Interview with Paul Lytle

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote a short stories for a contest at school in the third grade. I really doubt it was the very first stories I wrote, but it was the first I remember. It was a mystery story, one where you had the guess the name of the murderer at the end. It really wasn't that difficult to guess, since there were really only four characters -- two detectives, a victim, and the murderer. I really don't think it ever occurred to me then that I should have a few more people around, maybe with motives of their own.
What is your writing process?
That has changed over the years. Before getting married and having a child, I really approached it like a job. I would get a story idea, spend several days outlining it and refining it, including outlining characters. I would then set up a writing schedule by chapter, setting deadlines for myself for every aspect of the book. Now, I write when I can. I still try to set deadlines for myself, though they are not as strict. When I was working on The Eighth Power, I set the publishing schedule for each part, forcing me to actually meet those goals. I'm currently publishing The Yellow Canary as a weekly blog, which means that I have to have a chapter done by Thursday every week. The deadlines definitely help me move things along.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My mother tells me I really liked The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I don't remember it. I loved Narnia as a child, but I would say that the first book I read that really affected me was Howard Pyle's The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. It was probably a bit above my reading level when I tackled it, and I really had to work to get through it, but it was one of those books that open up a new a wonderful world to you, and to this day I remember where I was reading when I finished it.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm pretty good at coming up with design ideas, but I am terrible at graphic design. I'm very limited at what I can do myself, and so I can't have any illustrations of scenes or people, because I just don't have the talent for that. When I do create the cover for The Yellow Canary, that's easier because it's a modern story and I can use photography. The Eighth Power, which is Fantasy, is much harder. There I chose to use the symbols of the six gods on a leathery type of texture. This reflects The Book of the Six, a very important holy text in the story. I don't know how to make textures really well, so I cheat. I photograph a leather cover or some fabric and I layer it into the image itself. For One Power in the 'Verse, I used a planetary image from NASA, for which they allowed use with attribution, and I put it prominently in the background of a photograph of some cows in a field.
What do you read for pleasure?
Theology, comic books, science fiction, and fantasy, mostly. My library has a pretty good selection is a lot of different genres, but 9 times out of 10, the book I'm reading is in one of those fields.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Yellow Canary is being serialized on a blog. It will also be available on Smashwords once it is done, but until then, you can read it at http://the-yellow-canary.blogspot.com/.

This was a pretty simple idea. I was in Boy Scouts and we were on a rather wet and drizzly camping trip. I was wearing a yellow poncho. We got to playing, as boys will, and I yelled out something about how I was "The Yellow Canary!" I struck me right away that this was a story that should be told.

