Interview with P.D. Workman

Published 2019-08-20.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton - one of my first exposures to the lives of youth gangs or social issues
The Hobbit, LOTR, Silmarillion, JRR Tolkien - okay, so that's five books at once, but I love the whole journey from mythology to epic fantasy and a personal journey
Anything by Dick Francis - I love the level of heart-pounding tension, sympathetic characters, the complex mystery
The Pigeon, Jay Bennett - like S.E. Hinton, a journey into the world of the young offender - love the hard-hitting bare bones dialogue
Nero Wolfe books, Rex Stout - fabulously colourful characters, complex plots, and gourmet eating
What do you read for pleasure?
Thriller, mystery, fantasy, general fiction, Christian/Amish romance, cookbooks... pretty much anything with a fast-moving plot, good characters, and no 'adult' content.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle on iPhone.
When did you first start writing?
For as long as I can remember, the blank page has held an incredible allure for me. I have samples of stories and booklets that go back to my early childhood. I collected notebooks of all shapes and sizes with plans to fill them with words and stories. By grade four I found that inventing a story in my head could rival the joy of reading one from a book. I wrote and bound a series stories about a rabbit, painstakingly typed on my dad’s Selectric typewriter and illustrated by tracing pictures.

In grade five, I spent a lot of leisure time creating a Narnia-like world of my own. I drew pictures of it… unicorns, rainbows, forests, mountains in the distance. There were six meals a day, with names like nibble and munch. I didn’t write a word of the story, though I imagined the plot line, which included my arrival in the land via a pair of magical red tennis shoes.

In grade six I had a language arts teacher who had a box full of pictures to use as story prompts, and we would write a creative writing story every Friday. I loved it. I wrote a number of stories about a pair of magical black dogs with glowing red eyes. In grade seven I continued to enjoy creative writing at school, much of it about horses, my new obsession as I read every book in the Black Stallion series. I started to write my first full-length novel, a classic plot line about a class of school children who get marooned on a deserted tropical island. No, no Lord of the Flies here. It was all about survival. I went to a young writer’s conference and talked about it. I read it to the kids I babysat. I never finished it.

Then at the age of twelve, I finally did it, I wrote my first complete novel. It was full of fantastic ideas. It was the spring board for many stories over the next few years.
How do you approach cover design?
I design my own covers now. Study the genre and pick an image/images that are representative of the story.
Describe your desk
I am using a standing desk now. Nice clicky bluetooth keyboard with my MacBook Air, with the MacBook and a second monitor mounted at the right level on articulating arms. Having a laptop means I can also take it with me and type wherever I need to, but it's best for my body if I can stand.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Several times over the years, I have taken up the pen and dabbled with contacting publishers, submitting to contests, etc. And each time, the joy has disappeared and the creative juices have dried up. And I’ve gone back to my hermit-like writing existence, proclaiming that my estate can publish my work after I’m dead.

But at the same time, I've watched the indie market mature, making it possible and even mainstream to publish your own work to Kindle or other electronic formats. I decided that the time was right, both for the market and for me, and started out by reading "The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing". Wow. After that, I was incredibly excited about starting out on this venture, and having full control of the process.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love to create and get to know new characters, to see what they are going to do and what they can achieve. I like to see how they change and progress (or not). And I want my readers to understand and empathize with people who think differently and have had very different life experiences than they have.
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