Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Valmore Daniels Interview

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

When I write my first draft, I am most productive when I am isolated; in my busy household, that only occurs very early in the morning before anyone else is awake. I am rarely able to just jump right into the writing; I have to ease in slowly, let myself be drawn into the narrative, and when I’m completely immersed, I fall into a writing groove and can pound out page after page.  When I’m editing, on the other hand, I’m not bothered by such distractions and can edit anytime and anywhere.

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

I may just have the worst handwriting on the planet. That’s one of the main reasons I learned to touch- type at an early age. I’m lost without a computer: When I’m outlining, I create a dozen notepad documents – one each for theme, logline, short synopsis, long synopsis, outline, character roster, plot points, random notes, and a separate character history for my mains. I usually have all these documents open at the same time while writing.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

I’m a big fan of “what-if”.  Whenever I hear a news story, or a friend relates an anecdote, my mind immediately spins it into the most extreme variation.  Most often, I need a half a dozen of these what-if situations combined before I begin plotting out a story.

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

Ideally, I would love to consistently put out two thousand words a day, but I word count is a secondary consideration, and I take a note of my progress only after I’ve completed a writing session. Some days I’ll write four thousand, other days four hundred, and some days I’ll cut out thousands of words if the story is heading in the wrong direction.

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

As a self-published author, I am responsible for every aspect of the end product. While I’m confident in my writing and editing skills (although beta reader response is integral to this process) and I’m fairly handy with photoshop, I immediately recognized that I do not have the ability to draw or paint in a professional capacity. Also, due to a limited budget, I was not able to commission an original work of art. I spent hours and hours browsing stock photo websites and artist websites until I lucked out with both cover pieces. For my fantasy novel, the artist was willing to provide a license to use one of his completed paintings at an extremely reasonable price. For my science fiction novel, the artists had been commissioned to produce that artwork for another science fiction book, but the sale did not go through, and he put the painting on a stock photo website at a bargain price.

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

My imagination is way out of control; the only way to temper my thoughts is to organize and write them down. I would love to be able to make a living as a novelist, but even if I were never paid a penny for my writing, I would still write.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

I want one, and I’m going to get one.  I’ve tested many of the brands on the market and I think I will make my final choice within the next few months. In the meantime, I use Kindle for PC and Adobe Digital Editions on my laptop. Both look great, but the laptop can be awkward when I read in the bathtub (just kidding … I don’t do that!)

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

I love fantasy and science fiction, and for the most part, I stick within my genre. My literary heroes for science fiction are Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Spider Robinson, Robert Sawyer, and Ben Bova. My favorite fantasy authors are RA Salvatore, Steven Brust, Charles deLint, and Dave Duncan. Once in a while, I’ll poke my head out and sample from other genres: James Patterson, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jeffrey Deaver, and Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.

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

I made book trailers for both my novels, and while I recognize it as a marketing technique, I have never purchased a book because of a trailer. I’m not convinced the mediums mix well enough. Having said that, I think for my third book I will move in a slightly different direction; instead of a trailer, I’ll either do an author interview with myself, or read from the book, or render an essay on the subject of the book.

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

Due to the limitations of current technology, humankind is unable to reach the stars. In a sense, until we find a power source capable of sending us through space at better than light speeds, we may as well be forbidden the stars …

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

I’m working on a contemporary fantasy novel at the moment called Angel Fire. It’s a paranormal drama concerning a young woman who accidentally kills her parents in a house fire started by her pyrokinetic ability, and how she tries to re-integrate with her home town ten years later.  With any luck, I should be able to release it early 2011.

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