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Twenty Question Interview with Evan Berke


Hello Readers,

I am super excited for this Twenty Question Interview with my friend, Evan Berke. I got to know Evan through working with him. Aside from being a talented comedian, Evan is also an engaging TV show personality currently featured on TMZ. Similar to my Author Interviews published here, these interviews started back in 2007 where I hosted famous and semi-famous creatives/comics to promote their work while having laughs in the process. Rob Delaney of the TV show Catastrophe and Paul Scheer of 30 Rock and Veep were some of my first ones published. Due to popular demand, these Q & A’s are back intermittently on here and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
 
1. Where are you from?
 
I was born and spent a majority of my life in Marietta, Georgia. It’s right between Atlanta and the country. I then went to college in Charleston, South Carolina before ending up in New York.
 
2. What is your occupation?
 
I am an Associate Field Producer at TMZ. You’ll also see me pop up on the show from time to time.

3. What effort in your profession are you most proud of?

I don’t know. I am a standup comedian and I have been doing it for 8 years. As a comedian, you have to adapt and find different ways to get your personality out there and different channels and audiences. Whether its hosting, producing, acting, ect. I’m most proud that I’ve always been able to find other mediums beside standup to be a comedian and entertain people.

4. If you could, what would you change about the city you live in?

Quality of life. I want a beach with palm trees and sunshine. I want getting around to not take two hours. I don’t want to have someone clip their toe nails next to me on the subway. Okay, now I’m ranting. Next question.

5. What was the strangest thing that happened to you while commuting or traveling?
 
I always find myself talking to strangers, so I will really need to think about this. I’d have to say there was one time I was on a flight for 4 hours and spoke to the woman next to me for literally the entire time. We had just met we just chatted it up. I’m sure the people around us were pissed.

6. Of all the famous people you’ve met, who’s your most treasured?
 
When I was walking through Beverly Hills in LA, I got the chance to shake Mel Brooks’ hand and thank him for being the great legend that he is. That was such a great moment for me, and hopefully for him too.

7. If you could commit a crime and not get caught, what would it be?
 
I would steal a bunch of money. But from a bank, because it is insured and really all they need to do is print more of that green paper stuff we give value. No one gets hurt and I walk away rich.
 
8. Do you cook? If so, are you ‘Chopped’ worthy or ‘Worst Cooks’ material?
 
I don’t cook often, but I wouldn’t call myself a bad cook. My girlfriend does most of the cooking, but I do make for one hell of a sous-chef.
 
9. What quote do you live by?

“It’s not about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” — Rocky Balboa

10. What do you most admire about your creative process?
 
The part no one sees. So much goes into a finished product and the debuts and premieres. But I love those moments when everyone is worn out and tired and just wants it to be over with already. When you are pushed to your limits and you are forced to let go the idea that something needs to be perfect, but that it just needs to be unique.

11. Black, brown, red or blonde haired hottie?
 
Blonde, of course!

12. What award would you love to win?
 
People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive (LOL)

13. Favorite dessert?
 
My stepmom Shelly’s Coconut Creme Pie. So good!
 
14. What do you dislike about your profession?
 
The thing I dislike is the thing that keeps me coming back — the grind. I love it and I hate it. I’m addicted to it.

15. Do you play a music instrument or would like to learn to play?
 
I don’t play an instrument, but I would love to learn to play either the drums or piano. They are the ones usually keeping time and rhythm and I like that.

16. Favorite concert to date?
 
Phish at Madison Square Garden. I’m not even a Phish fan, but holy shit, that concert was something else.

17. If you could have a dinner date with anyone dead or alive who
would it be?

Stephen Colbert. That guy is the best.

18. Biggest pet peeve?
 
Tardiness. I’m always early and I can’t stand it when other people are late.

19. What’s your latest plug / project / promotion?
 
Well, currently I work for TMZ and I am constantly producing content and interviews. You can check it out at www.evanberke.com/tmz! A bunch of my standup comedy is there too so check it out!

20. What is the last question you would like me to ask you? Or want to ask me one?
I want to ask you one! How many interviews have you done and who would your dream interview be with?

You’re no. 87! Wow… on my blog and other publications. As for dream interview… sadly he has passed, David Bowie. For now there are many but one? Michelle Pfeiffer. I had the fortune of meeting her and would like to continue the conversation we were having… this time without a drooling boyfriend next to me (haha).

