Posts Tagged ‘author interview’

Author Interview

April 1, 2018

Michigan Author, Ryan Ennis

Today I’m not posting about my own books or the ins-and-outs of indie publishing. At the recommendation of a friend, I’m interviewing another Michigan author, Ryan Ennis.

Welcome to “Painting With Light,” Ryan.
Thank you. Glad to be here!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a teacher, librarian, and writer who lives in Livonia, Michigan. I grew up in Canton Township. After graduating from Eastern Michigan, I went on to get two master’s degrees from Wayne State in Detroit.

My first two books were actually children’s book—THE THURSDAY SURPRISE and THE SEPTEMBER SURPRISE. Both are stories about kids and autism.

What led you to write children’s books about autism?
I’m a special education teacher who works with kids with autism. The idea for my first book came from the children. As a progressive educator, I saw the benefits of typical kids having interactions with the kids enrolled in the special education classrooms.

I’m impressed…but I understand it’s not all you like to write.
Besides writing children’s books, I love to write short stories. I’m the author of a recent short story collection called THE UNEXPECTED.

What would you like to tell us about your new book?
THE UNEXPECTED is a collection of nineteen tales with themes that have preoccupied me since I began writing stories in my teens: the nature of love; the consequences of acting on impulses; and the need or longing inside of us to be fulfilled.

Perhaps of interest to metro Detroit readers are the local suburban settings featured in my stories: Ferndale, Livonia, Royal Oak, Garden City, Hazel Park, etc. To appeal to a wide audience the collection strives for a balance with male and female main characters in overlapping settings and plots.

I enjoy exploring the psychology of my characters. Consequently, I spend time (in the form of detailed prose) getting into my characters’ heads, providing clear motivations for their actions, so that they are relatable and empathetic.

Yet, I also like to reserve a certain amount of mystery about them, so the final part of their tales brings about a denouement or resolution the reader never expected. Writing stories that leave a reader with a last impression has always been my goal.

That’s a wide range of subjects. It makes me wonder…what were you like at school?
Depending on the subject, I could be two different people. In certain math and science classes (neither of them my forte), I was the quiet one sitting off to the side or in the back.

But I was quite the opposite in English, foreign language, and social studies. In those classes, I’d sit front-and-center, always prepared with homework, and frequently volunteered to answer questions. I enjoyed having good relationships with my instructors.

I still have the awards I received from my ninth-grade English and German teachers in a file box. I also have a professor’s note, written on the back of an essay, encouraging me to apply for the Honor’s Program and become her research assistant.

Every so often, I’ll pull out old notes and messages and reread them. I’m sentimental that way. Thanks to Facebook, e-mails, and blogs, I’ve been able to stay in touch with some of my wonderful instructors from back in the day.

Readers often ask…where do your ideas come from?
My fiction comes mainly from two places: my heart and my eyes. When I say my heart, I mean my emotions and personal experiences that I feel need to be conveyed to the world with a voice other than my own—through my fictional characters.

As a writer, I’m also a keen observer of people—society. By analyzing and writing about the challenges and problems I see others facing, I find I’m a deeper thinker, a more compassionate and caring person, and hope my work inspires my readers to become the same.

What’s the hardest thing for you about writing?
The time factor is a major issue. When you’re a home and dog owner, teacher, and have a part-time job on the side, it can be difficult to find writing opportunities.

OK – so what’s the easiest thing?
I’ve always had a vivid imagination. When I walk my dog at night, I reflect a great deal on situations in my own life or in others, and envision a story unfolding from them. If only I had a transcriber who could read my thoughts and turn them into polished sentences and paragraphs…then the writing part would be a breeze.

Who (or what) inspires your writing?
Since all good stories must have conflicts, my writing stems from either personal challenges or the challenges of others I read about or experience in everyday life.

I also enjoy looking at portraits or scenes in a painting and creating a story about the people depicted in them, based on what I observe in their facial expressions. In my opinion, there’s nothing more exciting than dwelling in a world inspired by great art!

