And now, one with the show...
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.
You can check out all of the past installments of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff... here.
The shortest turnaround on a novel was 3 months. That was on a novel called Fantastix: Code Red that is sadly out of print at the moment and I doubt will ever be available again. That's polished and ready to go to press. It was not easy and I didn’t enjoy the experience, but I did it (I was also working a fulltime day job at the time as well). The longest is as yet undetermined. I have a novel that I started on about 10 years ago, but I keep setting it aside for other projects. I’ll get back to it eventually.
When I was a kid I created a slew of comic book characters. I don’t recall the order, but one that stuck with me was a character I called “Nightglider” who was a former stuntman turned p.i. who had the ability to hover due to an accident (long story). He could hover, but not fly on his own. He needed propulsion, which added an interesting bit to the character. A Nightglider comic strip was published in a local kid’s magazine. Later, I ditched the costume and code name, but kept the hovering and p.i. parts. It’s been a long time since I’ve used the character though.
There are other characters still rattling around in my brain too. Nathanial “Doc” Frontier, which came out last year.
Q: How important is the setting of your story?
Very. Unless you need your locations to remain generic and/or unknown, setting is very important. Setting is the stage that the characters are playing on in your story. You can take a scene set in an office building and move it to a beach house, but because of setting, the scene will play out differently. When I write stories that take place in Sommersville, a fictional town I created for use in Evil Ways, Deadly Games, the upcoming Evil Intent, and eventually in the Sheriff Myers stand-alone stories, the town really becomes another character. Sommersville has a feel that is different from Washington DC or New York, or even Atlanta. That feel is important for stories taking place in that location.
Smile you sonuva--BOOM!
I’ve always liked that line from JAWS.
I’m not a fan of remakes in general. Sure, sometimes you get a great one like John Carpenter’s The Thing, but usually you end up with something not as good as the original. If I had to choose something, I think Airwolf would be a good remake vehicle (pun intended).
Caffeine helps. I’ve joked before that Mt. Dew is often my co-writer. Sleep is good too, although sometimes that’s not a viable option.
Q: What comes fastest to you unbidden: characters, scenes or the spine of a story?
It varies from story to story. Most of the time it’s scenes that just hit me, but there are times it’s the characters or the complete story in one shot, but that last one is rare for me.
Q: Your Favorite Tom Hanks Movie?
So many to choose from, but I'll go with Saving Private Ryan or Forrest Gump.
Q: How effective is going to conventions in selling books? Do you get a table for the day?
The trick is finding the right convention to approach that fits the type of book you’re selling/promoting. An adult-oriented con might not be your best fit for books geared toward a younger crowd, for example. The
The table situation also varies from con to con. Some conventions charge a small fee for the table, anywhere from $35 - $100 for the weekend. Other, larger shows, a table can cost $300 - $500 easily. You have to decide how much you’re willing to spend and whether or not that works for you. There are some cons that will offer their guests a free table. It just depends on the convention.
Q: I have a question about writing as a profession, if you don't mind. I am an aspiring author and am working at writing my first project. So here's my question: before you have a publication
Deadlines are a marvelous thing. Even if you don't have a deadline from a publisher, set your own, but also, set reasonable deadlines. You know how much time you have to devote to writing each day. Make your writing time part of your daily schedule. Once the people in your life know that 5 - 5:30 pm (for example) is writing time, they will learn to leave you alone (maybe, hopefully, if you're lucky) during that time. You might
If your goal is to write as a career, then it's never too early to treat it like a job. That way, when it becomes a job, you're already ahead of the game.
As for motivation, that's obviously different for everyone. For me, I am motivated because I have new story ideas come to me all the time. I can't start on my cool new idea until I finish the project already in process. That helps me stay focused.
Q: How much should character and world interrelate in pulps? What's more important, building the world or creating the character?
Q: Your favorite Will Smith movie?
I really enjoy the first Bad Boys.
Q: Do you recall a book that piqued your interest as a child that you just had
Captain America #286. Saw this and knew I had to read it.
Q: What was the first movie you remember seeing in the theaters?
My parents have never been "go to the movie" people so I can count the number of times they took me to movies on one hand. The first I remember was catching a double feature at the drive in. They showed The Jungle Book first and then followed it with Star Wars. I was hooked.
The theme of Snow Falls is starting over.
Q: What inspirational thing is on your agenda for the weekend?
I’ll be set up a convention this weekend. I always come away from a convention appearance energized with new creative energy and ready to work. It’s definitely an inspiration.
Q: Did'ja ever write a cozy mystery?
Evil Ways and Deadly Games!) to have standalone stories that would not necessarily revolve around murder and would better fit the cozy mold. I just have to make room in the schedule to write the darn things. HA! HA! HA!
Q: What are the most important things to keep in mind when designing a successful book cover of a successful comic book cover?
Q: When is it really The End? Are you one of those writers who tends to never be sure if the novel, short story, poem, or screenplay has actually come to The End?
Q: What is your writing pace this year? What goal posts do you set: word count, chapters, some other marker?
Q: Were you ever in the military?
Nope. I have never served in the military. My Dad served in Vietnam so I've heard a few stories of his over the years. In fact one of them ended up in my Fightcard: Barefoot Bones novel. My grandfather served in WWII, but he never spoke of the experience.
Diligent research. No law enforcement in my family at all. As part of my research, I have met local cops, FBI Agents, GBI Agents, Secret Service Agents, crime scene techs, and others. They do incredible work and I like to write crime fiction so it was good to get out there and meet them. I want to write them properly. I've also met a criminal or two in my day so there's that too.
Knowing the details certainly helps when it comes to writing stories. It adds a level of detail and realism that might not come from a person who is not an expert. Of course, that expert still has to be able to write the fiction side as well. There’s a reason the advice of “write what you know” is often given.
|My vacation plan. :)|
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Let’s do this again soon.