S.M. Welles and her two cats are currently enjoying the desert life in Arizona with a longtime WoW friend near the base of Mt. Graham. And like a lot of pro athletes, retirement is often temporary. Welles futzes around on Final Fantasy XIV (Midget Ofdoom). In additions she plays ARAM on LoL (Synlaga). You are more than welcome to run around and kill things with her whenever she’s taking a break.
What inspires you to write?
I can’t say it’s inspiration so much as it’s a calling. I feel compelled to write. I know that’s a cliché thing to say, but it’s the truth.
Tell us about your writing process.
My process is pretty straightforward: brainstorm, outline tentative arc of entire book, outline a chapter or a few, handwrite a chapter, type up that chapter, print and read it, outline the next chapter (if necessary), and rinse and repeat the outlining, handwriting, and typing up of individual chapters. I need a complete story arc and individual chapter outlines to give myself direction. Handwriting allows me to step away from the delete key and slow down the drafting process. I write one one side of the page, leaving ample room for notes and ideas to jot down in all the blank space, along with doodle on occasion. Typing up the handwriting helps more ideas come forward, yet at the same time, I’ll stare at the squiggly scrawl known as my handwriting and try to puzzle out what the heck I wrote. Yes, I can’t read my own handwriting now and then.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
This is why I write when no one else is around… I swear I have MPD, yet know all these other people exist only in my head. I often talk out my dialogue as I draft, observing the flow and if it sounds natural or too long-winded. However, the whole process is rather silent. I let my characters show me where the story is and take it in the direction it needs to go. It always amazes me when I write things I never foresaw coming.
What advice would you give other writers?
Dear god, the writing world is full of advice, both good and bad. People try to tell you what your writing process should and shouldn’t be, what books you have to read in order to become a good writer, etc. I have what I think is some universal advice (but feel free to disagree): 1) everyone’s writing process is different, and your writing process is the only one that works for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment. 2) Read a lot and write a lot. 3) Never listen to people who tell you devoting your life to writing is a waste of time. 4) Make friends with people who understand your passion for writing. These people will be there for you on the days you’re feeling down.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Oh, boy. This could be a loooong answer, but I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.
Since I started in an MFA program, I was anticipating an easy route to traditional publishing, agent, the Big 6, and all (yeah I was naive). When the truth sunk in, I queried around a bit, until I tried two independent publishers, one who was a complete waste of time, and the second, whose business structure I simply couldn’t afford (no, that place wasn’t a scam). Another long story inside a long story short: a friend of mine became my publisher, until I caught up with him in publishing wisdom and knowledge. Now he and I work alongside each other, sharing what we’ve learned as we experiment. So yeah, I’m an Indy author with my own LLC to make my self-employment official. This is far from easy, but I feel like I’m in the right place.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think we might have a swing back to paperbacks. The digital bookshelves are flooded with independent authors to the point where, if you don’t have thousands or millions of dollars to spend on marketing, you’re going to have a terrible time of standing out. Sites, Twitter feeds, and more are overwhelmed with the sheer number of submissions, thus overwhelming readers with what to read next. Hopefully independent book stores will be revived as authors steer away from digital shelves and to booksellers who know their stuff.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print