Do you work to an outline or prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
As a writer of mostly shorter works, I don’t find it necessary to write from an outline. Before I begin typing my story, I’ve already spent a considerable amount of time pondering how it all will play out.

When do you do most of your writing?
With my busy schedule, I try to set aside time in the evenings and on weekends to write, even if it means just enough to write a few paragraphs before bed. I try to keep myself in what I call “writing shape”—able to write productively.

Do you have any funny or peculiar writing habits?
I once read that Jackie Collins carried a notebook around with her everywhere and would write whenever she had moments free, even if it meant when she was stopped in her car waiting for the traffic light to change. I never attempted that one.

In my early twenties, I read several Victorian novels whose author introductions described how they would take their desks out onto their lawns in the summer, and produce flowery prose from sun-up until sundown. I tried it a few times, but I couldn’t concentrate outdoors—not sure why.

Oddly, I do my best writing sitting on my sofa with my laptop resting on a small stand in front of me. I usually have the TV or my stereo turned on low, though I don’t pay much attention to either. It seems I need some soft noise in the background to help me concentrate.

How have you evolved creatively since you started writing?
Over the years, my writing has naturally gotten better, the plot lines and character development of my stories more engaging. I enjoy getting into the mindset of my characters, the narrative of my stories driven by their thoughts, providing motivation for their actions.

I’ve never cared for stories in which the characters seemed vague or underdeveloped. I want my readers to be engrossed in the actions and the thoughts of my characters. I still have the first short story I ever wrote. I keep it around as a reminder of the importance of determination. My writing skills have come a long way since then.

For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional printed books?
I generally prefer reading printed books. Holding a book in my hand and turning the pages are experiences I still treasure. When it comes to newspaper and magazine articles, I’d rather read those online.

Who are your favorite authors?
My all-time favorite is Joyce Carol Oates. Her short stories are masterpieces. Even when one is only a few pages long, I feel as though I’ve inhabited a vast landscape after reading it. She manages to engage readers with her descriptions and her character’s emotional states. I also enjoy short stories by Truman Capote and Raymond Carver. Like them, I try to compose works that delve into the psychology of my characters.

Most writers I’ve met have a favorite quote. What’s yours?
My quote speaks to connection between reading and writing: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” ― Stephen King (editor’s note: Good choice!)

Reading everyday has so many benefits—improving your memory, increasing your vocabulary, and relieving stress. It can even help you to become a better writer. Most writers started out as voracious readers. I can say that my appetite for stories and books is what made me want to be a writer.

If there was something you could change about yourself, what would it be?
Watching how environmental problems have impacted our world, especially how they’ve destroyed crucial habitat for animals, I would like to get more involved in active conservation efforts. Endangered species are disappearing from our world at an alarming rate and may be gone completely in the not-too-distant future.

I would like to do something to stop that. After I retire from teaching, being an animal conservationist might be my next chapter—along with writing about this new adventure.

Reviews for “The Unexpected” have been very positive. How do you think you’d react to a negative review?
Always seeking to improve, I welcome constructive feedback.

What are your plans for future projects?
I’m currently in the initial phase of drafting a novel set in the ’80s. There’s many things about the ’80s—the music, the TV shows, the presence of bookstores everywhere—that I love.

Fascinating. Good luck with your writing, Ryan, and thank you for your time.

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You can find out more about Ryan at these links:

Twitter
Goodreads
LinkedIn
Pinterest

RYAN’S BOOK LINKS:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

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Gentle Readers, my own books have garnered some terrific reviews, and you can see them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

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You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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On March 1, 2018, Rochester Media started publishing my articles about writing. The column will update twice a month. Come on over, take a look, leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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On Sunday, April 29, 2018, from 11:00am to 5:00pm, I will participate with a host of other local area writers in the Books & Authors book-signing event at the eclectic Leon & Lulu store on Fourteen Mile Road in Clawson, Michigan. Drop in and buy a book…there will be lots to choose from.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Author Interview: T.W. Dittmer

May 13, 2017

Today I’m re-interviewing a fellow Michigan writer, T.W. Dittmer, the author of the interesting novel, The Valley Walker, about his new effort, Five Toed Tigress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


T.W. Dittmer, Indie Author.

