Interview 110, Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus author, Sean Patrick Little, Part 3

Welcome back for part three in our talk with Sean Patrick Little, author of Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus.

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.

 

 

Airship Ambassador: What has your general publishing experience been like?

Sean Patrick Little: This has been something I have set upon doing since I was in second grade. I’ve only really wanted to be two things: A novelist and a comedian. I failed at one, and I’m not really successful at the other, so I just struggle along and try to forge my own path in the world of publishing. I’m not doing things by any sort of rule book. I don’t market well. I try not to take this too seriously, because it would probably break my heart if I did. Each book, I get better at the whole process. Someday, I might even get it right.

 

AA: Every step takes us forward, even when it doesn’t feel like it. For the aspiring writer, what lessons did you learn about having an agent and editor, their feedback, and your writing?

SPL: Agents are difficult to find. I don’t have one. I’ve had discussions with some, especially after my last novel, After Everyone Died, became a sort-of best-seller. However, none have latched their horse to my wagon, so to speak. I’m out there mostly on my own. I have friends who beta-read my projects, as most authors do, and I have a network of editors who lend a hand, but editors cost money, and some are far better than others.

No one will care about your book as much as you do—that’s the most important lesson. And no critic will be harder on your book than you are. If you think your book is fantastic, then you’ve probably done something wrong.

AA: Spoken like a true artist. What do you think when people say that writers need to be readers, too?

SPL: You absolutely cannot write without reading. You must be a reader first before you can even think about writing. That’s where I came from—I was a big reader as a kid. Still am. I try to read at least an hour a day. Some days, I will do a lot more. I try to write at least an hour a day, too. So, my ratio is pretty even most days. However, there are some days where I only read for ten or fifteen minutes before bed. And there are some days where I don’t write at all. I am not set in an ironclad schedule.

 

AA: Has anything made you stop reading something before finishing it?

SPL:  I stop reading when I don’t personally identify with a character. This is no knock against the writer, mind you. I just know who and what I like, and who I gravitate to, and if I don’t gel with a protagonist, it is hard to continue to read. I have written books (well, started to write, at least) where I fail to find a way to like the protagonist, and I never finish writing those books.

 

AA: Not liking a protagonist makes it harder to side with them, and yet, I think apathy can be even worse. How have you and your work changed over time?

SPL: As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned I have more to say about the world—specifically, how I don’t understand anything. I am always amazed when a 20-something gets a literary novel published. How did they learn so much in life? I’m 42 now, and I know less this year than I did last year. I think embracing the fact that I’m still clueless to having profound things to say about the world has helped me to streamline the stories.

I’m telling stories, not creating literature. Knowing that has made my writing stronger. I look back on some of the purple prose-laden pages I wrote in college, and I cringe.

 

AA: There’s that old saying, “Too soon old, too late smart.” In your experience as a writer, what have been the most useful skills to learn?

SPL: I think learning to tell the story and not worry about stylistics has been the hardest part. Some writers have great stylistics (Neil Gaiman, for example), and they can tell great stories. If I get worried about how I’m telling the story, I forget to actually tell the story. The story is king. It is the Alpha and the Omega. Everything else is just details.

 

AA: Substance over style. As such, what story would you like to write but haven’t, yet?

SPL: I’m trying to write that very story now! I have always, always, always wanted to write a sci-fi “ship & crew” novel. Growing up as a Star Trek fan, and later following Firefly, I have always wanted to write that book. I want a cool ship and a small cadre to run it, and I want them to tool around to different planets. I’m working on that sort of book right now, trading time between it and Clockwork Girl. We’ll have to see if I can finish it.

AA: New books, new adventures!  What kind of reactions have you received for Romanian Ruckus?

SPL: The book is still relatively new, so I haven’t received a lot of feedback, yet. It usually takes months for a book like this to find an audience without a lot of marketing. The people who attended TeslaCon and got copies there seemed excited to see it. My beta-readers really liked it.

 

AA: You’ve mentioned how writing is a long term passion. If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing now?

SPL: Well, I was teaching English and overseeing the General Education department at a tech school before that school changed its curriculum and eliminated the Gen. Ed. Classes. I’m currently unemployed, so I’m looking for a new job. It’s a sad fact that the majority of writers out there cannot make a living on their writing income. My writing income is almost non-existent. I tell people I have to work to support my writing habit. I have training and education in Journalism and English Education, so ideally I’d like to be doing something to do with either of those two fields. I like having a steady job, and I need the income.

Having a job really cuts into writing time, but it’s necessary. I would love to be able to have a standard income from my writing, but I doubt that will ever happen. The number of writers who can sustain that sort of life is painfully small.

 

OK, readers, while we need to pause here in our chat with Sean, we need more books to read, so let’s see what opportunities are out there for Sean, and for all of our friends.

Join us next time for the conclusion when he talks about interests and hobbies.

Until then, keep up to date with Sean’s latest news on his Twitter feed or Facebook.

You can support Sean and our community by getting your copy of Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus here.

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Published in: on April 18, 2018 at 7:27 pm  Comments (1)  

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