Interview with Paul Russell Parker III

Published 2016-08-10.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I write late at night because I have a day job and I have a young family. I have to make time after work to spend time with the family, so I sacrifice sleep. I also have to promote and advertise my books on a daily basis, so that takes up a lot of my free time as well.

I also have different things to do throughout the year. During the school year, I take my kids to their extra curricular activities after school and during the weekends. I watch football during the season, and play fantasy football. I try to squeeze in some golf, and I fish on the coast. I also bring the family on small trips around our State and local area throughout the year.

I'm pretty busy on a daily basis, so I'm pretty happy that I can get some writing done at all.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I don't limit myself to only traditionally published books, or only self published books. What I usually do is perform keyword searches on subjects I want to read about at that time. Then I read the blurbs of the books that come up, and decide if I want to read the book or not. Sometimes people will recommend an ebook to read. I may even look for an ebook copy of a book that was turned into a movie thats' about to come out. For the most part though, I do random searches, and read whatever catches my eye.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes I do. I don't remember writing a real story while in middle school or high school. I'm sure I wrote one for an assignment back in high school, but that was going through the motions.

When I was 18, I was a US Marine at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California for a Combined Arms Exercise. I was with a team of Marines assigned to give radio telecommunication support to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. We were in the desert for weeks, and had lots of free time. We ran out of books to read, and things to do pretty quickly.

One day, I proposed a story writing contest. Whoever could write the best story in ten minutes would be the winner. This came out of nowhere. I never thought about writing or being an Author. I didn't have any stories in mind to tell or write about either.

I ended up writing a short story about a goofball trying to hook up with a girl, and failing miserably. I read the story out loud, and was voted the winner. I enjoyed sharing the story, and enjoyed the feedback I got. That's what stuck with me the most, the reaction to a story I just made up on the spot. I believe that's what made me want to be an Author.
What is your writing process?
I winged it for my 1st book. I wasted a lot of time having to go back and format or fix things after I was done with my 1st draft. I just wrote and wrote with no paragraph or dialogue formatting. I didn't it have chapters planned out, and the manuscript wasn't broken up into chapters. After I finished, I had to break the draft up into chapters, and then I had to format the document to upload it. I learned a lot from that.

I wrote a second book, and did it the right way. I made a synopsis, and plotted the story line out. I made character bios. I set word count goals, and wrote notes for each chapter of the book. I formatted the document before I wrote it, and edited it as I wrote. It saved a lot of time, and I had a finished product much faster the 2nd time around.

I'm currently on my 3rd book, and I'm applying more lessons I learned since then. It's getting more streamlined.

I set aside time in the evenings to actually write. I have a laptop, so I find somewhere quiet. I usually have a drink sitting by like water or juice. I put on some comfy shorts and a t-shirt, and open up my chapter notes and story line to see what I'm going to write about that night. I go over the last chapter I wrote, and then start writing the new chapter.
How do you approach cover design?
I've received coupons on a website for discounted book cover templates. I did that for a book, and used photoshop to customize the template for my book. I designed a cover using Adobe and Word as well. It's satisfying to make a good cover, but cheaper and easier to pay for one. I believe I will pay for someone to make a cover for me in the future.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I was a huge fan of Steven King, and still am. Some of the best stories I read when I was young were his books. The Stand, Salem's Lot, and the Dark Tower series are my favorites from him. I like all books of the Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy. I've read so many King and Clancy books over and over, I can't pick only five from either Author.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I've had a Nook, but I use a Galaxy phone with the Kindle App now. I like to have an all in one device for my everyday use. I actually read a lot of paperbacks still.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote a short story or two, on and off for a decade. I finally sat down and committed to writing a novel just a few months ago. It's August 2016 right now, and I started writing my first novel in February 2016. So I'm pretty new to being an Author still.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
i wrote half of a book almost 13 years ago. It was a non fiction about my part as a US Marine during the Invasion of Iraq. I was going to finish it, and shopped it out to a few literary agents. They all turned it down. That stuck with me for a long time.

When I decided to write again, I choose to forge my own path. I will never know if I'd have been rejected again, but I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish as an indie author. Now that I am one, I like being involved in the whole process. I like being in control of my work and having all the rights to it.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me has been my kids reaction to finding out I wrote a book. It's all the validation that I'll ever need. They're so proud that their Dad is an Author.

The reaction I get from readers is a huge source of joy for me. To hear from a stranger that you wrote a story that they loved... Readers don't know how uplifting it is for an Author to hear from them. It keeps me going!
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