After a 22-year career in the U. S. Air Force producing innumerable military reports and analyses, Fred Warren decided to cut his imagination loose and try his hand at writing the science fiction and fantasy that he’d enjoyed reading his whole life. With over fifteen works of short fiction appearing in a variety of print and online publications, and his first novel, The Muse, debuting in November 2009, he’s feeling pretty good about that decision, though he admits he’s still got a lot to learn. Fred works as a government contractor in eastern Kansas, where he lives with his wife and three children.
The Muse: Stan Marino needs a muse. He’s written himself into a corner…again. A shot of inspiration is all he needs to finish his story…where is he going to find it? Stan doesn’t realize that inspiration has found him, and it’s about to take over his life. Ripped from reality, he must lead a band of lost souls into a life-or-death battle with a merciless enemy. Stan has found his muse, but will he survive it?
Fred took a few minutes to talk about publishing from a writer's perspective with Writing Career Coach.
Writing Career Coach: What are some ways you prepared to market your book before you were published?
Fred Waren: Frankly, marketing was the last thing on my mind before Grace told me she wanted to publish my book. I figured I was in for at least a couple of years shopping it around to agents and publishers, if it sold at all. Suddenly, I had to think about things like cover art, and press packages, and conventions, and signings, and, of course, blog tours. I was completely unprepared.
WCC: Tell us about your book.
FW: The Muse is about inspiration. If creativity is the vehicle that allows us to do great things, inspiration is the fuel that makes it run. In my story, we meet Stanley Marino, an aspiring writer who's run out of inspiration. He's hit a brick wall. We often say that someone in this situation "needs a muse," or is "looking for his muse," but in this case, Stan literally finds a muse and discovers that reality is a lot stranger, and more dangerous, than he ever imagined. What seems at first to be the solution to all his problems becomes a battle for his soul and for the lives of the people most dear to him.
WCC: How do you plan and write your book?
FW: I normally would want to enter a project like this with a fairly well-defined roadmap, and I tried to do that. I had a one-paragraph summary, chapter synopses, a list of characters and their descriptions, historical background, and so on. Unfortunately, I’d planned for an entirely different story. About three days before I planned to start writing, the idea for The Muse just hit me out of nowhere, and I knew I had to write it instead. It was a very non-mechanical process, like watching a flower grow. In a sense, I lived the story along with the characters, discovering it as I wrote. I guess it's appropriate that a story about inspiration happened that way. I don't expect to always get hit by a bolt of lightning, but it's nice when it happens.WCC: Do you have a tip for finding and working with an agent?FW: No, I haven't had the chance to work with an agent yet. While I like the growing trend toward a sort of democratization of the publishing process, I still think it's important to cultivate professional relationships with people who are experts in making connections between authors and publishers and know which buttons need pushing.
WCC: What do you do other than writing? How do you maintain balance?
FW: That’s a great question. My whole life has been an unending search for balance—spiritual, emotional, physical, work, and family. It’s tough keeping all those balls in the air at once. I know my relationship with God has to be in order, or nothing else will work. Close behind that is my family, and of course, work pays the bills. I try to stay active…I run for exercise, and I find just getting out in the woods every so often does wonders for my peace of mind.
Read more of Fred’s interview here at Examiner.com
YOU COULD WIN!
Leave a comment on this posting and you could win a copy of The Muse. The drawing will take place on Nov. 24, 2009. This give away is for US residents only. There is no fee to enter.
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