- GUEST AUTHOR -
Today, I interview an interesting author from Texas.
Welcome, Blaine ....
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I was born in southern Idaho in the late fifties. Our small town of around four thousand soon became too small for five rowdy kids from a broken home. My mother took my two older brothers and me on a trip up into the wilderness mountain region of west central Idaho in search of a new place to call home. I was not quite ten years of age. For various reasons, I fell in love with this wilderness and chose to call this my home. It was not to be. I was the only member of my family who chose this place; it being too remote for my siblings. I never forgot this place and spent much of my life trying to return. As an adult I camped along the many area rivers, travelled the mountain roads, climbed the wilderness trails and climbed the desolate mountain peaks. I eventually realized that a story needed to be told that was embedded in my psyche about this area and I could be the only one to tell it. Book One of the White Bird series “Among the Nez Perce” is the beginning of my journey home.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I began research on this first novel in 2007, taking a trip to the area and staying at the White Bird Summit lodge to begin my novel. It didn’t take hold for another 10 plus years, though I researched the area and the history of the native people while trying to get the confidence that I could actually be a novelist. To help my confidence, I penned off a quick short tale of my young adulthood and my canine companion of the time period. I did not edit it and used an old photo of my pal Rusty for the cover. I self published “Rusty’s Tail”(this very amateur short story) using Amazon’s Createspace format. It is very amateur as far as writing goes but it did help me gain the confidence to begin my journey as a true novelist. I finished Rusty’s Tail in April of 2018 and by the New Year had completed my first draft manuscript of White Bird.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I am very much a shoot from the hip writer. I cannot seem to stick to any schedules and have never done a story outline.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I like living in my own imagination and expressing who I am through the fictitious characters I create.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Believing in what I do and trying to market my product. There is a very large amount of competition in this profession and, even though I believe my writing is among the very best; it is unbelievably difficult to get the attention of the reading public.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
Soldier, truck driver, drifter
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I am working on four different novels and shorts in the White Bird series. Book Two takes place primarily in Vietnam when Daniel Knight (White Bird) comes of an age to enlist. There are two different distinct Vietnams in my mind. 1965 and the early stages of our involvement and 1968 post Tet Offensive. In order to make a contrast I am writing a different character beginning late 1965 (Daniel is too young at this point). I am also doing a short story of Daniel in Idaho during this same period. My fourth novel in progress takes place in our near future and is very much about the series and White Bird. It is my first attempt at my favorite genre (Science fiction).
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Daniel Knight. He is my invention and is now and will always be the hero that never fails me.
10.WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Because my tale is perforce in a particular place and time at this early stage, it is historical fiction. I did not choose this genre; the genre chose me. Eventually the series will become briefly contemporary fiction (possibly a mystery novel featuring Daniel), then becoming science fiction as the series passes into the future.
11.DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Don’t worry about what others tell you. Just write it down. Be prepared for a marketing nightmare if you want to get noticed by the reading public.
12.DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Yes I do, a lot; and for various reasons. My confidence is very much on a roller coaster ride. I am of a very advanced age to begin this project. I finished book one and am very confident that it is a great example of literary fiction. Now I get worried that I can never live up to the standard I have set for myself. I constantly need to remind myself that it is okay if the first draft sucks. I can fix all that in edit. I am not nearly as organized
as I need to be. All these things create writer’s block and I face them daily.
13.DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
No. Not yet. That will come with getting better organized.
14.DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
On my laptop. In my recliner.
15.WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Escaping into the world of my own imagination.
16.WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Nelson DeMille is my inspiration. His content and genre are where I need to be and his style is very empathetic. He is not afraid to expose his inner demons in his writings.
17.WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
I have been told by a few that I moved them in a very spiritual way. That makes it all worthwhile.
18.WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
Nothing- real bad so far. A very close family relation expressed my tendency to ramble when I get too engaged. A particular slice of my novel is called “Spirit Walk” and I wrote it knowing that for some it would be too lengthy. I may have to do this two-week journey into the wilderness in a different way if I do a second edition.
19.WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Yes. Very much so. I had to write about a time and place that firmly embedded itself into the psyche of a very small boy. It stuck with me and haunted me until I just had to become an author in order to tell the story.
20.OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Family, friends and pets. I have seven indoor cats to keep me company. To get away, I always have my Harley!
21.DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Sort of. Not knowing better I used a hybrid publishing partner. I would not recommend this route to anybody now but it did get a real decent product to market. They gave me the formatting and guidelines to do an intense four-month edit process that got 99% plus of the grammatical type errors fixed. It was a self-edit in the end. I regret not having a style editor to guide my progress as I learned my own personal brand of writing.
22.DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Writing 3 to 4 thousand words on one of my novels. Having several cats on my lap during different parts of the day. A couple of hours spent on social media marketing. Maybe a bike ride in there somewhere.
23.IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
That is difficult because I love so many people but truly believe that I would get on their nerves eventually. I am a reclusive type and would actually prefer my best pal Ocho. He is my seventh and youngest feline companion.
24.WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Help us bring back the truest meaning of honour, courage, fealty and loyalty to love.
25.WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
More tales in the White Bird series. I hope to travel a lot and visit my wilderness country of Idaho while doing many book tours.
26. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
Never done one. I am open to it.
27.DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
A part of myself is in most of my characters. Much of who I wished to be is in Daniel Knight. He is the hero I always wanted to be.
28.DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Yes. Very much so!
29.DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
No. I lived a long and colourful life with no real passion. This is my calling and my very first true one.
30.WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE?
WHY? I only have two so far. My favourite is, of course “White Bird”. I can re-read parts of either one and find myself with a face full of tears. The good kind!
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER?
Getting it out to any reader who gains a bit of joy or comfort from the reading.
32.WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
Any reader of my works will know much of my personal heart and soul. I gained much spirituality in the writing of White Bird and I hope to spread a bit of that magic into the world.
33.WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
I would love to do a television series on the tale of White Bird. Never have though and I doubt that I will ever have the funds myself for such a venture. I would need to be a very lucky man indeed to accomplish such a thing.
34.HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
It took several drafts to get it right and even though my cover is from my own mind I do not believe it is professional enough. I will do better next time.
35.WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
To be remembered as a man with a large heart! Maybe a summer home very near the mountain wilderness known as the Seven Devils of Idaho.
36. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
Marketing is a monumental endeavor and is necessary. I hate it.
37. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
38.DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
I lived and loved fully
39.WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Self-denial. It is way too common.
40.WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
I re-read Upcountry for maybe the tenth time. It is my encouragement. Nelson DeMille wrote it about a veteran army investigator who must travel back to Vietnam to investigate a cold-case murder. It is his personal journey back, as well as that of his character’s. DeMille is a decorated officer of the Vietnam War and dared to share much that haunted him within to tell this story. It is truly inspirational.
41. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
And so I finally complete my long journey home!
42. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
I hope for enough success as a novelist to keep myself in groceries and allow me to keep writing full time until the end of my days.
43. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Follow me. Here is my email. Send me yours. I have a newsletter, blog, facebook page, linked in author page, website and so much more.
Clancy's comment: Thank you, Blaine. Keep plugging away like the rest of us.