1) Tell us about your most recent release.
My latest release was “Fermata Girl Vs The Medallion of Doom”, the second part of my Karaoke Duo series, earlier this year. Originally, I didn’t intend to start a series, as I began to write the first volume just for fun and impress a certain girl. However, by the time I finished it I discovered I had in my hands a great situation and such well-developed characters that they merited a continuation. The first book tells us how Sheila Freemont and Edward Strongbox, a very unlikely pair, meet each other in a karaoke bar and discover they have great superpowers when they sing together. They decide to fight crime as superheroes, although there isn’t much in their home town that could pass for great hero work, except maybe rescuing old ladies from treetops and helping kittens cross the street. Of course, the appearance of an evildoer changes all that and our brand new superhero team must work together to save the day. By the end of the first book they’re pretty much in love, which leads to the beginning of “Fermata Girl”.
Edward really wants to give Sheila a nice first-anniversary present, so he searches high and low for one and stumbles upon this curious trinket; an ancient medallion with his beloved’s effigy carved in ivory. He buys it and then hell breaks loose in my customary fashion.
2) What else do you have coming out?
I just finished writing “Xaman”, a paranormal romance in a collaboration with a very talented writer, Simone Beaudelaire. It’s a very interesting tale happening in the trackless jungles of Belize, involving the meeting of two very different cultures. We wanted to put our two particular fields of expertise to work here; hers is the romantic novel; mine the jungle adventure. When we started writing together, I was afraid the book would just be a failed Frankenstein project. But as we progressed and our different writing styles seemed to merge seamlessly, we became quite excited with its possibilities. Hopefully, this won’t be our last collaboration together.
3) How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
I just go: ‘Meh. Definitely the reviewer wasn’t my target demographic.” Bad reviews are good, anyway. Shows you’re doing some progress as a writer.
4) Do you write in more than one genre?
Yes, I do. I’ve done horror, sci-fi, cyberpunk, paranormal romance in my constant search for my niche market. I found it in the end: This-writer-guy-ought-to-be-in-a-straitjacket genre. Regrettably, even though I love to write zany madcap comedies, the market for them is rather poor. Nobody seems in the mood to have a good, silly chuckle these days.
5) How do you choose the titles of your novels?
I never set out to write my novels with a title in mind; I always manage to stumble upon the perfect title somewhere along the road. Some text passage or central idea attached to the plot could trigger it; some are easy, some are just difficult. Karaoke Duo found its title around page two, I suppose; my first novel AI Rebellion, took a little longer. Someplace around page 60 and onward. My current project has reached page 200 and has yet to find a proper name.
6) Have you ever dispatched a character and then regretted it?
Ohhh, I’ve killed dozen of characters in my books, but I never felt any remorse. Most of them deserved their fate anyway. In my fourth book I practically razed a small town, turning most of the survivors into vampires… and then kill them massively by whatever means. But it’s a cop out; killing characters is such rookie writer stuff, especially the bad guys; there are more interesting ways to provide them their comeuppance without having to shoot them, stab them or poison them (no character was harmed during the time it took to write this answer).
7) What did you do before you began writing and publishing?
I was a merchant, running my own sporting goods manufacturing company. I specialized in gymnastic mattresses and I was doing rather well until the political upheaval now happening in my home country practically forced me to shut down operations. Most probably, if this mess hadn’t occurred in the first place, we wouldn’t be even having this interview. Surely, I’d be still making money by truckloads. Sigh.
8) Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?
Many times. Particularly when the character’s plight(s) closely resemble mine.
9) How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?
I can say it has plenty. The most traumatic experiences of my life come from that time… and it’s a good reserve from which to draw things up while writing. Colors, smells, sounds seemed so loud and bright back then, don’t they? Same with emotions. Childhood is a bountiful well for any real writer out there.
10) Do you laugh at your own jokes?
Privately, while I’m making them up. When it’s time to tell them to someone else, I’m a master of the deadpan… only smiling knowingly to hint my victi… errr… subject that the good part is coming.
11) What are books for?
Reservoirs of knowledge. Escape hatchways to another Universe. Mine are good for paperweights or when you have to fix a table with uneven legs.
12) Have you ever found true love?
A little time back, I’d have answered this question in the negative. Now, I say that I may have just met Miss Right a few weeks back. But there are many hurdles to overcome first, namely the distance. About 5,000 are between us and that’s the first one. Quite a problem to solve, especially considering that certain parts of my body can’t reach that long.
13) Describe your writing process. When and where do you write?
I basically compose everything in my mind before committing a single word to paper. When I’m satisfied with all the plot points, twists, McGuffins and all… then the process of writing is rather like taking dictation from myself. I’m 95 % a plotter… and yet the remainder 5% that’s a pantser is what gives my stories the final veneer of details that make them great.
14 What are you planning to write in the near future?
I’m already plotting the third book in the Karaoke Duo series. The main plot is already there, but I’m still testing all the little jokes and absurd situations that will make it work.
15) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Just don’t try this at home, kids! Now, seriously… guys and guyettes, don’t even think of starting to write if you can’t take the hardships, the miseries and being cornered into obscurity. I should know. Even with self-publishing, still only 1 percent of the authors can really make it. Sorry to rain on your parade, folks, but that’s the Truth.
Bio: Hello, my name’s Edwin Stark, and I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. That’s South America for the few geographically-challenged ones out there. I suppose that somehow the stork had just stumbled out from a pub while it was delivering me, (it was confused to say the least) and mishandled my humble persona, leaving me stranded in this unlikely place.
Having German ancestry, I spoke that language as a toddler, but my Mom had the misconception that I’d fit better here if I spoke Spanish, so that tongue was lost during my growing years. This said, it’’s obvious that this background lends a very distinctive and exotic flavor to what I write. I grew up dreaming crazy tales and was my teacher’s pet when it came to composition class—but not in deportment: that was for certain—and as I grew up I tried to get noticed as a writer by submitting to every magazine and writing contest available in my home country. No such luck; the publishing market in Venezuela is utterly locked out: you can only see your words in print if you’re already a notorious politician or a TV celebrity. Since I wasn’t in the inclination of becoming a serial murderer to achieve notoriousness and get published, the need to rethink the approach to my writing career became a must.
Eventually, I decided to switch languages and start writing in English. I was already proficient in that language… but was I good enough to tell stories in that fashion?
I then started to write short stories, effectively dumping my native language. I wrote nearly 200 short stories during a period of about eighteen months, slowly learning the nuances of story-telling in another language than your own. I already had the benefit of having the knack of telling a tale; I only had to adjust. 190 of the short tales certainly sucked; 10 were really neat, but the important thing was the learning process. These ten tales eventually made it into Cuentos, the short story collection which became my third book. I succeeded so well in tearing myself apart from Spanish, that almost everyone I meet online says: “I CAN’T BELIEVE ENGLISH ISN’T YOUR FIRST LANGUAGE!”
Eco Station One http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0048EK054
The Clayton Chronicles http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005GO5WQW
The Karaoke Duo Vs The Karaoke Zombies http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A8DIM6S
Fermata Gil Vs The Medallion of Doom http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I90B084
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/edwinstarkwriter?
Thank you Edwin for that interview.