Interview with Pen

Published 2014-07-30.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have studied the publishing industry since the age of 12. I watched as publishing houses went under, especially with the advent of the Internet. They also drastically reduced support and services for authors, particularly new and "undiscovered" authors. These days traditional publishing houses still take up to 85% from each sale while the author is expected to do much of the legwork involved: promotion, marketing and sales. I actually investigated self-publishing in the early nineties to discover it was a costly venture. These days, it's as easy as the click of a button (well, almost that easy.)
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The creation of characters and different worlds. Imagining each scene then getting it down on paper (or computer.)
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything.
What are you working on next?
Nero's Fiddle. After a crisis of epic proportions hits the United States, Captain Beverly Mossberg, USMC, must get to Washington, DC to assassinate a terrorist before he strikes again.
Who are your favorite authors?
James Rollins, Lindsay Buroker, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Judy Mercer, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing. And, of course, the cats want to be fed.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Watching movies, making quilts, playing with my kitty cats.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Visiting author websites, deals from retailers.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was in third grade. I started writing a mystery. One of my classmates made fun of it. I didn't write again for a few years until I began writing poetry for my English teacher.
What is your writing process?
I visualize/imagine/daydream a scene, dialogue or characters. Then I write everything down in longhand just as I visualized it. I get the basics down first, then go back and embellish or clean up.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
By the Light of the Moon. This Koontz book is rich with details and description as well as scientific fact.

Bloodline. I liked the way Rollins brought the story line of The Guild to a head.

The Emperor's Edge. Buroker introduced me to an entirely new genre: steampunk. I never thought I would like a book with "punk" as a genre but I love the series. The first one is my favorite.

Fast Forward. Judy Mercer only wrote four books. This is the first in that series and the best one.

Butterfly. Every woman should read this book and share it with her best friend. The ultimate woman's revenge book.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle for PC until I can afford an electronic reading device.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in Georgia. Everybody knew everybody's business. It influenced my writing in that I know what it is like to grow up in a small town but it limited my access to opportunities for writers.
When did you first start writing?
When I was about ten years old.
What's the story behind your latest book?
A fascination with post-apocalyptic earth. I believe that people would find a way to survive not matter what happens.
How do you approach cover design?
I attempt to get to the crux of the story. For instance, the Sword of Tilk Trilogy focused on the golden Sword of Tilk. It is very difficult to find an image of a gold sword that isn't copyright and royalty free. Ergo, I had to make my own gold sword.
What do you read for pleasure?
James Rollins' Sigma Force series, Dean Koontz, Lindsay Buroker. Books are one of my greatest pleasures.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+ and my Wordpress blog.
Describe your desk
I have a small desk which faces east so the sun greets me each morning. On this desk is a small plastic Pegasus from the Disney movie Hercules, two chunks of quartz I have had for years, two black shiny rocks I found by the railroad tracks and a pewter statue of a woman with wings and a sword. These items are my inspiration.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I have high hopes for my venture with Smashwords.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story or the first book? The first book I clearly remember that was my favorite was a book titled "Magic Elizabeth." I was fascinated with the way the little girl in the book could dream herself into another time and place. I would love to get that book again but the price on it is outrageous.
What inspires you to write?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. A news article, an event or incident from another book or a movie, a personal experience. The Sword of Tilk Trilogy was actually inspired by the ABC series, "Once Upon A Time." I love the medieval flavor of the show and I'm fascinated by the concept of different worlds existing side by side.
What genre do you write?
I do not fit the profile for one particular genre. I write whatever comes into my fuzzy little head. I suppose my novels might fit into the category of science fiction but they're not hardcore science fiction. They're more like a cross between science fiction and fantasy. The important thing is the story and if that leads me to science fiction, steampunk, or even a love story, then so be it. I also like doing nonfiction, especially where women's issues are concerned.
Can we expect more from Pen?
Absolutely. I have about a dozen more novels sitting in my queue to work on. I'm writing as fast as I can!
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

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