Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jon F. Merz Interview

Kipp Poe Speicher VS. Jon F. Merz

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

When I've got time to myself. usually, this is when the house is quiet after my sons get to school and my wife is at work. Sometimes, it will be late at night or on the weekend. other times, it's early in the day between 9am-11am.

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

I started writing with pen and paper but quickly realized that I didn't write fast enough. I don't touch type but my fingers tend to fly across the keyboard and I'm pretty much able to keep up with the stream of consciousness while I write. For me, the only real way I enjoy writing is by computer. I am looking forward to seeing how it works on the iPad, though! And there have been times in some preliminary filming of various projects where I had to rewrite a scene on the back of the script. Whatever works, but I like working on the computer best.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

Real life. I realize that sounds cliché, but the fact is, I've had a very enjoyable and exciting life. Early on, I decided that rather than wonder about what it would be like to do certain things, it would be far better to simply go out and experience them for myself. It's been unpredictable, scary, dangerous, exhilarating, and intense. I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. So, I take those experiences and stick in some interesting characters, ask a basic "what if-?" question and then set the wheels in motion that way. It works out well.

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

I go by chapter if I'm working on a novel. My chapters tend to be a nice five single-spaced pages which equates to roughly 2,000-2,500 words. I sit until I get the chapter done. In first draft mode, that tends to take about an hour.

For shorter projects, it really depends. Some of my novellas have progressed quite slowly or I'll work to get a basic idea down and then give it a rest. Short stories sometimes take the longest due to the fact that they're shorter than what I normally work in.

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

Well, I'm not entirely self-published. I straddle both the traditional and the indie publishing route. The majority of my work is still with big publishers like Harlequin/Gold Eagle and now St. Martin's Press. But I went through a definite dry period in my career when things simply weren't firing on all cylinders. Early in 2009, I finally grew so frustrated with what I considered great projects just sitting on my computer, I decided to create ebooks and sell them myself. To that end, I'm fortunate to have a number of friends who are amazing artists. It doesn't hurt that I come from an artistic background myself (although my skills are nowhere near as good as the folks I work with) and can sometimes visualize what I'm looking for ahead of time.

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

It's safer than what I was doing before! :) Seriously, though, I've always loved reading from an extremely young age. I devoured books like they were nothing and I always loved the feeling of exploring new worlds. Some of my favorite times to read were on summer vacation. I grew up with a giant arboretum down the street from my house in the middle of the city. I'd go to the library and grab an armful of books, go to the arboretum, and lay on the grass with the sun warming me while I lost myself in the pages of books others had written. I knew someday I wanted to give that same sort of experience to those who chose to read my books.

7: Do you own an ebook reading devise?

My iPhone has both Stanza and the Kindle app on it.

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

Right now, I'm reading Game Change about the 2008 election. It's utterly engrossing. Before that I read Tunnels and next up is Monster Blood Tattoo. Favorite authors I've discovered recently during my big middle school/YA kick have been Joseph Delaney, Michelle Paver, and Anthony Horowitz. Favorite authors of all time include David Morrell, Robert B. Parker, Edgar Allan Poe, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur Conan Doyle, Guy de Maupassant, and a ton of others.

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

I'm not sure of the effectiveness of book trailers, to be honest. I've seen so many bad ones - even those done by supposedly professional firms - that it smacks of cheap, splatter gore bad horror flicks. I honestly don't know if all that many readers even watch them. This mixing of two mediums needs to be done carefully, otherwise, why bother? I know more people watch TV and movies these days than read, but if that's the case, then the author should simply produce their own TV or film based on the book. That's what I've done with my Lawson Vampire series in creating the TV show THE FIXER - we're independently financed without the Hollywood machine looking over our shoulders. It's going to be an incredible multi-million dollar project and the trailer we'll be releasing in about four weeks is going to blow people away. I'd rather do that than just produce a schlocky book trailer, personally.

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

Ooh, let's see...the TV series obviously. I'm finishing up rewrites on my YA series that my agent is chomping at the bit to see and get out into circulation. That's going to be enormously fin and exciting to see come out. I'm starting to pen the next installment in my new fantasy series NINJA and I'm attached to a children's animated series to write the books coming out soon form that. I've also still got three novels left to write in the Rogue Angel series for Harlequin/Gold Eagle. And I'm busy releasing my entire backlist as ebooks on the various marketplaces that exist. Plus, a few more things I can't disclose yet.

So, kind of a lot! But I love it dearly!






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