I’d like to welcome my special guest David Swykert, the author of Children of the Enemy. Please enjoy his insightful interview.
1. Do you have advice for other writers trying to get published?
Learn a skill that you can use to acquire a good day job. Starving artist might sound romantic, but we actually write better on a full stomach.
2. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
My goal is to keep you from being able to put the book down. If you keep turning the pages I feel I’ve told a good story.
3. What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their own work?
I think it’s always been this way. Those that don’t promote well, e.g. Emily Dickinson, are discovered, if at all, posthumously. I don’t like it, I’d like someone else to do it. But that’s just not how it is.
4. What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?
I’ve written in different ones. Children of the Enemy is crime-thriller-urban-mystery. I have romance novel published, Alpha Wolves. When I wrote it I thought I was writing literary fiction, it’s the sequel to another YA romance novel that I also think is literary fiction but editors see it differently. I have a literary novel, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude that was a semifinalist in the Faulkner Competition last summer that will be published in 2013 by Rebel e Publishing, an Indie publisher in Detroit. I have another Crime story that will be published by Melange Books in 2013. And like most authors, I have several trunk novels in different genres.
5. What are your current/next projects?
I’m writing what I consider a literary novel with a working title of: Counting Wolves. It’s about a retired cop who retreats to a cabin on top of a mountain to retool his survival skills and reinvent himself after his wife dies. He befriends a pack of wolves and begins to feed and protect them. Yeah, I know. It might be my next trunk novel.
6. Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?
I write alone. I live with my beautiful editor. She helps me shape the final draft.
7. How do you find time to write?
I don’t have much else to do, except I do the cooking.
8. Did you always want to become an author?
I’ve liked writing since I was a teenager. I don’t know that I ever actually chose to become a writer, I just started writing, and because I’m pragmatic, I looked to do something with what I wrote.
9. Is there any writing ritual you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?
When I first get a story concept I spend a lot of time just sitting and thinking about it, maybe write down a few notes. Then I turn on the computer. I’m not a real organized writer. I write sometimes a few thousand words in a day, sometimes a sentence and sometimes nothing.
10. Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you most)?
I generally have a character, conflict, and the resolution in my head before I start. Sometimes a book begins with a short story and if I like the character I develop a story around him, that’s how Children of the Enemy began.
11. Have you ever hated something you wrote?
I usually think when I finish something it’s the best thing I ever wrote. But later, sometimes a long time later, after reflecting and hearing some other opinions, I may change my mind. But it’s hard to honestly know how good something is when you first finish it. You have to live with it a while and get some feedback to know how good or bad it actually is.
12. Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?
I think maybe novels. Short stories you can write faster, but I tend to wander around too much with my thinking to write brilliant concise short stories. I’m better suited for novels. And my first drafts always need a lot of editing, and I usually do at least three edits of a novel before it’s finished.
13. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of your characters?
I feel like I’m all the good ones and none of the bad ones. I think separating yourself from your characters so that each is unique is a skill writers have to work hard at. And even so, there’s always a part of us in each character we write.
14. How did you come up with the title?
Usually it’s out of the story, or connects to the plot. The best titles are the ones that just kind of pop out right away. If I don’t know what to call it I don’t ever seem to come up with a good title.
15. What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?
I’ve always believed the most important thing in life are the relationships you form. The Pool Boy’s Beatitude is a story about a dropout physicist with alcohol problems who is cleaning swimming pools to earn a living and becomes involved with two women, one that he financially needs and one that he loves.
16. Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?
Magic Masterminds. This is the website I participate in, and have my own section. I am also on Facebook and Linked In and I am a member of Francis Ford Coppola’s writing website, Zoetrope Virtual Studio.