Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Joel Arnold Interview

Kipp Poe Speicher VS. Joel Arnold

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

Early mornings usually work best for me. At night, my family wants my full attention, so I try to get up around 5:15 am each day, get showered and dressed, and then head to the local coffee shop for a good solid hour of writing/revising before heading over to my day job.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

I typically start with pen and paper. When I type it onto my computer, I’m editing as I go, so once it’s in a Word file, it’s already a second draft. Then, I typically print out a hard copy for some serious revising. Then rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat until it feels right.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

Anything and everything; family history, newspaper articles, mythology, a trip to the grocery store. Children’s author Ruth Chew once described ideas as an endless supply of balloons floating above you, and every once in a while you just need to reach up and pluck one out of the air.

4: Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?

If I can write a couple pages a day, I feel like I’m making progress. But some days are spent on revisions, and although I’m not necessarily increasing word count, it’s still progress.

5: Being a self-published author how do you come up with your cover art?

My wife, Melissa, is a graphic designer, so she’s the one who has designed my covers. She asks me for input, and we talk about it, and I think she’s done a great job. I want images that convey the main feeling of the work – it doesn’t have to be an exact scene out of the piece – but something that will let the readers get an inkling of the journey they’re about to embark on.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?

I decided I wanted to be a writer ever since I won a writing contest in the second grade. The prize was lunch with my teacher at the local A&W. I’ve been hooked ever since!

7: Do you own an ebook reading devise?

I have the Kindle app on my iPhone. I’d love to get the real Kindle (or Nook, or, or, or…) at some point.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?

I have rather eclectic tastes, and my favorites range from Richard Brautigan to James Lee Burke. I grew up reading Stephen King, whom I still enjoy, and then there are authors like Dan Simmons who are also amazing. Nobody writes a good short story like Mort Castle. And hey, I have to admit, I loved J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I’m currently reading Dan Simmons’ Drood. I love his mix of history and the fantastic.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

I think they can be a fun way to get the word out about a book. I don’t know how effective they are, but I’d like to throw my hat in the ring with a couple at some point in the near future.

10: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

I recently received a 2010 Minnesota Artist Initiative Grant, which funds travel and research for a novel I’m working on about the concessionaire employees in Yellowstone National Park. I used to work out there in the early ‘90’s, but need a bit of a refresher to fill in those growing blank spots in my memory!

My blog:

Links to my short story collections:

Bait & Other Stories

Bedtime Stories for the Apocalypse

Fetal Position & Other Stories

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