Special thanks again to Evan for taking part of my fun questionnaire! Watch him on TMZ and click here to learn more about Evan: www.evanberke.com/tmz
Twitter – @evanberke

P.s. Amazon gift card giveaway for my book reviews by September 18th. If you haven’t reviewed this book yet, Please do so now! Paperbacks are on sale for $12.99 / kindle $4.99 https://www.amazon.com/Feedback-Lisa-Montanino/dp/0615972500/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501512828&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+montanino

Till next time, peace out!
Lisa

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2017 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Author Interview With Antonio Westley

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I had the good fortune connecting with this fellow writer, blogger, and creative visualist Antonio Westley here on wordpress (another great example of this site’s perks). Antonio was gracious to take time talking about his cutting-edge process.

1. When did you start putting pen to paper?
About 12 – 13 years ago.

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?
Poetry when it’s very subliminal.

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Though this may not be a popular choice but based solely on the ideal of a character, I would have to say Superman.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?
Probably J.K. Rowling at the moment based on the ground work she was willing to do to make it where she is today. Not to mention the fact that she thrives on providing her readers with fascinating story arcs.

5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
Well, I’m currently finishing up a novella which will be the final title of four creations I have been working on for the last 3 or 4 years. After which will be placed in proper editing for the readers pleasure upon completion. Outside of that I have just been putting muscle behind my social media status and blogs. All which can be found on my main WordPress site when googling my name. Lately, I have also been pushing my prize blog subjectsmatter.weebly.com where I constantly write about a variety of topics. While also rebooting a site called AllTheeAbove on WordPress to help give bloggers a place to promote and share their content. YouTube is the final place I have yet to tackle but something I’m willing to explore once my book titles are finally submitted to the auto mechanics of the literary world. I have channels on standby in the meanwhile that will also include music when I put my latest writing to rest and invest time in putting something together.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?
Well since I haven’t released anything yet then I cannot answer that. However, I do pride myself in my work and would never publish something unless I was completely satisfied, at peace and proud of the content I created.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?
For those writers out there who allow something like writers block to get in the way of progress, try to learn to let go of what can’t be made in the moment and move on to the material that can be created. Assembly in order should be a tactic used for the final print. So place your thoughts on paper now and treat your story like a jigsaw puzzle when all the pieces are ready to be set in place.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful 😉
I would say I was an A student when effort was applied but a B student without.

9. How much research do you do for your writing?
I try to do as much research as possible when it’s needed in order to provide the most accurate detail in my writing.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I tried a typewriter once but felt I made up far more ground with a computer.

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
In life: Don’t take everything to the heart. In the literal aspect: Take grammar more seriously even if it’s debatable.

12. What book do you think everyone should read?
I have always felt “Hamlet” was a piece worth exploring.

13. Two-part question: Do you play an musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play?
I’ve dabbled but never had the time to master any instrument. However, if I could learn one instrument it would be the guitar – no contest.

14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published?
Hopefully, I can tackle as many platforms as possible when my work is ready to be released. But I’d hope to primarily host my titles on Amazon in order to provide readers with both a digital and hard cover copy of my books.

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?
This is bit out of my spectrum since I’m not much on sports anymore but actually Derek Jeter. Just because he’s the only guy I had ever come to envy in the world, which inadvertently comes from a place of respect.

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?
Well, growing up I always felt it would be nice to be an illustrator. But I abandoned the idea after discovering how time consuming it was for me to bring my ideas to life. Surprisingly, it would be the very decision that allowed me to transition into writing.

17. Two-part question: Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And John Cleese or Michael Palin?
Bill Murray hands down and sadly though I am a bit familiar with John Cleese I don’t know enough to make a distinction between him and Michael Palin.

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)
Well, it’s no heart stopper but there was an article called “Family Matters” which I wrote on a website called Bubblews. This was during its illustrious years and was one of my very first posts on the platform. So this meant I wasn’t expecting much attention especially as a newbie in an active community where posts were constantly being uploaded in real time. I’m talking about an around the clock sort of thing that made me believe I’d get lost in the shuffle. But I was wrong and found that not only did my topic do well but garnered more attention than I expected. I chose to tackle family values in this post and the struggles people are usually faced with in life. This led to me getting over 300 likes and over 30 comments on the subject making it to this day my top post on that account. What made it rewarding was the idea that I was able to thrive in a competitive area of the internet at the time. Which we all know can be a daunting task on that side of the web.

