Kristin Oakley interview with David Alan Binder

posted Jul 4, 2019, 9:37 AM by David Alan Binder

Kristin Oakley interview with David Alan Binder


§  Website:

§  Newsletter:

§  Goodreads: Carpe Diem, Illinois - God on Mayhem Street -

§  Amazon Author Page:



1.     Where are you currently?

Madison, Wisconsin

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

To just finish that first draft!

3.     What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

I don't use a desk, I use my lap, and my best writing comes when I have a great view, preferably a lake, river, or ocean view. The UW-Madison Memorial Union Terrace on the shore of Lake Mendota is one of my favorite spots.

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

I pitched my first manuscript to agents, got requests for pages/full manuscript, but no takers. I knew the book, Carpe Diem, Illinois, was really good and I was impatient. I met Kristin Mitchell publisher at Little Creek Press at the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies Writers' Institute, loved her covers, and hit it off with her so I hired her to do everything for me. I used her services for the sequel, God on Mayhem Street, too. I like independently publishing because then I'm in control of my rights, the book cover designs, and get the full proceeds (minus distribution costs). However, I will pitch other projects to agents just to see what they have to offer, but, for me, self-publishing will always be a viable option. It's an incredible time to be an author -- we have so many options!

a.      Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located? Kristin Mitchell of Little Creek Press ( Little Creek Press is located in Mineral Point, Wisconsin


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

Originally, I thought I would just produce eBooks, but then I knew I had to have a paper copy in my hands so I have both. I've indie-published my first two novels and might do the same for my young adult dystopian trilogy, but I'm going traditional with the creative nonfiction project I'm currently working on.

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

Write the best book you can, have it edited, rewrite it, repeat. Then research agents and follow their submission requirements perfectly when submitting a query letter. Better yet, meet them in person at a writers' conference and pick their brains on the industry. In the Midwest, the Writers' Institute (mentioned in question #4) lines up 7-9 agents each year who are looking for a wide variety of genres. Don't forget to pitch to small and university presses, too. And don't discount self-publishing -- it has a lot of advantages traditional publishing doesn't.

7.     Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)?

Don't even think about the business end of things until you've finished the first draft of your manuscript. Don't spend time rewriting the beginning of your novel until you've finished it--you won't know the beginning until you've written the last word. Read books in your genre and books outside your genre--they're the best teaching tools. However, one how-to write book I recommend is The 90-day Novel by Alan Watt. The book seamlessly combines writing from the seat of your pants with outlining and is full of writing prompts to spur brainstorming and includes words of encouragement.

8.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

In everyday life, I'm a planner, very much anal-retentive, so when I considered writing a novel, I assumed I'd plot the whole thing out. I didn't do that. Instead I discovered that I'm a pantser (I write by the seat of my pants). I don't know what I'll write until I write it. At first, I was shocked and amazed by this, now I wouldn't have it any other way.

9.     How many books have you written?

Four - two published: Carpe Diem, Illinois and God on Mayhem Street; and two manuscripts.

 Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)?

No tricks, you have to put the hard work in. If this scares you, then you should consider spending your time doing something else. Writing is hard work, but writers can't imagine doing anything else. Putting writing to paper is like a drug. Tips--write as much as you can, take classes, submit your work to critique groups and critique others' work, read how-to books and books in your genre, and continue to learn and grow throughout your career. That's one of the things like best about being an author--I'll never stop learning.

10.                        Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

Many! Too many for this space. I taught an online course at UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies on cliffhangers which dealt with this, so I could go on forever. I can suggest that writers study books with great plot twists to see how it's done.

11.                        What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

A great cover and title help, but a unique character who transforms is unforgettable. My main character, Leo Townsend, is hard to forget.

12.                        What is one unusual way in which you promote your work?

I don't know how unusual this is, but I enjoy sharing my writing life with readers through my bi-weekly newsletter:


13.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I wouldn't do anything different with writing--each book I write is as good as it can be before I publish it, but because I'm continually learning, I hope each book will be better than the last. Self-publishing--I certainly wouldn't order so many copies of my books in advance! Both my books have won awards and it would be nice to have those medallions on the covers, but I have a lot of naked copies to sell first.

14.                        What saying or mantra do you live by?

Carpe Diem.


15.                        Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you!