1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
Productive time? What’s that? Seriously, though, with a 14-month old and a day job, productive time ends up being an hour here or twenty minutes there. I know some writer wake up early to write. Screw that. I need my sleep. Plus, I need about ten cups of coffee before I start doing any thinking at all.
2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
Most of the time it’s on the computer. However, I will, from time-to-time, grab a legal pad and scribble away if I’ve got an idea for a scene or exchange of dialogue. This is more often the case for short stories rather than novellas or novels.
3: What do you draw inspiration from?
Well, that depends. As a writer, I tend to draw a lot of inspiration from my fellow writers when they make big sales. I mean, if they can do, I can because I know I’m a better writer than them (don’t worry, this won’t piss them off. They know I’m a better writer and have learned to live with it). My buddy Sam W. Anderson recently released a collection of short fiction, POSTCARDS FROM PURGATORY, as a limited edition through Sideshow Press. Print run of 100. It’s now sold out. Now if Sam can both convince someone to print a collection of his stories and then sell it out, I damn well can. One day. All jokes aside, Sam’s a great writer. If you dig horror, check him out.
As far as inspiration for writing, hell, that comes from anything and everything. An idea for a scene. A snippet of dialogue. And overheard bit of a story as you walk down the street. An article you read online. I think writers tend to be more sensitive to this type of information, more receptive, so that when something tickles their imagination, they pounce on it and twist it into something living and breathing. Example: I was brushing and flossing one morning. Then this weird idea hit me. I imagined this conversation between the toothbrush and floss. The toothbrush is depressed and is contemplating killing himself by jumping in the toilet and drowning. The floss is trying to talk him down. Not the best story maybe, but an example of how something simple can be bent and shaped into something different and new.
4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?
Yeah but it’s been modified since the kid came along. I type fast and used to try to knock out between a thousand and two thousand words a day. However, three hundred a day is considered a victory now.
5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
I’m both. I’ve published short stories at various small press and online markets. My novella, BLOOD SPRING, was released as a trade paperback in March by Bad Moon Books. My novelette, THE REVEREND’S POWDER, is being released as a chapbook in August by Sideshow Press. And my first novel, DEMON, will be published in mid-2011. Most of my self-publishing involves previously published short stories. I’ve posted a couple on my blog. Recently, I collected seven short monster stories into a collection called ROUGH BEASTS on Kindle and Smashwords. I did another collection of ten dark tales called PERSISTENCE OF SUFFERING., also available on Kindle and Smashwords.
The only original work I’ve self-published is a novelette name GONE, THE DAY. It’s one of those stories that are too long for short story markets and too short for novella markets, ringing in at around thirteen thousand words. I tried to sell it for several years, got close a few times, but it never worked out. Then last year, I started hearing about Kindle and success indie and pro writers were having selling original and back-list works. I figured I’d dip my toe in the water and make it available as an e-book. It sold really well for the first couple months and then eventually tapered off. However, it still makes some scratch for me on a monthly basis so I can’t complain. Plus, it was a great learning experience.
6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I don’t know. No one in their right mind, I think, chooses to be a writer. It’s painful, depressing, soul-crippling, and confidence destroying. It requires a huge amount of hard work, patience, and resilience. The pay is pretty lousy unless you hit it big.
But then again, there’s really nothing better. Creating worlds, bringing characters to life and then putting them through the ringer, selling a short story or a novel you’ve put hours and maybe years of work into. Nothing better at all (Except for the wife and kid. They rock. Oh, and cold beer on a hot day. That’s right up there).
7: Do you own an ebook reading device?
Yep, own a Kindle 2.
8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?
I’ll give you the Top 10 in no particular order: James Ellroy, Stephen King (earlier work more than later), Cormac McCarthy, George R.R. Martin, Dennis Lehane, Ernest Hemingway, James Clavell, William Shakespeare, Flannery O’Connor, James Lee Burke
I usually read about three books at the same time. Right now, I’m juggling THE CEREMONIES by T.E.D. Klein, THE IMAGO SEQUENCE by Laird Barron, and BLACK CHERRY BLUES by James Lee Burke. Recently finished DIMITER by William Peter Blatty.
9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
Honestly, I’ve never watched one. It seems weird to sell a book like a movie. I like audio commercials for books but visual ones feels like “over-selling”. Of course, if I watch one I may completely change my tune. Until then, I don’t have plans to make any.
10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
PERSISTENCE OF SUFFERING is an homage to Dali’s PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY.
11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
Just finished a story for an invite-only anthology that’ll come out sometime next year. Also, plugging away on a new novel. For updates on any and all things me, check out my blog at www.erikwilliams.blogspot.com I post frequent updates there, ranging from latest rejections to upcoming publications.