Saturday, 25 January 2014

20 questions with Tony Bertauski.

Hey all!! well I just did an interview with Tony Bertauski Author of Jack: the tale of frost. And I asked him 20 questions and these were his responses....

1.      How long have you been writing?
Several years. I started out as a technical writer, penning columns for industrial magazines, educational textbooks, and a newspaper column. Eventually, I started writing fiction as a hobby. Once indie publishing became established, I started putting my work on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, etc. I thought the inspiration would dry up once I had a couple novels out, but it seems to only have fueled more ideas. And I love it.
2.What inspires you to write?
Joy. The writing experience takes discipline and effort, but the rewards are rich. I also enjoy interacting with fans, especially when one of my works hits them the same way it does me.
3.How long on average does it take to write one of your novels?
Lately, it’s about three months. I could probably go a little faster if I did this full-time, but I don’t think so. My ideas unfold at their own pace, I can’t rush them.
4.Do you have a favorite character from your books?
I connect with most of the characters I write, but there are a couple that are special. Jack, from Claus, could be my favorite, but Socket Greeny and Pike, from The Socket Greeny Saga, are right there, too. They have different qualities, but the experience of writing them was much richer than any of the others.
5.How do you deal with writers block?
Walk away. I usually go to a pad of paper and a pen and begin doodling ideas. Sooner than later, I’ll work through it. Sometimes the solution hits me when I least expect it, like driving to work or taking a shower, and then I’m running to write it down.
6.Do you have any favorite authors?
I’m a jaded reader. I don’t connect easily with other fiction and it’s certainly not a reflection of their talent, just my peculiar tastes. I have several favorite books, but Frank Herbert and Neal Shusterman were a couple of my favorites. Stephen King, in my opinion, is one of the best. I just wish I liked horror.
7.Whats the hardest part of being an author and writer?
The isolation. I sit at a computer during a beautiful day or while my wife and kids are in the house. I try to find time when nothing else is going on so that I’m not ignoring the ones around me. The beauty, though, is that I can do it anywhere and anytime.
8.What is your favorite Genre to write in?
Without question, science fiction. Although dystopia might be combined with that. I discovered how immersed I am in the genre when I decided to write a romance novel. I got halfway through it and, quite suddenly, lost interest when I started thinking about my next sci-fi novel. I haven’t looked back.
9.Did you always want to be an author?
No. But I always liked writing. I wasn’t very good at it until I was probably in my 30s. The first two novels I wrote aren’t publishable by any standards (I’m not even sure I know where they are) but, slowly, I got the hang of it.
10.Do you have any advice for young author's and writers? 
Enjoy. Set yourself daily writing goals, like 1000 or 2000 words. Just write. It might be terrible, but just write. And also read about the craft of fiction. I got a lot from a couple good books. The one that quickly comes to mind is “Self Editing for Fiction Writers”. I think I read that five times.
11.What was your first book ever published and when was it published?
The Discovery of Socket Greeny. I started writing that in 2005 when my son was young and we were inventing a story. I got caught up in it but it took 5 years and countless rewrites to get it out in 2010.
12.I know some authors don't but do you prefer to story board or do you jump right into writing you books?
I have to storyboard. I need to have a general idea where the story is going. It’s going to change, I know that, but I can’t just sit down with a blank page and go, otherwise I’ll just stare a bloody hole through the monitor.
13.If you could meet any author dead or alive who would it be?
Stephen King just seems too interesting not to be at the top of that list.
14.If you weren't an author what other career would you choose?
Well, writing is my part-time career/hobby. I’m an educator / horticulturist in my real job (no one would guess that, right?). And I wouldn’t trade that for writing. In fact, I love having writing as a hobby instead of the main gig. I mostly introverted in my spare time and writing is a perfect fit. I don’t want to be famous, but I like interacting with fans. It’s so much fun.
15.Where do you hope to be ten years from now career wise?
I hope to still have ideas. I trust I will. 
16.Whats your favorite part of being an author?
Engaging with the characters. When I’m really connected, they take the story places I never could’ve imagined. The moment when it all comes together is special.
17.What do you feel is an important part of any YA book?
When I was younger, I liked novels that didn’t patronize me, ones that really seemed to know what it was like to be young and confused and angry and lost. Sometimes you’ll read something that sounds like an adult pretending to be a kid and it loses its authenticity. I can only hope I don’t sound like that, but I don’t know. And, I hope, my writing imparts life experience that doesn’t come across like a Brady Bunch episode. I think Laurie Anderson does an amazing job at this.
18.How do you feel YA books have changed in the past years? And have they changed for the good?
It seems like they’ve gotten edgier. And they’re dealing with issues that worthy of a young adult’s attention. In my experience as a former child/teen and as a father watching my children grow up, the younger years are very difficult. We want the freedom of an adult child without the responsibility. We have to figure out what we’re going to do with our life. When someone asks what we want to do with our life, what do we do when the honest answer is “I don’t want to do anything”? I think this is one reason why YA is becoming more popular: it helps readers identify with the difficulties.
19. Do you hope that young readers will read your books and say I want to be just like that?"
Not necessarily. I hope they get a thrilling, emotional experience from the read, and along the way, take away some elements that stick with them. Perhaps, they’ll see things slightly different. It won’t solve problems, but when all the little inspirations in our lives add up, they can create real change. If I can contribute just a speck to transformation of someone’s struggle, someone I’ve never met, that would be very satisfying.
20. What inspired you to start writing YA books?
I struggled growing up. I wanted to be heard. And,  sometimes, I just needed to escape somewhere that felt real, genuine and safe. Books and movies were that salvation. I want to draw from those difficulties, share them with young adults experiencing the same thing. Life, I think, is difficult for most of us.

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