19. What quote do you live by?
Live and let live.

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition? (famous pulitzer prize winningauthor, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.)
I would say a successful self-published author as a day job would be sufficient enough. Anything else that comes my way would be a bonus.

21. Would you like to ask me a question?
Okay, Jokingly: A rooster laid an Egg on top of the barn roof. Which way did it roll? Seriously: Do you believe rehashing format in authorship is preferred over original creativity?

To answer your first question, it rolled down the North-West corner of the barn… haha. I’d say original creativity is where it’s at for sure… but I also feel when rehashed formatting is successful (think Quentin Tarantino movies inspired by movies he’s fans of) the skies the limit.

Thanks again to Antonio Westley for giving us a glimpse in his super-creative talented mind. He’s one to watch! Please see all of his exceptional work on the links below:
http://wp.me/4hgUs
http://www.booksie.com/true_confessions/short_story/antoniowestley/a-bugs-life
http://www.booksie.com/AntonioWestley

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Author Interview with Gene Miller and Karen Kavner

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Have I mentioned how much I love interviewing fellow creative peers here? I probably have… actually I’m guilty and I apologize for the repetitive tones of gasconade, but as Marlene Dietrich sang “I can’t help it.” It’s a rewarding opportunity for me to interview up and coming authors (or as in the case) to seasoned veterans in the writing world. Fortunately, through a recommendation from my NY writer’s group crony, she suggested I interview these two multi-talented writers—most notably writing for famous television shows! Ayo! Both have just authored a unique novel about a baseball player’s life journey. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this one on the big screen soon.

1. When did you start putting pen to paper?
KAREN: I can vividly recall expressing my inner-most feeling thru writing at a pretty early age. Creating pages and pages of hand-written emotions and random thoughts about my life, the people in it, my observations and my desires. It never quite took the form of what was called a ‘diary’ back then, partly because I wasn’t disciplined enough to write entries on a regular basis; and partly because I didn’t want my sister, or anyone else for that matter, to find it and read it!

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?
Most definitely prose.

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
GENE: I guess I’d have to say, Sydney Carton, from ‘A Tale Of Two Cities.’ A man who evolved into heroic stature through self-sacrifice and the capacity to love without reservation.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?
KAREN and GENE: Nora Ephron, who wrote with humor, intelligence, compassion, and most of all truth. And Bernard Malamud, for his portrayal of incredibly flawed and tragic characters. Those are the most interesting characters to write.

5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
KAREN and GENE: Our debut novel, a psychological work of fiction title, ‘Unraveled – A Novel.’

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?
KAREN and GENE: No. Though, the novel went through an interesting series of evolutions from its original premise, ultimately we were very satisfied with our final draft and knew exactly when it was time to ‘put it out there.’

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?
GENE: Write every day. Even if it’s just a few paragraphs. That is the only way to improve as a writer. Also, write from your gut. Meaning, write about something or someone you know, or have an affinity with and a passion for.
KAREN echoed Gene’s sentiments but added: But don’t isolate yourself from the incredible world around you. Fully participate in life. Remain curious and observant. And when you love – love deeply and completely.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful 😉
GENE: From 8th grade through high school, I was in Honors English, My grades were mostly A’s, with one or two B’s along the way. In college, I got all A’s in the few English classes I enrolled in, but did not major in English in college.
KAREN: While usually doing quite well in English classes, I honestly can’t recall specific grades – but I did get an A in a post-graduate creative writing course I took at Hunter College in New York.

9. How much research do you do for your writing?
GENE and KAREN: A lot. The more the better. Particularly with regard to medical and psychological references. As for locations and settings, if we didn’t feel we had sufficient, first-hand knowledge to rely on, we would travel to the locations we wanted to reference. And made a point of meeting and speaking with locals, with the goal of keeping what we write as authentic as possible, while fully cognizant of the fact that the story we were weaving was indeed fictional.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
We primarily use the computer. But notes, and sudden bursts of inspiration, more often than not, can be found scribbled on anything from scraps of paper, the back of an electric bill, or on a restaurant napkin.

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
GENE: Write from your gut. Write about something you’re passionate about. And be true to your characters. It will be the most honest. Years back when I first moved to Hollywood and wanted to write for television, I sat home and wrote a handful of spec scripts, (scripts of television shows on the air that you would hope to write for, and submit them for consideration. They are also samples used to hopefully interest a literary agent). Unfortunately I wasn’t getting the responses I had hoped for. So I enrolled in a class in creative writing given by a world renowned author who said I will never open any doors by writing other writer’s television shows. He advised me to write something original. Something I was passionate about. Something that will turn heads. I did, and I’ve been writing for television for over two decades.

