Interview with Xavier Toby

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working for money, wishing I was writing, spending time outside, and walking my enthusiastic and arrogant but fairly well-behaved chihuahua cross.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Suggestions from friends and acquaintances, as well as reading samples and checking out the latest releases.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was a color picture book fairytale for my cousin. I was ten years old, she was six and I used computer clipart for the pictures because I couldn't draw then, and I still can't draw now. I think it featured Santa, too many sugary treats, a depressed reindeer and a happy ending.
What is your writing process?
When I'm not writing, I look forward to it, and it usually happens in moments stolen from the rest of my life. Most of those moments are then wasted with pointless busywork such as questionnaires like this one. When I finally get down to the writing it's over way too soon, and I'm left with wishing and waiting for my next time to write.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It was the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis and it made me fall in love with stories. They are the one way that humans have always communicated, passed information, and entertained each other. In them, you find what it is to be human.
How do you approach cover design?
By telling a graphic designer my ideas, being disappointed and frustrated, then giving up and paying the bill and finally being okay with it all, because whatever they end up giving me is far better than I could ever do.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Most things by Roberto Bolano, because he understood how to use an economy of words to say both nothing, and everything. All the Americans from the early 1900s were amazing as well. They took simple words and sentences, and made them perform magic tricks. Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Bellow, etc.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything that's written well. Most recently Ghettoside by Jill Leovy, Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates and In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Amazon Kindle - whatever the cheapest one is, because I've lost a couple. I've tried others, but they're not as reliable, and the software isn't as easy to use.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth, and positive reviews. Sure people download books that are free, but how does that help me? I'm a person who one day wants to write full-time. Also, there's a lot of crap out there, so spending more time on the actual writing I think is the best possible marketing technique.
Describe your desk
It's old and wooden and full of splinters, with rust on the side. My chair wobbles and my laptop is then stacked up on books to bring it to eye level which is my attempt at ergonomics, because desks and chairs are all poorly designed. I've tried the expensive versions, and what I've got is fairly expensive too, although it doesn't sound it, and it's all crap.

One day, I hope to be comfortable while I write, but I doubt that will happen in my lifetime and anyway, I only care about ergonomics when I'm procrastinating. When I'm in the flow, I could be hanging upside down and as long as I can type, I wouldn't care.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Australia, where I learned to use the right amount of words, and no more.
When did you first start writing?
When I could. I think this is because my mother read to me while I was growing up. Reading from a color illustrated bible is one of my first and finest memories.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I was $20,000 in debt, so I got a job as a FIFO worker on an Australian mining site. Chaos ensued.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I haven't yet made it as a mainstream author.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
No. Well, not yet.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The act of writing.
What do your fans mean to you?
On hot days, they keep me cool.
What are you working on next?
A love story about how I came to America for a girl who'd told me she never wanted to see me again.
Published 2015-10-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.