Here’s what Spotlight is about; it’s an interview that promotes you! It will feature questions that are formatted to your needs. Questions will be focused on your work, upcoming work and some personal [but not intrusive] questions for your fans to get to know you more!
Today features Raymond Vogel
About your writing;
When did you start writing?
I would argue that my storytelling days began in the backyard, where our games often included the creation of fictional powers useful for clobbering my three younger brothers with. But I think the words actually started hitting paper sometime early in high school. I would daydream in class and start scribbling out stories that led into the unknown, without forethought or planning, just taking me out of my desk and toward the start of an adventure. Some of those early ideas are still floating around in my novels, mostly just for me to grin about when I see them.
What inspires you to write?
Massive amounts of nervous creativity. I have an “ideas” log that I keep (I’ve had many over the years) on my phone that’s, frankly, getting out of hand. When I was in elementary school, my heroes were Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo Da Vinci (Not DiCaprio – he was just a kid back then, too). Essentially, inventors. It led me to creating, inventing, analyzing, and generally taking apart most of my homes appliances to create strange new appliances of my own. After an engineering degree and heading out into the real world, though, I realized that very few engineers actually “create” anything. And so, the daydreaming continued and turned toward inventing worlds.
There’s an itch we writers have. You know it, if you’ve got it. I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night to write a short story. I pull over on the side of the highway to take a picture of a cool rock that looks like the side of an alien prison camp. I think maybe my wires are just crossed funny.
How has writing changed you as a person?
I don’t think writing has changed me in any obvious or dramatic way. One might argue that they give me an outlet for my creative itching, a kind of Neosporin to my over-scratched mosquito bite.
But I will say this, I love working with writers. As the owner of a small publishing company, I can’t express how spectacular it is to work with writers. It’s a breath of fresh air. They’re almost universally smart, humble, articulate, and outrageously productive people. That, in itself, gives me some validation of my overall optimism that the world is fully of smart, interesting people.
Adding some fun;
If you spend the rest of your life in a novel or novel series, what novel would it be and why?
Anything but Stephen King?
Actually, I’m a bit too scatterbrained to say one novel (or even a series) would hold my interest. My gut reaction was the Ender’s Game series, but with every new book comes a new interest.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about writing?
Every day. The art of writing is just that, an art. There’s so much to learn, so many techniques to try, so many opinions to consider. And when I read other fiction books, I pay attention to their style, how they develop their characters, the methods they use to draw the reader from one page to the next. When I listen to books on cd, I find the author’s voice rummaging around in my own head, recapturing the world in a slightly different light and changing my narrator’s voice (yes, I have a narrator voice in my head) to sound a lot more like theirs for a while.
My first book, Matter of Resistance, was drafted almost six years ago now. A friend recently begged to read both the latest and original versions back to back, and he noted that, although the plot had not changed dramatically, it was as if they were written by two completely different people. And, at least as far as my writing goes, it’s absolutely true.
Featuring your work and or upcoming work;
Tell us about your book [s]
Matter of Resistance was written for young adults, to inspire them to think beyond our Earthican confines in the context of a fictional future. The book takes place when our Mars-based settlement has outgrown its ties to Earth and is seeking their independence. It includes some brilliant and innovative kids, an underground organization and a secret relationship, and an unrelenting profit-grubbing corporate machine with the connections to escalate matters into outright war.
And I can’t help but share the following note. It came from Colonel Ross Nunn, USAF Retired, former Commander Air Force Astronautics Lab, and early proponent of antimatter and fusion-based propulsion research:
“Picked up the book to read the first chapter – didn’t put it down until I finished the entire book. Captivating, suspense-filled reading, beginning to end. The interplay of human tendencies for domination coupled with the sense of caring for our fellow man was gripping.“
Do you have a favorite part of your own book (s) ?
I’ll be honest, I like to blow things up and hurt characters. This book may be a poor example, primarily because of the intended audience, but I think there’s enough in there to satisfy others like me. Books I’m working on are much less kind to the characters, poor things.
Beyond that, there’s a spaceship factory scene. Having spent a number of years in a real one, I hope this gives readers a glimpse of places they haven’t seen before but that do exist.
In your book (s) what had been the hardest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Time! I have three girls, and finding the time to write a novel is a near-miracle. I wake up three hours before it’s time to leave for school, just to write. And they keep waking up earlier and earlier and earlier!
How is this world a better place because of your books?
I write for fun. I had a friend read the book a while back who had a keen interest in seeing what my “perspective” was. He said he can always find a hidden agenda in books and fully expected to find one in mine as well. We met for lunch to discuss this topic, and he very happily reported that he could not. He stamped my book as clean and unilaterally unaffiliated. So I’m not convincing anyone to be anything new. I just want them to enjoy and escape into the future, to see something interesting.
Promote your books in a sentence or less 🙂
An excerpt: “… there was no choice but to attack Earth.”
What are you working on now?
For a long while now I’ve been sitting on a drafted fiction book. It’s set in the future, long after the aliens have won and established themselves as our overlords, forcing humanity to be their slave labor force. And a handful of teenagers are finding ways to push back.
One of these days I’ll sit down and start refining it for publication.
Raymond Vogel’s Links