David Oppegaard interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Feb 29, 2016 1:55:42 PM
David Oppegaard interview with David Alan Binder
Short bio from his website:
David Oppegaard is the author of the 2016 MN Book Award finalist The Firebug of Balrog County (FLUX), the Bram Stoker-nominated The Suicide Collectors (St. Martin’s Press), And the Hills Opened Up (Burnt Bridge), and Wormwood, Nevada (St. Martin’s Press).
1. How do you pronounce your name (only answer if appropriate)?
2. Where are you currently living?
St. Paul, MN.
3. Where would you like to live?
I love MN but wouldn’t mind a vacation house on the Pacific Ocean.
4. Why did you start writing?
I felt an overwhelming compulsion to do so. Also, I lived in a small town and was bored a lot.
5. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
Slowly but surely, the act of writing teaches you how to stretch your mind and understand the viewpoints of other people. I think it’s made me a better, more compassionate person, though I’m still a work in progress like everyone else.
6. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I listen to music and occasionally burn incense when I write. I like to write at night.
7. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
I’ve gone both ways. So far my best experience has been with a loving mid-sized publisher called FLUX. They were big enough to get the book in Barnes and Nobles all across the country but small enough to truly pay attention to my book.
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
FLUX, an imprint of Llewelyn Worldwide. They’re based in Woodbury, MN.
8. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
It appears print books are making a comeback, though they never really left. I think you retain information better when you have a tactile paper book in your hand.
9. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Write a unique, compelling book and find a good agent.
10. How did you acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I purchased Jeff Hermann’s Guide to Literary Agents and queried forty agents. One finally got back to me. This was way back in 2004.
I’d suggest keeping your query as brief as possible, two paragraphs max. Be absolutely professional in your correspondence. Agents are too busy for amateur bullshit.
11. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I get about one good idea a year and I have no idea where they come from beyond the primordial soup that is my mind. I use a public library for research purposes. I don’t usually do a ton of research but it can be useful, especially if you’re looking for specific details to add to a landscape.
12. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers?
Just keep writing and writing. Try to write as honestly as you can and you’ll find that such honesty will translate into an interesting story.
13. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
People often respond to your work in a different way than you expect. I find his delightfully amusing, even the negative responses.
14. How many books have you written?
I think the number is around sixteen currently. I’ve managed to get four published so there are a lot of shelved books on my hard drive.
15. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer?
Developing as a writer is a never-ending process. You need to both keep at it almost daily and also develop the ability to look at your work, and yourself, with a critical eye. Work on projects that challenge you or else you’ll grow bored with your work and that’ll create a boring story.
16. We’ve heard that it is good to provide twists in a good story. How do you do this?
Don’t plan every scene out ahead of time. Give your characters autonomy and let their actions surprise you. The twists will develop naturally from there.
17. What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
I write a lot of books that meld genres. They’re both darkly philosophical and often humerous and always a little weird. Always very Dave Oppegaard-ian.
18. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I have a website. I post updates on my blog and on twitter regularly. I do a few readings with every book campaign. Honestly, I find promotional stuff exhausting and don’t get too deeply involved with it.
19. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing) and why?
In the early days I didn’t outline very much. I always outline now and find it helpful.
20. What would you like carved onto your tombstone? Or what saying or mantra do you live by?
Life is short. Don’t be an asshole. Tell the people you love how awesome they are.
AS AN ADDITIONAL NOTE: David Oppegaard “offers freelance editorial services at a reasonable rate. Hit me up at oppegaard (at)gmail.com and let me know exactly what you have in mind for your beloved project. I can tackle all kinds of writing but fiction is my specialty. I can also help with query letters and administer general advice on finding a literary agent. I’m speedy, friendly, and da[r]n good.”
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