- Guest Author -
Today I feature an author who during the past 30 years has written news stories, sports stories, stories for children, puzzles, and plays for puppets - Ted Summerfield, from British Columbia, Canada. Welcome, Ted ...
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I’ve been writing since I was about 10 years old, when I started writing notes to girlfriends. Then as a teenager I became interested in poetry and prose, an interest generated by the women I knew. I stopped writing during the time I was married and started again a couple of years after the divorce.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I was shy around girls when I was 10 and found it easier to write notes to them. I started with stuff like “Want to go to a movie Saturday?” and graduated to “Had fun. Let’s do it again.”
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I mainly write picture ebooks for children and puzzle ebooks, so I get to be a child again and also get to give people problems to solve so they may maintain their brain.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Earning a liveable wage. I do alright with my ebook sales and the income helps supplement my retirement income, but a single person needs about $10,000 a month to live comfortably here in Vancouver and my sales are below that figure.
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I’ve been writing ‘stuff’ for girlfriends since grade 6, but in my adulthood I’ve been a cook, waiter, puppeteer, broadcast journalist, businessman, real estate salesman, and now a retired senior/
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Writing puppet plays for 2-9 year olds, then acting in the plays and seeing faces of children laughing, crying, giggling, and understanding the point of the play; the visual connection between your work and your audience is a connection some writers seldom experience.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
A couple of puzzle ebooks, another picture ebook for children, and a fictional work.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Events around me. It could be something a simple as a frog croaking in my back yard, or a cat dancing with moths. It may be a couple so in love you can feel the intensity across a dim-lit lounge. It may be a picture in a newspaper or magazine, or online. It may be my remembering a woman or a man from my past. It could be a movie, a song, a tree, a paper bag, or anything one encounters in life.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Read everything, steal anything.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
No, for the simple reason I have never written anything long enough for writer’s block to begin. I have stopped and put aside many works because something else caught my interest, and I imagine other writers do the same.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I like writing either early in the morning, beginning at 1 or 2am, or when the mood strikes me between 4am and when I go to bed
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
I work at my computer desk, an old dining room table from the early 1930’s. I work for 15-20 minutes then go play some solitaire on the patio, or maybe watch TV, or read something, just do something different for a bit before getting back to writing.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Anyone who tells you there is a joy in writing is an idiot. Writing is painful, writing is going to the dentist for root canals and not having any pain killers, writing is for sadists because I’ve never met a writer who was happy with a finished work. Every writer I’ve met would love to change what they’ve published. Where’s the joy in that?
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I couldn’t pick one author. I’m not that self-aware yet.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
From a 4 year old who said, “You’re silly.” She’s right.
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
What do you mean?
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
What gave you the impression I love writing? I tolerate it, I do it, I even earn money from it, but I love people, animals, life, but not writing. Read #14 again.
DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
I have friends with degrees in broadcast journalism, friends who are librarians, and friends with degrees in literature and English. They don’t charge.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
A soft breeze crosses the pillow and slides around my ear. I feel the tiny hairs of my lovers’ arm against my chest. I open my eyes and see the goddam cat is sleeping on me again.
IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
A female engineer who loves to cook. Why? I think the answer is obvious.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
You’ve messed up. Go home.
You’ve messed up. Go home.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Wake up tomorrow. Repeat.
WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
International, criminal, corporate, environmental, and immigration law for Dummies, because there wouldn’t be any lawyers there.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Yes, as a child at a picnic.
DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
I don’t do print publishing, just indie ebooks. I’m only frustrated by Amazon and its 35% policy on any ebook under $2.99.
DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
If people still read something you’ve published years after you’re dead.
WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
I write picture ebooks for children and puzzle ebooks, with a non-fiction or fiction work thrown in once in a while, so probably readers should walk away knowing the answer to a puzzle or experiencing some emotional response from my ebooks for children.
HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
From some of the covers I’ve seen I’d say not much thought went into the cover. I’m sure lots of people feel the same way about some or all of my covers.
WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
That’s too private to share.
WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
Yes, and I put them in my free ebook “The Backwards Approach To Ebook Success”.
ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
All are self-published.
ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Anyone can become a writer nowadays. Think before you leap.
My ebooks on Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/ted-summerfield/id373084334?mt=11
My ebooks on B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/ted-summerfield
My ebooks on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/puzzles
My blog: http://punzhupuzzles.wordpress.com/
Clancy's comment: thanks for your time, Ted. I admire anyone who can create games and puzzles. Keep up the great work.