Sunday, January 26, 2014

World of Writing, Interview

 -- World of Writing --

Joining us today for a world of writing interview is author Hank Quense - who writes humorous and satiric sci-fi and fantasy stories. He also writes about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 14 books and 50 short stories along with a few dozen articles. He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe.  They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.  Visit Hank's websites:

Q: Tell us about the workshops or events you offer.
A: I give a number of lectures.  The three most important ones are a two-part lecture called Creating Fiction.  The other two are Self-publishing a Book and Book Marketing.  These are given in libraries and adult education classes as well as on webinars.  I also have a number of shorter ones such as Writing Humor and Satire.  All of these are given in libraries, coffee shops and to writing groups.

Q: What inspired you to write?
A: When I was fifty years old, I decided I needed to come up with a second career for after I left my day job.  I decide to write fiction.  I love to write and my favorite type reading is humorous or satiric sci-fi and fantasy stories.  There just aren’t enough of these types of books written.  I feel there is too much serious genre fiction.  These authors have to lighten up a bit.  So I decided I would only write humor and satire stories in the fantasy and sci-fi genres to help fill the void.

Q: How long will we wait for your next book? …What are your current projects? 
A: At the moment, I’m not writing a fiction book.  In January, 2014, I finished writing a series of four books called the Self-publishing Guides.  The titles are Self-publishing a Book, Marketing Plans for Self-published Books, Manage Your Self-publishing Project and Business Basics for Authors.
That effort took me an entire year and I’m now spending all my time promoting these books and will be doing this into mid-March, 2014.  After that, I’ll work on a new novel - a parody of Camelot.

Q: Do you use any set formula when writing a book? (i.e. how you work, use an outline, general work ethic/research style…basically how you go about a new project).
A: I’m a dedicated planner...  I spend a great deal of time developing characters, building a plot, designing scenes and other design work.  And I do all this before I begin to write the first draft.  By the time I start on the first draft, the novel is completely designed and finished.  Unfortunately, the story only exists in my mind.  The final step is to get on paper so I can revise and shape it.

Q: How do you come up with ideas for your writings and why do you feel you choose some over others?
A: Getting a story idea is easy.  I get them all the time. The difficult part about developing a story is the ending.  After I get what I consider a good story idea, I do nothing with it until I can figure out the ending.  Once I have an ending I can believe in, then I begin the design work.  I have story ideas from years ago that I’ve never been able to come up with an ending.  Consequently, these ideas are just that: story ideas.

Q: What was your path to publication?
A: After having about forty short stories published in a variety of paying markets, I had a short novel accepted by an indie publishing house.  I also had an anthology of my best short stories published by the same house.  That experience was so distasteful that I decide to self-publish.  After doing that for a while, I started my own publishing imprint.   Now, all my books are put out by Strange Worlds Publishing.

Q: What’s the best advice you were given about writing?
A: Don’t start writing the story until you know the ending.  I read that in Robert McKee’s excellent book, Story.  Why?  The purpose of a story is to take the reader on a journey from the beginning to the ending (climax) of the story.  If you don’t know the ending, you can’t take the reader on that journey.

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