Linton Hall Cadet attended Linton Hall Military School during the late 1960s, and graduated as an officer.
What inspires you to write?
During the years that I was at Linton Hall, outgoing mail had to be left unsealed so that it could be read and censored. If it contained anything too negative about the school, the letter would be thrown away and not mailed. I felt the need to speak about everything that was censored and I was not allowed to tell my parents.
Tell us about your writing process.
As this is a memoir, there is no creating, just remembering. Once a specific incident has been re-lived in my mind, it is a simple thing to write it. There is editing for grammar, style, and so on, but the first draft just flows out like a torrent. Although there isn’t an outline on paper, the outline is in my mind.
What advice would you give other writers?
Three words: write, re-write and read.
That requires some elaboration.
The only way to improve your writing is to write, just as the only way to improve your swimming is to swim — you can’t learn much from theory; you have to get in the water. The important thing is to not get stuck waiting for inspiration, or the perfect way to write something; what is crucial is getting that first draft on paper. No matter how rough your first draft, once you have it on paper you can (and must) revise it; but unless there is something on paper, you have nothing to revise.
Once you have a first draft there will be a lot of re-writing to be done. This is not fun, and many writers abbreviate the process, but the result is nothing special. Much of what the major publishing houses put out is to a large extent grammatically correct, but insipid and uninspired.
On reading, it’s important to read a lot, and to read quality writing. Ironically, the best writing — the classics — can be bought for a dollar or two per book at used book stores. Mass market junk costs much more. Even if you are writing marketable genre books, reading the classics will improve the quality of your writing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Major publishers, and bookstore chains are only interested in books with mass appeal. You may not like this, but it’s a reality. A smaller publisher (or even you as publisher) is better able to handle books with limited appeal. This does not mean that the books are of lower quality; it’s simply that they are of interest to only a small subset of people.
Regardless of how a book is published, publishing it means only that it’s out there. In order to market it, you must be able to identify your target audience and be able to reach it in a cost-efficient manner.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It’s not bright. Bookstores continue to disappear. The low cost of self-publishing means that there is an avalanche of new titles. It’s been estimated that approximately 300,000 new titles are published every year in the United States. There is no conceivable way that one person would have the time to read even the titles of those 300,000 books.
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?