William Fietzer interview with David Alan Binder

posted Mar 27, 2017, 4:11 PM by David Alan Binder

William Fietzer interview with David Alan Binder

 Bio from his website:     William Fietzer is an author, writer, and educator who writes about the mysteries of the world from a baby-boomer perspective. His worldview is indebted to the mean streets of Raymond Chandler and the merry pranksters of Ken Kesey with a soupcon of Marcel Proust. It may not be a pretty world or one you want to live in, but one you’d recognize having asymptotic parallels with your own reality.

 Website:      http://williamfietzer.com/

 Amazon:     https://www.amazon.com/William-Fietzer/e/B002BM8RFA


1.     How do you pronounce your name?


The correct pronunciation is William Fietzer (Feet-sir).


2.     Where are you currently living?


Minneapolis, MN


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


I’ve lots of things over the years, but the most important one is to enjoy the process of discovery that writing every day affords. Writing is a discipline an aspiring author must embrace on a personal level to become successful however you choose to define success.


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


My most interesting writing quirk, particularly compared to other mystery/thriller writers I’ve met or talked to at any length, is my lack of a detailed outline before starting a new story. Oh, I fill out the white board in my office with the plot arcs of my protagonist(s) and I have a general idea how the story ends, but I find myself violating these directives after a chapter or two. If writing is supposed to mirror life, then writing should be an adventure. Many fairy tales begin with the hero going out into the world to seek his or her fortune. It should be the same for an author. I often don’t know where the story is going or how the protagonist(s) will escape the dilemma(s) I’ve placed him/her in, but somehow it happens. Call it inspiration, call it grace, call it luck, but whatever “it” is, it happens when I sit before my word processor every day. Performing the writing process this way may not be the neatest or most efficient, but it works for me.


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


I’ve published both ways and both have their advantages and drawbacks. Self-publishing can be more immediately gratifying and at the beginning of one’s career, more profitable. With the aid of writer’s groups and professional freelance editors, a writer can produce a very acceptable, professional, and enjoyable narrative. But there’s much to be said for being published by an established publisher, most importantly as an endorsement that someone or some group felt your manuscript was intriguing and professionally written enough that they were willing to put their name behind it and promote it to your readership. Beyond that, you have other pairs of eyes and sensibilities evaluating the plausibility and readability of your story from a literary and marketability standpoint that doesn’t usually occur in the critiques from members of a writer’s group. Publication by a traditional publisher might take longer for the final version to appear, but it results in a better product overall.


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


Cactus Moon Publications located in Tempe, AZ


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


Readers experience books differently between eBooks and print books. Print books are warmer and more tactile than eBooks and less stressful on the eyes even though in eBooks the print can be magnified and the background lighting adjusted. For writers digitizing the process has made writing easier and less cumbersome, but it has also increased the number of people writing book-length manuscripts. The quality of writing overall may have deteriorated somewhat, but the process has expanded the breadth of ideas and concepts being published.


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


Depends on how “respectable” you want to be. There are any number of companies and individuals, Amazon being the best-known, that are willing to publish your book. That’s no aspersion cast on Amazon, but they are willing to publish your book pretty much as is. Then there are Vanity presses and print-on-demand publishers that will publish your book for a fee. All the cost is upfront and by the author. A strong step up from that are small and  independent publishers, many of which have developed their own niche markets and offer writers quality time and editing help. And then there are the big five (or six, I’m never sure how many) that dominate the industry in terms of publicity and volume. That being said, there is no secret tip for getting published. Some make it easy and others, which pay advances, make publishing extremely difficult. I was going to identify the association that one agent (after much searching) advised me to use, but I can’t locate it now. All I can say is search your genre in the independent publishers and Publishers Marketplace, cross-check likely prospects in the Predators & Editors web site, and examine the kinds of books your candidates publish to determine if they resemble what you’ve written. That’s how I found my publisher.


8.     How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?


I would but acquiring one is difficult. You can find any number in your genre at the Association of Author’s Representatives web site, read their guidelines, and submit samples of your writing to them, but they’re very selective. Remember, they make their living finding manuscripts that are marketable. So if your story is out of the ordinary in terms of concept or subject matter, your chances of being accepted diminish. Once you’ve demonstrated that you have a following, you might be able to approach an AAP agent with a new book, but most writers have to strike out on their own before an agent shows interest. Still, I’d like to have one; maybe I’ll get one whenever I achieve sufficient stature in the industry.


