Interview onLiibooks

This in on their blog today:

) What started you writing?

     Books were always a part of my life. My grandfather was a publisher, my mother a librarian, and I worked in bookstores for many years as well. I think I always wanted to write stories but thought you had to have some kind of special qualifications or training to do it! One day in my early twenties I just had an idea for a story and wrote it. It was terrible – truly awful – but I loved writing it, so I did some more.

) What do you do when you can’t get started writing?

     I don’t worry about it. I don’t take myself very seriously and I certainly don’t think the world would suffer if I never wrote another story! Every time I finish a story I tell my family it’s my last one, that it’s all over. They laugh at me.

) What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?

     I have no goals with it. When I start a story, I find out soon enough if it has enough ideas in it to keep me going. My writing is very momentum-driven. Once a story gets going, I just keep at it until it’s done, and that’s all I really want.

) What questions do you hate to answer as an author?

     I prefer to give my stories away, so I put them out as ebooks on services that allow me to set the price to zero, such as Liibooks and Smashwords and Feedbooks. I have them on Amazon too for as low a price as they allow, and I’ve been happy to see them price-match many of them to zero. I hear a lot about how free ebooks are destroying the “profession” of writing, and that bothers me. I wish there was no money in it for anyone, so that the only people who wrote would be the people who really want to, who can’t help themselves, who aren’t doing it for the money. So I don’t like it when people ask me about how to make money from writing. My answer is, for money get a job.

) What questions do you wish people would ask you?

     I really enjoy hearing anything from readers. Before I could put my books out there (thanks to the internet), my stories hardly had any readers. Now they’ve had lots, but I don’t hear from them as often as I’d like. When I do, it’s usually, “why did the story end the way it did?” because many of my stories have sudden and unexpected endings. My favorite question so far has been, “what’s next?”

) What audience did you hope to reach with “Macedonia?”

     ‘Macedonia’ is a very special book to me and I’m very happy to be able to have it on Liibooks, especially. I was fortunate in my life to live for a time in South America, and to have some wonderful teachers who introduced me to so much fantastic literature, including so many great Argentine writers. More than anything else, these writers inspired me to want to write my own stories in my own way. I’ve also been heavily influenced by the ethic of open-source software, which is one of the motivations behind my preference to give my stories away. It’s a privilege to be able to contribute what you have to offer in this world. These two streams converged in a fascinating way when I discovered the work and legend of Macedonio Fernandez, who wrote what was in essence an ‘open-source’ book in “The Museum of Eterna’s Novel”. I love his inventiveness and humor and generous human spirit. My own ‘Macedonia’ is both a tribute to him and a bit of gratitude to all the Latin American writers whose work I’ve enjoyed so much. Although I wrote the book in English, I tried to write it as if I was translating it from Spanish!

) What overall picture or feeling did you want to leave your audience with?

    With most of my stories, I like to imagine that my reader will continue the story in their mind after they’re done. I try to leave some important elements unsaid. For instance, in ‘Snapdragon Alley’, I never explain the central mystery at the heart of the book. ‘Zombie Nights’ ends with a big dangling what-if. ‘Ledman Pickup’ might feel like the story is just about to begin when it ends. I love books that don’t wrap everything up all nice and tidy – I like to say that ‘mystery’ novels should really be called ‘solution’ novels because there’s never any mystery left when you’re done. I want the characters in my stories to have a future beyond the book, a future inside the heads of the readers. I don’t think this ever happens, but I like to make believe – which is why I write fiction, after all!


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