Pasted below is the text readout from a local interview I did a few weeks back. Hope you like it!
Q: What made you decide to write?
A: The PC answer is some crap about how I just wanted to see if I could or something. The real answer is I was reading a ton of really crappy, yet popular, books. I already knew I could write a little, but those were detailed product reviews or opinionated articles on various subjects. This was really my first shot at ever trying something even close to a fiction novel.
Q: So you just sat down and wrote?
A: Well kind of, yeah, I did. I was actually out on a 5 day backpacking trip and I had been reading one of those crappy books I was talking about and got tired of it. So I put the book down and kind of let my mind wander like it used to when I was a kid making stuff up. I used to always come up with dialogs and conversations, kind of like one of those things where you always know what you should have said after the fact, anyway that night when I was writing my notes about how the fishing was at a lake we had hiked to, and jotting down some thoughts on the gear I was using, I flipped to a new page and started writing down one of the conversation that happens in the book.
Q: The main character, you did something a little different there didn’t you?
A: Shhh, I’m still waiting to see if anyone notices that.
Q: Laughs… ok, is he a good guy or a bad guy?
A: I think he’s a somewhat normal guy. Its funny, one of the recent reviews on Amazon negatively said how “Women want him, Men want to be him.” Beside the part where almost all the other reviews say the exact opposite, I was always left with the impression that he didn’t even want to be him.
Q: So you pay attention to the reviews?
A: Sure, of course, but you cant get hung up on them. The good ones are admittedly a fun and shallow ego boost, and the bad ones you kind of hang your head a little at. As long as the majority of them are positive, I’m happy. Best sellers and literary classics have their share of bad reviews, it’s going to happen. One thing I remember seeing early on was advice to not change anything according to the reviews. Everyone has a different taste and view of what they think and like, which in a round about way comes back to why I wrote in the first place.
What was more trippy was going on different forums and seeing the characters talked about outside the story like they were real people.
Q: Are they real people?
A: No, not really. I think I put a piece about this in my blog too on how I think every writer must do the same thing where you create characters that are somehow loosely based on real people. You can’t write what you don’t know, so I basically combined some physical and personality traits from a few different people I have met over the years and that is very loosely how my characters were created. But honestly as soon as I started writing them, their characters and personalities came out on their own with what felt like very little actual input from me.
Q: What is different about your writing style from all the others?
A: I played with the pacing and manipulation of time throughout the story. I also tried to get the back and forth speaking dialog between characters to sound normal and still keep a balance between fun, easy reading, and have it still be somewhat intelligent and descriptive. The dialog part really goes back to something I wasn’t seeing done well in other peoples writing. It never sounded real.
Q: Your characters have really stood out each on their own, how did you manage to make that happen?
A: I think I have gotten way more credit than I deserve for character development. Either I have a hidden unconscious skill at bringing characters into their own, or I got really lucky. I’ve heard people say it before and never understood it, but once I came up with the rough outline of the characters, they really wrote themselves.
Q: There is a certain line of thinking in this country that you can’t do anything all on your own. You wrote and self published this book. Did you do it all on your own?
A: well I didn’t invent the computer I wrote it on but yes, this one is 98% me. I wrote it, revised it, did the initial edits, formatted it, uploaded it, and then did all the research and marketing all on my own which was surprisingly a fun process to go through.
I did hire out the cover art which was a slight pain and a weird experience until I got it figured out, and also my friend did an amazing job editing it. He’s not a trained paid professional in a big office or anything like that, he is someone who thinks a lot like I do, reads the same stuff, hangs out in the same circles, and is super critical and I couldn’t have asked for a better guy to help me out with it.
Q: How much work was it really? The initial writing, the editing and rewrites, the formatting and getting it put out there?
A: This was a side project for me and like they say, find something you enjoy and you’ll never work again or something like that. It wasn’t easy by any means, but it was fun. When I realized I’d be putting this out for others to read, I did a ton of research reading firsthand accounts of authors that had gone through the traditional ways, and ones that self-published, I also paid attention to how successful each one of them were and saw some common traits in both directions.
As far as the editing went, I had the story pretty well fleshed out before giving it to my editor. I read a lot of people saying how you need a professional editor and they will tear your story apart, well for what I wanted to do with it, my story was basically ok, I just needed the second pair of like minded eyes to see grammar mistakes and continuity issues. My editor friend was also great in an advising role for a couple of small details that only people like us would really catch, but I think if they weren’t right, those small details can knock a story down a couple pegs from what it could have and should have been.
Q: Those details, the descriptions, talk to me about how you managed that.
A: I am aware of Descriptions in a story perhaps a little more than some other points because I have gotten so tired of other authors getting too detailed or in contrast, not detailed enough. I didn’t think we needed another book where you describe a 40 caliber 165 grain Speer bullet and how many there were in each magazine, blah blah blah… Gun guys know all this already and half the time they won’t agree with what you’ve chosen anyway. But also you have to keep gun guys engaged with exciting uses of their favorite or lusted after and unobtainable weapons. Larry Corelia has done this quite well, sometimes choosing an odd ball gun to have a major impact in his stories. I wasn’t trying to do that, but when you get to a point that you can dissect a book as a piece of work instead of as a story, you start to notice nuances like that which can make or break a good book.
Q: And you’re not done yet, what can we expect to see in the future?
A: Shoot I think I started writing the sequel before this one was even done. I’m getting very close to releasing the prequel, which sets up Against the Grain, but in a way like Against the Grain, it will be able to stand all on its own too. I think its going to maybe be a better written book and a little different than this one, but obviously still in the same vein.
The Sequel though, I’ve probably got half of it already written and its just plain going to be fun.