12. What book do you think everyone should read?
GENE and KAREN: For aspiring authors, or for those avid readers curious about the art of writing itself, we would strongly suggest, Stephen King’s book, titled, ‘On Writing.’ And, as Karen is quick to suggest, ‘The Joy of Chocolate,’ by Judith Olney, if for no other reason than the Chocolate Mousse recipe on page five. After all, one must always keep in mind, an author’s muse can be found in many surprising and delicious places.

13. Two-part question: Do you play an musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play?
GENE: I play the drums, and in my younger days, I played in various rock bands. It was a blast. Now I’d love to learn the piano.
KAREN: I’d love to play anything loud enough to drown out my singing. Truth be told, I’m so tone-deaf, I’ve been forced to resort to lip-syncing, ‘Happy Birthday’ at friends’ celebrations.

14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published?
It is currently on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com in paperback and kindle.

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?
KAREN: No one, really. I genuinely love my life, and wouldn’t want to miss a day of it by changing places with someone else.

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?
GENE: A professional baseball player. A home run hitting center fielder.
KAREN: Something in the Arts, or Astronomy. Or something that required spending a great deal of time in Paris, Venice, or on Kailua beach in Hawaii.

17. Two-part question: Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And John Cleese or Michael Palin?
KAREN: Bill Murray, because his humor is more layered and he reaches deep when bringing a character to life on the big screen.
GENE: Bill Murray as well.
(No love for the Brits… lol)

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)
GENE: A television show that I was working on some years back was chosen by the Writers Guild of America as one of their 101 top television shows of all time. That really blew my mind.
KAREN: The first time I saw my on-screen ‘Written By’ credit on television.

19. What quote do you live by?
KAREN: If not now, when?

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition? (famous pulitzer prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.)
GENE and KAREN: To have our novel, ‘Unraveled – A Novel’ become a best seller, enjoyed by millions, and made into a film.

21. Would you like to ask me a question?
Which do you prefer? Seeing a film based on a book after you’ve read the book, or reading the book after you’ve seen the film?

Good question. For me, I used to always read the book first. But ever since I penned my own novel, Feedback (and don’t have the time to read each book that debuts) I prefer reading the book after because when I wrote my book, it was snippets of film in my head… a movie reel that I reconfigured from scenes into words. It interests me to see the interpretation visually… a possible connection to my writing process I guess 😉 I can say with certitude, 9 times out of 10 the book supersedes the movie. Rita Hayworth And Shawhank Redemption is a good example of both being equally spectacular. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s exceptions where I refuse to see the film… specifically one of my favorite books, John Irving’s A Prayer For Owen Meany. The book was literally altered for screen (per my friends and written reviews). I’ve concluded, films that maintain the author’s words onto screen are what I favor.

I can’t thank Gene and Karen for sharing their impressive creative process with me and my readers. Keep up the boundless efforts! Please read their latest novel, Unraveled here:http://www.amazon.com/Unraveled-A-Novel-Gene-Miller-ebook/dp/B00XBECKKU

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Writers / Creatives – Who Wants To Be Interviewed?

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If you (or someone you know) would like to promote your work whilst having fun talking about your creative process with me, featured here on my unpretentious blog – please message me at lmontanino@gmail.com or comment below.

❤-felt thanks,
Lisa

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Author Interview With Linda Westphal

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1. When did you start putting pen to paper?

Not long ago I was digging through a box of mementos from my childhood and found a short story I had written in fourth grade. I had forgotten about the story until I found it. The original draft must have had some emotional residue, because as I focused on the somewhat artistic cover page and the handwritten words, a flood of emotional memories came back to me of how much care and attention I had put into the story and the pride I felt when I handed it to my teacher.

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?

I love fiction, and can read almost any genre, as long as the writer’s writing voice agrees with me (clear, simple).

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

Charlotte A. Cavatica, in E. B. White’s famous tale CHARLOTTE’S WEB, is pretty amazing. She’s smart and a good friend.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?

Not long ago I discovered author M. J. Rose. As I learned more about her, I was surprised how much we have in common: we both have a background in advertising; she writes about topics that interest me (perfume, Paris, reincarnation); her writing style is easy and lyrical; she likes to write description. Recently, I read that developing characters is difficult for her – I have the same trouble when I write fiction.

