Today, Tag Line Tuesday sits down with Alan Nayes…which is kind of a shame. No, not because he’s a good writer of Eclective range, running the gamut from Medical Thriller to Creature Adventure, and even delving into Romance. That’s all fine. Thing is, Alan is a Packer fan, without even the excuse of being from the state of ‘sconsin. He’s a Texan living in So Cal and rooting for Green Bay? To what is the world coming? (note, it wouldn’t bother me at all if the Bears were up three games on the Pack, instead of the other way around.)
Anyhow: Enter the Cheesehead.
Ed: Howdy. As I hear writers are creative people, please answer each of the following biographic questions twice, once with the truth and once with a lie. Name?
AN: Alan Nayes. And….Aaron Rodgers—you see the theme here, right)
Ed: Sigh. So that’s how it’s going to be. So where you from, #12?
AN: Born in Houston Texas and live in southern California. Or, Live in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Ed: Day job?
AN: Throw touchdown passes on Sundays, work part-time in the healthcare field.
AN: Write four hours a day creating stories that sell millions. Photographer assigned to the Playboy mansion—no, not interested in a photo shoot of Hugh Heffner—now the bunnies…actually, this one isn’t quite a lie.
Ed: My theory is Hef has been dead for the last eight years, only kept upright by Viagra. Anyway, why do you write?
AN: I write because it is such a challenge for me to actually start and finish a project—and I like challenges. No greater feeling – well, there are some greater, but not as long lasting—than when I finally complete that first draft.
I write because if I don’t, the characters that I wish to create might ditch me and show up in someone else’s book.
Ed: You can now return to full honesty now for…THE LIGHTNING ROUND! Quick! Favorite:
Band—many of these I don’t have favorites—I listen to a lot of music—in fact I have an Alan Jackson CD in now. I like CW music but also, Rock, old and new. Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?” is playing—that’s a pretty cool song. Mumford and Sons “The Cave” is a song I can listen to over and over. The Naked and Famous’s “Young Blood” —that song rocks. (One day I’ll visit New Zealand)
Food–love sushi, big macs, and Little Debbie Snack cakes. Have been known to down a whole package of snack cakes in one sitting. Same with Oreo cookies. Candy—love Skittles
Game—Football, also boxing( boxing’s definitely not a game, but a sport—great work-out too)
Album None—listen to individual songs
Word—Damn—not really, but I seem to be saying a lot of that lately, especially when I check my sales.
Piece of clothing—thongs—not on me of course.
Movie—No way can I name one—I have a lot of movies that I will end up watching on late night cable if I happen to see them. Most recently, GHOST and A FEW GOOD MEN. I can name a worst movie—THE HUMAN
CENTIPEDE. Can’t even believe I watched it. (Yes, I’m ashamed.)
TV show—Don’t watch much TV.
(Ed: Are you positive you’re not a sorority girl at Sarah Lawrence? That weak-ass shit won’t play tailgating at Lambeau, none of it is even from Milwaukee)
Song—Too many to list
Line from a song—Are you kidding—I’m not a quote man. Wait, one of my favorite songs is the old CCR number WHO’LL STOP THE RAIN. “Clouds of mystery pouring, confusion on the ground…”
Pizza topping—Canadian bacon and mushrooms
Crime—Favorite crime?? What, you trying to get me arrested?
Place—To just relax, I stay at a small cottage on Lake Winnebago—though I love to travel all over.
Quote—I have a favorite movie quote—“Mr. Townes, you behave as if stupidity were a virtue.” Can you guess the movie. Clue—Jimmy Stewart was in it. And yes, I’ve been accused of behaving just this way at times.
AN: Eat sushi at least twice a month. Once did 101 pushups in 60 seconds. Climbed Yosemite’s Half Dome.
AN: Probably word of mouth or word of internet. I don’t really have a favorite genre—but like to read what is selling and try to figure out that “secret formula.” Still haven’t figured it out yet. Also, I enjoy reading books by fellow authors that I’ve gotten to know.
Ed: So no favorite genre, but how about a least favorite? What genre would you read only if you lost a bet?
AN: Gay male erotica.
Ed: Very specific. Do you have a favorite author, and do you think they influence your own writing?
AN: No favorite author or book. I must admit, in small ways, I’m probably influenced a little with every book I read—how an author set up a scene, dialogue, character development, all those aspects that go into completing a novel. No, I don’t have a favorite book. In fact, I couldn’t name a book I’ve read twice. Now movies, that’s entirely different.
Ed: What’s the first book you remember buying with your own money?
AN: This is another “Are you kidding me?” Can’t recall, it was so long ago. Probably some dinosaur book when I was young—used to love reading about those “terrible lizards.”
AN: Oh yes, the classics. If I ever had to expostulate on my reading list, I would surely be branded an ignorant dumbass—but hey, I did get through MOBY DICK.
Ed: Second time Moby Dick has come up in these interviews, both times with derision. I love that book, though the short story “Bartleby the Scrivner” is much better. So, ever lied about reading, or not reading, a book?
AN: I think I once told a teacher I read “Catcher In The Rye,” but really only read the cliff notes. I have since absolved myself of that literary crime.
Ed: Ever read a book you were sure you were going to like, and not liked it?
AN: I thought for sure I was going to like that second to last installment of CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR series—didn’t read the last—and I was not too impressed.
Ed: Ever grudgingly read a book, and loved it?
