Interview with S. E. McKinley

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember as a child, just before going to kindergarten, my parents reading to me a book called Dolphins. I had them read me that little book every day for weeks. Then one day, I was pestering them to read it to me but they were all too busy just at that moment so I took it and started reading it out loud. At first they just thought I'd memorized it, but then I found a page that had been stuck together and started reading a page I'd never heard. Correctly. They stopped what they were doing and looked, thinking I'd made stuff up, but every word I said was printed there on the page. At that point they knew I could read, and the deal they made about telling everyone that I had learned to read made me realize that reading and writing were very important.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Tough question. My favorite non-fiction piece is A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. I have a degree in physics and teach high school physics and have loved science since I can remember and this is one of the most important books written about science in a non-technical way. The Watchmen graphic novel is another favorite of mine. I love the different approach taken in showing superheroes and their psychology. The Shining by Stephen King is probably my top favorite. The story has it's creepy setting, and the plot twist of the man who should be savior being the one to be feared was only part of why I love it. The characters are so fully developed that you truly have an emotional connection to each of them, which is where the horror comes from in that book. Michael Crichton's The Lost World is another favorite. I love dinosaurs, I love books, and the way Crichton approached the various scientific fields in his book just drew me completely in. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers rounds out my list of five. It is one of those books that I gave up getting anywhere near enough sleep one night to finish. Just couldn't put it down. I paid for it the next day, but it was worth it.
What do you read for pleasure?
I've been reading A Song of Ice and Fire novels as well as biographies of Newton, Galileo and other scientists.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Nook Color from Barnes and Noble.
Describe your desk
Before I dropped my laptop, the desk I used the most was my overstuffed brown recliner and my lap. Since I dropped it, an old wooden flat top desk that was my grandfathers. all that's on it is my computer tower and monitor. I have to keep the keyboard in a drawer to keep the cats from dancing on it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born, raised and still live in Lawton, OK. There isn't a lot do to here, so I spent a lot of time growing up reading and the things I've read have probably influenced my writing more than my specific environment. With that said though, two of my books that I'm currently working on are both set in Oklahoma and from my early proofreaders comments, it seems to makes my descriptions of the setting feel more fluid and authentic.
When did you first start writing?
I remember as a 7 year old I would type stories and attempts at plays on an old typewriter my parents had. I was always working on some little project as a teenager.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have a couple I'm working on right now, so the one I"m furthest along on is a story that has I guess been with me since high school. I've tried to write a sci-fi military novel since 9th grade. It's not exactly the same one I started back then, but every time I sit down and think about that book it mutates, grows, changes a lot. I grew up with Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, and Robotech so the idea of space military has always been a part of my life and I'm finally in a place in my life and writing that I feel I can write in that setting with a maturity that I've wanted that story to have.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I guess it goes back to the Dolphin story and my love of reading and my crazy imagination. I've always wanted to write and now that I'm finally finishing projects I want to find a way to get those projects out there for people to read and hopefully enjoy.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
So far, Smashwords has been my only outlet for getting my stories out there. Without them, I'm not sure if I'd have anything out there for the public to see.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I'd have to say my greatest joy of writing is when I finish writing the introduction to a new character and I go back and read over the paragraphs and I'm like, wow...I'd like to meet that person. You know how when you meet your new best friend or new significant other you can't wait for everyone you know to meet them, that's how I feel about several of my characters. I can't wait to introduce them to the world.
What are you working on next?
I have two novels currently in the works. One is an urban fantasy novel featuring three female characters who are investigating a disturbance in the balance of magic in the world centered in Oklahoma. It's the first time the three have ever met or worked together and they each have their own agendas and strong personalities. The other novel is a science fiction novel set in the distant future. The story focuses on the effects a decades long war at the edge of known space has on the lives of a family.
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Piers Anthony, JRR Tolkien are probably the top three fiction authors with Stephen Hawking filling top spot for non-fiction science author.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Caffeine and the hope that I'll learn something new and interesting, or if not me, maybe the world will.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a teacher and coach of a robotics team so I'm pretty busy a lot of the time. I also enjoy reading and watching movies and playing table top games.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I discovered my mother's typewriter around the age of 7 and I think the first story I ever wrote would be classified as fan fiction. I tried to write a play about Popeye. I can't remember any details other than the formulaic outcome and that my intent was for me and my friends to perform the play in front of our families.
Published 2014-04-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Short Journeys: A Short Story Collection
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,950. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Take five Short Journeys through different genres of horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and small taste of romance that feature elves, goblins, teenagers and other shadowy characters.
Sorry, I Didn't Mean To Elbow You There!
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 19,210. Language: English. Published: July 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
A special agent is dispatched to Washington, D.C. to make a transfer of a microdot with precious data and finds himself dealing with the most unusual of circumstances, from chatty air line passengers to a clumsy, but graceful partner. What should be routine turns into a fight for his life against a bizarre organization that may not have all their facts straight.
Grudge of the Sorceress
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 42,930. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
Two men survive a violent hunt one night. One is a village blacksmith apprentice who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. The other travels about the countryside spreading an embellished story, seeking glory and adventure. When a recluse sorceress hears the story, she brings the estranged friends together and sends them on another hunt to end an old grudge.
An Elf's Pain
Price: Free! Words: 3,170. Language: English. Published: May 15, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.33 from 6 reviews)
A lonely elf comes to terms with his past thanks to the aid of a traveling trader and the trader's wife. Violent content not suitable for younger readers.
A Goblin's Tale
Price: Free! Words: 2,270. Language: English. Published: May 11, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.83 from 6 reviews)
A goblin patrolman finds a human family traveling through his clan's valley and must relay the news to his territorial chieftain.