Interview with William Calkins

What do you read for pleasure?
Everything. Books, blogs, news, cooking recipes. My early choices in reading were mostly based in Science Fiction. As I got older I read more Literary Fiction. If I could, I'd combine the talents of John Updike and Raymond Chandler to use as my writing style model.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I like both Amazon's Kindle and Apple's Ipad mini. E-readers are a great way to take along a large selection of favorite reading genres and enjoy them anywhere.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm rather new to publishing my work. I have three blog sites, and I'm signed-in with all the big social sites, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I know whatever my "niche" is, it will be small, but because I take a personal approach to my writing and marketing, I know that loyal niche of reader/followers will feel good about the quality and uniqueness they receive exploring my short stories.
Describe your desk
hahahaahaha. Creative Clutter. My wife doesn't know how I can work in such conditions. But I know exactly where everything is and what most everything is for. I'm surrounded by books, magazines, writing tablets, reading glasses and most important, a cup of coffee.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
In my early years, my family moved frequently. Having to get used to a new town and new school and new friends, gave me a wealth of experiences. I'm mostly from around the Illinois area, centering around the Chicagoland area. I spent most of my professional career there. Now I live in far northwest Montana, living an off-the-grid lifestyle. Coming from a mostly urban experience to a rural experience has influenced my writing greatly as I can use the insight gained between understanding the extreme contrasts between the two environments.
When did you first start writing?
I enjoyed creative writing in high school. Then I dabbled a bit in college. I took up writing again in my late twenties as a sort of free time hobby. I kept working at trying to communicate better, tell a better story and develop a better perspective to the narrative. In the last five years I've devoted serious time and focus to improving my style and approach to writing. I think sharing stories, fiction or otherwise is a very important part of strengthening culture and elevating man.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Apocalypse Shepherd is a book of short stories centering on Distopean alternative reality. I knew the genre was currently very popular in movies, television and books, but I want to see if I could put my own spin, perspective on the subject. The first story of the book, the title story started out as a contest piece. Afterward, I kept rereading it and adding to the characters and plot. The story took on a life of it's own, that's a good sign. Although I wouldn't call myself an "Apocalyptic fiction" writer, I didn't enjoy crafting the genre's elements into my own voice. The stories in the book come from a whirlpool of influences and inspirations. I let the elements fight it out and then report the event. Kinda.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I guess my whole life and chosen careers have always been in the "Indie" realm. As a freelance artist and musician, it's a totally independent atmosphere. With the global venue of the internet, I couldn't think of a reason why NOT to pursue becoming an Indie author. I feel there is untapped originality in this market, something our culture needs. There is also an atmosphere of freedom to create, combine anything, express individuality. I believe in these qualities, and supporting the Indie market with my talent is the only way to continue a lifetime devoted to arts and creativity.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I don't know yet. hahahaaha, the obvious answer is giving anyone the opportunity to showcase, promote and hopefully sell their creativity with only the caveat of quality as a prerequisite. The internet is still the wild wild west especially in the area of the arts. Smashwords provides a platform for creators to contribute to an important arena of world culture.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Tapping into the muse I guess. It's a terrific feeling. Expression through story telling, communicating from the heart and mind is very rewarding even in it's most difficult phases. I think it's also the feeling of accomplishment of wrestling with challenges, seeing something take shape, refining it, making it speak. It's a kind of magic.
What do your fans mean to you?
They are the other side of the equation. If they read my work, are entertained and maybe after reading a story, walk away with a curious tingle in their thoughts, then my work is done. Balance is achieved. I don't know what more a writer or reader could want.
Published 2014-04-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Apocalypse Shepherd
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 17,820. Language: English. Published: April 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Apocalypse Shepherd is a book of short stories in an Apocalyptic setting exploring dark humor and questioning sanity and reality. Quirky-twisty, bizarro, literary fiction.