1. What do you wish that people would ask you about your writing?
On the plane home from CapriCon this year, I sat next to a chatty young lady who asked me what kind of mindset is needed to be a horror writer. That struck me as a very intelligent question that was basically a variation on the question, "How do you get your ideas?" But I think her version delved a little deeper because the simple answer is I don't really know how I get my ideas. It's like I'm walking along a beach and trip over something in the sand, the tip of an idea poking out. I answered her question by saying that there is a lot wrong with the world as I see it, but instead writing about, for example, crippling loneliness due to social alienation, I write about a character who relieves crippling loneliness by making friends with a ghost. It's the closest anyone has come to asking the question I'd most like to answer: "How do you develop your ideas?" Ideas are a dime a dozen, but developing those ideas takes work and that's where the craft of writing happens.
2. Which of your characters would you most like to meet and why?
I have an unpublished story about a character named Jesse who was all set to travel to Spain to run with the bulls in Pamplona, but whose plans are interrupted by the zombie apocalypse. I have a philosophy that my death is an eventuality to be accepted, not something to be feared, so I try to not let fear guide my decisions. Jesse has embraced this philosophy fully, so he seems like he'd be a fun guy to hang out with.
3. What is the best/worst way to get potential reader's attention at a poorly placed autograph table?
There's a lot of psychology behind peddling anything, let alone stories. First, you need to be a quick study of body language. People aren't blind and are naturally curious, so if they aren't looking at you, they're ignoring you. Don't try to shout pitches at them to get them interested because they won't be. If they're looking at you, it could just be an acknowledgement of your existence as a human being, so greet them as a human being. Say hello. Wave. Smile, but not in a creepy way. If they don't just motor past you or are looking at your table, that's when you should turn on the charm. Again, not in a creepy way. Pitch them your story in one sentence, preferably in two or three seconds, which is the time it takes someone to cruise past a six foot table. If they continue without stopping, do not shout after them. Hopefully, they'll stop and want to hear more or even pick up your book. Again, you need to know your body language. Know when to talk and when to shut up. If they listen to your pitch, read the back of your book, but still aren't interested, pitch them something else you're peddling, following the same rules as before. If you only have the one story or if they listen to all your pitches but still aren't interested, but they still aren't moving on, feel free to talk to them like they're a human and you're a human and you recognize their basic humanness. Ask them how they're doing or how they're enjoying the con or whatever event. You know how your friends read your stories even though they might not read anything else in your genre. That's because they like you. So if you're a decent human being, people might decide they like you enough to give your books another gander. And if they leave without buying anything, thank them for stopping by and chatting. Last but not least, know how to recognize the talkers. It's not being cold and it's not being fake. You have a job to do. You have to peddle your stories and people generally won't interrupt a conversation. Be able to disengage and or able to bring new people into your pitch. But above all else, be a decent human being.
I Write, I Edit, I Write Again. Witness!
We're Making Better Words, All of Them, Better Words.
I Write to Burn Off the Crazy.
A Good Day Writing is a Day Writing.
It Puts the Words on the Page or it Gets the Hose Again.
Just Keep Writing, Just Keep Writing; Writing, Writing, Writing...