5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)

I’m always working on something, and recently started thinking about my next story. I’m the type of person who jots down ideas as they happen – this is the beginning of the writing process for me. Some of the ideas I write down resonate with me more than others, but I consider all of them when it’s time to sit down and write a very rough flow of the story.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?

No. A lot of work went into writing THE MEDIUM and THE HERMIT BOOKSTORE, and I would not have released them on Jan. 1, 2015 if I thought anything needed to be changed. My writing goal is: Write feel-good stories and encourage readers to use books as a way to relax and indulge in the meditative experience of reading. When I was ready to published both books, I had reached my goal.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Here are a few tips that have worked for me – Read every day. Read and study well-written text (fiction, nonfiction). Develop your writing voice (it’s more important than you think). Don’t let the “writing rules” bog you down when you’re writing the first draft; they don’t matter when you’re writing the story, only when you’re editing the story. And if you’re like me and have too many ideas, narrow your list down to your top five, then your top three, and weave the top three into your story.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful 😉

English class was easy for me, which I loved, because everyone I knew was good at something (math, debate, sports). My thing was English.

9. How much research do you do for your writing?

Yikes! Here’s where I get into trouble, because it’s hard for me to stop researching topics that interest me. I have to force myself to stop researching and jump into the story.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I write on my Apple MacBook Pro laptop. I don’t write story paragraphs or scenes longhand, because I can type faster than I can write. My ideas for the story, however, are captured on paper in longhand and as voice memos on my iPhone.

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?

You’re a writer. Keep at it. Don’t worry about what other people think.

12. What book do you think everyone should read?

The book’s title is TRAVELS, written by the late Michael Crichton. It’s a collection of memories from his travel adventures early in his life – both outer travel to places such as Bangkok, Kilimanjaro, Malaysia, and Jamaica (when people rarely traveled to these places) and inner travel (his personal spiritual exploration). His experiences are not only fascinating, but you’ll learn a little about yourself when you read this book. He was such a great writer. He starts the book with this sentence: “It is not easy to cut through a human head with a hacksaw.” (referring to his days as a medical student).

13. Two-part question: Do you play a musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play?

A few years ago I purchased a hand-carved Native American flute that was made specifically for me. The sound is very soothing and I love to play it. I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano. Like the flute, I think piano music is soothing.

14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published?

Whew! This is a big question. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version . . . I published both books, THE MEDIUM and THE HERMIT BOOKSTORE, at the same time (Jan. 1, 2015). It made sense to do all the work once instead of twice (both drafts were ready at the same time). I worked with a wonderfully talented editor (Patricia Peters) who line edited both stories. From there I did a final polish of the drafts, created the book covers, and published them as ebooks on Amazon. A few weeks later I made them available at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, and bookstores around the world (via IngramSpark). Readers are now able to choose their favorite bookstore and format (paperback or ebook).

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?

Wouldn’t it be fun to be Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium, for one week? I’ve always wanted to hear and see what a psychic experiences.

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?

Anything? In my teen years I wanted to be a choreographer, like what Paula Abdul used to do.

17. Two-part question: Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And John Cleese or Michael Palin?

Chevy Chase, because he was very funny in the movie Christmas Vacation. I had to Google John Cleese and Michael Palin (John who? Michael who?) . . . sorry, neither.

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)

Well, I’m a new fiction writer (published Jan. 1, 2015), so I’m still waiting for my moment. However, I’ve been a published nonfiction writer since 1990 and am proud to say that during those writing years I had many rewarding accomplishments. I look forward to the same success as a fiction writer.

19. What quote do you live by?

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas A. Edison

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition? (famous pulitzer prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.)

I used to think I wanted Nicholas Sparks’s writing career. Now I wouldn’t mind being a hugely popular self-published author whose stories are made into films.

21. Would you like to ask me a question?

Yes! What do you enjoy most about living in NYC?

Great question. What’s not to love about it? Each surrounding area has an authentic vibe. The convenience alone is astounding… plus the people here are exceptional with straightforwardness being one of their best traits. My only qualm is the harsh winters.

Thanks again to Linda for interviewing with me! Linda’s hard work and talent are to be relished. You can find more info about Linda Westphal here:

Website – http://lindawestphal.com/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5281039.Linda_Westphal
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Author_Westphal
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/author.westphal
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LindaWestphalAuthor/posts

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Author Interview With Steve Sanderson

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1. When did you start putting pen to paper? Started when I was a kid. I wrote from middle school on, short stories about the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and space men, that kind of stuff.

