Authors come from all walks of life and a stump is no exception. While this author may claim to be a mere hobbist, I think he has much more going for him than he might realize, for a stump is a literary author with over thirty short stories published in over fifteen publications. Read on and see if you agree with me. Please welcome a stump to No Wasted Ink.
Hi Wendy! When I think about who I am, I’d like to begin be saying that I’m a man—a pastor, even!—married to a beautiful, supportive wife with four amazing sons. I don’t think of myself as an author, but certainly enjoy the hobby of writing. I love being outdoors, and I love drinking coffee. I’m a slow, but avid, reader. I read about 150 words per minute, which makes me an “auditory reader.” So, being such a slow reader, I have to be very judicious in my reading list.
When and why did you begin writing?
My best friend, N.D. Coley, is a writer. I saw what he was doing and how his stories were getting published, and I thought, “I’d like to try doing that.” I did, and it worked!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
From the get-go, I knew that I was a writer. I had had a lot of English and writing classes in college, so I knew the mechanics of writing. I understand vocabulary and writing quite well, so I know what works. I also have a working knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, and German, and I’m working on Old Norse, Old English, and Anglo-Saxon. That being said, I don’t view myself as an “author.” It’s not the main thing I do, only a hobby. I’m happy, however, that people seem to enjoy my writing.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
I have one book, The Endless Summer, that I’m advertising now. It’s the right time for it, as kids are getting out of school and teachers are assigning reading lists and such. It’s a bit of a fantastical romp through my own childhood in the 1980’s in upstate New York. Of course, it’s not just nostalgia, but infused with the supernatural. I have a mermaid, a genie, and a vampire in my story, all interacting with a group of ten year-old boys. I think that that’s when the magic happens—between childhood and puberty. There’s a liminal phase there where childhood belief mixes with some sort of adult notion that the world is a really gritty, complex place.
What inspired you to write this book?
It began as a short story called The Storm Drain. It was eventually changed to Keep Off the Grass and published in the online magazine, Jakob’s Horror Box. When I had finished that story, I felt the characters begging me to tell more. I did. I wrote several short stories, and they all became a single piece that turned into The Endless Summer.
Do you have a specific writing style?
If I had to pick a single style, I’d say “Literary.” I really want to write stuff that everyone wants to read. As such, I use a lot of descriptive and grammar structure to make my writing broadly appealing. My Book, The Endless Summer is written for a young adult audience, but will also be appealing to adults. In fact, one reviewer stated that she read the book twice in a row for the beauty of the writing.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
One of the stories/chapters in this book is called “The Endless Summer.” It’s one of the few stories in the book that hasn’t been published previously. After writing it, I thought that it encapsulates the idea of a childhood summer—never ending. The story takes place over one whole summer, and it seemed a fitting title.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes! Some people might think that the message is something like “there’s magic everywhere” or “childhood is magical.” In reality, I think that the truth of the book is that “things aren’t always as they seem.” Being disillusioned is one of the hallmarks of the journey from childhood to adulthood. The jading that happens somewhere in adolescence is quite unfortunate. My book captures the twilight magic that happens somewhere between those two bookends.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in
your own life?
Every story is somehow autobiographical. All the characters are some part of me. It takes place in upstate New York, which is where I spent several years of my childhood. It was formative for me, and a natural backdrop for my stories.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Without a doubt, Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, and Ursula K. le Guinn.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
I write my own prose and poetry. While I’m influenced by a lot a authors’ styles, I try not to mimic them.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
I did it. Because I’m broke! I’d love for someone else to design covers for me, but I’m broke and can’t afford graphic design. A designer actually volunteered to design a cover for me, but none of the proposed designs really fit the book. I think that any designer needs to read my writing before submitting a design. My writing is often dark and brooding. Even with a title like The Endless Summer, it’s not a flowery book.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just write. Write what you love. Who cares if it’s published? Also, when you’re ready to publish, it’s ok to give some stuff away, but don’t give everything away. Giving writing away cheapens our craft.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Please, please, please leave a review for the work that you’d read! Even one sentence! Obviously, five-star reviews are preferable. But even one word reviews (like “Awesome!”) make a difference for authors. I’ve sold a lot of copies of my titles, but have relatively few reviews. Granted, they’re all five star reviews, but it would be really nice if the amount of reviews were reflective of sales!
The Endless Summer