-- World of Writing --
It is time for another World of Writing interview... this time with Ty Schwamberger - a growing force within the horror genre. He is the author of a novel, multiple novellas, collections and editor on several anthologies. In addition, he’s had many short stories published online and in print. Two stories, Cake Batter (released in 2010) and House Call (currently in pre-production in 2011), have been optioned for film adaptation. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Managing Editor of The Zombie Feed Press - an imprint of Apex Publications. Find Ty @: http://tyschwamberger.com.
Q: How have your books gotten published?
A: Traditional, small press publishers have released all six of my novellas, collections, and anthologies where I’m Editor. The same goes for the six or seven books that will be coming out over this year and next. Also, I'm just now starting to experiment with self-publishing a few things. But that's more of a "thank you" to my loyal fans. All three stories that will be available exclusively in eBook format will be free to download. I figure with all the books that will come out over the next two years, that's the least I can do.
Q: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
A: One thing, though I'm not sure it could technically be considered a quirk, is that I need silence when I write. I know a lot of writers get inspired by listening to rock, rap or whatever when they're working on a story, but I just can't seem to focus with noise in the background. Having said that, one interesting tidbit about the creation of my stories is that I'm not the type of writer that can just sit down in front of a blank computer screen and come up with a new story idea. Instead, the vast majority of those ideas come from the world around me: something I see on TV, in the news, on the radio, actions of people around me, etc. Funny enough, the best fiction is based in almost always based in true-life events.
Q: What has been the most surprising thing you learned from creating your books?
A: That no matter how much you plan or outline (which I do little of), that you never know how a story is going to turn out. I think that is the most exciting thing about crafting a story. You might have on particular ending in your head, but once you get there the story has taken on a life of its own and writes the ending it wants. There's nothing better than surprising a reader with a twist ending.
Q: What was your path to publication?
A: I feel very fortunate to come as far as I have in such a short period of time. But, am I where I ultimately want to be? Of course not.
I didn't have a mentor starting out, so I had to learn things as I went along - and I think this has only benefited my writing career. Because I didn't have a mentor, I've had to learn all the ins and outs of the publishing world, which can definitely be complex and scary for the beginner. As far as my specific path; it started with getting a short story published on a ezine, then came my now out-of-print novel, and then a ton of publications (novellas, collections, anthologies, short stories, stories optioned for film adaptation, running an imprint at a small press) came after that. One of my friends in the publishing world once told me he admired my vision, and so far my vision has been heading in the right direction -- to be able to write fulltime one day. I know by continuing to work hard at all facets (writing and the business side of the publishing world), I'll no doubt end up where I want to be one day.
Q: Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer?
A: A few years ago I received a good piece of writing advice from Brian Keene (Ghoul, The Rising, Clickers vs Zombies) while at a convention in Nashville, TN. The conversation started with me telling Brain what I was currently working on, my future plans, etc. I don’t remember what spurred his question but Brian asked, “Do you want to be a writer or a businessman?” I thought about it for a moment and replied, “I want to be a writer.” Now that it’s a couple years later, I think someone that wants to write full-time (if that’s their goal, anyway) needs to be both – a writer and a businessman. But, Brian wasn’t saying that the business side of writing isn’t important. No. Instead, he was stating that at the beginning of every writer’s career, you need to focus on the actual craft of writing a good story. Then, once you start getting some published stories under your belt, that’s the time to start worrying about the business stuff. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.
Q: Do you hear from your readers? / What do they say?
A: I hear from both readers and aspiring authors all the time. There's not a day that goes by I don't hear from someone that just bought one of my books or someone asking for advice. The "pay it forward" is very important to me. That goes for fans and writers, alike. Folks that enjoy reading my stuff to my peers have always been very supportive of my books, and for that I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I'm doing what I love -- writing. By doing so, I'm providing some entertainment for the people to escape their busy lives. I couldn't ask for anything more.
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