Zeedub Selfies is an ongoing series where I talk to myself like a reclusive weirdo. Which, in truth, I am. I developed a simple tool for authors to hone their interview skills with random questions, which ended up being way more fun than intended. Thus, I thought it would be amusing to record my own answers from time to time. And of course, feel free to play with yourself.
Do you have a daily writing habit?
Kind of, maybe, but not really. While I do write on most days, I have never subscribed to the “X words a day” habit. I may go for days without writing anything. Other times I may push into the wee hours of the morning on a caffeinated bender just to complete a narrative.
What time periods of life do you find yourself writing about the most? (childhood, teen, adult, elder)
Definitely teen, and for two main reasons. First, teens are comically fallible, so there is no “adult expectation” when you throw them into a strange predicament. Any reaction becomes believable because they have yet to acquire the appropriate life experience. And second, my books fall into the 50-60K range, which is ideal for YA. Funny enough, my debut novel Transient was initially written as adult sci-fi. An agent pointed out that it would be a difficult length to sell unless it was YA. I was satisfied with the story arch, so I rewrote it as YA.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Still don’t. (Cue the endless debate.) I am only comfortable using generic labels when they are linked to primary income and/or reputation. As such, I will call myself a programmer, but not a writer. On a more personal note, I just don’t like the boundless spectrum it creates. If George Orwell was a writer, and anyone who pens a sentence of flash fiction is a writer, then “writer” loses any relevance outside of the physical activity. I prefer the term “author” because I have put forth the time and effort to polish and publish my writing. I also use the term “novelist” because it carries a more specific connotation.
What does your typical day look like?
A random combination of coding, writing, gaming, and compulsive coffee consumption. On the weekends, I throw in Premier League matches. I work from home and have a flexible schedule, so my days tend to be one big blur of productivity.
Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?
My wife, by far. We live in a dual-creative household, in that she’s an illustrator and I’m an author. We have great respect for one another and happily trade our feedback. Over the years, we have created a never-ending loop of constructive criticism, which is awesome to have. (And she’s a damn fine artist, by the way.)
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
Both. I put my manuscripts through four distinct rounds of editing before handing it off to a pro for a final polish. I am also very fortunate to have a ruthless band of beta readers who find hedonistic pleasure in pointing out my mistakes. In addition, I have a kick-ass copy editor that I thoroughly trust. As a result, I am confident in the prose when I click the “Publish” button.
What is your advice to indie authors on writing?
(Deer in headlights.) Holy hell, where to start. If I had to boil it down to a single bit of wisdom, it would be to temper your expectations. Writing is the easy part. Getting it polished, published, and promoted is where the real work begins. I would say that publishing a book is 10% writing and 90% other crap you never wanted to do.
How possessive are you about your work?
Meh, depends on where I’m at in the process. If I’m still kicking ideas around or penning the first few chapters, I am happy to solicit thoughts and feedback. I start getting possessive near the end of a first draft. (Eyes off the precious!)
Does fan mail still excite you as much as it did the first time you received it?
I still love it all, but especially when it’s about my Max and the Multiverse series. Those fans are either super enthusiastic or fiercely tedious, but I love to answer both. The latter is more fun because the messages are almost always from readers who had a problem with one of the shifts, i.e. they think they found a plot hole. I am fully aware of this, mind you, and the series was never meant to be taken seriously. And because the story takes place in the multiverse, I can explain anything with goofy workarounds. Thinking those up for fans is some of the most fun I have as an author.
How many bookshelves are in your house?
Hmm, I guess that would depend on what you define as a bookshelf. I have books stashed around the house on various pieces of furniture, but no designated shelves. I don’t think I could fill a proper bookshelf at this point. I donated most of my physical copies to lighten my load for an international move. Books are heavy. Write that down.