Interview with E. R. Yatscoff

What do you read for pleasure?
I read a lot of mysteries and suspense, especially liking characters that are put in spots they are not familiar with. I lover Elmore Leonard, Dan Fesperman, George Pelecanos, James Clavell, James Lee Burke, Pierre Berton, and even Scott Turow. Between every three or four fiction reads I like to pick up a non-fiction. Right now its Chuvalo, the great Canadian heavyweight boxer autobiography.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle 4. I travel a lot and like the convenience and knowing I can download a book anywhere there is WiFi.
Describe your desk
A swivel chair with my son's old desk. I use a mechanical pencil and freehand first drafts. Then the laptop in the kitchen nook with sunshine thru the window.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Certainly not giveaways. I don't like marketing. It takes too much time and my eyes can't take it on the computer all day. I'm too busy writing. Having a good website is working well.
When did you first start writing?
About 14 years ago. I had stories of my childhood that people would barely believe and then I discovered there were no firefighters writing fiction in Canada. Now I'm the first one and also the first writing boy's adventures set in the Niagara Peninsula.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Welland, Ontario in the Niagara Peninsula was a place of great freedom for me as a boy and my juvenile writing reflects that. All my characters are or were real at one time from the Gypsy lady to the paperboy to the leader of the Barge Boys.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Voodoo Bully. When a man poisons Evens' dog he vows to get even. He's a Haitian boy and tries to get revenge by using voodoo paraphernalia he finds in his fathers dusty trunk. He can't confront the poisoner directly and must manipulate other people to do his bidding. I had a lot of fun writing this. It came from the poisoning of dogs in a nearby town. The dogs were someone's pet and I wondered what I'd do if I knew the poisoner.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
What begins as one idea ends up quite differently by the time I finish a story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When my oldest son was beginning to read chapter books there were some really lame ones out there and I knew my stories were far more exciting.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
By placing my work in many different sites.
What do your fans mean to you?
I enjoy their comments and can see my work in a different light through them. A classroom of grade 5 students were analyzing Archie's Gold and I walked in to see a chart with my protagonist at the center and arrows pointing from him to the other characters and incidents. They were examining the how's and why's and inner meanings, which I'd never done--I just wrote the story thinking nothing about those things
What are you working on next?
Madhouse in the Firehouse. A collection of humor short stories from my career as a firefighter, in and outside of the fire station. Also Tequila and CocaCola set in Mexico.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Bacon. And working on a writing project.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, boating, fishing, yardwork, camping, dreaming of the next travel destination, writing, taking in some festival or live music.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Through wandering the bookstores
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. What I Did On My Summer Vacation; a rant on why my parents didn't let me go on that boat ride.
What is your writing process?
Freehand with a mechanical pencil. Then put the story away for a time. Then edit, edit, edit before taking it to my writers group for a critique.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Edgar Rice Burroughs; Tarzan of the Apes. The adventure and danger was great.
How do you approach cover design?
I take photos odf several items and then hand them off to my oldest son, an industrial designer. He put things together several ways and adds text and gives me a few samples to pick from.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
Creativity is easy. Editing is hard work; over and over and over.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Shogun; almost speaking Japanese by the end
The Warlord's Son: great yarn about a young Afghan boy taking an aging U.S. reporter in Afghanistan
A Confederacy Of Dunces: the strangest funniest character Ignatius Reilly who feels the world is against him and that he's too big for it.
CIA, Legacy of Ashes: History combined with bumbling fools and liars. No wonder Bush slashed their budget.
Niagara: History and characters of Niagara Falls, Canada from daredevils to Tesla to electric power generation written by a man, Pierre Berton an engaing storyteller who should be everyone's history teacher.
do you mean by "true grit & reality?"
I don't like mimes and do not like talking dragons. Where would Harry Potter be without his wand? Aren't readers tired of special powers bestowed on a character? The secret escape pod/cave/invisible door is a cop out; too easy. My young reader books are based on this earth and aren't saving the universe--they're saving themselves from fights and bullies and bad situations. They have hearts of lions and must use their wits to overcome their bad situations.
Who are your favorite authors?
David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, Pierre Berton, James Grippando, Malcolm Gladwell,
Published 2015-06-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Lunch Bucket Road
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,810. Language: English. Published: October 28, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » History » Social history, Nonfiction » History » Modern / 20th Century
Winner of the 2017 John Bilsland Literary Short story Award for Non-fiction. 'The neighborhood men emerged from their homes and funneled onto the path like clockwork as though a great magnet drew them six times a day, back and forth: day shifts, afternoons, and night shifts--a cycle as sure and precise as the movements of the sun.' An ode to the factory workers of the past.
Gerry's War
Price: $5.50 $4.12 USD. (25% off!) Words: 126,480. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Ex-fire captain Gerry Ormond figures his new position as Niagara Fall Fire Chief will be an easy gig. He not only discovers a dysfunctional department, but a corrupt one as well. Winning each battle will be difficult, but the administration has taken away his bullets--he’s only a figurehead.
