Welcome back to Black Words-White Pages!! This week, we are interviewing, Douglas S. Pierce!! So without further adieu, let's get started!!
DOUGLAS S. PIERCE
Most of my favorite authors are indie or self-pubbed, what made you decide to go that route?
Answer: I really love the freedom that I have with indie publishing. I hire my own editor, I hire the cover artist and the formatter, and I am learning every day how to better market myself and my books. So, I am involved in every decision about the final product and how it will look. And if I want to take risks on how something is written, or experiment with a style, or to get a really kick butt cover and interior formatting, I can do that, as long as I can afford it. And I have been truly blessed in that I have been able to afford to do this so far.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Answer: I think the most surprising thing is that in order to find success, it isn’t enough to just write a great story. An audience doesn’t magically appear once you’ve turned out your masterpiece and clamor for an opportunity to buy it. I’ve found that success comes from a combination of many things — 1) you have to have a cover that speaks to the story, that appeals to your readers, and fits the genre, 2) you have to have someone very skilled and professional edit your story, because no matter how good of a writer you are, there will be mistakes, typos, mismatched details, grammar and spelling issues — and those things are super hard for you to catch yourself. 3) interior formatting cannot just be plain text, there should be some nice touches in your book that show the reader that you care as much about the presentation of your story as you do the story itself. Creating aesthetically pleasing touches to the interior takes skills that I don’t have. 4) You have find to work to find your market, or build your audience — sometimes one reader at time.
Which of your characters are you most like? Least like?
Answer: There is a little bit of me in every character I write, even the villains. In this book, Omega Rising, Rusty is a lot like me. He is sarcastic and a bit of a smart ass. He tries to project a hard exterior, but at heart, he is a big softie. He hates injustice, and he tries to right it when he can. And, while there is a bit of me in Drake Kampmann, I would say that I am the least like him. He is cold and calculating, willing to make hard decisions to accomplish what he feel needs to be done, no matter how many people will be hurt by those decisions. There is so much more to him than is seen in Omega Rising, we are just scratching the surface of who he is and what he is capable of. You will definitely be seeing a great deal more of him in future books. He will be haunting Rusty’s (un)life for quite some time!
Do you have a particular writing habit??
Answer: That is actually quite hard to answer in this moment where we are going through Covid-19 with all of its massive disruptions on our ‘normal’ lives. Even before the novel Coronavirus hit us, my life has been disrupted for several months where my father fell ill, was hospitalized, and eventually passed away in February of this year. This project, Omega Rising was actually a book I had written and previously released on a vanity press about a decade ago. I took it back up as a project because I had wanted to get it cleaned up, professionally edited, and a new cover and formatting done. I was able to work on that during my father’s illness rather than the raw writing of my other series, so it has been a while since I have had a regular rhythm to my writing where it would be an actual habit. But this is something I am going to be striving to do in the coming days and weeks.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Answer: That’s another great question. There’s no one author that I look up to and say, ‘I want to be just like them’. But there are many authors that I look to as inspiration for various reasons. I love Rue Volley’s consistency on developing her world and her series over a long arc of a number of books. I love how quickly Stacey Rourke can turn quality books out and get them published and into the world. I love Xander Cross’s world building. So I learn something from every author that I interact with…and I try to help each one in any way that I can as well…because I think true mentoring is a two-way street.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Answer: Oh easily. NM Thorn and her Fire Salamander series. Kara S. Weaver and her Ilvanian Chronicles. Xander Cross and his The Atlas Dystopia Apocalyctica series where the lead character is an angelic creature that has fallen into demonhood.
What is the hardest part of your writing?
Answer: Lately, it has been finding the time. Oddly enough, in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic, I am having a hard time finding both the time and the inspiration to write at the same time. Sometimes I am inspired, but don’t have time, and then other times, I have the time, but can’t muster up the energy and inspiration to do anything that seems worthy.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Answer: It feels like I have given this answer before, but the main thing is to read. Read everything you can, and take mental (or physical notes, if you need to) on how the authors you most admire create characters, set the story in motion, and weave a tale that keeps you engaged. Then think about the stories you want to read, and try to write one of them. It will probably suck the first half dozen times you try to get the story out. But keep plugging away. Keep practicing. And seek feedback from the readers in your life, and listen to things that help you to improve. And try it again. Keep working and honing your craft, because writing is a craft.
Describe yourself in three words.
Answer: Kind. Patient. Hopeful.
I know characters are like children but if you could chose, who’s your favorite from your books?
Answer: Right now, I would have to say Rondel (aka Mouse). I’m really coming to love him and his journey. It used to be Seldy was my favorite main character, but it really kind of feels like with the conclusion of The Seedling’s Song, that she has blossomed into who she needs to be. Not completely, yet, but she is most of the way there. Rondel has some work to do yet, in that regard, and I really love him for it. Rusty Bones was my first main character ever, and in preparing this book for re-release, I have come to fall in love with him again. And as I dig into writing his future books, maybe my love for him will rival that of both Seldy and Rondel.
Any song or songs that could basically sum up the overall mood of your writing?
Answer: There are different artists for both Rusty Bones, and Seldy and Rondel’s series. Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns was in part the inspiration for the Seeds of Hope series. And I listened to Green Day’s ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ a thousand times as I wrote Rusty’s story the first time.
Do you plot out your books or just freely write them and let the characters tell you what to do next?
Answer: I am full on pantser, and my characters are ALWAYS surprising me. Whenever I sit down to plan something, one my characters whispers to the others and says ‘Oh that’s what he thinks will happen, here, hold my beer.’ That’s when I know that the plan is exactly how the story won’t be going…
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider the biggest influence in your writing?
Patrick Rothfuss. I aspire to write as well as he does. I’m not sure I will ever achieve it, but I do try.
What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Answer: I have two WIP’s, the first, is The Guardian’s Quest, which is Book Three of the Seeds of Hope. I have completed the first five chapters of that story, and I am getting really great feedback from those who have read them. It has been much slower going, because of all of the ‘life’ that has happened lately. But I am super excited for how the story is shaping up. And I will soon be starting to whip the blog entries I have of Rusty’s next book, Omega Falling, into shape for his next release. Writing on Rusty’s story goes much faster and easier than the Seeds of Hope. So I am hoping to switch between the two genres will help me develop some consistent writing habits one again. Rusty’s story is going to be raucous and fun and full of shenanigans. And The Guardian’s Quest is going to be gripping and powerful as we learn more about the sacrifices that both Rondel and Seldy will have to make in order to defeat the Enemy.
I wanna take a moment and thank Douglas for stopping by and chatting with me!! I really enjoy talking to you!!
You can follow Douglas on his social media below!!
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