Duke Pennell is a writer, but he’s also editor of Frontier Tales ezine. He’s a member of our NWA Writer’s crit group and we’ve all benefited from his editorial suggestions.
Latest Title: Frontier Tales ezine
1. I’m always interested in the writer’s process. How often do you write? Do you have a daily word count goal? Give me an overview (or detailed if you really want to go there) of your writing life.
Recently, I’ve been pretty focused on editing rather than writing. Frontier Tales (
) and “The 44th Flight,” a manuscript by Amy Weir, are taking up almost all my spare time. Occasionally, I set down and get something of my own down. The urge to write is almost like having a maddening itch. Sometimes it gets so bad I just have to scratch it, even though I really should be doing other things.
2. Do you also work a full-time non-writer job or career?
Yes. I work at the University of Arkansas. I’m a Computer Systems Engineer by trade and training..
3. How supportive has your family been of your writing time? Have you ever had to fight for your right to write?
Fabulously supportive. I’m fortunate that my wife loves writing and thinks it’s grand that I do too.
4. How long does it take you to write (from start to finish) a novel?
I’m still working on that one. “The Devil’s Backbone” was a short story I wrote that insists it isn’t finished. That’s the one that keeps itching at me. How long? Wow. Ask me that when I’m done.
5. What route to publishing did you take (agent, traditional, self-pub), and how long did it take from finish to publication?
My route to publication was shorter than most. I had some Western short stories I wanted to submit and I couldn’t find anywhere that was taking them. Out of desperation, I created Frontier Tales and began publishing other people’s work. I figured if I couldn’t get my stuff out there, at least I could help others. So far, it’s working out.
6. Is there a theme, or premise you’d really like readers to connect with in your latest book/story?
“The Devil’s Backbone” is a story about love, respect, and responsibility. It’ll be interesting to see how many people connect with these values.
7. Where are you going now, are you working on a sequel, or something entirely different?
I’m putting together the first anthology of stories from Frontier Tales. They’re all Readers Choice winners from the first year’s submissions. Should be fun!
8. Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
Everywhere! How can you look at the physicality of the world — the mountains, rivers, deserts, everything — and not be inspired? Or the people? Their needs, fears, and desires? Or, maybe most of all, from that dark place inside yourself where the secret stuff hides? Inspiration is easy. Everyone has an idea about a story. The hard part is getting it down so that the story you see in your mind is the same one the reader sees when he holds your work in his hands.
9. With all the focus lately on authors providing a lot of their own self-promotion, what are you doing in this respect?
I’m trying to be of service. My magazine publishes other people’s stories. I’ve been judging novels for different writers’ conferences and organizations. I’m doing public speaking whenever anyone can use my expertise. I believe if you help enough other folks get what they want, the universe helps you get what you need.
10. Who or what would you say has been the biggest influence on you as a writer?
My maternal grandmother. She told me the first stories that I remember. Just the memory of sitting in her lap, listening to her tell the tale of When Grandpa Shot The Whale, brings a warm glow to me. I’d like to pass that glow on to others.
My stories are in earlier anthologies from Echoes of the Ozarks, Voices, and in the latest Cactus Country. But you can find me every month, online, at Frontier Tales. If you haven’t been by lately, take a gander. You might even be moved to send in a tale or two yourself!
You’re welcome, Duke I’ll have to take another look at your ezine now. The latest photo prompt (posted yesterday here) might inspire me to write a tale that fits the genre.
This was the last of the interviews I have lined up for the men of northwest Arkansas. If anyone else wants to participate, no matter where you live, let me know and I’ll send you the questions.
Next week look for Viviene Tuffnell’s interview. She’s a writer-friend of mine I met through blogging and Twitter.