Kindle Author Interview With Ted Prokash

Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Join us as Kindle Author Ted Prokash parks his ass in the interview chair for another round of questions on why he writes and what his new book is about.

Why do you write?

I write because it’s the only thing I’ve ever conceived of myself doing, like as a vocation.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve identified as a writer for as long as I can remember. I started reading at an early age, and I’ve viewed the world through a narrative perspective, again, literally, as long as I can remember. 

What genre are your books?

I consider them counter culture - literary fiction, for lack of anything better. 

What draws you to this genre?

My interest is in the literary, I like the stuff that most articulately communicates the human experience. Counter culture because what is most popular in American fiction, as in movies and music, is so vapid an insidious that I’m damn well joining the OPPOSING team! 

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I realized that my band was never going to be popular. That I should concentrate on what I’m good at, for God’s sake.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write ALL THE TIME, though not for a living.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

It’s important that certain members of the management team don’t read this, but I compose mentally throughout my workday, frantically scribbling out sentences when no one is looking. On the weekend I like to get up early and hammer out what I’ve written throughout the week on an electric typewriter. At night I work on editing, blogging, correspondence, etc. Things like this interview. Interestingly, the Microsoft Word spell checker does not recognize blogging as a word. What year is it?

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

Slowly. Painfully.

What have you written?

I published my first novel, A Fool for Lesser Things, in 2011 and my second, The Brothers Connolly, in 2015. These are available on Amazon and from the Joyless House website (links below). 

I’ve finished writing a third book, Journey to the Center of the Dream, a beat-road novel/fictionalized punk rock tour diary which I plan on putting out sometime this year. I’m about a hundred pages into a fourth book, a romance/murder mystery/political thriller set in 19th century Russia.

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

I start with a rough outline, or a least a few major plot points and then let the story flesh itself out as I write it. 

How do you market your books?

I’ve set up a website with a lot of legitimate content on it which I try to direct people to through various social media. I’ve done several events with live music and readings, I have a reading in San Francisco on February 21st. What I’ve really found gratifying is connecting with other artists by getting them involved in these events and doing interviews and reviews of their work. I’ve discovered that if you hope to be supported by a certain community, you have to be an active member in that community.

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

The event I held in my hometown sold some books. Otherwise, no. You’ve got to have a lot of patience and a long-term view.

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

My wife will contend that my author picture is a big mistake. She will contend that it is infinitely childish. I say, “hogwash”. Truth in advertising, baby. We’re not always nice and not always pretty at Joyless House. The truth is hardly ever nice or pretty.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

If you are writing with the sole intention of making money, then spare us all and quit now. If you do not love your work don’t do it. Read Bukowski’s poem, “So You Want to Be a Writer”.

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

I think my main character ends up being a “she”. None of my characters do anything particularly special. They are very ordinary people. That is important because they are just like us; maybe we can learn from them!

Where do your ideas come from?

I take a high dose of LSD and head out on Lake Michigan in a rowboat with no life jacket, food, or water, just whatever stray cats I can find around the neighborhood. Just kidding, I believe God puts them in me. You can edit that out if you like. This is a very hard question. 

What is the hardest thing about writing?

I guess, getting over the fear that your writing is not good enough to be read and appreciated. 

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

I really find it a joy to write. I wouldn’t say that anything about it is “hard”. The time between writing “The End” and actually seeing the book published does require patience. 

Which writers inspire you?

Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gogol, Dickens, Knut Hamsun, Celine, William Burroughs, Henry Miller, Hemmingway, Bukowski, Ken Kesey, F. Scott, Robert Caro. Currently, Tony Nesca, Nicole Nesca, Alex Mussawir, Richard Wehrenberger Jr. 

What do you do to get book reviews?

Beg, plead, whore my services.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?

Mildly successful.

What is the current book you are promoting? 

The Brothers Connolly

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

Probably George Connolly, the old man. There is a lot of depth to him that isn’t necessarily expressed explicitly. He has a very wry sense of humor. A kind soul. He’s probably the most sympathetic character in the book. 

Who is your least favorite character and why? 

Oh, come now. I love all my characters. They are like my children. Some are flawed of course, but they’re only human, after all. 

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

Honestly, I don’t see enough movies to even be able to name actors that would fit. Perhaps Joaquin Phoenix could have a role, if he’d agree to play his part as interpreted by his drugged-out rapper persona. I think I’d like that.

What is your next project? 

Journey to the Center of the Dream, coming in 2016.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

That’s a tough question. I sobbed when Augustus Maccrae died in Lonesome Dove. The narrator In Dostoyevsky’s Notes From the Underground is amazing. The language of his inner dialogue is so vivid and insane that you can almost feel yourself coming unhinged along with him as you read the book.

How do you write your books? 

My first draft is done with pen and paper, almost illegible. As pages accumulate I type out a copy; some editing is accomplished in this transfer. Lastly I word process the whole thing on a computer – like a normal human being of the 21st century. 

Where do you come up with your stories? 

I generally take real experiences I’ve had and then fictionalize them. 

Who is your favorite author? 

Probably Dostoevsky – if I had to pick one.

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

Persistence. There are a million reasons not to write, but only one reason TO write: because you have to. If you are inexplicably compelled to write, then do it and don’t take no for an answer. “If you are called, you will know:’, or something like that.

What is one thing you hate about being a writer?

There is nothing to hate. It is an unmitigated joy. Have you ever read any of Dan Brown’s comments about his writing process? How LABOROUS, how ARDUOUS it is, how EXHUASTING. Dude needs to do something else with his life if writing is such a chore.

Tell us something unique about you

Funny you should ask. I am a founding member of Hue Blanc’s Joyless Ones. We play “falling rock”. We have toured this country from coast to coast. Our new album, Stoning Josephine is available from Certified PR Records. The title is derived from a short story by Franz Kafka, Josephine the Songstress. How’s that for highfalutin? 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?


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