Saturday, June 9, 2012

Solitaire Parke: The Interview

Whether a writer or a reader, Goodreads is a pretty terrific place for lots of reasons. Having a place to track our voracious appetite for storytelling is the most obvious, but another is in some of the people you meet. Recently, I had the honor and privilege of meeting author Solitaire Parke through GR. If you haven't checked out Vengeance of the Wolf, then you really should, horror/sci-fi fans. He has a clean writing style, a lush talent for description, and a deft hand with characterization. Some people want to write, but have no business doing it. Solitaire is NOT one of those people. Recently, he swung by for an interview. Let's get to it. 

What do you want people to know about you as a person, as a writer? 
I'm really not much different from most people at least down deep where it counts.  I try to calibrate my moral compass every day and work as hard as I can.  As a writer, I try to never box myself into a genre corner and just write what I feel, or what I dream. 
Describe your publishing journey for readers. 
Like so many other authors, I have file cabinets full of rejection letters.  I got to a point in my life where I didn't trust anyone else to publish my work, so I decided to do it myself.  Indie authors understand exactly what I mean.  In the independent world it's more important to help others because what you do for them comes back tenfold.  I discovered it's easier to help them than to stress over me.  In the end, your work reaches the public and we as authors control our own destiny.   
What are some of the best/worst writing tips/advice you’ve ever received, and what advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
I think the worst tip I ever got was from a publishing house in regards to my poetry and was told that real poetry died two hundred years ago, ergo...go get a real job.
The best advice I have gotten came from an Indie author who told me not to listen to negative advice and just keep writing.
When did the writing bug first bite and who, if anyone nurtured you into what you would become?
I got bit on my twelfth birthday after being introduced to the writing of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of A Princess of Mars.  So I guess it was his fault.
Employers always ask about the 5-year plan. If you had an employer in indie writing—and thank God we don’t—what would you tell him your 5-year plan is? 
Write a lot, laugh a lot, love with abandon and make as many friends as possible.  Oh, and sign on for five more years.
From inception to The End, discuss your process for getting a book like Vengeance of the Wolf ready for the public?
That book required a massive amount of research into the paranormal.  I sat down every day and wrote my brains out.  Once it was finished, it went through multiple edits and I had everyone I knew read the book, sometimes more than once.  I'm sure it was more grueling for them than me.  I sent it out for reviewing to as many people as would say yes and then sent it to every publishing house that would read horror.  The rest as they say is Independent history.
On the business end, how much do you handle, and how much do you outsource, and what personal time/money costs are involved? 
I'm not a business man, and have never been.  I'm blessed with an incredibly talented family and so most of the expenditures that authors incur were simply bypassed.  My daughter is one of the premier digital artists in today's industry and I worked building web sites prior to becoming a full time writer.  Everything except ordering the finished hard copy is done in house.  I'm a very fortunate man.
You are quite varied in the style of writing you represent. How do you feel this helps or hurts in your overall career goals?
I'm sure that the reading public probably thinks I'm all over the board, but in the end I think they will see that I write from passion and not for any particular genre or just for remuneration.
What marketing techniques have worked best for you? 
I'm not sure there is a patented method that if you do a thing, then all will be well.  I'm pretty sure it amounts to hard work and diligence.
In VOTW, there are several unfortunate, ill-fated politicians. As a journalist, who covers politics, it was a nice bit of escapism for me. What are your views of the American political scene?
Hehehe...I think the book intimates my feeling about American Politics or just politics in general.  An oxymoron no matter how cleverly disguised...Jumbo shrimp, freezer burn, or honest politician is still...I think you can see where I'm going with this.
You have a passion for music, design and photography, it seems. Where do these things fit in to your writing time, how do they help you in your work as a writer, and what other hobbies capture your interests? 
All of my previous occupations have helped me to feel, hear or see with a different set of senses.  It has given me a unique way to describe what the mind's eye dumps into my consciousness.  At least I'd like to think it does. 
What special writing rituals do you employ when prepping your books—anything from creating and working from an outline to OCD’n it is welcome :).
I generally dream the books first.  From there it's translated to an outline and which piece of music it makes me think about.  I stick with the same kind of music until it's finished.  I guess the inspiration is fueled by how the music makes me feel.
What are your favorite or most influential books/movies, and why?
Edgar Rice Burroughs - A Princess of Mars and Bram Stoker's Dracula were the two most influential books for me.  Both authors had style, flair and were just plain gutsy.  Both have been turned into movies and although the movies weren't as good as the books, they still hold a special place for me.
Which dream projects do you just HAVE to tell that you haven’t gotten around to yet, and what’s currently in development?
I recently dreamed a new sci-fi project that I'm very excited about, but sadly hasn't been fitted into the docket of front burner writing.  The project I'm working on presently is "The Emerald Dragon" which is going up on my blog one chapter at a time until sometime later this year.  It's my first Urban Fantasy and I had no idea it would be this much fun.
Series fiction is, marketably, a good idea for indie and traditional writers alike. What are your thoughts on it—do you find it easier or harder than one-and-dones? 
I like the series fiction concept.  If one takes off on you, it gives you the direction you need to go, but sometimes the urge just smacks you in the head to write one for which there is no return.  Single standalones are easier because you don't have to hold back, it's just total disclosure by the time you finish and that's pretty satisfying too.
What’s your very next book?
The next one up will be released this month and is entitled "Tinker Smith & the Conspiracy of OZ."  "Tinker Smith & the Conspiracy of OZ" is the story of ten children stolen from their parents and genetically altered. Their new found abilities cause them to become outcasts to society and ultimately superstars that can save the world from the geneticist who made them. Oscar Zoroaster, the self proclaimed Wizard of Oz and his private army, follow on the coat tails of global destruction to affect his dream. His technological prowess is far beyond standard science and he deploys it on an unsuspecting populace. This evil genius wants to reshape the world into the image of his children. His "OZ" on earth.

Vengeance of the Wolf is available in all sorts of ways, along with Solitaire's other works, at the official Solitaire Parke website. Check him out!