Welcome to “Painting With Light,” Tim.
Thanks for having me, Ron.

I enjoyed your first novel The Valley Walker, and I’m fascinated with your new one, Five Toed Tigress.
Thanks, Ron. I’ve been hoping you’d like it.

As I recall from our interview about The Valley Walker, you have an interesting background. What were you like in school?
I grew up in Gary, Indiana. My father worked in the steel mills, then turned to preaching the Gospel. My mother was a legal secretary. I was a dreamer in high school – not a bad kid, but not very motivated, so my grades were poor.

I liked reading, though, which got me pushed into the advanced English and Composition courses. After graduating, I joined the Army and volunteered for Vietnam, then actually reenlisted for Vietnam.

When my military service was complete, I went to college and studied music. My college grades were better than high school and I really loved music, but ended up working in an automobile engine testing laboratory. I have a two-year degree in Digital Electronics and a Bachelor’s in Information Technology.

Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Thomas Harris and John Steinbeck.

Where do your ideas come from?
They can come from anywhere. An idea occurs to me, then works at me until I spend a lot of time pacing the floor and imagining it coming to life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Toed Tigress

Do you have an “elevator speech” for your new novel?
The Five-Toed Tigress stalks the night, gliding effortlessly through the canopied forests of Cambodia – the Tiger’s Dance Floor.

She is on patrol, her mission to protect the downtrodden from the power of the greedy. Her movements are so fluid and graceful that her prowl is a thing of beauty, a dance to the music of life and death.

The Tigress is a solitary hunter, and she dances alone on her mission. She gives herself wholeheartedly to her dance, but desires a dancing partner – a mate.

How have you evolved creatively since your first novel?
I’m not sure I have. I want to do my best, though, so I keep trying to learn and improve.

I asked you this before, but I wonder if anything has changed for you since then. What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Worrying about whether people will like my work.

You told me before you don’t have a favorite quote, but almost everyone has one that sticks in their mind. What’s yours?
“All these negative waves.” – from the movie Kelly’s Heroes.

Do you have anything else in the works right now?
I have my next novel in mind. I’m doing research and tossing around some thoughts, scribbling on the whiteboard.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot / avatar / spirit animal?
The coyote. I know he’s a trickster, but I seem to get along with him.

Do you base your characters on real people?
Bits and pieces of people I’ve met find their way into my writing. Colonel Nguy, from The Valley Walker, is based on a Hoi Chanh I worked with in Southeast Asia. He joined our unit as a Kit Carson scout after coming over from the North Vietnamese Army in the Chieu Hoi Program.

What kind of research do you do?
I do a lot of reading, some travel and conversation.

What did you edit out of this book?
Not much. I thought about editing out the sex scenes, but was advised against it. A lot was changed as it was written and rewritten, but not much was actually cut.

How do you select the names of your characters?
I don’t have a real system. I just try to come up with a name that sounds cool.

What was your favorite childhood book?
I think White Fang was my favorite. I was a big fan of Jack London and Jim Kjelgaard.

Have you considered entering your books in any review contests? If so, which ones?
I’ve considered the Readers’ Favorite contest. I used them to get some initial reviews for The Valley Walker and was pleased with their service. It was nice for me to get some feedback from someone that I wasn’t related to.

Good luck, Tim … and thanks for doing the interview.
Thanks for having me, Ron. It was a pleasure.

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I’m just about finished reading Tim’s remarkable book, and I already know what I’m going to say in my review:

Five Toed Tigress is one of those rare stories that grabs you by the lapels and forces you to keep reading. The character of Preston Hawke is so totally believable he will keep readers turning the pages to find out how his story ends. Well done! 5-STARS!

Five Toed Tigress is available as an eBook on Amazon, and you can discover more about this interesting author at these locations:
FacebookTwitterWebsiteLinkedInGoodreads

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My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Visit my web site to hear the remarkable interview about my novel “Blood Lake” by The Authors Show. By the way, “Blood Lake” was recently selected as a 2016 Forward INDIES Book of the Year Finalist!

