Interview with Neal Wooten
Author of Granny Dollar
Where are you from originally and where do you reside now?
Fort Payne, Alabama
If you currently reside somewhere besides where you were born, what’s the story that lead from there to here?
I was born in Fort Payne in the valley, grew up in Blake six miles away on the mountain, and have finally moved back to this area three years ago.
What made you decide to write and publish your first book?
My first book, Reternity, is a Christian science fiction novel. I couldn’t get the story out of my head and finally decided to try my hand at writing. I’m glad I did. Reternity has won ten national book awards and was named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011.
How would you describe your books to first time readers?
Diverse and family friendly. Many are science fiction set a little or far into the future.
Who do you feel is most likely to connect with the topics you write about?
I don’t think I have a defined demographic. All of my books to date fall under at least one category of fiction.
What unexpected or surprising thing did you learn during the process of writing and publishing?
When it comes to writing, I discovered that being an avid reader was invaluable. And I was surprised at the amount of support from friends and fellow writers. When it comes to publishing, I was shocked to learn how difficult it is to break into the industry when you are an unknown.
If you could, what advice would you give to your past self before embarking on this journey?
Don’t do it. Take up kayaking, or basket weaving, or anything you can simply quit when you want, and not an endeavor that will become embedded in your DNA causing you to crave endlessly those few patches of euphoria when you know you’ve touched a reader, which somehow for a moment allow you to forget the deepening heartbreak and ruthless rejections that accompany most writers.
How many people would you ideally like to reach with your books?
How many people are on the planet?
What has been the biggest challenge and frustration during the process to date?
Rejection. You will certainly develop thick skin.
What’s your biggest strengths when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?
My biggest strength with writing is my willingness to actually do it. Sometimes I devote entire weekends and get up from the computer for bathroom and snack breaks only. With publishing, my strength is persistence. Keep trying. Marketing is everyone’s Achilles Heel. I guess my strength there lies in my effort to try every option available.
What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?
I think my biggest weakness is that I can’t write very long books. Heck, I can’t read very long books. I need a book I can finish in one or two afternoons. As far as publishing, I’ve been published by several small to large publishers, but no giants in the industry — yet. And again, marketing is everyone’s weakness.
When do you think you will write your next book?
I’m working on it now, a non-fiction, which is not my norm. It’s about a famous kidnap victim from 1982 who actually reached out to me to write her story. I’m loving it. It will be titled, “Tell Him He Didn’t Kill Me.”
Are you self published or did you use a hybrid publisher, or a traditional publisher?
I’ve been published by all three.
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