Author Interview With Moshe Schwartz

Monday, 18 January 2016

Interested to find out what makes an indie author tick? Check out this interview with fantasy author Moshe Schawrtz:
If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it?
I chose my pen name, W.G.S., because I want to create a series of interlocking universes with a certain persona with the name “W.G.S.” at the center of it all. Why I chose those letters is a secret for now...
Why do you write?
I'm always lost in my thoughts, daydreaming, so I felt it would be a good idea to write some of those ideas down.
When did you decide to become a writer?
In the fall of 2009. After a very rough period of my life, I decided to finally sit down and write a story I had in mind for a number of years, and it somehow managed to turn into a novel.
What genre are your books?

Fantasy for the most part, although I write traditional poetry as well.

What draws you to this genre?

There are fewer rules in fantasy than in other genres. By its very definition, fantasy allows you to break the limits of the ordinary and enter the extraordinary.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
As I had said, I went through a very rough period. I felt like there was nothing to lose, so I just started to write without any expectations.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Part-time, if that. I don't have a lot of time to write in any given week due to a full-time job and a lengthy commute.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I try to write on Saturday nights, which is when I have the most interrupted time to do so. Thursday night works as well, but for a shorter period.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I think I've gotten better at spending more time developing an idea than just hoping an idea will work in the long run.
What have you written?

So far, I have two books: The Villas, a fantasy fiction novel; and Encroaching Darkness, a collection of poetry.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?

A bit of both, but I probably depend more on an outline than free-writing. I don't thinks there's a one-size-fits-all approach, though.

How do you market your books?

So far I've tried one ad campaign with Amazon and another with Twitter, each to varying degrees of success.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?

As of yet, no. I'm still learning the ropes of marketing and it'll probably take a while for me to get the nag of it.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future?

I'd say my biggest mistake is not paying enough attention to the marketing side of writing. I guess that's because marketing involves the real world and that's precisely what I avoid when writing fantasy.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Don't worry if it takes a while to write a story. Even after you finish, the journey continues in the land of marketing.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?

Although there's no true main character in The Villas, the closest character fitting that description would be Claire, a teenage girl who can create fire and is the daughter of two supervillains. She is the glue that binds all of the other characters together, whether or not she likes it, but she never stops fighting for her beliefs.

Where do your ideas come from?

Half the time, I think my subconscious is leaking ideas to me from a part of my brain that's locked away; honestly, some ideas seem to come from nowhere. The other half is inspired from everything I read, see, and hear. Claire, for example, was inspired by the character of the same name from The Breakfast Club.

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Revising. Sometimes I'll want to change a passage, but then I'll reread it and say to myself, “Eh, that's good enough,” which is a very lazy way of handling a story. You need to be willing to change your first draft, but it's often for the better.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Editing it, since it's very large (a bit over 300,000 words) and it takes many readings to clean up.
Which writers inspire you?
Douglas Adams. After that, it's unclear. I pick up little things from so many different books, so I'm sure I've been inspired by everything I've ever read.
What do you do to get book reviews?
So far, I've been asking people to review my book in exchange for a free copy.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
Not too great, but I will keep on trying. It's a difficult thing to put yourself out there when you risk being criticized for work that you spent years on.
What is the current book you are promoting? 

The Villas. It's about the struggle between two teams, one of superheroes and the other of supervillains, to claim the godlike power of a little girl, and all that ensues from her very existence.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

Volta, a violent superheroine who can create bolts of lightning. I think I wrote her the best out of all the characters.

Who is your least favorite character and why? 

Surge, a super who has unlimited adrenaline. She has a decent story, but it ends very abruptly and I didn't know what to do with her. She's one of the few loose ends I didn't managed to tie up.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast? 

This is a point I'm very fond of: aside from anomalies, skin color is never mentioned in the book. The descriptions themselves are very vague, so personality is the only true factor involved. That being said, I'd love for Will Smith and Sandra Bullock to be on the cast, because they're my favorite actor and actress.

What is your next project? 

A book of short stories, virtually all of them fantasy.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He represents my inner self better than any other character I've come across.

What one person from history would you like to meet and why? 

Albert Einstein. We have plenty of quotes by him, but I think meeting with him and talking about life and humanity would be an incredible experience.

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?

It would probably be to make us all a little more Vulcan. Emotions are nice, but human beings have too great a tendency to kill in my opinion.

How do you write your books? 

It's a bit embarrassing, but I tend to listen to ASMR videos to help me relax and focus on the story.

Who inspires your writing? 

No one in particular. A lot of my characters were once alter egos that I created myself and just stuffed into stories.

Where do you come up with your stories? 

Usually when I commute: currently, I travel about five hours daily, so I have a lot of time to think on the bus and train that I take.

Who is your favorite author? 

Douglas Adams. His ability to combine humor with science fiction is unparalleled, in my opinion.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?

No matter how much has been written throughout history, there's always another tale to be told.

What is one thing you hate about being a writer?

Researching. It makes a story better, obviously, but it can take more time to research a topic than to write the actual story.

Tell us something unique about you

I spent about a year and a half creating my own language, Koltian (granted, the lexicon contains only about 1200 words).

Is there anything else you would like to add that I’ve included?

I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity to share my work. I'm very timid in nature – I can stay quiet for hours with ease – so it's nice to be able to get my voice out once in a while.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Twitter: @Mjytresz2

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