Smashwords Interviews

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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

Thomas Corfield

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I breathe quite a lot. Mind you, I do that when I'm writing as well. I've tried not to, but find it impacts significantly on getting proper words out. Once I forced myself not to breathe for three minutes. It was a silly thing to do because I was sick all over my desk.

Sometimes I walk. I've tried doing this while writing also, especially since my arms were busy and my legs were getting indignant. But it didn't work out because every time I did so I left my desk.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes I do. As a child, my sister and brother and myself left an exercise book in the bathroom, and whenever we visited the toilet we would contribute to an ongoing story about our pets. Considering the locale, and the fact two boys were involved, it tended toward a distinct lavatorial theme, which we considered hilarious. My sister's contributions would vainly attempt to return the tale to something more respectable, allowing my brother and myself opportunity to swing it dramatically back towards the puerile with ever increasing vigor.

I still have the book, actually, and the first Dooven book 'The Purging Of Ruen' clearly draws upon it. I think all children should be encouraged to read and write while on the toilet, as it's surprising how much imagination arises in a situation offering limited opportunity for anything other than the obvious.
Published: September 14, 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

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

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

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

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

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

FTG Thornton

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wrote this book and shared it with a few friends who went crazy for it's concept. It was a coupe when I was approached by an Editor to put wheels on the bus and polish "Foothold" into something that was commercially prepared for the market. I was particularly excited because the editor understood not just my story, but also help retain my unique voice.
There is a necessity in life to be creative. It's how we build your brain and change life for the better. If I didn't have the ability to spill my thoughts, pains and victories into words then I would lose my mind. This is the same mentality that drives me to keep up my internet persona "Pope Fred." He's a fun loving video creator and the music I've been making as part of the "HyperPLATONIC" series is one of the most exciting and fun projects I've ever done.
How did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the New Jersey community directly adjacent to the prestigious university town of Princeton. As a result, it was a community that was highly focused on providing a good nurturing environment for it's students of all ages. My own mother helped lead the way in that charge with her work as the School Board President, and Senior Citizen Center Administrator. She had her hands in all stages of life learning and that rubbed off on me more than anything else. I was her youngest of four children so I often found the need to entertain myself while sitting field-side at my siblings events, or on long family car rides. When you take the inspiration to be creative and pull over the lifestyle of learning, the picture of who I am becomes quick clear.
While the location of life dictated how I got here, I think that my specific style was more influenced by my father. He was a notoriously savvy negotiator and communicator. He endowed me with a strong understanding of the human spirit; I have been told I have strong empathy. I have so many mannerism and pieces of speech in common with the man that my mother is often found calling me by his name. His spirit speaks through my words because I believe it helps me understand what the characters in my story would be thinking, and how the reader would be impacted by the developments. I can only hope that I am also able to embed the sense of whimsical charm that in the end truly defines what made my father such a joy to be around as a person. You will see that the novel "Foothold" is, in-part, dedicated to his memory and influence.
Published: December 2, 2013. Read Full Interview