Today I have self-published author, Jeremy Laszlo. He's a super nice guy that I met through Twitter. You can find him on his site, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. Also, check out his books: The Choosing, The Chosen, The Changing, and his poetry book-Clad In Shadow.
1. When did you start writing?
I began writing stories at the young age of 6. I have examples of my stories going back that far still in my possession today. Though I think my writing has improved at least a little since then, I still enjoy reading those first stories whenever I happen to come across them while looking for whatever it is my wife misplaced this time.
2. What made you want to write?
To be honest I cannot nail it down to one particular event or reason that made me want to write. I have always enjoyed a good story no matter what form it comes in. There are many things, I suppose, that worked together to inspire me to begin writing novels of my own. One of my high school teachers, Mrs. Messing pushed me to write often in her American literature and English literature classes, and she always gave encouraging feedback. Many others have read examples of my poetry or short stories and have suggested that I seek publication, but until recently I don't think that I was really ready to take the publishing plunge.
3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
In my mid teens my drive to write a full length novel and have it published was realized, but at that particular time not only had I not found my "voice" for writing, but I was also very distracted with other teen activities. Such as chasing the girl who is now my wife, parties, high school and college, and then the military.
4. What genre(s) do you write?
I write many genres, however at this time I only have works of Fantasy and poetry published, however even my "fantasy" novels cross the lines of genres having paranormal elements as well as dark horror elements.
5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
Poetry has always been something that I have easily connected with and writing it has always come naturally to me. Besides it gets the girls right? However Fantasy is my main genre I suppose, and I have always enjoyed reading fantasy and as a base estimation I have probably read a few thousand fantasy novels. I like the ability to create a story and the world it evolves on from the ground up. Being in total control of the creation, making new "rules" for each world, new races to inhabit them, new creatures and monsters to battle is all like a great jigsaw puzzle to me and I love the challenge of making sure my readers have every piece so the story has no holes in it and is completely believable.
6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
I don't have any particular rituals, does that make me odd? Generally I just prefer it very very quiet when I write. My brain unfortunately operates much faster than my fingers so I have to really be able to focus without distraction in order to get down everything that is flowing through my brain.
7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
I prefer free writing, but I generally play with the story in my head for a long time working out the details before I actually start writing. Lately I have been jotting down some rough outlines for my upcoming books, but they are very general and more than likely I wont stick to them anyway. Not sure if that is counter productive or not, but it seems to be a process that works for me.
8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Absolutely. I must have caffeine, loads of caffeine. I am not a 100 words a day author, nor am I a 1000 words a day author. Generally I write multiple chapters in a sitting, and as long as it is flowing into the keys I just keep on typing. Sleep is not an option at that point so please keep the Pepsi coming. Thank you!
9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
I am a straight to the netbook writer, however I write the original draft in a program called page four, then after it is complete transfer it to MS Word to send off to my editors and Beta readers. It's the green thing to do, so I am a writer saving the earth one manuscript at a time.
10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
To be honest I have never taken the time to count, however I have boxes of writings I have done over the last 25 years or so. That being said there is enough there, that with a LOT of editing could easily produce several books.
11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
Though I am sure some have been skeptical, no one has ever voiced those opinions to me personally. Fortunately for me my dream of writing has been widely viewed as a good path for me and I get support from all avenues.
12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
I do use social media as it is pretty much a necessity as an indie published author. You can find me on twitter and Facebook, and I am looking into google +, though I haven't made that leap just yet.
13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
Most of the price points advice for indie authors who generally publish ebooks in my opinion is terrible to say the least. All this free and 99 cent BS really irritates me. Surwe for a promotion lasting a day or two is fine, but why is an indie authors work worth any less than a traditionally published book? Indie authors work just as hard if not harder to get their work to their audience, and it is my opinion that if your work is quality, price it as such.
14. You have some Mythology in your book, is that something you studied at some point or just something that's been an interest for you?
Though Mythology is interesting, I have never had any really focused study on the subject. More or less, I find religion interesting though, and the evolution of the concept of having a god or gods that have the ultimate control over the world is also intriguing.
15. Did you always plan to go self-pub or did you attempt the traditional route (query agents/publishers)?
I did briefly attempt the traditional route to publication, but after doing some research decided that it was not the proper avenue for me at that time. Publishing my own work independently allows me a lot more control and freedom. I do not have a strict schedule to stick to, I get the same amount of marketing as I would have as a new author through a publishing house, and I can reach my readers much easier this way. All in all, I would say that I chose the correct path for me, though if another door opened, I would at least peek inside before deciding to close it.
16. Do you have a critique partner (or partners)? If not, why?
I have some beta readers that read my work before publication. They have varied backgrounds, and none of them regularly read my genre which is great, because they question everything. Beyond that, I have just recently began working with an amazing editor, Stephanie Dagg, who is by far the most thorough "indie editor" I have met.
17. Do you still write poetry? Are you planning to have more poetry books?
I do still write poetry, and may release more collections down the road. The truth is, the majority of the poetry I write these days is to my wife, who has always enjoyed them, and she began receiving my poetry when she was only thirteen, many years ago.
18. With a very full time job and four daughters, how do you find time to write?
Magic! Ok, so not really magic. Though I do drink a modern day potion to keep me alert and focused, that allows me to write late at night whilst everyone else is asleep. It comes in many forms and flavors, but the basic ingredient for this potion is caffeine. My name is Jeremy Laszlo, and I too am a caffeine addict. I sacrifice a lot of sleep in order to fit in all of the things that come with being a writer, and indie author. Anything worth doing is never easy, we all must make sacrifices.
19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
Well aside from being at my day job around 70 hours a week, or carpentry on the side, I have a wonderful family that I like to spend my down time with. I have an amazingly supportive wife, and four wonderful daughters who keep me very busy for now, and will create for me a PMS nightmare in the years to come.
20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
My advice would be to just keep writing. Improve your craft at every available opportunity. Seek out people to read your work who are not biased and get good useful feedback. Find a few writers with more experience and learn from them the tricks of the trade. My inbox is always open!