Sunday, July 28, 2013

Author Interview – Ted Olinger

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? The writing taught me that I am much more deadline driven than I realized. I’ve always thought I disliked deadlines and so found myself working on things the moment I got them. But I’ve come to see I need deadlines to get moving. If my publisher hadn’t given me a strict schedule this book would still be dragging along while I worked on other things. Or thought about working on them.

Do you intend to make writing a career? I’ve had a few steady writing jobs with various publications, so in that sense it’s already been a career, though not a very profitable one. I have another book in mind and if that works there’s one after that. So I guess that’s a yes.

Have you developed a specific writing style? I try to keep it spare and evocative. That allows me to say little but mean a lot. When it works.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? I think I have to leave that answer to the reader.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I live in a constant state of writer’s block, even when I’m writing every day. Frequency and volume do not by themselves equal quality and often it seems pointless to continue. I have to push that aside every day. But occasionally some half-finished sentence sounds half-decent, or there’s some confluence of ideas that turn into an unexpected action and I think ‘OK, got it.’ That feeling doesn’t last very long though, and that’s probably best. The only way I’ve found to break long dry spells is to go back to the books that have made a difference to me. I imagine we all have them and they don’t have to be classics. But something spoke to us at some time and if listen it will speak again. Experiencing that reminds me why I want to write.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? Deciding to do it took as much time as getting it done. I came up with all kinds of good reasons not to put this collection together (self doubt for example), and they far outweighed the few good reasons to proceed (like my modest track record). But those were self-imposed obstacles and once I decided to go ahead they fell away. Of course, plenty of real obstacles appeared to take their place but confronting real problems is easier than solving imaginary ones.

How do you promote this book? I am open to suggestions. I’ve managed to arrange a couple readings and have been invited to do more, so I’m getting known locally. I have been politely received at bookstores, but even those that buy the book only want a handful of copies at a time. I have tried to attract the attention of reviewers, but have found there are so many writers and publishers doing the same thing it’s difficult or impossible for reviewers to get through it all. Meanwhile, the contraction of the bookselling business seems to force sellers to stick to the known, or even generic, all while there are so many great new writers emerging.

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Genre – Fiction / Short Stories

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

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