And it’s another Strange Portals author! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the last guest of the year, Terry Compton!
I live in Columbia Falls, Montana. I have an office at the back of my shop that is my man cave. It’s my writing place.
Why do you write?
I’ve had the start of stories bouncing around in my head for quite some time. A friend of mine bought a sail boat and took it across the Gulf of Mexico about five years ago. He started sending regular updates of their journey. It triggered an idea that I could take my story ideas and do the same thing. The result was my first novel. So far I’ve finished sixteen more plus some short stories. Someday when I get better at the story telling, I hope to do this for a living.
When did you start writing?
My first novel was started in May of 2009.
Mostly what pops in my head. My biggest seller is sci-fi. I’ve done sci-fi, westerns, fantasy, romance, and thrillers. I have an idea for a mystery as soon as it jells a little more.
What does your writing routine consist of?
I try to write every day unless my business interrupts. (I run my own business of making ornamental iron gates and things. I also install and maintain gate operators.) After I check my emails and daily blog readings, I try to stay with the writing each morning. If the story is flowing, I’ll keep writing in the afternoon. If not, I’ll do something else until in the evening, then start again. My goal is to get at least two thousand words a day but like any goal, it doesn’t always happen. Sometime in the afternoon or evening, I’ll go back through what my editors have finished and make changes to my manuscript.
I have lots of stories and as long as I stick with it, I can get them down. The local writers group, Authors of the Flathead has helped me tremendously. One of the members used to write screen plays for McGiver, Airwolf and several of the TV shows. He gives a lecture once a month about writing. His ideas have pushed my writing to a higher level. The group also has an open reading once a month. The former president of the group and the present one are great for pointing out ways to make your writing more effective.
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
My stories come from things I see or hear. One of my short stories came from a newspaper article about a big fish someone had caught. It turned into my leprechaun short story “It was this Big”. Events from the news make great novel ideas. I guess I see myself as the hero of some of the novels. Mostly I put my grandkids and friends or their composites in the stories. Using their gestures and sayings for a character makes that character come alive. It’s fun to see their faces when they see their name in my stories.
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Definitely improviser. I just need a start to the story and a hazy idea of the end. The characters drive the rest. The local writers group thinks I’m very fast but I don’t know. I try to average about two thousand words a day. I see other writers talking about doing ten thousand a day. If I’m really tired, the words just won’t come. I think the best I ever did was about eight thousand words in a day. I’ve made over fifty thousand words in a month twice for Nanawritmo.
My latest work is a new series Wanted. It’s about a bounty hunter and his android partner that have been blown five hundred years into the past during a battle with space pirates. They find a crazy alien who has an imaginary partner. They are trying to find a way back to their own time but run into other troubles in the time line they are in. So far I have Wanted available at Kindle and Smashwords as wells as Wanted The Hunters available at Kindle and Smashwords. Wanted The Trap is almost finished. It should come out in February after all the editing. Wanted is currently free for a limited time.
Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie publishing. I have seventeen novels in print and ebooks now. If I had to go the traditional way, I most likely would still be getting rejection slips. I’m too old to wait for a contract and the contracts don’t seem to be that friendly anymore. My readers seem to enjoy what I’m writing so I’ll let them decide if my writing is any good.
I’ve got about eight more novels in mind. I just need to get them down in the computer. Short stories pop up at odd times and they have to fit in and compete for the new novel ideas coming along.
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
I’d like to hit the Amazon number one best seller with my novels. I’ve had a couple go to number one in the UK, Germany and France but not the US – yet. I keep going to Authors of the Flathead and other venues to improve my writing and I keep writing.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Dennis Foley, the screen play writer, had a picture of a dog sitting in a writing chair at the computer. The caption said, “Sit. Stay.” The other is to keep improving on your writing. I don’t think I’ll ever be a Hemmingway but maybe I can be a pulp fiction writer.
Where to find Terry: