Conrad (pen name) was born and raised in the city of Detroit, Michigan (not the suburbs). He escaped violence, despair and poverty by joining the Coast Guard and then going on to earn his M.A. in English from Northern Michigan University with an emphasis in modern American literature and expository writing. After that, he taught as an adjunct professor at Wayne State University before moving to Japan to teach English as a Second Language. Following that job, he moved again to Thailand where he taught at two top notch universities before returning to Detroit to earn his Professional Teaching Credentials so that he could teach high school English and Spanish. Currently, he resides in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and writes novels, articles and interviews international best selling authors on his podcast blog at http://writersalive.com
What inspires you to write?
Growing up as an only child for the most part, I would lose myself in books and started writing short stories at a very early age. My talents were always recognized by my teachers even at the university level where I was awarded a Teaching Fellowship to complete my M.A. But my true love has always been fiction and now that I’ve traveled around a bit, experienced love and loss and seen the pros and cons of the human condition, I feel compelled to share what I’ve lived and learned.
Tell us about your writing process.
Since I started writing seriously a few years ago, it’s changed dramatically. I started out with a collection of paranormal romance stories called Lumpen Rednecks and then sat down to write a novel, Till The Moon Falls. After that, three more novels came quickly in succession and I would wake up before the sun rose and spend at least three to four hours writing. Then came the hard part–editing and proofreading. I’ve slowed down since then and just recently put together a novel called, Jesus Told Me To Kill Her, which is a dark comedy satire about a frustrated indie author who can’t get published and seeks revenge on a literary agent who he believes falsely led him along. Now I’m trying something in the science fiction genre and it’s taking longer than anything else that I’ve ever done before, mostly because of the difficult parameters required and also because of the fact that I’m trying to keep up to date with new scientific discoveries so I don’t come off looking like a total idiot. I never outline. I start with a premise and go, but I rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I wouldn’t say that I ‘listen’ to them but I do watch them very carefully. Are they doing things that are consistent with the characterization that I’m trying to establish? When they dialogue, do they sound unique and appropriate to their personalities? I talk to other writers and to my dog. If I start talking to my characters, then I think that I should probably seek help.
What advice would you give other writers?
This is a weird time to be a writer. Things are changing and happening so fast that it’s impossible to calculate how the roll of the dice will end up for many. If you write a book and feel good about it, take pride. Not everyone can do that, but if you’re brand new, like I am, don’t expect it to sell it itself. You need a gimmick to make a dent in the universe and get noticed without being spammy and obnoxious. That’s part of the reason I started my podcast blog. I’ve met some incredibly talented writers on the show and some have become invaluable friends and a person can never have enough friends–real ones that is.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I tried the querying agent route and got tired of getting rejections so I published on Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I haven’t gotten rich and famous yet but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at some talented and successful authors who have read my work and praised it. Sometimes it just takes one person to keep you going like it happened for Vincent Van Gogh when he thought about quitting painting. However, I don’t plan on cutting any body parts of anytime soon.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It looks bad. Piracy is a big issue. Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild, just published an article in the New York Times opinion section and said copyright issues were far worse than censorship issues. His article is entitled, “The Slow Death of the American Author.” I suggest you look it up as this will enhance my answer.
What genres do you write?
thrillers, young adult, travel, mystery, paranormal, horror, black comedy, and now science fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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