Ian Singleton interview with David Alan Binder

posted Feb 19, 2016, 6:03 AM by David Alan Binder   [ updated May 16, 2016, 6:31 AM ]

Ian Singleton interview with David Alan Binder

 Bio from his website: Ian Singleton is a writer with work in journals such as Digital Americana, Conte, Ploughshares, Fringe, Prick of the Spindle, Midwestern Gothic, Fiddleblack, Fiction Writers Review, and Asymptote . A collection of his short stories, Grow Me Up, is seeking a home. He teaches for the OLLI Program at San Francisco State University, and has taught at Rhoda Goldman Plaza, Cogswell Polytechnical College, and for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. He graduated from Emerson College with an MFA and studied at the University of Michigan, where he received a Hopwood Award in 2004. His translations include work in both German and Russian. He has taught and works as a librarian in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is currently at work on a novel, Odessitka.

 

His website:                   https://singletonian.com/

 

 Amazon:               http://www.amazon.com/The-Teleworking-Handbook-Hugh-Bulford/dp/0749414782

  

1.     How do you pronounce your name? 

Ian (EE-an) Singleton (SIN-gle-ton)

 

2.     Where are you currently living?

San Francisco

 

3.     Where would you like to live?

I’m mostly satisfied with my current living arrangements.

 

4.     Why did you start writing?

It was an extension of the stories I was making up with plastic figurines my parents bought me when I was a boy. I think I was about 10.

 

5.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

I feel like concrete detail almost never steers you wrong.

 

6.     What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

This is a good question, difficult to answer. I think my most interesting writing quirk is how I use voices, dialogue. I mean this in terms of interesting to other people.

 

7.     Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

I try not to think too much about publishing, since it has been a disappointing experience for me. I don’t think self-publishing is bad at all. I think it’s good that there is literature out there. I think the value of a publisher is the value of an editor, which is more and more rare these days, based on what I’ve heard from those who’ve been around longer than me. I know that a lot of the books published out there are collaborative efforts. I’ve worked with editors on stories and essays, and it has been extremely challenging and so rewarding. And I think that there’s a serious value to this that might be lacking in the case of self-publishing. However, if it’s all about marketing, something else I hear these days, then what I’ve said above probably doesn’t matter too much.

 

a.     Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

My publisher was Aqueous Books, located in New Orleans, LA. But they don’t exist anymore, as far as I know.

 

8.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

Ebooks are good in that they’ve made it easier to find literature instantly and often for free. There can be no argument that this is a positive development, since there are many people with amazing talent for auto didacticism. However, I have trouble, sometimes, immersing myself in the text when I read electronically. This might simply be a personal fault. I enjoy using backlit ebooks as a way of falling asleep. I think they are more valuable for education, where books and new editions are so expensive. Again, I feel like this can help with those educating themselves, in or outside of an institution. But I really still enjoy a paper book. There’s something about the tangibility that turns me on. As Charlton Heston put it, “They’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands.”

 

9.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

No. Neither do I have secret tips, nor do I have tips that I would make public very easily. I imagine there’s a talent for self-promotion that helps a lot. I suppose it’s something I think gets in the away, occasionally, with writing. But I, on the other hand, feel like I’m getting better at self-promotion. The only thing is, I don’t think self-promotion should ever come before self-critique. That’s vastly more important a skill for a writer. Compete with yourself.

 

10.                        How did you acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

I don’t have an agent. I think there are many databases, such as with the CLMP and AgentQuery.com .

 

11.                        Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I do some research, but I try to connect it with a lived experience I’ve had. Of course, my life may not have been as interesting to some.

12.                        Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers?

Develop a routine. Practice. Read like your own enemy, Zadie Smith says.

 

13.                        What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That I am neither as good or bad as I thought I was.

14.                        How many books have you written?

One collection of short stories, an unpublished manuscript 

 

15.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer? 

 

16.                        We’ve heard that it is good to provide twists in a good story.  How do you do this?

Keep thinking until there’s no cliché at all, then write.

17.                        What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

The novel I’m working on has many parts translated from Russian.

 

18.                        What are some ways in which you promote your work?

I use a blog and social networks.

 

19.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing) and why?

I would not have worried so much about what more successful writers thought. I would have tried to have put that energy into the writing itself and, hopefully, pushed myself further. It’s almost always a surprise, though, so it’s hard to say what I could have done differently.

 

20.                        What would you like carved onto your tombstone?  Or what saying or mantra do you live by?

I’ve never answered such a question. I’m going to try to come up with a quick answer: Those in your life are your life.

 

 

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