This is today’s post from the blog Moment With Mystee. It’s an interview I did with her:
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Baseball player, track star, or writer. I lack athletic skills, having had asthma, so I went with writer.
What inspired you to write your first book?
One day when I was 15, during Spring Break I sat down at a typewriter and began to write a world war 3 kind of story. I never finished it, but something in me wanted to start writing a novel. So, I’m not sure what inspired it.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t think I do.
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
I was raised in a Christian home, and I’m still a Christian, so I would say it has colored my writing.
How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
They just pop up as an idea, and I go with it.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find writing realistic dialog to be challenging, and everyone comments to me about how my dialog needs to be more realistic.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I like Harry Turtledove, because I like alternate history. I first came across his work when I picked up Guns of the South, and I found it intriguing how he made the history seem real. From aliens invading during WW2 to a bunch of fishermen finding “Atlantis” in the Atlantic (which is the broken off eastern half of the US) before 1492, and then turning it into an alternate version of US history. I guess I’m a nerd, because I love to read that stuff.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nice thing about an Indie author, I can go back and change a few things that I might be unhappy with. If I get a review pointing out something that seems to pop up in other reviews, then I can also go back and fix it.
Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I don’t have a plan, I just figured I’ll go with the flow.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Make sure its something you really want to do, because it can take years for you to break through, or you could be lucky and be a bestselling author within months. Don’t quit your day job though.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I definitely suffer from writer’s block. Most of the time, if I can’t think of anything to write next, I set it aside until something pops up in my mind, and then I go from there.
How did you deal with rejection letters? I’m an indie author, I don’t do rejection letters. With Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Createspace, etc, you can completely bypass the old dinosaur media/publishers.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Grammar, punctuation, great dialog, and an engaging storyline.
How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I write down a plot, and try to flesh it out before I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I develop the characters as I’m writing the story.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Read anything you can on plot, structure, writing good characters, beginnings, middles, and endings, self-editing, and if you’re in a particular genre, read a book about the genre by a famous author of that genre. Orson Scott Card, for example, has a How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy book.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It really depends. My very first novella took me more than 5 years to get all my thoughts together, and that was only 30k words. My 2nd novel took 6 months, my 3rd took about 4 months.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m working on an alternate history where the US elects a different president in 1976, he continues with the moon landings, putting a base on the moon in 1979. Then he wants a Mars Base by 1989, but, he gets assassinated in 1981 by terrorists because he reacts completely differently to the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979. In the meantime, the Russians want to one-up the US, so they build an interstellar starship, but that ends up with problems of its own. I try to have history follow a slightly similar path. Instead of the WTC in 1993 nearly getting blown up, a cargo ship to Mars gets blown up, as its going into space. In 2001, the space station is attacked and destroyed. Eventually, the Russians and the US team up to build an interstellar starship after taking care of the problem with the terrorists, and head out of the galaxy. They find something interesting when they’re 2 light years out.
What is the last book you read? I’m pursuing a 2nd BA, so probably a textbook.
If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be? Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s novels. He’s always put into these really interesting positions, from helping Rasmus defect with the Red October to being thrust into being the President of the United States after a plane destroys Congress during the State of the Union.
Tell us about one of your worst habit or quality?
I’m not focused enough, I get distracted easily.
How do you tackle stress and define stress?
When I’m stressed out, I get migraines. I try to de-stress out by playing a video game. I don’t know if I can define stress, but, I definitely know when I’m stressed out.
What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Coca-Cola, Ham for sandwiches, and a bunch of frozen microwavable food. (I’m a single guy, what do you expect? lol)
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?
I like being me, I don’t want to trade places with anyone.
What was the last movie you went to see?
I think it was Iron Man 2, or Toy Story 3. I know it was one of those! ha ha Now, I’d change that to “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I’d rather be the person who runs Watchtower in the DC universe, you can order the superheroes around.
Finally, you know there’s a HUGE work up on Vampires lately. So, Vampire Diaries, True Blood or Twilight and why?
Lame! How about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’d kick all those vampires butts, well slay them anyway, and say something sarcastic while doing it. I’d rather watch a 70+ year old black and white vampire movie starring Bela Lugosi than Twilight.