Tuesday, April 15, 2014


One of the perks of being a writer is getting to meet some of the most interesting people. Whether it is at conventions, store signings, through the Earth Station One podcast, writer’s groups, on social media, and sometimes just from people I run into on when I venture out of the cave I call my office, and they have questions. Sometimes they are about writing or what I’m working on. Other times they’re out of left field. I thought it would be interesting to share some of them along with a few answers. Regardless of where they come from, here’s a few of the latest.

Check out past installments of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff... here.

Q: Wow, you have written a lot of stuff. I see you've written a lot of masked mystery men. Most often the Green Hornet. You REALLY should create your own mystery man. I wanna read what you come up with.

I have created my own characters here and there, but the pulpy mystery man genre is a small niche market with a small audience. In my experience, writing these existing characters pays better than creating a pastiche of one for my own use. As I write partly to pay the bills, I have to take things like that into consideration when choosing what I will write. Although he doesn't wear a mask, Lance Star: Sky Ranger is mine as is The Ruby Files' Rick Ruby. For now, they are enough for me, but who know what the future will bring.

Q: When writing are you typing or actual writing (as in, with a writing utensil)? If you are using pen and paper, what do you use, a fountain pen perhaps?

I go straight to the computer. If I write it on paper, it never makes it to type. I hate transcribing and it slows the process way down for me. Going straight to type works best for me.

Q: I was wondering if you ever thought about going the way of Ebooks?

I'm not really sure what you mean by that.

I already write stories that go straight to ebook. Snow Falls is the first book in a series that will be doing that. I also just signed a deal to do several ebook one-shots for another publisher. Plus, almost every story/book I've written is available as an ebook. Not sure how I could go more ebook than I already am.

Q: How long do you usually spend editing your book?

The self edit takes however long it takes, but I try not to dwell on it too long or else I can edit it to death. Then, it goes off to the editor and I go over those notes pretty quickly when I get them back. When the galley proof comes in, you have a very short window to give it a final look so that one goes really fast.

Q: How many writing projects do you write at any given time? As in do you juggle a short, a novella and the new novel in the same day? How do you keep motivated to stay on the same one?

I always have a variety of projects open. Deadlines help keep me motivated and focused on what needs to be finished while others with looser deadlines can be started and stopped as need be. Plus, there are edits from stories already turned in that come in without notice. Same for galley proofs and other assorted things that can interrupt the flow. You have to learn how to juggle all these things and keep going.

Q: What do you LOVE most about writing? And ... what do you hate about writing?

I love being able to tell stories. It seems like such a simple answer, but it’s true. I love the thrill of making the story come together and I especially love it when a reader tells me he or she enjoyed something I wrote. That’s one of the greatest feelings in the world.

I hate the long hours. It can be long days and sleepless nights. I also wish the pay was better, which means I wish book sales were better. I hate that I haven’t figured out a way to get my work in front of more people.

Q: How many significant characters can you kill off in the last 15 pages of a book?

As many as your characters will allow. Some of them might be too stubborn to die.

Q: What do you do to make your characters more believable? Do you use aspects of yourself to make them real to not only you but also your readers?

Sure. Sometimes I use bits and pieces of myself in characters. In my Evil Ways novel, the protagonists are two brothers. My beta crew came back with notes that nothing about the characters actually felt like brothers. If not for the narrative telling them that these guys were related, they wouldn’t have known it. Taking that information to heart, I decided to pattern the personalities of the characters after myself and my brother and rewrote the scene as if he and I were there. On the second pass, the notes came back that there was no doubt these guys were related. That was when I learned that using aspects from my life in stories helped make the characters feel more real to readers and myself.

Q: Is it really true that madness and creativity go hand in hand? If we as writers, painters, photographers, etc. did not have that extra "spice", would we be able to create what we create?

What’s that old saying, “you don’t have to be crazy to work here… but it helps.” I don’t consider myself mad, but then again there are several characters in my head and each has distinctive voices so…

Q: What’s your favorite Sports Movie (fiction based)?

One of my guilty pleasure movies is The Replacements. I'll stop and watch it any time I see it playing.

Q: How do you prepare before starting a new novel?

I generally spend some time thinking through plot, characters, scenes, research as needed, that sort of things. Sometimes I make notes, sometimes it’s all in my head. Then, I make a list of characters and important information, and start writing, updating the list as I go.

Q: Whether you're a plotter, or a pantser, occasionally a plot goes wonky and you need to think about where the story is going. Have you ever had a plot decide it's a completely different genre than you planned on writing?

I’ve had more than one plot take an unexpected turn, but I haven’t really had any stories switch genres before. Probably the closest I’ve come to this is my story for Airship 27’s Secret Agent X vol. 4 anthology. X is a pulp character and the story I have plotted for him is pretty straight forward, a train is hijacked in a blizzard and they are stuck in the middle of mountainous terrain while the hijackers search the train, looking for something. Pretty straight forward, huh? But this nagging little voice told me there was something monstrous waiting in the wings so when the creature showed up, it really fit the premise and actually tied the story together well.

If you’re interested to see how it turned out, you can read that story here.

Q: Overall best suspense story you have ever read?

This is one of those answers that will no doubt change depending on the day I’m asked, but the first thing that came to mind was Airframe by Michael Crichton. I was riveted and read through the book rather quickly.

