Interview with Ron Dudderie

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I have always written columns, game reviews, movie reviews and such. My first real story was written to help out a friend who didn't have inspiration and was required to turn something in the next day. I had a few hours, so I wrote a five page story about a man and a woman who fight over a garden shed. I wrote it in one go and had no idea how it would end when I typed the first line. It turned out really well, but I didn't try long form for years. I simply thought of myself as a sprinter, not a long distance runner.
What is your writing process?
I need a few hours of peace and quiet, but I also need to be rested or I'll just fall asleep in my chair. I have checkpoints I want to reach within a story, so I work towards them. On a good day I can write about five pages. I'm particularly productive on vacation, when my wife goes to bed early and I have nothing to do except writing.
How do you approach cover design?
Covers are very important. If you take your book seriously, you have to take your cover seriously. I found a designer via Craigslist, who assembles my covers from stock images. We go through three or four revisions, but it always turns out well. I try to depict scenes from the book. For The Most Hated Man I actually went to Amsterdam to shoot the image we needed, because I couldn't find something that was free of copyright (or even for sale) of the 'gas holder', which features in the book. But mostly it's stock images and a lot of Photoshop skills.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. A fascination, intellectually stimulating tale. Anything by Stephenson is great.
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. One of the funniest books ever written.
3. A Stitch In Time. Written by Andrew Robinson, who played Garak on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He wrote a biography about his character and it's a damned good read.

I can't think of two more. It's tempting to insert something like 'Slaughterhouse Five' or another classic, but I haven't read books in ages. I enjoyed the Dan Brown novels and the Harry Potter books a lot, but I'd hardly call them my favourites.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I prefer my iPad mini and iBooks, but I also often read on my phone. There's a stack of paper books waiting for me, but I just can't stand the idea of even picking them up any more. Shame, really.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I published my books one chapter at a time on Literotica.com and StoriesOnline.com. Those are platforms for self-published erotic stories. I wrote my first book, The Reluctant Guide, on the fly. Fans wrote me after every chapter, encouraging me to finish it. That's what started me off. I then wrote Best Sister Ever and published it when it was done, chapter by chapter, week by week. And I made sure people knew they could buy it from my website straight away, so they wouldn't have to wait. Works a treat. But I have no idea how I'd go about selling a non-erotic book, if I'm honest.
Describe your desk
I have an antique mahogany desk with a green leather worktop, embossed with a gold pattern around the edge. It's in the middle of the room. There's a 27 inch iMac on it, and a printer. I sit in a modern office chair that really clashes with the room and needs replacing.
When did you first start writing?
I've always been a writer, from the moment I could put words to paper. I asked for an electric typewriter when I was ten. I wrote for the school newspaper (and I pray every last copy has disappeared), for a local newspaper and just for the hell of it. Then the internet came along and I filled many a website with stuff that wasn't nearly as funny as I thought it was, but it's still practice. I will write to my dying day, even if it's just a carefully considered tweet or email. The size of the audience doesn't matter.
What's the story behind your latest book?
This Is Your Carstairs Speaking was supposed to be Carstairs of Arabia, but I like to take my time getting all my characters in position for the main event. In this case, I took so long that I decided to break up the story into two books. It's 400 pages now and from a marketing standpoint it's better to sell two 400 page books than one 800 page book. Besides, I didn't want to keep people waiting for TWO years for my next book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always had to do every damned thing by myself. I don't have many friends, I don't have much of a professional network and I don't enjoy going out and having drinks with people. In other words: I never meet people who can help me reach my goals. So I go it alone. I've written movie reviews for my own website, which hardly anyone visited. I've made hundreds of Podcasts nobody listened to. Then I wrote a book I fully expected nobody to read, but I found an audience via StoriesOnline.com and that was the first time people cared about something I created. It has been an amazing experience. But schmoozing with editor and publishers or sending in my manuscript for consideration is just not how I do things. It's not what you know, it's who you know. And I don't know anyone.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I run my own business and I became a father in 2016. As I work from home, I'm very much involved in the upbringing of my child. I used to fly drones to film my lavish vacations, but drones have been made illegal and vacations are a thing of the past until my son is a bit older, so now I mostly watch Thomas The Tank Engine. I don't want to, but I have no choice.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It hasn't, really. I'm just one entry on a very, very, very long list.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There are moments when the story writes itself and you just have to describe what happens on the cinema screen in your mind. That's magic. I wrote the scenes where Martin King meets Caroline King and has his New York adventure with her without planning anything. She just showed up and all I had to do is type what she said. That became my favourite section in the entire book.
What do your fans mean to you?
I have a folder with hundreds, and I do mean hundreds, of fan emails. I also save the comments people leave behind on Literotica, which can be dozens of comments per chapter. That's amazing. The kind and encouraging words I received when I published the first part of The Reluctant Guide, which was only written to see if I could set up a decent story, turned me into a novelist. And the fact people PAY for my stories means a lot, too.
Who are your favorite authors?
I'll name two. Neal Stephenson is great because he incorporates so much interesting information in his stories. That's what I try to do, as well. But he hardly ever makes a joke, which is a shame. And then there is Willy van der Heide, your classic hack writer. He dashed off dozens of books in the Bob Evers series, adventure books for young boys. He made everything up in a time before the internet, and he was shameless about it. He wrote because that's how he made money, but he did it very well. Writing isn't just an art form. It's a craft, a skill. Van der Heide was very skilled indeed. Too bad he wrote all those books in Dutch, because they deserved a larger audience.
Published 2017-12-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

An Audience With Carstairs
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 105,500. Language: British English. Published: December 26, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Erotica » Comedy/Humor
Sequel to Best Sister Ever. Martin King lost his business and his self-respect but found the love of his life. However, trouble keeps following him, even as he is trying to get used to fame and fortune. A moving, hilarious and more than a little bit sexy comedy novel.
Best Sister Ever
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 195,350. Language: British English. Published: May 14, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Erotica » Action/Adventure
An erotic comedy romp that dazzled Literotica and proved so popular it inspired two more books. Dive into the Carstairs Trilogy with Best Sister Ever, the story of a man who is sucked into a show business career that changes his life. Ron Dudderie is a comedy genius, who effortlessly switches between heart stopping drama and riotous fun, with some damned sexy scenes in between!
Best Sinterklaas Ever
Price: Free! Words: 16,820. Language: British English. Published: January 9, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Erotica » Comedy/Humor
In Best Sinterklaas Ever we meet Kate and Martin, seven years before the year of mad adventures in Best Sister Ever begins. These loving siblings are volunteers for the Dutch celebration of St. Nicholas, in the city of Leiden. When Martin meets an unrequited love from the past, Kate sees a chance to allow her brother to take revenge.