Interview with P. J. Erickson

What's the story behind your latest book?
There have always been pets in my family as far back as I can remember, dogs and cats, mice, and even a bird or two. Once an injured barn owl, and for a short time, a pony who proved to be too much of an escape artist. Many years later I encountered the Airedale Terrier and we have bonded ever since. While writing my other books, the clownish personality and antics of my current best friend kept distracting me to the point where I just had to put him down on paper. Airedale personalities are too huge to ignore.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
As a child I was really good at English and unhappy about it. I wanted to be a great mathematician or a renowned scientist but I was constantly pulled down the English language path. Early in my career it was always me that wrote the newsletters and procedural manuals. Soon I was driven to write and while I have taken some long breaks between my books, writing is always on my mind. I hoped that people would enjoy my efforts, as every author does, but I didn't really do it for them. I publish as an Indie in Ebook format so that anyone can find my work and try it without breaking the bank and because I can keep to my own schedule and have total control. It's the only way to go.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Diary of an Airedale is my first experience of working with Smashwords. They provide extraordinary assistance and they offer services other publishers don't, such as preorders and coupons, both of which were factors in my choice of publishers. They also provide many suggestions for spreading the word of my new offering and easier methods of doing so. I look forward to working with them again and again.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The initial flow of a first draft directs itself into the final story and I am always surprised by it. For me, that is the best part and the most fun. The long and arduous aftermath of editing, rewriting and prepublication is much more like work and hard work at that.
What do your fans mean to you?
It is hard to describe the delight I feel when someone enjoys my work and takes the time to say so in reviews. I read every one and find them invaluable. Their input points me on the road to improvement and, I hope, really helps me grow as a writer.
What are you working on next?
I am taking a short break before the next book and haven't really decided where to focus. I have a partial draft of my third Chase Larsen adventure in the works and, of course, there will be Volume II of Diary of an Airedale. Which one will be first? Not sure yet, maybe neither. There are many ideas percolating in my head.
Who are your favorite authors?
No competition there - James Lee Burke. His use of language is nothing short of amazing and his books are always riveting. I also love Randy Wayne White's Doc Ford series and Wilbur Smith's tales of African adventures. I do not enjoy anything heavy. Reading for me is entertainment, a chance to escape into another world for a while. I admire the discipline of people who read nothing but nonfiction but it is not for me. I can't help but think they are missing something.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Nothing. I just do it. Don't you?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
What time? I catch up on all the chores that have piled up and occasionally enjoy a weekend getaway exploring a new town. I love history, especially local history, and try to visit a museum wherever I am to get a feel for the area's past. My Airedale and I go for long walks and play dates and, of course, we spend time on the beach.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I just browse. I read the reviews of books that interest me and check the length. I am not a fan of short stories and I really dislike "previews" or "part I". I have read a great number of really excellent books by Indie authors, every bit as worthy as some of the best-sellers. Sometimes I find this very daunting. I have also read the occasional book by a new author without reviews and have rarely encountered a book that was not worth my time.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember the first time I wrote a few pages of fiction and wish that I didn't.
What is your writing process?
It varies. Sometimes I get an idea for an entire book and will outline it from start to finish and sometimes I just start writing and the story takes on a life of its own. I haven't decided which method is best. Perhaps they both have their uses.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No. My mother kept me reading steadily from a very young age, all the children's classics and fairy tales. As a teenager she tried to get me interested in bodice rippers, but those weren't for me and in school we read a lot of the classics including Shakespeare. I haven't read many American classics though and I must remedy that.
How do you approach cover design?
I offer my ideas to a professional and then give them freedom to come up with whatever they want. This can be a long process if we're of different minds but I'm extremely happy with the cover for Diary of an Airedale.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Gone with the Wind. It took so long for Margaret Mitchell to write and you can understand why. It's so full of rich description and unforgettable characters. It's an amazing book that draws you into the Deep South and won't let you out. Of course, I loved Harry Potter and look forward to J. K. Rowling getting back to that world again as I'm sure she will. There are many other wonderful books I have read, so many that it's hard to single out any more.
Published 2014-05-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.