About John Walters:
I am an American writer, a Clarion West graduate and member of Science Fiction Writers of America, who recently returned to the United States after living abroad for many years in India, Bangladesh, Italy, and Greece. I write mainstream fiction, thrillers, science fiction and fantasy, and memoirs of my wanderings around the world.
What inspires you to write?
Ever since I wanted to do anything with my life I wanted to write. I can’t imagine an existence not writing. What set it off was reading Harlan Ellison’s short story “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” in an anthology for a college course in science fiction literature. When I first realized I was destined to be a writer, I really wasn’t sure what to write about. I was young and immature. So I set out on the road to find my voice as a writer, married a Greek woman and had five sons, and just recently returned to the United States after thirty-five years abroad. Everything I have gone through inspires me to write and might find its way in some form into my work.
Tell us about your writing process.
I have done both kinds of writing. It depends upon the work. The detailed outline of one novel sprang into my head fully formed one day while I was driving to work on the ring road around Thessaloniki, Greece. I pulled over to the side of the road as soon as I could and wrote down a couple of pages of notes. With other novels, I began with a single idea and some sort of skeleton of where I wanted to go with it, and much of the fun was to see how the details fleshed out as I wrote. The story dictates the process.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
The characters interact with me by doing what they are compelled to do in the story, which sometimes conflicts with what I thought at first they would do. Some of my characters are so real to me they take on lives of their own, such as Sarah in “The Misadventures of Mama Kitchen” or Sunflower in the novel of the same name or several of the main and supporting characters in the murder mystery/thriller “The Fantasy Book Murders.”
What advice would you give other writers?
The main advice I would give to other writers is to never stop writing no matter what. All other advice is secondary to that. You learn technicalities and details as you go along. Get used to rejection because there is plenty of it in the writing game. Be versatile. Be in it for the long term. Anything less is unacceptable. A quote I cling to in my most trying moments as a writer sums it up: “Never despair, but if you do, fight on in spite of despair.”
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I began in publishing by submitting short stories to science fiction and literary magazines and anthologies and slowly built up some sales. But building a career in the traditional publishing field is a slow process fraught with obstacles. My life changed one summer when I began reading about indie publishing in the blogs of Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Self-publishing gave me an opportunity to blossom as a writer, to put my work out there much more quickly. Now I am what is known as a hybrid writer. I continue to publish in traditional magazines and anthologies but self-publish my books.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think there will always be a desire and need for books. Publishing is an immense and variegated field, and there is room for all sorts of business forms. I am thankful, though, for self-publishing, which allows talented writers who fall outside the so-called norms of traditional publishing are able to find an outlet for their unique voices.
What do you use?: Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: I write memoirs, science fiction, fantasies, thrillers, and what might be termed mainstream literary fiction.
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.