say the whole experience has been a real blessing and a great adventure. It never occurred to me that one day I would be using my theology degree to write ebooks that could be shared so quickly and easily with anyone in the world who has a computer.
Published: November 27, 2014. Read Full Interview

Allan R. Wallace

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I sought longevity and reach for written words.

Our renewing world has already changed us. It is not different this time, it is merely another painful, monumental climb up improvements. Once again governance will be reworked. More so than spouses, governments can be abusive: It's not your fault. You are valuable. Don't stay.

We live in a world with almost seven billion disregarded cultures, each unique and important. You are important.

History is relevant. Our world is changing; combining the power, sweep, destruction, and renewal from discoveries of the metal age, through the invention of the printing press, and within the still spreading industrial revolution. We have a messy history. We are stumbling along in a criminally darkened present.

We are the renaissance. You and I will influence what is coming. Find your best and live it. I am writing.

Decades ago I was asked by a publisher to write a non-fiction book on subjects I covered in my public speaking. Once the outline and some content was done I began the process for submission, then immediately stopped. The contracts and loss of expressive freedom were too oppressive.

Years later I volunteered as a beta tester for a new web-based writing platform. I found people enjoyed what I had written, and many asked for more. A few of the over one hundred entries I wrote did very well. They reached hundreds of thousands of readers, and received thousands of comments and likes. Out of millions of such pages on that site, mine about coercion-based education being inappropriate for our futures was a top ten lens for years. Many of my views have since become conventional.

I slowed crafting new articles there when interruptive advertising became pervasive and stopped when they removed some of my best work without telling me why. That site sold to another where I am allowing my few, remaining, modified pages to languish then disappear. In contrast, thanks to Smashwords and other international publishers, my books listed below will remain available unless I modify or remove them. How long will the Internet last? (read Hacker School Trilogy for a chilling prospect) Expect my short stories, novels, and non-fiction to be available even longer.

Before I stopped writing articles I began writing fiction to salve an itching desire to entertain and satisfy story lovers. I created an online book proposal for a novel about pursued hacker warriors. That book is called Complicit Simplicity based on the following observation, "Human Rights bless all through their complicit simplicity, by placing people above unjust law." - Allan R. Wallace

Complicit Simplicity = Human Rights > unjust rule of law

First came an exploratory chapter. Then I wanted to write another chapter, and another. We (those creative characters and myself) knew a surprise awaited us at novel's end. Those hackster heroes needed to tell their full story.

When that draft was finished I wrote a prequel (Hacktivist) and then a sequel (Abacus Brief). These stories are not a direct sequence but like Isaac Asimov's Robot stories drifted into the spread of his Foundation novels they are speculative points of one possible future. Those online manuscripts morphed into the trilogy < > once rewritten and formatted for distribution. That adventurous trilogy is a progression from the attacks on single hackers and whistle-blowers we have witnessed; to protean, proactive teams like Anonymous could become; to leaderless movements that will sustain gains while facing violent opposition. readers did raise questions. Some answers can be found in three soft-apocalypse short stories, The Hacker School Trilogy, which can be downloaded here on Smashwords at no charge.

Other works followed, but like most of my life I started climbing a ladder before I knew against which wall it leaned. On Smashwords' ladder I discovered the wall was around previously hidden gardens just blossoming into independent writing. Exploring, I found open portals beckoning. Life, she is good!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
As Mahatma Gandhi said "My life is my message."

I choose not to define success by what I've done. If that were the case I've not yet taken the first step of my journey of a thousand miles; I'm still looking under the bed for my walking shoes. Instead I define success as acting comfortably in my world and in myself. My life is my message.

Smashwords has not only given me a platform to express myself to my world, but to change that world for the better. All I can control is me. But I have found if I strive to help others open their minds it helps me open my own mind. Smashwords is a tool. I will use that tool while enjoying building something of importance for the long term.

Smashwords also makes it easy to recover if when swinging that tool I hit my thumb. That makes life much more comfortable, and continuing success more achievable.
Published: August 29, 2013. Read Full Interview

Morgan Stone

When did you first start writing?
I was writing before I could read.

I rendered my first masterpiece, all over a Jaguar's white leather backseat... with indelible marker.

It was met with loud critical acclaim.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A lack of motivation...
* to land a publisher
* impress an agent
* face rejection

But, TA-DA! This is the Internet age. We can have all and have it now.
Published: September 20, 2013. Read Full Interview

Russell Blake

What was your environment like growing up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was reading when I was two years old, and both my parents were readers who placed tremendous importance on literacy and use of language. Intellectual capital was always more prized than financial capital, so while we weren't wealthy, we were rich in the classics and in intellectual curiosity. That framed my perception of life, where to this day I'm more interested in the philosophical and the literary than in pop culture or money. I don't watch TV (ok, that's a lie, I have a DVD player and was addicted to 24, which was about the last thing I watched), so whenever I have downtime, I automatically go to a good book. I believe that to be a decent writer, you have to read. A lot. You are what you eat, so to speak, so if you don't feed your brain a healthy diet of good prose, you're starving your intellect.
When did you first start writing?
A decade ago, but it was crap. Actually, I had been writing non-fiction (brochures, ad copy, manuals) decades before, but that didn't really prepare me for creative writing. I wrote my first fiction 10 years ago, and after four drafts, realized it was awful and should never see the light of day. So I wrote another, and it wasn't as bad, but it still sucked. I thought I might have nailed it about 5 years ago, and shopped that effort, to be told when it got shopped that it was wonderful, but didn't fit with what the market was looking for at that time. Which pretty much confirmed what I suspected - that if you weren't writing about glittery vampires back then, you weren't on the radar. I decided to continue writing to improve, as opposed to trying to get a deal. Took me until about 3 years ago before I really thought I had a handle on it and had developed an interesting and distinctive voice - but then, what to do with it? I understood from my earlier foray into querying that I didn't have the temperament to spend years soliciting agents, and years more waiting for a deal, so when the self-pubbing revolution hit, a friend of mine suggested around January of 2011 that I consider jumping into the water. Took me until June of that year to work up the nerve, get a decent cover, get my first offering edited, set up a website and get familiar with social media. I've never looked back since, and consider it the first step in a new life. So far so good.
Published: August 22, 2013. Read Full Interview

