Interview with Gary Weston

Published 2016-08-27.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Black Country of the industrial midlands of England. I now live in a rural town in New Zealand, which is one heck of a contrast. Apart from general experience, the Black Country had little influence on my writing, but in Starlight Army, my memories of the place were used to describe the setting.
When did you first start writing?
I started seriously about eight years ago. I entered a couple of short stories in a local newspaper competition. One heck of a transition to full length efforts, requiring a different mind set. Now, shorts are something I write whilst waiting for inspiration. I'm still waiting.....
What's the story behind your latest book?
Space Storm.
A crazy, time and space warping space opera. Time travel stories can be challenging but fun.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The rejection letters!!!! Now, Indies can let the readers decide, not some faceless individual in an office somewhere. Go Indies.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
By making me try harder? Just having that platform sorted out. Mark Coker's unstoppable enthusiasm for Indies and the whole team driving things along. I probably gave their meatgrinder formatting machine indigestion until I sort of got the hang of things.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the whole process. I start with a single, clear, full colour image in my mind and make a book out of it. It is all about creating something from nothing more than an idea. I'm just a story teller. I have no idea what the story is about and I stay only one chapter ahead of myself. The chapters are quite short, changing scenes quite often, probably in a T V soap sort of way. That keeps the story tight and allows for plenty of cliff hangers. Yes, I do like to tease a reader if I can. I also cry sometimes when I write, and that's good (but it does make it hard to see the keys). If a chapter leaves me emotionally drained, that means I am being genuine to the story, the reader and myself. To temper that, I can be laughing my head off if I think it is funny. If it all comes together, then job done.
What do your fans mean to you?
They mean a lot to me. I don't think fans / readers realize just how important they are. When they do a review, they can make or break a book's success. As an example, Last Flight for Craggy. If it hadn't been for Claude Jones and his kind review, there wouldn't have been three following "Craggy" books. Sure, I liked it, but that's just my opinion. Now all six are getting good reviews on Amazon as is the follow on, Deep Space Intelligence...complete series. If Claude had hated it, there would have been no others in the series. So, dear readers, please consider that when you review a book. Be honest, be fair and above all, be constructive. If you hate a book, tell the writer why. Don't just put one or two stars. Your reviews are an essential part of the writers development. Thank you, wherever you are. Not much point being a writer without a reader.
What are you working on next?
No idea. I'll just chill for a few days then crack on with some new project. Something will turn up.
Who are your favorite authors?
Clive Cussler (the ones he writes himself) Dean Koontz. Edgar A. Poe.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The itch to be writing. That and the need to go to the bathroom.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Mundane stuff. If I hit a block, Minnie, my greyhound Staffy cross gets a walk. That is usually three little walkies per day. Minnie ended up in her own stories, especially Dusty Miller 2. Other than that, domestic duties call.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Freebie smash books. Sometimes I will look at one not getting much feedback / reviews, and if I can, say something constructive. It's nice to make somebody's day if I can.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No
What is your writing process?
It usually starts with that one strong mental image. With All Mixed Up, I saw a man buried up to his neck in concrete and he's alive. So I have to write it to find out what it's about. I have no idea beyond the next paragraph. Maybe I should plan my books out....nope. I'll carry on winging it.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No. I blame the sixties. I do recall reading Wells Fargo. Read it twice. I must google that.
How do you approach cover design?
photoscape.
What do you read for pleasure?
Not a lot. Too busy writing.
Describe your desk
It's under here, somewhere...
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Again. The sixties. Anything by Terry Pratchet. Unique and funny
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Sony ereader on my pc. I prefer it to the Kindle.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Writing series, keeping number one free.I have used Fiverr and the book promotion gig on there. This costs what it says. $5 and did increase sales albeit temporarily. Worth a go. Also, I decided to continue the Davron serial. I do these in about ten thousand words slices, always with a hook at the end. That's the hard bit, getting the hook in the right place.
Only Barnes and Noble readers seem to like Davron, so this is down to them and mostly for them. The good thing is readers go back and forth to the original serial and then the new one. It's a freebie, but good for exposure. I don't write a complete book and slice it up, which would be easier, instead I am just one step of the readers, which makes it interesting.
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