Teeth of the Cocodrilo
Price: $4.50 $3.38 USD. (25% off!) Words: 101,910. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
Fate plays its hand to bind ex-firefighter Aaron Landers and Mexican police Commandant Luis Gutierrez, together when he saves the lives of Luis' sons in Cancun. Aaron falls for the alluring Maria Vasquez who comes with a vengeful, estranged husband and a sordid past with Luis. Opportunity arrives in easy money scams, but the small crimes turn on them and explode into murder and revenge.
Old Flames
Price: $4.50 $3.38 USD. (25% off!) Words: 109,800. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
Fire Captain Gerry Ormond is launched to national prominence and receives the prestigious Governor General’s Medal of Valor. He visits his hometown after a twenty year absence and unwittingly unleashes a killer--a vengeful arsonist with ties to an old murder and theft of a treasure by a teenage fraternity.
Voodoo Bully
Price: $2.50 $1.88 USD. (25% off!) Words: 36,230. Language: English. Published: May 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Law & Crime, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Humor
Evens Duluce, a small ambitious Haitian boy, knows the man who poisoned Scraps, his dog, but can do little about it. He vows to get even somehow, someway. Perhaps the voodoo can help.
Final Response
Price: $5.50 $4.12 USD. (25% off!) Words: 98,520. Language: Canadian English. Published: May 10, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
The Polar Vortex has grown stronger with every winter, ravaging northern cities, and forcing an evacuation of a major city until springtime. Firefighter Captain Jack Sellars and his men are contracted to protect the city with one mandate: don't let the city burn down. With no power or gas, and all the citizens gone, what could possibly happen?
The Blob...In My Shoes
Price: $2.50 $1.88 USD. (25% off!) Words: 55,640. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
If you found a substance that no one in the world knew about and would absolutely guarantee you success and a bright future, would you use it? Is it legal? Would it be cheating if you used it in a track meet? No one really knows--and no one can know. It`s an experimental synthetic substance, a blob, and close enough to magic for two high school boys. Big risk, big reward.
The Far Bank
Price: $2.50 $1.88 USD. (25% off!) Words: 50,320. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Intermediate
*"The plot, characters, and interactions between the children and adults are all things editors look for." - Heacock Literary Agency ***** Keeping the bullies at bay, a paper route from hell, and a dangerous swim race across the Welland Canal will change Ricky's life forever. Getting through the week is going to take smarts, stamina, and plenty of courage.
Out On A Limb
Price: $2.50 $1.88 USD. (25% off!) Words: 31,280. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates, Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Chapter Books
"You are a fine writer with a great sense of drama and a good grasp of what boys will read." - Lisa Rojany-Bucieri, Americhip Book. ***** Build a tree house under Egghead's nose? Wait a minute, Egghead is Big Bill's mean old landlord who hates all kids and kills all cats. Big Bill and Squirt will need courage, smarts, and timing. Getting caught by the old man is not an option
Gerry's War
Price: $5.95 $4.46 USD. (25% off!) Words: 126,330. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Gerry Ormond returns as a Niagara Falls fire chief and is plunged into a world of extortion, bribery, and embezzlement, along with the brutal Red Mafiya, who are hijacking a casino project. City administration has neutered the chief's power leaving him powerless. After the death of two firefighters due to neglect, Gerry declares war. He underestimates his enemies and they push back hard.
True Grit
Price: Free! Words: 2,780. Language: English. Published: September 25, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Growing Up
Delivering papers in a snowstorm was an ordeal and took an awful lot of grit. It almost broke him. This is a short story, a true one, of the author's first job.
Archie's Gold
Price: $2.50 $1.88 USD. (25% off!) Words: 39,710. Language: English. Published: July 22, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books, Fiction » Children’s books
“A spellbinding juvenile mystery novel that is sheer magic." - Michele Rooney Literary Agency ***** “…I was charmed by Archie.” – The Rights Factory ***** Archie Crane shines shoes on the mean streets of a tough blue collar town amidst ex-cons, drunks, and dirty cops. When he finds a stolen golden coin in his money can he's thrown into a world of trouble where everyone wants a piece of the pie.
Price: $2.50 $1.88 USD. (25% off!) Words: 31,280. Language: English. Published: July 4, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Intermediate, Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Chapter Books
"A real page-turner, I couldn't put it down." - Alberta Writing for Youth Competition (anonymous judge) ***** "I did finish reading Ransom...I did enjoy it. The characters were unique, had grit, and brought their own unique elements to the story." - ECW Press ***** Three friends face off against a larger gang in a suspenseful story of integrity, bravery, and friendship in a territorial battle.
Old Flames
Price: $5.95 USD. Words: 109,900. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
"You have a real talent with language. Every scene you describe is vivid, and the dialogue is alive and authentic."-TransAtlantic Literary Agency *** Once a wild teenager in a renegade fraternity, now a heroic Fire Captain, Gerry Ormond visits his hometown and fights to keep his old crime hidden. With an ace fire investigator on his tail, his life begins to unravel, as old friends become enemies