Monday, September 6, 2010

R. Doug Wicker Interview

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

Whenever I can find the time.  When I had an office job, it was after work and weekends.  When I did shift work, it was catch-as-catch-can and on days off.  Now that I’m retired it seems actually harder to schedule the time, but that’s just an excuse for lack of initiative and discipline on my part.  I’m going to have to start managing my time more effectively.

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

Computer.  I think better when I’m at the keyboard, fingers poised, ready to type onto the screen before me whatever flows from my imagination.  It’s a very creative and relaxing process.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

Real life, mostly.  I get most of my ideas from current or historical events and then play, “What If . . . ,” with them.  Decisions was like that.  The main idea came to me based upon someone in my former career field who lost a loved one under very tragic circumstances (you’ll have to read the book to find out how).  The idea for the main character’s inability to make even the most basic of decisions has its genesis in something a friend of mine observed about people in my former career.  When someone took a break, this friend noted, invariably the individual would be so drained from making life and death decisions nonstop that they’d stare at the vending machine for several long minutes before deciding what to purchase.

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

No.  For me goals distract from the quality of the work.  A particularly hard scene to write should not be rushed because of some artificial daily quota.  I’ll know when I’m done for the day.

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

I have one small nonfiction piece I was commissioned to write about nine years ago for a well-known publisher of school library books.  Decisions is my fourth novel and the first one to see public distribution, albeit in a self-publishing environment.  The agent who handled that plus two of my previous novels was unable to find a publisher willing to take a chance on an unknown writing in genre fiction.  Their loss.  My gain.  If I didn’t have rock-solid faith in my ability to entertain then I wouldn’t be putting Decisions out there on my own.

As for my cover art, a very talented young man named Ronnell D. Porter put that together for me.  I, and many others, thought he captured the flavor of Decisions brilliantly—palm trees springing from pools of dripping blood.  It perfectly marries the Fijian locale with the string of murders around which the tale revolves.

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

I love to read.  I love to write.  I especially love the written word.  Sometimes, it seems, almost too much so.  I have to watch a tendency toward unnecessarily complex words and overly long sentence structure.  But that’s were editing comes into play.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

My first Kindle, a version three, was shipped out on September 1.  It has yet to arrive, but I’m very much looking forward to it.  I think Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth will be my first eRead.

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

Victor Hugo, Ian Fleming, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Alistair MacLean, and Nelson DeMille.  I’m currently reading Lee Child’s 61 Hours (my first time reading one of his books) and I have DeMille’s Wildfire and The Lion in queue.

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

I’ve only seen a few and didn’t particularly care for them.  I personally don’t think video is a good advertising medium for books.  It just seems a bit counterintuitive to me, a bit like selling high-definition televisions at a Barnes & Noble.  I’m not sure what the target audience is there.  As for me, I think I will avoid them unless I become convinced that my opinion on the subject is erroneous.

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

As I hinted earlier, Decisions refers to the inability of the main character to make any decisions not involving his own safety and security.  He suffers from post traumatic stress disorder after having witnessed a particularly devastating, life-altering event from which he never emotionally recovered.

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

The Globe is a murder mystery set aboard a very unique cruise ship.  The protagonist is an expatriate American who was cashiered from the military, ran off to France, changed his identity, and joined the Foreign Legion.  He now works as the officer in charge of security aboard the cruise ship Globe.  His life is pretty complex, and there is a huge amount of character development and background that needs to be woven into the story.  I hope to have it completed by February.  Gosh . . . that sounded remarkably like a “goal,” didn’t it?

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