Interview with Tyler Steele

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Honestly, I am just beginning my journey into self publishing and Indie authorship. So my "success" thus far includes finishing my first book, learning to format it correctly and publishing my ebook for sale on Smashwords. However, my experience with Smashwords Dashboard and author account management has been aces.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me personally is discovering the story, letting it unfold on the page and getting to know the characters. Second to that is the process of producing a story from beginning to end, with words taken from my own little brain.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans? Does my mom count? Seriously, looking forward and speaking to future fans - without you the reader, there is no me the author and no story to be shared between us. I welcome the fanatics.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on Climb, Book 2 in the Casual Fridays Series. After that is finished, I'll start Book 3 in the series. I may work on some short stories in between each novella just to have some variety. I have an idea for new series of shorts featuring some very flirty neighbors.
Who are your favorite authors?
I am a huge fan of Christine Feehan, Jennifer Armentrout, Cambria Hebert, Lizzy Ford and Sylvia Day. When I was a kid I read tons of Sci-Fi & Fantasy, especially Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey. I do read in multiple genres and try to stay well-rounded as a reader, which gives me a constant supply of what-if ideas. I also really like stories by Sean Platt & Johnny B.Truant. Their Self Publishing Podcast inspired me to put my work out here for the world to see and hopefully consume.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Cupcakes and coffee. Seriously, the challenge of getting the words out of my head onto the page is hugely inspiring. I also adore being a wife and mom, those two gigs are pretty great too.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I am not writing, I am wife-ing and mom-ing. After that I enjoy reading, painting and fishing (in no particular order.)
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I typically discover new ebooks via an author's recommendation, whom I already follow or enjoy. Also, my close girlfriends give me a heads up when something especially exciting hits the virtual shelves. I primarily consume books via my e-reader. I can horde more books that way.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was back in grade school, and I'm pretty sure it involved a talking cat.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is usually a timed writing session of about two hours, followed by a break. I try to get two sessions in per day. I like to get up early, around 5 am and get one session in before my kids get up. Then I'll do another one after they leave for school. Afternoons and evenings are devoted to editing and marketing tasks. I also have a freelance writing career that "pays the bills" right now, so I have to balance that with my fiction production. I primarily use the writing software Scrivener, from Literature and Latte, to compose first drafts. It has a great feature of setting a word goal for my writing session. I find I produce more when I use that feature.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read was in Kindergarten, featuring characters called Tig and Tip (I think). I remember thinking "wow, I could totally write a better story than this." After that, I always carried a bit of a critic's mind set into any book I read, often thinking about ways I could improve the story for greater entertainment and enjoyment.
How do you approach cover design?
Carefully. I have a background in art and many years of experience using Photoshop, so I felt somewhat confident tackling the job of designing my own cover for my first book. But it's definitely not for everyone. If you lack the experience or confidence, best to have someone else do it for you. Hiring someone else can get expensive, so get creative and think of ways you might be able to barter or trade out work in exchange for the cover art.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
That's such a tough question! My five favorite books in no particular order: Harry Potter Series (the world building was truly epic and the story arch magical), anything by Jane Austen (her characters are zingers), On Writing by Stephen King (a powerhouse of knowledge for fiction writers), Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life by Dr. Wayne Dyer (self explanatory) and The Princess Bride (proof positive the power of a great story).
What do you read for pleasure?
The older I get the more I read self help and non-fiction books, mainly because I have so much I want to learn. Right now, I am also really into the Pendergast stories by Preston and Child - those guys write awesome books!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I own an older Kindle, a Kindle Fire and an iPad Mini with iBooks and Kindle reading apps. The reading apps on my iPad are my primary means of consuming words now. I've never owned a Nook, but not because I am a die-hard brand follower. The others were all gifts!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
That's an excellent question that I can't answer right now. I'll get back to you when I see what works.
Describe your desk
I used to have a regular desk with a pc and a Macbook. I just sat a lot. It's that whole bum in the chair thing that you have to do as a writer. I recently changed to a standing desk because my bum can't afford to get any bigger. So far, so good (there is an adjustment period involving self-torture, sore legs and back aches, you've been warned). I am also looking into adding a treadmill to the standing desk. Other than that, I have a spot for my coffee mug, a mail slot holder and a lamp. I have to keep it uncluttered or my mind gets mucky.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up (and still live in) the northwest United States. I lived on a farm the first 20 years of my life. I worked on the farm for my parents until I turned 16, at which point I got my driver's license and got a part-time job in town. Growing up in the country in an agriculture-based community and a small town definitely instilled a strong work ethic in me along with a determination to succeed. If I want to succeed, I have to work for it. That's how I approach my writing too. I firmly believe in the 10,000 hours to mastery philosophy. I've been working at my writing seriously, since I was 14 years old.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing seriously, at age 14 in junior high. It all started with really terrible poetry.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story behind my latest book, Ride, is that I wanted to write a book that I wanted to read. I was looking for a story featuring "real" people experiencing some sensual and erotic moments. I also wanted romance and possibly an office kind of romance - a bit of forbidden and a lot of temptation. Hopefully that comes through in the book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always wanted to be an author, since 8th grade. Life happened. One morning, this past year I woke up and thought, "if I don't do this now, then when?" And there is no better time to be an indie author than right now. I should have started three years ago, but now is better than never.
Published 2014-08-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.