Author Interview Questions
1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!
A: Hi, I’m D.R. Perry and I write down stories about imaginary people. I’m probably not imaginary myself. I think.
2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!
A: I didn’t decide to become an author until last year. Mostly, I had a moment where I said “enough already” while looking at all of the drafts cluttering my desktop. It was just time, like when you finally decide to go to Six Flags or Disney World. So here I am a year later with nine books published and more on the way. Well that’s not technically true. There are three anthologies out there with my work in them, so it’s actually twelve. The best part is that feeling, looking at all those books and thinking “did I actually make these?” It’s bewildering but exciting at the same time, kind of like when you get off a roller coaster with a huge drop and a few upside-down twists. You look over your shoulder, blinking in the sunlight wondering what other rides your amusement park day has in store.
3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it and why it will capture us?
A: The first novel I wrote was A Change In Crime, the first book in an Alternative History series set in 1929. It’s the biggest “what if” story I ever came up with. What if Prohibition didn’t end? What if the Increased Penalties Act stuck, making things harder on the illicit liquor trade? And what if a small-time Boss discovered something to give himself an edge? Changes come to Fall River, MA that could make the small city more important than Providence or even Boston. But there are strings attached and monsters pull them. The Boss goes too far and the consequences everyone suffers are only the beginning.
4: Why did you choose the genre you write in over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?
A: I actually didn’t start publishing with A Change In Crime. I started with something a bit more whimsical, a humorous paranormal series set in a modern version of Providence, Rhode Island. I chose to start with speculative fiction because it’s what I’ve always been drawn to. I wanted to write in the genres I’d loved all my life, but decided to publish Providence Paranormal College first because anything historical takes extra time and help to research. It’s important to capture the feel of the time period, even when you’re changing and muddling things around a bit like I am.
5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?
A: Answering questions like this. Seriously. It’s not so easy to talk about myself or my work unless I’m “talking shop” with other writers. Maybe it’d be easier to write a batch of song parodies and post those on my blog or something, instead. But then, people would want me to sing them. I’m not Weird Al even though he’s my Rock and Roll hero. The other sticky widget for me is time. Finding a long enough stretch to keep momentum isn’t easy with a Preschooler and a small dog in the house. Somebody always needs something.
6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?
A: The actual story. I don’t often run out of idea-fuel. Instead, when I get stuck, it’s because there’s just too many ideas or possibilities. Sometimes I have to open another document and jot down new ideas, snippets, or drabbles so they’ll let me go back to my focus project. Other times I need to write something down while in the shower or driving. No easy feat before smartphones with voice recording apps.
7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?
A: Oh wow. That’s something I don’t get asked too often. Well, I had a doctor who helped me out ask for one of my books recently. Hi, Dr. Mo! Also people think I only have one book. When they find out I have nine, they get a bit blinky and kind of speechless. Sometimes, I hear things like “you mean you kept on working?” Well, yes. Of course I did and still do. Making enough money for the rest of my life on just one book is unrealistic. And anyway, even if that had happened, I’d still want to write more. It’s fun!
8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft and enduring the downs/lows of the career?
A: Spending time with that preschooler and that doggie keep me going. A cuddle break is right down the hall almost all the time if I have a bad day. Other writers also help. We can joke and laugh and cry together, help each other back up from stumbles and cheer each other on when we’re out in front. And then, there are the readers. Hearing back from them, whether it’s just simple thanks in a short review or a stack of fan art, makes such a difference. Sometimes, writing is like talking into the wind. You don’t know where your words go, who hears them, unless someone else talks into it back at you.
9: What do you love about the genre/s you write and what others appeal to you?
A: I love magic. I love science that pushes the boundaries of human discovery. I love laughter, whether it’s my own or someone else’s. Being able to let my imagination run with fun speculative ideas is like getting a kite into the air. Once it’s up there and soaring, I’m tired out but also a bit breathless, looking up and out.
10: Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.
A: A Change In Crime is the first in a four book series called La Famiglia di Mostri. I’m planning to write more books about those characters during different time periods. Some will be in the past back before 1929, exploring the backstories of the older characters. Others will detail what happens when La Famiglia comes up against new threats and conflicts in the future. I think La Famiglia will be my one big “serious” project. As in, it’s probably the only one which doesn’t fall into some sort of humor category. Writing the funny books is just my idea of a good time, I guess.
11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?
A: I haven’t done a tarot reading on the future of publishing. Maybe I should. Nah, I shouldn’t. There are folks out there who’ve been keeping track of the industry and they have a pretty good handle on things. I’ll keep on reading their reports and save the cards for individual people. As far as I’m concerned personally, it is what it is. I’m going to write what I do regardless and base future decisions on direct reader feedback when my rampaging imagination lets me. Publishing independently is the best fit for that in my own foreseeable future.
12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!
A: Gaaah! D.R. tumbles to the floor and covers her eyes. No, Precious! Not the nasssty Elvish Bread question! D.R. takes a deep breath then releases it, counting to five. Out with the Gollum, in with the Samwise. Okay, that’s better. So, most of these are seriously old-school. Tolkien, as you may have already guessed. He’s a favorite of mine. And L. Frank Baum. I grew up reading all thirteen Oz books and if you haven’t, you should, too. There’s so much more than that first trip down the Yellow Brick Road. Robert Aspirin’s Myth series turned me on to the idea that Fantasy and Humor are genres that go together like chocolate and peanut butter.
13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?
A: I like using collide. It’s versatile and exciting. I overuse actually and anyway. They work okay in the tongue-in-cheek paranormal stuff, but have no place in La Famiglia. Thingamabob is one of my favorites to say, with whosiwhatsis a close second. I constructed a swear for a dragon character that I absolutely love. Tiamat’s Scales!
14: Tell us about your latest release. Or, when can we expect your next one? What are we in store for?!
A: You’re in store for way too much, which means I’m freezing my behind off right about now. I’m talking about all of the drafts everywhere. I’m releasing book 9 in Providence Paranormal College as soon as the cover and edits are done. I’m revising, editing, and polishing the second La Famiglia book, Wiser Guys with hopes to publish that in May. And I finished the first draft of the first Supernatural Vigilante Society series. That’s UF/Superhero mashup parody and pure fun. I hope that’s out by June.
15: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!
A: Okay, here’s where I crank things up to eleven. My mitts have been all over the web so the list is long.
I’m on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/drpperry/
and have a blog at my website http://www.drperryauthor.com/
and a newsletter, too!
Bio: D.R. Perry lives in Rhode Island, where all her books are set. Although she’s not a native New Englander, once up north she got so inspired she couldn’t leave. A wild Northern Muse attacked. D.R. used Typing; it was Super Effective.
D.R. writes all kinds of things. Mostly, they have strange and unusual elements. Not strange isotopes or Strontium or anything like that, but creatures who are people or people who are creatures. Beware of the Attack Poetry and rampant puns. Keep off the grass, or the song parodies may bite.
She lives with her husband, daughter, and dog in the Ocean State, which she loves to remind people is not an island and not Long Island. D.R. is well aware that her home state has both of those things, but isn’t defined by them. Maybe she likes it here so much because it reminds her that she’s also more than the sum of her parts.
D.R. hopes you have as much fun reading her books as she did writing them.
You can find out more about D.R., including links to social media and mailing lists, here: http://www.drperryauthor.com/
Credit to Guy Natelli for Author Photo and James Ruggiero for cover art.