Although born in the United States of America, Burton actually grew up on the bonnie shores of Scotland (and inland, as well) but moved back to the States as soon as he could afford it. Sorry Scotland.
Currently he resides in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he hopes to become a recognized author. Or even just recognized. Seriously, even his friends barely remember who he is.
He is the writer of “The Sleepwar Saga” YA novels, as well as several novellas available for the Kindle, including “The Star Travels of Dr. Jeremiah Fothering-Smythe” whose six installments are also available in collected form both for the Kindle and in actual paperback form which you can hold in your hands and everything.
What inspires you to write?
Sometimes you just have a story inside you that needs to be told. It can come out as a blog post, a diary entry, a song, a script, or a book. But it will come out.
I am inspired by the people around me every day. They transform in my mind, become a different character with a unique story to tell. But it all stems from the behaviors and personalities I see in my daily life.
Also, of course, every good book inspires a hundred different story ideas inside my head. Nothing more inspiring than a story well told.
Tell us about your writing process.
My process is outlining. Outlining, outlining, outlining.
For me, I never begin writing without knowing the exact shape of the story, the arcs of the characters, the major events that will take place. Sure, some of that can change as the writing develops (and a new outline created) but it’s not a story if it has no direction: it’s just a series of aimless events.
In the planning stages, I go back and forth, back and forth, constantly switching between planning events and developing character arcs. Each must affect the other, and so neither can emerge separate from the other. A good story is driven by character, and a good character is one with a story to tell.
I try to do most of my rewriting before the actual writing even begins, working and reworking the story plan over, and over, and over, until it feels right.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My favorite author, Vladimir Nabokov, once said: “My characters are galley slaves.”
Similarly, mine do exactly what I tell them to do. No wandering off in their own direction, because that direction is not where the story is. The plot is determined by the characters, but the characters are also created according to the plot.
Of course, every now and then one of them surprises you and does something you didn’t expect. If it doesn’t hurt anything in the story, I allow this to develop and see where it goes. Occasionally this can produce real gold.
What advice would you give other writers?
The advice I would give is the same advice any writer gives: keep writing!
You never stop getting better, never stop learning. But also, you never stop worrying that everything you are writing is terrible.
Don’t let it get you down, don’t let lack of success get you down. Write, write, write. Make it the best you can make it. And then write something else.
Follow your dream. You may never make a penny off of your work, but the adventure will be worth it. I promise.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
The first stories I wrote that I actually intended to be published were so niche that I knew the only way to get them in front of the intended market was to publish them myself and let the audience know of its existence myself.
There are obvious benefits to professional publishing, but most self-pubbers I know are glad they took the route they did.
Even many established authors are branching out into self-publishing alongside their more traditionally-published works.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Personally, I expect the field of publishing to evolve into more of a hybrid model than what is currently out there. Corporate-sponsored “self-publishing” will be common, and tiers will be created of various levels of “professionalism” marking the quality of the indie book. (For better as well as for worse.)
One thing is for sure: the publishing houses that choose to fight the indie market are fighting a losing battle. But the indie world will not remain the same wild west frontier it is now for very long either.
What do you use?: Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: YA, SF, horror
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.