Martha Kneib interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Feb 26, 2016 5:14:49 PM

Martha Kneib interview with David Alan Binder

She will have a short story, “Impossible Tasks,” in the anthology “Realms of Darkover” due out later in 2016.

1. Where are you currently living? In the Midwest

2. Where would you like to live? London

3. Why did you start writing? I’ve always been a reader; at some point, I started being a writer. But it took a long time to realize I could improve to the point where I could actually be an author; and then it took a lot longer to acquire the skills.

4. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far? Being able, not only to take critique, but to use it to make my stories much better than they would be otherwise. I *hate* rewriting but at least now I can take advice, look at my writing more objectively, and fix things. I think that was one of my biggest obstacles in the beginning – it was hard enough to get things on the page to begin with, but how to take them apart and improve them? Boggling at first. Well, maybe still boggling now, but at least I can do it.

5. Who is the name of your publisher? Word Posse. My former agent sold my books to Tor/Forge, and the books I co-authored with Mark Sumner were published by Boulevard Books. My non-fiction has been published by various educational publishers.

6. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published? Work your butt off and realize most of what you write will never see publication. I read a book that mentioned that if you multiply out the number of words Stephen King says he writes every day, you come up with a number around 12 million words. But if you look at what’s been published, the number is around 5 million. That means even a huge success like Stephen King is throwing away over half of what he writes because it’s not good enough. You need to write enough to get better at the writing, but also to recognize the gold amid the dross, and then be willing to let most of your words go. They’re not good enough to share. Sorry to be the one to break the news!

7. How did you acquire an agent? My former agent repped a friend of mine and agreed to look at one of my books. She didn’t take it. I sent her a second book, and she didn’t take that one, either. She took on the third book and sold that one (and its sequel). But she didn’t seem interested in my later books, and eventually we parted ways. Since then I haven’t had an agent.

8. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? I love to learn about all kinds of subjects, and it seems situations and characters will spring from them almost without me trying. Whether or not I choose to pursue those ideas is something else again. You only have so much time in one life to get to projects so you need to sift through and find the one that really seems to shine right now, the one where you want to be with the characters for the next year or so.

9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers? Same as before – work your butt off. Write. Critique. Take critique. Rewrite. Write more. Submit. Take rejection. Submit elsewhere. Write more. Do not stop.

Also, none of this is easy. Writing is not easy. Taking critique is not easy. Learning to critique the work of others is not easy. Rewriting is not easy. Submitting is not easy. Taking rejection is not easy. Learning all the skills you need takes time, energy, and more work than you think. It can get easier, but I’m not sure it ever gets easy.

10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? I don’t know, unless it’s that I never thought I could write something longer than 100K words until 2004 when I finally did it. That book became Fortune’s Daughter, which Word Posse published in 2015.

11. How many books have you written? Hard to say. There’s probably 6-10 trunked, at least 5 published, two co-authored, and a lot half-finished.

12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer? Get good critique that is helpful, and listen to it. You don’t have to do everything others suggest, but learn how to discern the good advice from the mediocre (or even the bad), and then follow the good advice.

13. What makes your book stand out from the crowd? I don’t know that I can see that myself; too close to the work. When I’m working on something, it never seems that good. If I put it down for a while and then pick it up months or years later, and read it again, I’ll think “Oh, hey, that’s pretty good after all.” I don’t see that while I’m working on the project, though.

But here are a couple of reviews, so you can see what other people say they like:

"I think that Marella Sands may have made a horror short-story fan out of me! I’ve always had a bit of an aversion to them, mostly because I like to feel a deeper connection to the characters and stay in their world for a while, and most of the horror I read feels contrived and frankly, not all that scary. But I was surprised how effective the author was in totally transporting us to another time and place and where we can really experience another’s life (or a brief segment of it) enough to really get inside my head and freak me out! The writing was top-quality."

"As a huge reader of books, most of them indie or small-press published, I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that there will be certain things that won’t be up to the same standards as the big press published books, usually in editing or the quality of writing. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the top-notch professionalism in this book, from the flawless editing to the strength of the narration and the complexity of the characters and engaging storylines—a real challenge considering the shorter length of these stories. This horror anthology is one of the better ones I’ve read, and kudos to Ms. Sands for raising the bar, and she will be on my list of authors to watch."

14. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing) and why? I don’t know. I’ve worked my butt off for over 25 years and haven’t yet achieved my goals. But, what else could I have done? Not worked my butt off?

15. What would you like carved onto your tombstone? At the end of the day, the world was a slightly better place for her having lived in it. I think it couldn’t get any better than that.

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