9.     Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Everyone needs to find their own way, but I have two suggestions: 1. Write about something you’re REALLY passionate about. That will help you get through all the rewrites and rejections most writers suffer in getting their novels published. 2. Pay the money to have your manuscript edited conceptually and grammatically by a professional editor. I had no idea of the high level of quality expected of a manuscript before I sent mine out to agents and publishers. Being so close to the story, I couldn’t spot the plot holes and information gaps that were obvious to me because I knew the subject so well or through research but were not obvious to the average reader. Ask your friends, fellow writers, and professional experts who is a good, reliable editor and pay the money to make your manuscript the best it can be before submitting it.

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

The most surprising thing I learned during the writing, editing, and publishing processes is how many errors creep into the manuscript. Particularly when sending revised copies of chapters for review, errors due to oversight, miscommunication, and digital degradation creep in no matter how many eyes view the manuscript. Clerical errors don’t torpedo a reader’s enjoyment, but two or three take him or her out of the world you’re trying to establish. Four or more undermine your credibility as an author or expert in the field enough for the reader to find entertainment elsewhere. That’s why even after undergoing 20 revisions by his writer’s group, his publisher’s editors, and himself, thriller author John Grisham still does a final line edit before one of his novels is published.

11.                        How many books have you written?

Do you mean written alone or written AND published? Of the latter, I’ve done three: Penal Fires (my first), Metadata Murders (not a follow-up), and Mission: Soul Rescue (my latest)


12.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?


Not many tricks but a few tips. Unlike sports journalist Red Smith who claimed “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed,” I find writing to be hard work that must be done in some way every day. One tip that helps me with fiction writing I borrowed from Hemmingway. He advocated ending one’s daily quota of writing in the middle of a scene. That way you establish momentum for the next day’s quota by picking up where you left off. Of course, you have to have some idea how the scene ends for this to work.


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

Know your characters and their capabilities. Like the people they’re drawn from in real life, your characters have all kinds of potential to do the unexpected. They understand their limitations and the ramifications of the situation(s) they’re in better than you (the author) do. If you understand their capabilities, trust your instincts. That way, characters discovering hidden resources or qualities they never suspected in themselves can lead to a satisfactory and satisfying plot twists readers will accept. An example is Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer in the Saga of Fire and Ice series, who is a thoroughly arrogant and dislikable rogue throughout the first two volumes of the series, but finds something within himself to rescue the female knight, Brienne, from the savage Vargo Hoat. 

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


Tough to say. Like other works that stand out from the crowd, Mission: Soul Rescue stands out from other paranormal thrillers because of an unusual premise, psychic vampires reclaiming their lost kingdom of Hayastan; unusual protagonists, a shamanic therapist, an aspiring female journalist, a novice consul in the American State Department; and glamorous and unusual settings, Armenia, Eastern Turkey, and the collective unconscious landscape of the human mind.


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


Like most writers I use a combination of old and new. The old ways of promoting a book include soliciting reviews, book launches and personal appearances at libraries and book stores, attending trade and writing conferences germane to my genre, and belonging to writers clubs and associations. The new include using most of the social media, Facebook, Twitter, email, and author web pages, as well as presenting at subject-related fairs and festivals.


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


Think more about who my potential readers are and what it is I want to say to them. Many writers, me included, go into writing with the idea they’re going to find a literary (and literate) audience for their work which shapes the tenor and structure of their work and the solutions their characters arrive at in addressing their problems. But their potential reading audience is vaster than they suspect and much more willing to accept and identify with characters who take risks and do the unexpected. Looking back on the writing of my last book, my audience found me in the sense that I needed to modify my original conception(s) of my characters and plot to reach a level of verisimilitude my reading audience found acceptable and believable. Believe it or not, shamanic therapists, psychic vampires, and soul retrieval are not everyone’s cup of tea. But there are plenty of readers out there who find the fantastic perfectly acceptable, and I had to raise the level of the action to satisfy their expectations in that genre.


17.                        What saying or mantra do you live by?


I’m tempted to cite the old NCO saying that got me through my stint in the military, “Get it done, get it over with.” An updated version is Nike’s slogan, “Just do it.” Both help me get over the mental inertia and dithering I experience when it comes to taking on a new project.

18.                        Anything else you would like to say?

These are some good questions—provocative and fun. Hope the responses prove as thoughtful and enjoyable to your audience as well.