T C Southwell

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is entirely responsible for my success. When I gave up on the traditional publisher route in 2010, after numerous rejections, I was convinced my dream of publishing my books was doomed. Then I read a blog interview with a successful Smashwords author and decided that the indie route might be worth a try. My books had been gathering dust on my hard drive for about 20 years at that stage. I felt I had nothing to lose. It was the indie route or nothing. The success of my books via Smashwords stunned me. I was over the moon and pinching myself daily. It seemed too good to be true. The fabulous reviews the books got blew me away. It totally changed my life. After a few months, I was able to give up my day job and dedicate myself to writing full time, which is what I'd always wanted to do. Thank you Mark and Smashwords, you made all my dreams come true!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Exploring fantastic worlds and meeting the amazing characters who populate them. I love all my heroes and heroines, so following their stories and sharing in their trials and tribulations is a wonderful adventure. As a 'channeller', writing is as effortless for me as reading. The stories just appear in my mind as I write, fully formed, and all I have to do is chronicle them for the future. I started writing stories in school, just for fun, and so that I could read them again. That continued until I wrote my first series - Slave Empire - when I was in my mid-twenties. When I'm writing, I'm transported into the other world, and this world becomes inconsequential, so it's the greatest form of escapism for me.
Published: October 7, 2013. Read Full Interview

Typhoid Marty

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a little town on the south coast of England - no movie theater little. It being England though, there were at least 8 pubs just in the town center which created an interesting town mix of old people (think Florida but with shitty weather - sorry my mistake, different shitty weather) and angry pissants.

This mix probably influenced my writing a lot - I love getting characters from disparate lifestyles and throwing them into an extreme situation together, probably as a throwback to those times.
When did you first start writing?
I was 11 - I didn't have a computer so I got an old typewriter from a garage sale that had a beautiful clack clack noise as the keys were pressed. The troubles with this mechanism were twofold:

1) Whiteout and retyping.
2) The noise from my typing would keep my gran (who lived with us) up at night. Invariably there would become a point in the night when she would yell down to "Shut that noise up". When I go back over the old pages it is easy to see before and after this event based solely on how heavily the keys were pressed (as afterwards I would be carefully pressing the keys with minimum force to ink the page).
Published: October 3, 2013. Read Full Interview

Sarit Hashkes

How do you deal with having to write narcissistic boring bullshit in order to promote your book?
Not very well. But here I am doing my best, naked, in bed, trying to amuse myself...
Why should anyone spend their time reading your book?
Time is meant to be wasted! Besides if you're interested in quantum physics, religion, open relationships, martial arts, sociology or the human brain you will probably learn something new. There is a whole lot of research that went into this book and there are interactive links inside the book for anyone who wants to learn more.
Plus it’s FREE :)
Published: September 3, 2013. Read Full Interview

Jeremy Reimer

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent my childhood years in the small town of Gibsons, British Columbia, home of "The Beachcombers". Our family also had a small cottage on the nearby Keats Island. I grew up loving boats and being on the water, something that has stayed with me to this day. Because of this, and also because my father was a pilot in the Navy, I had a strong preference for science fiction stories set on futuristic aircraft carriers. To me, stars in the Milky Way Galaxy are kind of like islands in the Pacific Ocean.
When did you first start writing?
I remember two short stories that I wrote in school that were significant to me. The first was a one-page story I wrote in elementary school about astronauts on the Moon witnessing a nuclear war back on Earth. The second, which I wrote in Grade 11, was titled "The Egg" and was about a vigilante trying to hack into a worldwide computer network in order to bring all of humanity together into one global consciousness. The latter story impressed my classmates enough to make me think that I had some ability to write fiction.

In my early 20s I took a course at Simon Fraser University called "Writing and Marketing Speculative Fiction" taught by Eileen Kernaghan in which I wrote several short stories. At the time I didn't feel ready to start on a full novel.

Finally, in 2003, I started writing what would become Edge of Infinity, the first book in my Masters trilogy.
Published: September 3, 2013. Read Full Interview

Kaitlyn Hoyt

Why do you write?
Because I have to.

Because I love it.

Because I feel like a part of me is missing when I don't write.

Because it's cathartic.

There are so many reason why I write.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing the summer after I graduated high school. I was eighteen and couldn't find a summer job before I started college, so I decided to write a novel. I didn't want to waste my summer watching TV, so I tried to do something productive. I wrote BlackMoon Beginnings in its entirety in June of 2012 and immediately started working on Scorching Secrets and finished that book the following month.
Published: September 14, 2013. Read Full Interview

Jennifer Erickson

What do you read for pleasure?
I check out stacks of books from the library, and read two or three of them at a time. I never finish them all, though.
Describe your desk
I write at the kitchen table. There are usually pets trying to walk on my keyboard.
Published: December 18, 2013. Read Full Interview