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I plan to attend the next Freelance Marketplace Writers’ Group Meeting at Barnes & Noble on May 16, 2017. I also plan to attend the 10th Rochester Writers’ Fall Conference at Oakland University on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Author Interview – T.W. Dittmer

November 20, 2014

Today I’m interviewing Michigan writer, T.W. Dittmer, the author of the interesting novel, “The Valley Walker.”

tw dittmer
T.W. Dittmer, Indie Author

John Walker Michaels, a man known to the Hmong of Laos as the Valley Walker, a man the army has classified as a deserter … an openly emotional man who draws her out of her shell and into the world of Hmong mysticism. At the end of this time … even after talking to him, learning his history and meeting his family … Special Investigator Teri Altro can only shake her head when asked about him.

She had touched him and felt his warmth. She knew he was real.

Or was he?

~ from The Valley Walker

 

Welcome to “Painting With Light,” Tim.
Thank you, Ron.

I’m fascinated with your novel. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Gary, Indiana. My father worked in the steel mills, then turned to preaching the Gospel. My mother was a legal secretary. After graduating from high school, I joined the Army and volunteered for Vietnam.

When my military service was complete I studied music, but ended up working in an automobile engine testing laboratory.

An interesting background. What were you like at school?
I was a dreamer in high school. Not a bad kid, but not very motivated, so my grades were poor. I did better in college.

Were you good in English?
Not really, but I liked reading, which got me pushed into the advanced English and Composition courses.

Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Thomas Harris and John Steinbeck.

Where do your ideas come from?
They can come from anywhere. An idea occurs to me, then works at me until I spend a lot of time pacing the floor and imagining it coming to life.

the valley walker lg
The Valley Walker

Do you have an “elevator speech” for your novel?
No. I’m no good at that sort of thing, and I prefer the stairs. To me, The Valley Walker is a soldier’s story.

There’s a lot of that in my work, too. Do you work to an outline or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I can’t work to an outline. More power to those who can, but it’s just not me.

How have you evolved creatively since you started writing?
My writing started as an outlet … a purely selfish indulgence, I guess. Once I put my work out there and started getting feedback, I realized I wasn’t being clear about the thoughts I was trying to convey. Now I try to write in a way that makes more sense to the reader.

What’s the hardest thing about writing?
None of it is “hard” but it’s definitely a growing process. The Valley Walker is my first novel, and it’s a long road ahead of me. It’s been an interesting journey, so far. I’ve met some great people and learned more than I thought possible. I imagine the journey will become even more interesting.

For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional printed books?
It depends. Some books I like on my eReader, others I prefer in print form.

What’s your favorite book?
That changes as I change, but Steinbeck’s East of Eden is my favorite right now.

What is your favorite quote?
I don’t have a favorite quote. I don’t like to align my life with another person’s idea of achievement or inner peace.

Do you have anything else in the works right now?
I am currently working on the second draft of my next novel, in the same genre.

I’m looking forward to it. Good luck, Tim … and thanks for doing the interview.
Thanks, Ron. It is truly an honor to be associated with a serious writer like you.

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I’m just about finished reading Tim’s remarkable book, and I already know what I’m going to say in my review:

“The Valley Walker” is one of those rare stories that will stay with you long after you finish reading. Most of the characters are totally believable, and the lead character, John Walker Michaels, was superb. This unusual story of a young soldier who turns into so much more will keep readers turning the pages. Well done!

“The Valley Walker” is available as an eBook on Amazon, and you can discover more about the author at these locations:

Facebook
Twitter
Website
LinkedIn
Goodreads

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My readers know there is a lot of realistic Vietnam War reference in my novels “Reichold Street” and “One Way Street.” I think the books are a perfect way to remember, and express my gratitude to, friends who served or perished over there.

As always, you can find my books as eBooks or paperback on Amazon, or at Barnes & Noble. You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

 


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