It’s Friday and you know what that means! I’ve got another author interview all lined up for you.
As you know, I’ve been interviewing as many artists and parents and artists/parents as I can get my hands on.
There are equally as many challenges as moments of joy in making a living as an artist and I believe the same can be said of parenting. I’ve been curious to know how other artists and parents manage. So naturally, I found a bunch of them and asked a ton of questions! Since I’m a giver, I thought I’d share them with you.
Did you miss a few? Catch up!
Greg Tremblay – voice actor and homesteader.
ML Larson – the awesome uncle who uses British spellings despite living his whole life in the States.
Christine Tate – the Navy wife and homeschool mom who’s published her own bible study series.
Jane Danger – an author with the crazy cool name!
Julia Keanini – a newly self-published author and mother.
Horst Christian – the 84 year old man who moved here from Germany during the war and had my history buff of a step-dad going absolutely gaga over what he must have lived through.
Julie Ann Dawson – author/editor/publisher/gamer girl
*waits for drum roll to finish*
Let’s get to know Alex King!
R. M. Webb: Tell me about yourself.
I am deathly boring. Seriously. I can’t even think about myself without nodding off … zzzzz … Okay, let’s see. The most important thing anyone should know about me is that I use way too many exclamation points when I type, so I apologize in advance for my exuberance. I blame coffee. I’ve been writing for about ten years, published for a handful, self-published for almost 1 year. And I live with my family in the Pacific Northwest, which is pretty much the most beautiful area ever. Also, and this isn’t even remotely pertinent, I’m a brunette.
R. M. Webb: Why do you create?
That’s a good question. I wish I had a good answer. At first writing started as kind of a semi-serious lark. I’d just finished reading a dreadful book (don’t ask me the title—my memory has erased that part of its data banks to remember other, better books) and I thought, “HA! I can do better!” Then I went out and proved to myself that even writing a terrible book takes a massive amount of skill and perseverance. But it wasn’t long before I fell in love with writing, with the act of creating new stories. In a way it’s kind of a drug. I get a high from a good day’s writing. (Help, I can’t stop!)
R. M. Webb: Quick! Chocolate or chips?
Yes. Was that quick enough for you? Too quick? Okay, longer answer: Chocolate. Except when it’s chips. Has anyone invented a chocolate-covered chip yet? They should. Or a chip-covered chocolate.
*Googles* Oh. This has already been invented. I wonder if our couch is sturdy enough to hold a six- hundred-pound woman …?
R. M. Webb: Yes! A local business has them here and I simply can’t buy them or I’d have to forgo sleep in order to find time for my workouts! Now, while I go off daydreaming about chocolate covered chips, you go ahead and answer the next question. Is your art your business? Do you make money (or try to!) for the things you create? Do you have a day job?
Writing is my full-time job. It’s been that way for a few years now, ever since I got my first trade- publishing deal.
R. M. Webb: If you still have a day job, would you like to get to the point where you could give it up?
If I had a day job I didn’t love, yes, definitely. But I’m not sure I would if I was working some other job I also loved.
R. M. Webb: What caused you to want to market your art?
I like money. It’s nice and very useful for things like electricity and food. The possibility of making money doing something I love—writing—seemed to be the best of both worlds, so that’s what I aimed for as soon as I realized writing was becoming a serious passion.
R. M. Webb: Where/when does inspiration strike?
Usually when I’m in the shower. There was a time when I used to keep a pen and notecards in the bathroom, but bounding out of the shower, naked and wet, is dangerous. Don’t try it at home, folks. Also, inspiration often strikes while I’m driving. Other drivers are so supportive and nice when I stop in the middle of traffic to jot stuff down. They yell out inspirational quotes and wave, usually one-fingered, because Pacific Northwesterners are all about conserving energy.
I’m kidding. I don’t do this and neither should you.
R. M. Webb: How do you react to negative feedback?
I don’t. I’m really laid-back about bad reviews and whatnot. They happen. You can’t please everyone. I’ve had opposing reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly on the same book. I’ve had emails where readers have contacted me for the sole purpose of telling me I suck, my books suck, and they’re going to tell everyone they know that my books and I suck in hell. All they get in return is a nice reply telling them that I hope the next book they read is more enjoyable—and I mean that sincerely. My better half, however, is less calm about it. He thinks everyone who doesn’t like my books is an idiot. Every writer, I think, needs someone like that in their corner.
R. M. Webb: What’s your greatest obstacle as an artist?
Myself. I procrastinate to my own detriment, at times. Then I turn right around and wish I had more hours in the day. Also, the internet. It’s so easy to fall into a research hole. I go looking for one tiny factoid … then it’s an hour or so later. What happened to that time? The internet ate it then swiped my memory clean, I swear.
R. M. Webb: Who’s your biggest champion?
My fiancé. He believes in me when I’m convinced I write monkey poop. He’s wrong, of course, because I do write monkey poop. But it’s sweet that he thinks otherwise.
