Thursday, August 2, 2012

D.B. Tarpley and his shorts...

Welcome to D.B. Tarpley who kindly stepped in to share some thoughts while I work hard on my latest novel this month during Camp NaNoWriMo. Also, congrats to the winner of yesterday's guest appearance in Dead: Siege & Survival: Michael Clark and the runner-up in case Michael can not fulfill his duties as Miss America, April Cable.

Today's Olympic challenge, in honor of every athlete that finished last...pick your favorite event today...Google (Bing or Yahoo...I don't care which) the time for the SLOWEST finisher in the QUALIFYING round. Now...just try and get close.

What led you to writing?

I have been writing for almost 3 decades.  I was raised in a military family and we travelled much of my childhood.  Writing began as a form of escape and also as a sense of control over the fiction I chose to consume.  I write the stories I want to read.

Your current release is a collection of shorts. Any plans to produce something full-length?

Yes, I am actually working on my second collection of short stories at the moment and then I have a novel in mind.

Describe the art of creating a short story versus a novel.

Personally I prefer short stories because ideas fly through my head like wildfire, and the sooner I can conclude one notion the faster I can begin another.  A novel requires just the right subject to commit to the length.  I have such a subject in mind for my next project.

What is the difference between being an author and a writer?

I believe it is the same difference as being someone who plays guitar, like me, and being a guitarist or a musician like Buddy Guy.  It is a matter of professionalism.  I think that once you finish something which is marketable then you cross over.

Poor editing seems to be a big issue in the Indie scene. What is your take on the subject?

It is an unfortunate symptom of too much talent and not enough slots in the system.  There are so many voices out there which may never be heard unless they are self produced and unfortunately self production involves a deficiency of resources.  Personally I have a safety stock of close acquaintances I allow to read my material for feedback on tone and I proof my entire piece multiple times before sending it off to my typesetter.

The writing community can be its own worst enemy at times. What are some of the issues you see cropping up in the Indie world? Solutions?

I am not as in touch with the Indie world as perhaps some writers are.  I have a few close writer friends and I offer advice and support where I can but I have no real sense of community.  I feel completely isolated and my art is self sustaining.  It can be frustrating at times but I would rather my art be as is than filtered through too many other heads.

The social media is…

...both a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand it gives an instant pallet for rapid ideas.  On the other hand it allows such an ease of expression as to accommodate an abundance of bland normalities and an excess of derivative thought.

Share some information about your work with us:

I have mostly written in the short story medium to date although I have 3 industry formatted screenplays.  My first book, ‘Learning ToKiss in the Snow’, is an often humorous and dark collection of 55 short stories.  It is available on Amazon Kindle.  I strive to lend a different voice to each and I am constantly trying to challenge myself and grow as a writer. My second collection, ‘The Devil’s Teat’, should be released by the end of the year.

What is one question you are sick of being asked—not in interviews, but by individuals who know you write?

Can you read this?

How do you deal with negative reviews?

I have not had enough public exposure to get many reviews, negative or positive.  But I always try to take any feedback I get with a grain of salt because I write for myself.  If I am happy with my work then the story is finished to my contentment.  Anyone else’s opinion is arbitrary.  When my work is in the feedback stage I am open to constructive criticism, but when I put my finished seal of approval on it - it is done and I move on to something else.  To change it after that would be like performing a post-term abortion.  I have too many new ideas to get to without second guessing my original work.

How much reading do you get in, and can a writer excel at his or her craft if they do not read?

This is a tricky one for me.  As a kid I used to love to read.  Now what I mostly read is my own material.  I try to read other books but my focus is severely lacking.  I am embarrassed to say how long it takes me to read one book these days.  I watch a lot of TV and try to pick programming with good writing.  I think a writer can gain almost as much from this as from reading.  I have been told my writing is very cinematic. 

Define “Indie Writer” and defend or attack their position in the book market.

An “Indie Writer” is anyone who works outside the confines of the system, usually not by choice.  The publishing world in this day and age is extremely difficult to break into.  There is little to no risk taking by the major publishers.  Reading in general has dropped, although ironically I would say that the introduction of electronic readers into the market has increased the field of readers by creating a more convenient means of purchasing and storing books.  The problem with the “Indie Writer” as you have previously alluded to is that without the double checks and proofing the system provides the potential for poor structure, poor editing, and just plain poor writing increases exponentially.  But there are just too many damn talented writers out there to not support the freedom of expression the new mediums offer.

What projects are you currently working on?

My current book ‘The Devil’s Teat’ is a collection of disturbing short stories which should be out by the end of the year.  My next project will be a novel, ‘The Long Cold Nap.’

What is one thing about you that would surprise the readers who do not know you personally?

I am a twice convicted felon. (Personal note from TW Brown--Kudos for not letting that define your future.)

How did you select your editor? Tell us about the relationship between author and a good editor.

I self edit, which I know is unacceptable, but I wanted to stay as pure as I could with my words.  I use a bouncing off technique and a triple proof.  I try to only include the parts and words of the stories which are necessary.  If I put it there then I do so for a reason, not just to hear myself talk.  So I am not the greatest person to talk to about editing.

Is there anyone you’d like to give a mention?

My typesetter and graphic art designer Jennifer McClarney.  Her help has been indispensible throughout the entire process.  I honestly feel that the finished product is collaboration.  She gave color and shape to my vision.

What is in your “to be read” pile right now?

Several Stephen King books, ‘The Sandman’ series by Neil Gaimon, and ‘Naked Lunch’ by William S. Burroughs.  I have been meaning to re-read that one for quite some time.

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