I didn't tell it right away. It grew in my mind until college, when I finally wrote the first draft. By then I had figured out what it needed to be -- it needed to a modern telling of Don Quixote, where a guy loses his mind and thinks he's a super-hero, and then for me to take this goofy messed up guy and make him likable. I shopped the book around a little and got a good reaction to it, but the writing wasn't quite up to par. I had my writing teacher give me some notes, and I'm working to revise it and publish it chapter-by-chapter on a weekly blog.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I grew out of the desire to be a rich and famous author. Now I just want to be read. I have a backlog of novels for which I've at least written rough drafts and a lot more planned, but spending all my time looking for agents and publishers was only preventing me from telling stories. So I decided to get the books out there and let people enjoy them. I can focus on writing now and don't have to worry about not being able to sell something.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
One of my strongest points in writing is in action scenes, and I have more fun writing those than anything else. If there is a battle going on, I fly through pages. Oddly enough, when I go back and edit and proofread, these are the sections that require the least changes and corrections too. My rough drafts are usually pretty clean when I reach an action scene.
What are you working on next?
Current project is The Yellow Canary (http://the-yellow-canary.blogspot.com/). I'm also starting a book being cowritten with a friend, which should prove to be a lot of fun. From there, I really want to dig into a Fantasy series that I think will prove to be my most ambitious work. My have the first three novels in the series written in rough draft form, so I need to clean them up a bit and I'll be getting them out there.
Who are your favorite authors?
Lately, I've been on a Tolkien kick, which is something I do every few years. I really like Golden Age science fiction, especially Asimov and Clarke. In fantasy, Weis/Hickman (and not usually separate from one another), Robert Jordan, Neil Gaiman. Comic books -- Mark Waid, Neil Gaiman, Mark Buckingham. Theology: pretty much the Puritans.
Describe your desk
In a state of flux at the moment as I'm rearranging my office. It's a mess, for sure. On the left, printer/scanner. On the right, a mixer for recording. Right now I'm also transferring some old cassette tapes to mp3, so they are scattered about, as well as some papers I'm trying to get scanned in so I can discard of them
Published 2014-01-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Eighth Power: Book VIII: The Book of the Eighth Power
Series: The Eighth Power, Book 8. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 39,810. Language: English. Published: October 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Linspan Branslin is dead, but not before learning the secret of the Magic, and he somehow passed his power to Ayrim Iylin. Iylin and his friends, however, have been captured by the wicked Vilantu, the dragon that is also the Prophet of the Void. The quest for the eighth power ends here, but Ayrim will have to escape, face an army of ern, and challenge the might of Vilantu before it is over.
The Eighth Power: Book VII: The Book of Nothing
Series: The Eighth Power, Book 7. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 37,880. Language: English. Published: September 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
The penultimate chapter of the quest for the eighth power will take our heroes to the point of despair and beyond, costing them more than they thought they could lose. The adventure takes its darkest turn, one into futility and anguish, with only the faintest glimmer of hope to guide them, a glimmer that may not be enough.
The Eighth Power: Book VI: The Book of the Wind
Series: The Eighth Power, Book 6. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 37,070. Language: English. Published: August 21, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Linspan Branslin’s plan to unite the Prophets against the Void can no longer work; their only hope is the eighth power, a force they don’t understand and don’t know where to find. The forces of darkness are close as they turn away from the land of men to seek help from dragons, who themselves are no friends to humans. Their quest becomes desperate, and the Nothing continues to close in on them.
The Eighth Power: Book V: The Book of the Sea
Series: The Eighth Power, Book 5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 36,720. Language: English. Published: July 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Their home has been destroyed and their king has sided with the Void. The Prophet of the Dead has been captured by the ern, the other Prophets are scattered across the land. With the entirety of the Aeresan army behind them and the ern army ahead of them, four men embark alone on a mad race to the Tower in a desperate search for allies to oppose the Nothing.
The Eighth Power: Book IV: The Book of the Dead
Series: The Eighth Power, Book 4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 38,030. Language: English. Published: June 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Linspan Branslin’s revelation has changed everything. He is both the Prophet of the Flame and the Prophet of the Wind, making him the most powerful Wizard in centuries. But will his extraordinary powers be enough? The ern are on Saparen’s doorstep, and there is no way out. The prelude to war is over. The true quest for the eighth power begins here.
The Eighth Power: Book III: The Book of the Flame
Series: The Eighth Power, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 35,840. Language: English. Published: May 25, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
With the war against Fahlin going badly, the way has become open for the ern to once against flow into Aeresan unhindered. Time is running out to find one of the two missing Prophets, and Ayrim Iylin, now a Thane, realizes that without the power of one of those Prophets, Saparen is sure to fall. He embarks on a desperate search to save his own life and the lives of everyone he knows and loves.
The Eighth Power: Book II: The Book of the Earth
Series: The Eighth Power, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 30,790. Language: English. Published: April 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00 from 1 review)
Years ago, Saparen fought off an ern attack to protect those born on a particular day – a day that made them possible heirs to the power of the Prophets. One of those boys was Ayrim Iylin. Now the ern are trying something new: sneaking into the town as assassins, and it appears that someone is letting them in. Ayrim at last must leave the Baron’s protection to face his enemies directly.
The Eighth Power: Book I: The Book of the Living
Series: The Eighth Power, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 32,540. Language: English. Published: March 25, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(3.67 from 3 reviews)
When two Prophets die on the same day, their powers are passed on to the next generation. Unfortunately, the wicked ern set out to capture those new Prophets, and their numbers are too strong to be opposed. But Barrin Iylin, a poor farmer whose son was born on that fateful day, will have to face an army to save the life of his son.