Travis Naught interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Jan 24, 2016 5:18:20 PM
Author Travis Naught interview with David Alan Binder
His Blog (primary website): naughtapoet.blogspot.com
His Facebook: www.Facebook.com/TravisLaurenceNaught
His Twitter: @NaughtaPoet
1. How do you pronounce your name (only answer if appropriate)?
I like to say my last name is spelled like Naughty without the "y" because I don't ask questions.
2. Where are you currently living?
Eastern Washington State, just outside of Spokane. We are generally considered the "dry side," on account of the fact most people think Seattle rain when they hear Washington state, but we are semiarid bordered by near desert to the south and west and mountains to the east and north. It's a very wild area. Lots of moose.
3. Where would you like to live?
Hawaii is on my "move to" list. Maybe it's the fact I've lived inland my entire life, but I badly want to live near the sea. There is a power that surges through me when I am near the ocean. Plus, I like the idea of "island time." It's akin to the idea of "poet time," which I am very familiar with.
4. Why did you start writing?
Writing has always sort of been what I do. I remember being 40 pages into a story when I was 11 years old. Lost the darn thing as I grew up, which is too bad, but it's one of the reasons I compulsively save everything now. Being physically disabled would be a convenient excuse as to why I started writing during my free time, for lack of other options, but I've always been good at filling my free time with an active lifestyle. I crave to write so I carve out time to do it!
5. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
Never take an opportunity to be published for granted. With so much rejection, any acceptance can be a port in the storm. The Virgin Journals (ASD Publishing, 2012) was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to! It was incredible. I thought I was on the fast track to "poetry stardom," whatever that means. I had another manuscript worth of material done by 2013, but after 4 months of rejections I decided to self publish online. Since then I have received numerous individual story and poem acceptances, but no more manuscripts are on the market. Still, I keep working.
6. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
People always want to know how a guy who can't physically feed himself is able to write. I use speech to text software. It is achingly difficult to get used to hearing my thoughts out loud for the first draft. Used to be, editing the thoughts I had written in a notebook while at a coffee shop would happen naturally as I dictated them to my computer. The nature of my disability is progressive, so for the last few years I have been unable to write while out and about. I still do carry a notebook though, and sometimes I invite strangers to help me put words down in it. Most of them are very amiable to the idea.
7. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
I'm way in the corner of being a proponent of traditional publishing. Unfortunately, that means tons of people get left out. Tons of good work will never see the light of day. I am doomed to only be there one time author… Until I'm not. Hard work is a part of the deal. We take our lumps in this business. Hell, most of us are lumpy before we ever put words to paper in the first place.
Self-publishing can be done right, and has been a force as long as words have been on paper. This is not just an internet age craze. There are great arguments behind putting work out into the world so that people become familiar with you before a publisher will pick you up for traditional publishing, but I think the goal of everyone is to have a third-party pay them to print their words.
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
ASD Publishing, now ASD Media, is located in New Jersey. A couple of weeks searching online led me to them as the first place to send The Virgin Journals because of their byline, Championing the Spirit of Independence. The first time I actually heard the voice of my publisher, considering we were a nation apart from one another, was the day my book was officially released. He said, "[on Amazon] You are beating Walt Whitman and Robert Frost." I let out one heck of a holler in affirmation.
8. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
There is nothing like the feel of having one's own physical book in their hands. How that physical book is manufactured can also significantly add to the experience of reading it. Words on a screen are just not that powerful. We encounter them everywhere. It feels better to go with the "dumber" technology.
9. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Don't submit to places you don't have a shot with. Sending my manuscripts of confessional poetry to a science fiction publisher would be a waste of time. Sending my novel manuscript to a cookbook printer seems ridiculous! Make sure and do at least a little research before sending your words out to get rejected. Then, when you happen across that acceptance, be very, very proud.
10. How did you acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I am agentless. That being said, I'm a fairly successful public speaker (primary schools through graduate classes and business invitee), have published short stories, nonfiction articles, book and magazine reviews, dozens of poems, and even some erotica… Are you an agent looking for any of these traits in people you represent? I'm the client for you! I even have an unpublished novel and multiple poetry manuscripts ready to go.
11. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Google is a godsend. I never believe the first information I read, making sure to be diligent it is true, but after corroborating three or four sources in a search result, I feel confident. This is especially true when I write topical poetry and nonfiction. Maps are one of my main searches when writing a piece of fiction. People generally like to feel a suspension of disbelief when they are reading, and one of the best ways to foster that is to weave the story around real-world circumstances.
12. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers?
Write everything down. If you have the urge to move your pen or pencil, do it! The Muse can be a wily partner, so when it is whispering to you, pay attention. And forget about traditional rules. I'm not saying make up your own language but still try and pass it off as English, but feel free to make up your own language and patent it as such! Original thought is almost nonexistent, maybe you will find some in the least likely spaces.
13. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
None of my poetry is planned out before I write it. I'm talking like outline style planned out. Sitting down in front of the computer, formerly at coffee shops, and meditating something new into life is my favorite form of creation. Then, months later, when I go to piece together a manuscript, patterns emerge. What has always surprised me is the symmetry with which they emerge. Generally I write nonfiction, personal centered poems, but that's not true. Great, now I'm calling myself a liar. What is true: my nonfiction, personal centered poems are the most successful, whatever that means. For every one of them that I've had printed, I've got a fictional, or surrealist wordplay, poem sitting on my hard drive. Subject matters are all symmetrical as well. There is a well-rounded-ness there that I almost am ashamed of. I would love to keep playing a chord, dive deep enough on one subject, until there is a cohesive body of work worthy of being lauded by publishers everywhere and winding up in a bidding war, but I fear I will just keep scattershoting individual poems into existence until the end of my time. Poets become famous after their dead anyway, right?
14. How many books have you written?
The Virgin Journals and Still Journaling are my only books on the market. I've also compiled a chapbook, The Self-Deprecating Unicorn, that I used to sell in order to help offset some of the travel costs on a poetry slam tour of the Northwest in 2014. I featured in Spokane, Portland, Seattle, and Everett. Then, there are the short stories, a novel, and hundreds of poems that currently exist in limbo. Each of them are being shopped around for publication, and all have received a modicum of success… Being told no politely IS a form of success in the publishing world. I still don't like it very much.
15. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer?
Read more. Write more.
16. We’ve heard that it is good to provide twists in a good story. How do you do this?
Life is twisty. I do my best to write life. Especially with fiction, though, if I am bored by a piece of work that I'm in the process of creating, and it's beyond the point of just deleting it, I will add in a new factor. Playing God is a little too obvious most of the time, so I try to make sure whatever I'm introducing happens naturally, but from an unexpected angle.
17. What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
The Virgin Journals is extraordinarily honest. I use all of the adult words available to make sure people understand where my emotions are coming from. They are not always nice, but they are not derivative of the need to be filthy, either. We all started out as bodily fluids, no use denying those bodily fluids just to be polite.
18. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
Spokane has one of the most supportive poetry crowds in the nation. There are four universities, three junior colleges, and a vibrant street scene all vying for the promotion of words! It's incredible. It's also small town, with around 600,000 in the metro area. It's a huge metro area, 50 miles by 50 miles or so. Under that umbrella, we all know each other and work to bolster each other into higher positions. I was lucky enough to have The Virgin Journals picked up by a disability studies course at Eastern Washington University. I've done online interviews. I've sent copies of my book with other local authors whom I'm friends with as they travel overseas. I've set up readings at local bookstores. I've called less local bookstores to promote myself. If my work were better, I suppose it wouldn't be so difficult to promote.
19. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing) and why?
I probably would not have released Still Journaling. It performed okay, and is online, so knows, maybe it will perform well still, but there are individual poems in that collection I would like to put in other manuscripts. Basically, I've written them off in my mind because of the "rules of publishing." Once something has seen the light of day, nobody cares about it anymore. Talk about an industry being driven by potential.
20. What would you like carved onto your tombstone? Or what saying or mantra do you live by?
A Spokane news station interviewed me the day I graduated Eastern Washington University with my undergraduate degree in psychology. They asked the same question, the mantra one, not the tombstone one, and my answer is still the same: Live Big.
END OF INTERVIEW
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