Q: If the JLA were made up of classic movie monsters, who would be the Flash?

The Invisible Man. He's not really invisible. He's just that fast. :)

She's reading Evil Ways.
That's my story...
Q: Social media creates awareness for us and our books. Today's question is ... Who likes twitter and why?

I like Twitter. I use it daily and get across the same information I do on Facebook. I also like Twitter for the conversational aspect, which I understand is not how most use it. You can find me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bobbynash or search @bobbynash.

Q: Have you ever published a novel or collection under like a Bobby Nash banner? Like your own imprint, all profits go to you?

BEN Books is my personal imprint. I occasionally publish a project under that banner. You can check out those titles here.

Having my own imprint has its advantages, but I am not a huge fan of doing production, design, and layout. It's a slow, tedious process that, while important and necessary, is not something I enjoy doing. Creating covers is fun and I like doing that.

One thing to remember is that when I'm doing production, design, layout, etc., then I'm not writing. So, while I do get all of the profits (small though they may be) I'm not making money writing. It's a big Catch 22.

Tired writer, sleepy writer...
I did recently sign a deal to do some ebooks for Pro Se Productions The Pro Se Single Shot Signature under the banner "From The Pen of Bobby Nash" which will be my own imprint, but the publisher will handle formatting, covers, etc. I much prefer to work that way and do a few specialty projects on my own.

Q: I'm moving in a few short weeks and will be working in a brand new home office! Have you moved or change the location of your writing space? Did it inspire you, or give you a case of writer's block?

Great question! I have found that a change of scenery often helps invigorate my creativity. That’s one reason why I, weather permitting, take the laptop outside to write. I’ve also found writing at the library or at a restaurant can be a nice change ass well. I guess it gets you out of your comfort zone.

Q: What are your characters doing this spring?

Waiting on me to get caught up and get back to writing them.  Ha! Ha!

Q: Do you write about what you know, or do you research unfamiliar places, occupations, concepts, religions, et cetera when you write?

A little bit of both, depending on the project. There are always bits and pieces of me in everything I write, but I also write locations I’ve never visited in person and talk about events I did not witness firsthand. Working on so may pulp tales that are set in a time period before I was born has taught me a lot about research.

Q: Doesn't it wear you out when you realize promotion is as much or more work than actual production?

Sometimes, yeah. Thankfully, I enjoy doing marketing/PR so that helps, but it can be a real time killer. I try to budget a little time each day for promotion and marketing work, but I have to make sure that writing time doesn’t suffer. It’s a balancing act, to be sure.

Q: Everyone has a good luck charm, motivating item, even when they won't admit it. What is your lucky charm, sitting there on your desk and magically helping you write your current book?

The only thing on my desk is clutter, which I don’t find lucky at all. I don’t really have a good luck charm. Maybe I need to get one. Any suggestions?

Q: Your top 3 favorite comic book artists of all time?

John Byrne, George Perez, John Buscema (with Jack Kirby coming in right after)

Q: Your Favorite Javier Bardem Movie?

To the best of my knowledge, I've only seen him in Skyfall.

Q: Has a film ever encouraged you to read the book?

Yes. I saw Jurassic Park and then heard people who said the book was even better so I picked it up and gave it a try. Loved it. I also tried reading JAWS because I love the movie, but the book didn't grab me.

Q: Why are writers so negative?

I don't think of myself as a negative person. I make it a point to avoid being negative, especially publicly. Sure, sometimes we have to suffer for our art, but if it ever gets to a point where writing makes me miserable then I know it's time to do something else. Of course, I don't drink either, which is one of those things I hear from others frequently is a prerequisite for writing. Maybe that explains why I'm not more successful.

Q: Authors are writers and after a while, it's just our job but ... What responses do you get when you tell people you're an author? How does it make you feel?

Usually, what I get is “Oh, that’s interesting” or “Really? That must be fun” type responses. This is usually followed by the person telling me how much they’ve always wanted to write a book or that they have an idea for a book they can give me. Plus, there is a subset of people I meet that think that because I am a published author that I must be rich. Sadly, such is not the case, which usually bursts a bubble or two. Of course, those same people that ask about the money never seem to offer to buy a book. Hmmm...

Q: Do you ever feel like packing it in? Not writing anymore?

I’d be lying if I said no.

There have been times, certainly. Like everyone else, I have doubts and sometimes they rear their ugly head. There were times when I couldn't get work published that I thought about calling it quits and giving up. I decided not to do that, obviously, and I'm glad I stuck with it because eventually I did sell some work, then sold some more. In the past few years I have had some experiences and opportunities that I would have otherwise missed out on had I quit. There are friends I probably would never have met had I stopped going to conventions. Things like that make me glad I stuck with it.

Like everything else in life, it all comes down to the individual person. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth all the effort I put into my writing career. Thankfully, the answer I come up with is "Yes. Yes it is."

And I think that is a good place to finish this round of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff… Do you have any questions you’d like me to answer? Post them here as a comment or send them along to bobby@bobbynash.com and I’ll answer them in a future installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff...

Also, please sign up for my mailing list. Drop me an email at bobby@bobbynash.com and I'll happily add you to the list.

You can find my books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Smashwords, and more.

Thanks and Happy Reading.


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