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.? Prose – science fiction, satire, noirish pulpy mystery. I also love first person narrators, and clever writing.

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero? I guess you mean a character whose story I identify with. There’s none that really come to mind—I identify with the authors more, the people behind the scenes. Guess that’s why I don’t identify with actors as much as I do with directors.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with? Philip K. Dick, but not the part of him that thought he had a mystical experience, which he spent several years writing about. Instead, the brilliantly dark, paranoid part that took all the things in his head and what was going on in society at the time, and spun those into wonderful novels and short stories.

5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.) I’m working through a developmental edit for Slavebot Jonathan. It’s about a naïve robot who was programmed to serve, and who knows nothing about humans and their emotions. When he’s forced to leave his Master’s house and go on the run with his human friend Daisy, he must learn how humans think and act in order to keep the both of them alive. The next book’s called Dowser. It’s about a man whose bored at work during the day, but at night he helps guide people to find gateway drugs that can change their life.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece? I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s going really well. Because the book’s told from the first person, the robot’s perspective, I had to rewrite it several times before the voice sounded right. But once I got the voice down, the writing began to flow and it’s been great.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers? Read, like crazy. But, don’t read to expand your mind, or to try to sound smart at parties and such. Read what you want to really experience, stories you connect to. If you write in a genre, spend a lot of time getting to know that genre. Whatever the type of writing you do, spend time getting to know authors who write like you, whose work speaks to you or moves you. If you have any kind of writers’ block keep a journal, and put down anything that comes into your head. You could also spend time free writing. Write for a short amount of time, 10 minutes or so, and go at it nonstop. Don’t stop, or correct or censor yourself. And, don’t let anyone see what you wrote. That goes for journals as well—write stuff that you wouldn’t want anyone to see.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful 😉 A mostly. English was pretty easy, and fun. And we got to read!

9. How much research do you do for your writing? The science fiction I’ve been working on requires world building, I’ve done tons of research. The cool thing about research is it gets you to read stuff you wouldn’t normally read. Also, I grab pictures from the net and keep them in docs to use as reference. They help build descriptions of buildings, and people’s clothing.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Laptops mostly. One small netbook that I carry around, and a larger one when I’m at home. But, I also keep a paper journal for putting down notes for characters, or scenes, or nutty stuff. Journals are quick and easy, they don’t need to be booted up, and there’s the emotional connection to seeing your handwriting, which helps clue you into what made you want to write down what you did on that day.

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given? Keep writing, even if the stuff you’re putting down isn’t good. Especially if it isn’t good. Don’t wait for the inspiration to strike you. Treat writing like it’s your job.

12. What book do you think everyone should read? Whatever book they’re reading at the moment. Don’t think there’s a universal book that fits all people.

13. Two part question: Do you play an musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play? I love jazz, but can’t play anything. If I could, I’d like to play the trumpet, or drums, but I can’t. Absolutely can’t.

14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published? I’m working with an editor, who’s most of the way through a developmental edit. I just went to the Writers Digest conference, where you get to pitch to agents and editors. I’m submitting a query to several editors in a pool from that conference.

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week? Someone who’s rich, so I could steal enough money from them so my wife and I could retire. If that wasn’t somehow possible, president Obama.

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession? I only want to write. That’s it. If I couldn’t I’d like to be Batman. He’s got a groovy car.

17. Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And John Cleese or Michael Palin? Bill Murray, why are you even asking that question? No contest. Jeez. Chevy Chase in the Groove Tube, but Bill Murray in everything else. John Cleese or Michael Palin? If you’re talking about Monty Python, they’re both fantastic. Neither one wins out. After that, you’ve got a Faulty Towers (Cleese), and a genial world traveler (Palin). In that case, it’s Cleese.

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!) It’s not a reward, but the positive feedback and support of my writers group is wonderful.

19. What quote do you live by? Whatever you do, wherever you go, always bring a sweater.

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition? (famous Pulitzer Prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.) Writer as a day job. I want to get my books out there and see what happens.

21. Would you like to ask me a question? I don’t know, would I?
Good answer.

Thanks to Steve for interviewing with me and sharing his writing knowledge with the rest of us. I can say, as a leader of our writing group, he’s an insightful and funny character. I have had the fortune to read excerpts of Steve’s pending novel, and I can’t wait for its debut!

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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