Dan Lawton interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Feb 6, 2016 4:11:54 PM
Dan Lawton interview with David Alan Binder
His Website: www.danlawtonfiction.com
1. How do you pronounce your name?
Dan Lawton. Sounds like it reads (LAW – TON).
2. Where are you currently living?
I was born in raised in central New Hampshire and still live there now with my wife and daughter.
Where would you like to live?
My wife and I do have dreams to live somewhere perhaps a little warmer with open spaces and isolated. Either on a farm (no animals!) or in the woods. Somewhere quiet where I can write in peace.
3. Why did you start writing?
I wanted to be a writer in high school, but I never knew which kind. I entered college with the idea of pursuing journalism, but the industry scared me away enough to not go that route. I always knew I wanted to write a novel, but thought it would be something I’d do later in life. Then after my daughter was born, I got the inspiration to pursue it aggressively. Now, I’m a Technical Writer by day and a Novelist by night.
4. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
The most important thing I’ve learned so far is that just writing is the best way to improve. Through making mistakes and reading and listening to others’ feedback (and not always taking), you will get better. Each of my books has been better than the previous and I continue to notice improvement from myself.
5. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I’m usually most productive when I have a 2-3 hour block of time to write, along with a starting scene. The next scene feeds off the previous one, and it’s usually developed by the time the previous scene is done. Based on that answer, you can probably imagine that I don’t outline. I have a general idea of where I want the story to go, but I go off in an unexpected direction regularly, so it wouldn’t be worth my time. Quite frankly, the thought of outlining an entire book from start to finish is both implausible and overwhelming to me. Bit by bit, scene by scene works for me. As long as I have a vision of 2-3 scenes ahead, I’m good to go. Even with my lack of outlining, I can still write the first draft of a novel in 3-4 months.
6. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
My first two books were self-published, my third is in New York right now. I’ve learned so much about the industry by self-publishing – everything from design to distribution, from pricing to marketing – and it’s been really insightful. There are some challenges with doing it all yourself as opposed to having input from industry professionals. I don’t have a traditional publishing deal to compare self-publishing to yet, so I can’t speak to that side of things. Overall, self-publishing, I would say, is a good option for some people. At the very least, it gets your name out there and can start to build a fan base.
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
None yet. I did receive an offer from a small press in Georgia for my second novel, but I ultimately decided to pass in favor of self-publishing.
7. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
As a self-published author, I assumed that e-books would sell better than the paperback because of the price difference. To my surprise, I’ve sold just as many paperbacks as I’ve sold e-books, which shows me that many readers do still want a physical book to read. With e-books, though, the lower price point can be really beneficial to help to encourage readers to try a new author, and that’s good to see.
8. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
I’ve received a lot of rejections so far, like everyone. Don’t expect much feedback from your rejections and don’t get discouraged. There’s a lot more that goes into getting a publisher or agent than if the book is good or not. Sometimes the timing isn’t right, or there are too many similar books in the market, or it’s just not right for a particular person. Keep trying. All it takes is one yes to make all of those no’s go away.
9. How did you acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I don’t have an agent yet. My third book has gained a lot of interest and I’m deep in discussion with an agent about representation, but no offer yet. I have a strong feeling that it’s coming any day. As for getting one, check back with me on that…hopefully I can have more insight on that soon.
10. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I get ideas from everywhere. Other books, movies, things I see on the news or on TV, dreams. I have a running list of ideas that have come from all over the place. Once you’re in the writer’s mindset, story ideas just find you. At least they have for me.
11. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers?
Write and read a lot. Writing gets you better and reading gives you inspiration. Read good books and bad books and learn what readers are drawn to and what they’re not. But most importantly, write what you like to read. You’ll be re-writing and reading and thinking about and talking about your work over and over, so you better like the content. And please, please just write. What drives me crazy is people who call themselves writers but when asked what they’ve written, they say they don’t really write much. Everyone has ideas. Writers write – not because they have to, but because they want to. Just write.
12. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How much fun it is. Creating stories consumes my mind during all hours of the day. It’s sometimes difficult to shut my mind down enough to do other things or to sleep. I didn’t expect it to consume me the way it has – but I love it. Having a good writing session energizes me every time. I’ve also learned that I am brutally critical. Sometimes I think my writing is good, other times I think it’s not. The way I read books and watch movies is different now too – I’m always thinking about how I would have done it differently or analyzing the story or characters from a writer’s perspective. I have a more difficult time finding stories to read that either fully entertain or enthrall me the way they used to. And that’s okay, I just have higher expectations now (myself included).
13. How many books have you written?
I’ve written three novels so far. My first one, DECEPTION, was release in June 2015. My second novel, OPERATION SALAZAR, was released in January 2016. My third novel, working title AMBER ALERT, is in the hands of a literary agency in New York as we speak. I’m currently working on two other novels simultaneously.
14. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer?
As I mentioned before, write and read a lot. Like with a sport, the more you do it, the better you get. Reading successful authors will help you to see what is good enough and what isn’t. Be your worst critic. Be honest with yourself if your work isn’t good enough. And if it isn’t, keep writing. That’s all you can do.
15. We’ve heard that it is good to provide twists in a good story. How do you do this?
I let my imagination take over the story. I get frustrated when books or movies follow a pattern and are predictable. I try to surprise myself. If I do that, I hope the readers might be surprised too. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of twists just for the sake of having a twist. Make sure it makes sense to the story.
16. What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
I try to include elements of the authors/books that I enjoy reading. Between that and combining various emotions and reactions, I hope that people will enjoy the pacing and stories. I try to make my stories a little bit unique from something you may have read in the past.
17. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
Numerous ways. I’ve approached bookstores and libraries about carrying them, I’ve held book signings and speaking engagements at bookstores and libraries, I’ve submitted press releases to media outlets and have booked newspaper interviews and a TV spot. Then online through social media and paid advertising. Promoting is the most difficult part (and maybe most time consuming) part of all of this. Like most writers, I’d rather just be writing, although public appearances are flattering and exciting too.
18. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing) and why?
I wish I would have started earlier. I’m only 26 now, but I know for sure that is what I want to do with my life. I wish I would have started writing a novel earlier in life so that I could be further along with my career goals. Patience can be difficult sometimes.
END OF INTERVIEW
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