Tuesday, 3 January 2012

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - TERRY PERSUN





1.  What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Terry Persun, born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania (USA). Now, I live in Port Townsend, Washington

2.  Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Yes, but it wasn’t practical, so I got my degree in science and engineering first, then got my MA in creative writing. But, I always wrote, whether in college or not.

3.  When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
When I first got published by a reputable publisher back in the 1970s.

4.  Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Yes. But I had already published a lot of poetry and a few short stories by then.

5.  Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yes and no. My other job also involves writing. I write articles, releases, brochures, ads, etc. for my own public relations firm.

6.  What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
“Cathedral of Dreams” A dystopian/utopian novel that explores our right to make our own decision, regardless of what others might think.

7.  Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
Booktrope Editions published my latest two novels.

8.  How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
This is a hard question to answer. I typically have several ideas running around in my head at any one time. They surface, then sink back down again, then surface, then sink. I usually have an idea for anywhere from months to years before I actually feel as though I have enough information (or impetus) to write it. I take notes, jot down ideas, etc. But, when I actually start writing, it only takes about 90 days to finish a first draft.

9.  Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Unfair question alert! In all honesty, I’d say the one I’m working on is always the most difficult because I don’t typically know where it’s going to take me.

10.              What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Oh, my. I write in different genres, so I’m not sure what anyone should expect from me. In the last few years, I’ve written literary, mainstream, science fiction, fantasy, and historical novels (not to mention short stories and poems). I am about to finish a trilogy that I started a few years ago. And, I’d like to write another sci-fi novel using some characters I’ve already written about. We’ll see, though.

11.              Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I’ve just begun book three in my “Doublesight” series, which isn’t even out yet. (If that gives you any idea how long it takes to get a book published.)

12.              What genre would you place your books into?
Different ones, as mentioned above.

13.              Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I try not to have a favorite book, but if I had to choose, I really enjoyed writing “Sweet Song”, which is the only historical novel I’ve written. There’s something about that book that haunts me, even to this day. It was a very important book for me to write. You can find it on Amazon, I’m glad to say.

14.              Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
You do ask a lot of difficult questions. At this stage, I think my favorite character might be Neil Altman…again, from a book that hasn’t been published yet.

15.              How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since about the third grade. I think reading is what inspired me to write.

16.              Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
Magic, or Majik, which ever way you’d like to look at it.

17.              Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?
Absolutely. I think there are way too many independent authors who are just publishing before anyone with any sense has read through them. I always have several readers who I can trust to tell me the God-honest truth about what I’ve done. And if the book isn’t good enough, I rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.

18.              Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Sometimes.

19.              Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Most of the time.

20.              What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
It’s always tough to get a one-star review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but when I read what they didn’t like I’m usually feeling better. Many people will accept a free book for a review, even if it’s not the type of book they like. The best reviews, I’ll have to admit, are similar to the worst. They are the five-star reviews. But sometimes they are from people who are pleasantly surprised. Honestly, the only reviews that matter are the ones from my “first readers” who can critique my work with some understanding and clarity. They help me do my best work, no matter who likes or doesn’t like it in the end.

21.              How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
I come up with initial titles (working titles), which sometimes get used and sometimes get changed. I’m always in agreement with the changes, though. As for cover designs, I’ve been published by several small, independent publishers. (I have a non-fiction book about working with them called, “Guidebook for Working with Small Independent Publishers” published by Pink Fish Press). Typically the publisher will be in charge of the covers, (often with my input, and sometimes with a freelance cover designer that I’ve hired). But, with the Booktrope Editions (now, all my fiction titles are being republished by Booktrope), they have a great cover designer: Simanson Design (www.simansondesign.com). In fact, Greg Simanson has re-done all the covers of my novels and I love them. My particular favorite at the moment is the cover for “Giver of Gifts”. It’s really cool.

22.              How do you market/promote your books?
Many ways: news releases to magazines and newspapers, conferences I teach at, talks I give, email newsletters, radio and video interviews, blog posts and guest blog posts like this one, and social media when applicable.

23.              What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
If any of us knew that answer, we’d all be rich. The reading public is fickle. We all know that it’s not the best written book, nor the most original idea that sells millions of copies. But, if you write the best you can, and you continue to learn the craft, I believe you have a better chance of selling regularly and not just being part of a short-term trend. (That’s my hope for serious writers everywhere.)

24.              Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I don’t believe in writer’s block.

25.              What do you do to unwind and relax?
I like to take walks, read, go to museums, talk with other writers, and many other things. We own some horses, so hanging out with them is very relaxing too. I also like movies and television if there’s something good on.

26.              Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Sure. But I don’t think I’ll mention which ones exactly.

27.              Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
I think there are hidden truths in every book, often hidden from the writer as well.

28.              Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Don’t know. Maybe. I enjoy reading Robert Penn Warren, James Salter, Steve Yarbrough, Robert Silverberg, Roger Zelazny, Jim Harrison, Alice Hoffman, Sharon Shinn, and a lot of other people. I also read a fair amount of poetry. I believe that writers should read everything they can and as broadly as possible.

29.              Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
Print books. I still like the smell and feel of a paperback or hardback. An e-reader just doesn’t have the same smell to it.

30.              What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
Also a difficult question to answer. So, at this moment, on this day, I’m going to say James Salter’s “A Sport and a Pastime”.

31.              Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
Not at all. They are two different mediums, and should be treated as such. The movie is often so much different than the book (and should be) that it would be difficult to say which one transferred best. I will say that there are many movies, where I liked both it and the book equally.

32.              What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I keep several books going at a time: Fiction: John Ringo’s “Into the Looking Glass” (it’s a lot of fun, so far); Non-Fiction: Priscilla Long’s “A Writer’s Portable Mentor” (I am always reading at least one book on the craft of writing and, so far, this is my all time favorite); and William Stafford’s “The Way It Is” (I love poetry, and I love Stafford). I’m also going through a few magazines when I get the time: Discover magazine, Poets & Writers, and the Writers’ Chronicle.

33.              Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I don’t know. As long as I’m alive, I’m going to collect books in the physical sense. Once I’m dead, I’m not sure I care, but we’ll see.

34.              Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
There are so many kids writing these days that I have to say yes. Hopefully, they will continue to learn the craft, as well.

35.              Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
At the moment, I have no interest in “Twilight” or “Harry Potter”, but that doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way.

36.              Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
There are so many new authors, that it’s hard to say. But, I recommend that every writer read best sellers, classics, and new authors. Look for unknown authors with small sales, try them out. Develop your own taste in books. Don’t let the masses select for you.

37.              Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
Most writers, myself included, are never finished with a piece they’ve written. I have just selected to stop editing and changing things once it’s published. Others may disagree.

38.              What do you think about book trailers?
So far, I haven’t seen any that have been creative enough for me to take seriously. Most don’t say much more than the back cover copy at best. I would rather read the back cover copy.

39.              What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Love the writing, and love the process. Do your best work, and let only your best work see publication. Anyone can publish these days, just like anyone can paint a picture and post it online, can play and sing a song and upload it to the Internet. My advice is to do it well, learn your craft, be the one who can write.

40.              Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I have thought of using a pen name several times in my career, to differentiate one genre from another. At this moment I don’t use a pen name, but who knows, I may change my mind eventually.

Where can readers follow you?


Your Twitter details: https://twitter.com/#!/tpersun
And any other information you wish to supply: LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=tab_pro

Thank you Terry, for taking the time to do this great interview!

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