R. M. Webb: Quick! Red or blue?
Blue! Unless we’re talking about clothes. I look—and, for some reason, feel— terrible in blue.
R. M. Webb: Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids?
I have a little girl who is almost 3. She’s kind of like … the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. It’s a running joke in our household that she could cut off our heads at any moment, for the simplest of crimes. The biggest problem is that she’s smarter than both of us—combined. We went into this parenthood thing thinking, We know all the tricks, we’ll be smarter than our child, at least until high school. Wrong. She’s already thinking rings around us.
R. M. Webb: If your child showed talent in an artistic endeavor, would you help her pursue a career in that field after having worked in a creative field yourself? Why or why not?
Yes, I’ll help her pursue anything that leads to her fulfillment and happiness in life. Unless it’s dancing on a pole. Can I say that here? Because I just said it. No one should encourage their kid to go on the pole. If my daughter wants to pursue a career in art, I’m happy to help. But if she wants it to remain just a hobby, then I’m cool with that, too.
R. M. Webb: How do you structure your day as an artist/entrepreneur/person/parent? How do you get it all done?
I get up early—just before 5 if I can—to write. If I’m lucky I can get a thousand words down before my daughter gets up. If she wakes up early then I just roll with that. I keep my laptop open on the kitchen table (our place has an open floor plan) and I sneak words in between mommy stuff, like trips to the playground and untangling hair bushes from my hair. She’s really great at independent play, so I do manage to get some decent words in during the course of a day. On the weekend, when her dad is home, I play catch-up. Working at night isn’t really a viable option for me. Once my daughter goes to bed all I’m capable of is passing out on the couch.
R. M. Webb: Describe yourself as a parent.
One word answer: exhausted.
Longer answer: exhausted, frazzled, and happy. I try not to stress myself into a coma, although I do have my moments …
R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about raising kids?
The daily changes. Every day my daughter learns new words, new songs, and becomes more able to communicate. It’s wonderful to watch her grow. Also, the cuddles are awesome. She’s a little cuddle monster.
R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about raising kids?
Knowing that someday, in the not-too-distant future, she’ll think I’m an idiot and refuse to be seen with me in public. I am an idiot, and no one should be seen in public with me, but that’s beside the point.
R. M. Webb: Are your kids ever involved with your art? Do they inspire you? Work with you? Would you like to include them in your business as they grow?
My daughter inspires me to drop the writing and read her stories instead. She’s really too young at the moment to work with me. But later, if she wants to be a part of the business, she’s welcome to join in. Worst case scenario, she can keep the coffee coming!
R. M. Webb: What advice would you give someone dreaming of making it in your field?
Get a life—outside of the computer, that is. Doing interesting stuff, talking people, both those things enable you to bring something new to the writing. If you sit and home and stagnate it’ll show.
Consume as many stories as you can: books, movies, television, wherever. The most stories you’re exposed to, the more you’ll understand how stories work and reduce the chances of replicating something that’s already been done to death.
R. M. Webb: If you could pass one thing on to the next generation in general, what would it be?
Practical skill: The ability to count change back correctly. I’m tired of having cash dumped in my hand when I pay cash. It’s like no one can do this anymore.
Advice: Be kind—to yourself and others.
R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your life?
My family. No contest.
R. M. Webb: Quick! Eat out or cook at home?
Cook at home. I enjoy cooking, and I’m pretty darn good at it. But let’s not discuss the failure that was gnocchi the other night.
R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about your craft?
Getting that first draft down can be excruciating, at times. I love working with a completed first draft, even if it’s a mess. That’s when the magic happens.
R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about your craft?
That moment when you string a handful of words together and realize they’re smooth, beautiful, and evocative. And hearing readers say they enjoyed my stories. I’m grateful and happy every time someone tells me I managed to entertain them.
R. M. Webb: What’s the hardest thing about the business side of your craft?
Getting the word out there. It’s tough enough when you’ve got a Big Five publishing house behind you. It’s so much more difficult when you’re going it alone.
R. M. Webb: What’s the best thing about the business side of your craft?
Being in control of every aspect of publishing. Except, of course, whether or not readers buy my books.
R. M. Webb: Quick! Your peanut butter’s on your banana. What do you do?
Cram it all into my mouth and chew! You have to be quick or Elvis will steal it. I know he’s supposed to be dead, but I’ve heard baseless rumors …
R. M. Webb: Ok, now the fun part! Show off what you can do! Link to your website, your books, your twitter, whatever you want to do to get more eyes on your work.
You can’t see me, but I’m touching the tip of my nose with my tongue. Oh, you mean artistic stuff …
Click here to find my books on Amazon
Here’s my spiffy Facebook page:
And my website is currently in progress so it’s not up yet (my better half is working on it):
A million thank yous for having me!
A million thank yous back! Do you have a question for Alex? Pop it in the comments!
**Standard disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview don’t necessarily reflect the views of R. M. Webb.