Saturday, August 14, 2010

Steve Ward Interview

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

I have written several books with three titles published on Amazon Kindle as E-books:

Test Pilot’s Daughter: Revenge
Test Pilot’s Daughter: Dead Reckoning
Holy Enigma! Bible Verses You’ll Never Hear in Sunday School

I write in spurts, but I edit constantly. I’ve written novels, memoirs and non-fiction, but I have edited some thirteen other novels professionally. Once I start a novel, I am writing virtually every waking moment until it is done. The first novel took a year, the second six months, and the third one, who know? I think I can crank it out in about three months. Funny, the less time I spend, the better the quality of the writing. I wonder why that is? Probably moving up on the learning curve.

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

I start with a few notes on a yellow pad, but then it is me and the computer. On the first novel, I had an outline, the second only an opening scene. That computer practically grows out of my lap. Great thing about laptops, you can take them anywhere, and as long as you are typing, you don’t have to talk to anyone. No, just kidding.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

My fiction is aviation and aerospace oriented. The first novel is all my real life flying adventures wrapped into a female body.  I learned to fly when I was a kid and owned a Piper Arrow for a number of years. The kick-ass female protagonist is inspired by my wife and two daughters.  All three are very strong-willed women who know how to “kick ass and take names.” My second novel is all aerospace. I worked as a contractor for NASA back in the 80s and invented a space vehicle docking system called DROID. The second book is written around the technology of orbital warfare. 
My non-fiction took three years to write because of all the research, and the inspiration for that one is a long story. If you really want to know, you can read its introduction in the Amazon free sample.

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

Yeah, I set one goal: keep writing until it’s done. I write one chapter at a time and have my wife read it out loud, so I can test the pace, tone and dialogue. Dialogue is never short enough unless you hear it out loud, then you have to cut, cut, cut.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?

Hamilton Books, and imprint of University Press of America, Inc., published my non-fiction, Holy Enigma!  I published the Test Pilot’s Daughter series on Amazon after fleshing out the first book on Harper Collins’ Authonomy website for independent authors. Test Pilot’s Daughter: Revenge went to Number 1 out of some 8,000 novels there last November. Soon I will self-publish both novels in print.

Cover Art? I made my own crappy covers on a photo-editor. They lasted me about a year until I was compelled to go get professional help. My new covers were done by Terry Roy. She is a fantastic talent, and I would recommend her to anyone interested in a real pro design. She can be found on the Kindle Boards, but if anyone wants to contact her, they can send me an email, and I will put them in touch:

Revenge cover design and layout by T.M. Roy; background photograph courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Aircraft photo copyright 2008 by Lawreston/Distinctive Views, used with permission.

Dead Reckoning cover design and layout by T.M. Roy; Space shuttle photograph courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The cover for Holy Enigma! was designed by the publisher, Hamilton Books.

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

I retired at age 53 in the year 2000 to write full time. I had been a techno-nerd all my life and wanted to be a fiction writer. That was ten years ago, and I have been writing, editing and teaching Creative Writing ever since. I don’t make a lot of money at it, but it’s a great retirement job, because I can work in my pajamas. It beats sitting on the porch watching the grass grow. A writer’s work is never done.
Writer is the only profession I know where you can just declare yourself to be one. You don’t need a degree or anyone’s blessing; you just sit down and start writing. Of course, there is a lot to learn if you want to make money at it, but there are a lot of other good reasons to write. Writing is fun, great therapy for many kinds of ailments and all us older folks need to get our legacy on paper for our children and grandchildren.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

I bought my wife a Kindle. She reads on it constantly, and I never get to touch it.  It was fun hearing samples of my books on the “text to speech” reader though, asterick, asterick, asterick.

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

I love Pat Conroy’s work, Janet Evanovich and Steven King. I met Conroy some years ago, and I use Janet’s and Steven’s books on writing in my classes. As far as indie writers on Amazon, I like Barbara Silkstone, Allison Butler, Charles Shea and Abigail Lawrence.  Barbara has a beautiful writing voice, and I edited Allison’s, Charles’ and Gail’s books. I also like Ruth Francisco, Amsterdam 2012, a good friend from Authonomy. I’m currently reading Babara Silkstone’s, The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland Age 42 and Three-quarters.

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

Book Trailer? What is that? Sounds like an old truck-bed used for pulling a big load of books?  Sorry, I’m an old guy and just discovered Kindle a few months ago. No really, I assume it’s like a movie trailer, and I’m for anything that sells more books.

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?

I struggled for months to come up with a title that said, “female, action adventure, aviation thriller.” That’s a tall order.  I was stuck on Haunting of a Sky Warrior and Astronaut in Stilettos. I was walking with my wife one evening when she said, Test Pilot’s Daughter, and I loved the sound of it, so I made it a series title.

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

I’m working on Test Pilot’s Daughter: Killer Asteroid. The only problem is, I beat my protagonist up so profoundly in the last novel, I’m not sure she is mentally or physically fit for more action adventure. Maybe it will be Test Pilot’s Daughter: Granny Goes into Orbit.  

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