AN: Not grudgingly, but more out of curiosity I read THE TWILIGHT series, and really enjoyed them.
Ed: What’s your favorite line from a book?
Ed: Now onto talking, or rather writing, about writing. Huh. Anyway: Plotter or Pantser?
AN: Mostly a panster, though I do have some plot points that I want to reach at certain points in the book. How I arrive at these points changes often, though. Which can be really frustrating.
Ed: Best/Worst advice you ever got as a writer?
AN: Best—Why don’t you try to write love story. This was from a former agent. Never would have written BARBARY POINT if he had not suggested. And I like BP so I’m glad I followed his suggestion.
Worst—Someone suggested I write some screenplays. Was that a
waste of time and effort.
Ed: Best/Worst thing about being a writer?
AN: Best—being independent. Worst—being independently poor—at least from my writing.
Ed: There’s a great traition of starving artists. Sometimes to death. On that happy note, Why Indie?
AN: I was bounced from traditional publishing so thought I would give it try. Haven’t regretted it yet.
Ed: Is being a writer what you expected? How so or how not?
AN: Yes, I expected it would be really tough to make a living at it, and it is. But I’ll keep trying.
AN: No, I think this would be difficult—unless Stephen King gave me a call. Then…
Ed: That’s the first time anybody said “No,” which sort of surprised me. I thought all us writers were control freaks.
If you were starting to write for the first time, what would you do different?
AN: Trying to think here—can’t really say, except prepare myself mentally better for all the rejections. When I first started I figured how hard can it be to pen a bestseller? Well, it’s damn hard, for me anyway. Still waiting to strike that literary gold.
Ed: What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?
AN: One word—persistence.
Ed: What’s the moral of the story?
AN: If you believe in your project, you have no excuse to stop trying.
AN: It happens different ways. Sometimes I have a title I want to use and sometimes the title doesn’t come to me until I’m well into the story. THE UNNATURAL was like that—originally it was titled Angel Face. SMILODON, however was the title from the first word.
Ed: How do your characters get their names?
AN: Random acts of choosing. No particular methodology here, though the protagonist in GARGOYLES, Amoreena got her name from a little known Elton John song.
Ed: So little-known I’ve never heard of it. “Oh, Nikita” gives me the dry heaves, but of course there’s a story behind that. I’m digressing again.
If you could live in the world / with the people of one of your stories, which one would it be and why?
AN: Tough one, since most of my stories are what I label simple commercial fiction. Not fantasy or paranormal. Maybe SMILODON since I like the outdoors and fresh air—though I wouldn’t want that freak giant cat chasing my ass.
Ed: What do you think your books say about you?
AN: That I try hard. Lol.
Ed: Is there anything you have written which you would now like to change or revise, wish you had written differently, etc.?
AN: Always. I think I could pick up any one of my books and always find a sentence or paragraph I could write better. Would I do that—nope.
Ed: Tell me about your favorite character.
AN: Have to say Amoreena Daniels. Brilliant, beautiful , and brave—the three b’s of a great heroine. ( and not the fourth b—b**ch)
Ed: Have your favorite character tell me about you.
Amoreena: “Ed, this guy Alan, he put me in a couple of tough spots and if I ever meet him, I’m going to kick his ass.”
AN: And she probably could. (though I’d love to wrestle her)
Ed: Alan again, What’s your favorite line which you have written?
AN: Love is a lot like that. You see someone you want, the chemistry is there, and zappo, you’re
hooked. (Sorry, two lines. From BARBARY POINT)
Ed: And now, the dreaded HYPOTHETICALS (cue sinister music)
AN: My documents. Fortunately I back everything up.
Ed: Yeah, everybody says they back-up everything. They “say” that, but one wonders. Wonders.
You are looking at the back of a book in a bookstore, reading an online blurb, or whatever. What sort of thing makes you say “yes,” what sort of things makes you say “pass?”
AN: I rarely read the blurbs. I have a pretty good idea on what I want to buy before I even go into the bookstore or online. Pass—anything to do with child molestation or gay male erotic material.
Ed: You have one perfect day of free time, no obligations, needs, or responsibilities. What do you do?
AN: Write and read—I love to read. A hike in the mountains wouldn’t be bad either. Then a nice massage(did I say sensual? No). Then a great dinner, then…Hey, I could go on forever with this.
Ed: Someone “in the business” suggests you change something you feel is a critical part of one of your books, and guarantees it will increase sales. What do you do?
AN: It would depend greatly on who this someone was, but I would listen for sure. I don’t discount anything. And maybe I would change but it is hard to say based on a hypothetical.
Ed: You are offered just enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life, if you will just stop writing. What do you do?
AN: I would accept the money, then become a “closet writer.”
Ed: Sneaky. What question do you wish I had asked?
AN: Here’s a question I wish would have been appropriate to ask—Alan, how does it feel to be a bestselling author? Hey, maybe one day I’ll get to field that one. Seriously, thanks for the opportunity—some of these
questions really made me think. Maybe I should start reading some classics…
Ed: I <3 Edith Wharton
And now, Alan’s books, for each of which he good enough to provide the dreaded FIVE WORD SYNOPSIS, which I always ask for, as I know how truly-madly-deeply all authors loathe doing them. Please consider checking him out, as he’s an all right guy. For a Cheesehead. Go, Bears.
GARGOYLES—A student becomes a surrogate.