Welcome to Author Interview Thursday hosted by the Never Too Old for YA and NA Books group on Goodreads.
Today we welcome author Devon Hartford to the blog and group!
Devon's currently published books are:
And his soon to be published book (set for publication in February of 2014):
Great to have you here with us today, Devon!
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I've wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid, but I never took it seriously until recently. The self-publishing phenomenon proved I didn't need to crawl through the traditional process, which I'm way too impatient to endure. Before the writing, I worked as an illustrator, hence the artistic characters in my work.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
I wrote and edited Fearless in two months. I may be able to write a book faster than that in the future, but only time will tell.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I write about things that interest me, throw in a love story, and I'm done. ;-) It's somewhat more complex than that, but I focus on universal human themes. Everyone can relate to the desire to find and keep love, the desire to live a life that is interesting and fulfilling, and overcoming adversity in all manner of forms. These are three struggles we all face from cradle to grave. While the specifics of my stories change, my foundational themes will be somewhat similar from book to book.
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
Monday-Friday, from the time I wake up until I've hit 5,000 words, or eight hours. If I hit 5,000 words sooner, I keep going until I hit eight hours.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
I'm not. :-) Self publishing is very time consuming. I hope that in the future I'll find some more free time, but at the moment, it's taking over my life like that huge lump of evil Jello in the classic film The Blob.
What elements do you think make a great story line?
A love story, constant uncertainty, good characters, and fulfilling surprises.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
Fearless (The Story of Samantha Smith #1) is my first published novel, but I have written others that are hidden deep inside a military bunker, guarded by rogue Black Ops agents with laser rifles and body armor (none of whom are named Flint, Duke, Snake Eyes, Lady Jaye, or Shipwreck). Although these secret manuscripts will likely never see daylight again, I can honestly say I love them all. I'm such an impartial parent. ;-)
Do you have a favorite character?
If I HAD to pick, I'd say Romeo, from Fearless, because he says whatever he wants with no concern for consequences.
Where do you write?
At my desk. It's pretty standard. Music is mandatory.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
I did what everyone else seemed to be doing with the self-publishing thing at the time. Write on Scrivener (the best writing software I've ever used), upload to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc. Have a Facebook page, Twitter account, website.
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
Yes. None of them are romance readers, so the response has always been "It's not what I normally read, but I actually enjoyed it." I made sure to put lots of relatable and interesting moments in my book that would appeal to just about anyone, and plenty of comedy. Who doesn't like to laugh?
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
Write music for my band and play shows. Currently, I don't get to do this nearly as much as I'd like because of all the publishing demands I have.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
For someone who has never written before, I would say finish whatever you are working on. Find other aspiring writers and share your work with them. It's important to have people read you work and react to it. The one warning is that you MUST find writers who write in your genre. Any writer can give you useful comments on craft, but only fans of a genre can give you feedback on how much they enjoyed the story. There's tons of venues online were you can connect with fellow writers, and even fellow readers. For someone who HAS written something, publish it! Put it out there! Get as much feedback as possible from impartial customers.
What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
I truly can't point to any favorite book or author. I read so many and so widely, they all influence me. I dive into uncharted reading waters all the time. That's how you find buried treasure.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
I have a pool of beta readers who are invaluable in the final stages for catching rampant typos. Those buggers wear camouflage and hide out in plain sight, but most of the time you still can't see the most skillful ones. It takes sharp-eyed beta-readers to snipe those buggers down. Beyond that, I do all the storyline work and editing myself.
Are you working on anything now?
The third volume in the series, Painless (The Story of Samantha Smith #3) will be out early 2014, and I have a Rocker Romance planned after that, also early 2014. More books to follow throughout 2014 and beyond.
Thanks so much for being with us today, Devon! It was great having you here! Good luck ith the third book in your series!A lot of people ask me, “Why is a guy writing romance novels for women?”