Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Same Six Questions - R.E. Long

Hi! And welcome to my special weekend edition of The Same Six Questions! Today, my special guest is speculative YA fiction author, R.E. Long. We met at this year's Collingswood Book Festival. I had the pleasure of setting up shop right next to Ralph and we spent the day chatting back and forth about the ups and downs of being self-published. An experienced non-fiction author, Ralph recently jumped into the fiction deep end with his latest release. Welcome, Ralph!

Thanks for having me on, andy! My name is Ralph Long (R.E. Long), and I’m a 48-year-old husband and father of six. I reside in Southern New Jersey, with my family and our 2 Labrador Retrievers who I truly believe run the show. I grew up in the Central Pennsylvania Mountains where I enjoyed the life of the proverbial “country boy.” After graduation I then moved on to 14 years of military service, where I was able to travel extensively and enjoy both the good & bad of what the world has to offer. I now work hard to blend my time between work, family, writing & my outdoor pursuits in the fishing and hunting world. I’ve been able to both enjoy those pursuits as well as write about them over the years, which to me is pretty much a perfect world.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Yes, I’ve been able to publish 3 books to date, and I’m working on my 4th now. I began writing for outdoor periodicals over the years, which allowed me to extend my hobbies into the off-season. However, I was walking around with 2 separate books in my head for quite a few years. When I finally sat down to begin the 1st book, the rest of them sort of spilled out onto the keyboard as well. My 1st novel, The Blood of Angels is a Speculative Fiction book based on the fallen angels, angelic warfare, and bible history “with a twist”. The sequel, The Vengeance of Angels is due out in the spring.

My original novelette, Beginnings: A Season of Archery was truly a labor of the heart. It’s a chapter book of a 12 year old boy and his 1st archery season with his father. It is written from the view of a once 12 year old boy myself, and the things that I have grown to appreciate now as a father.

My fly fishing book Tomorrow’s Fish is a compilation of 25 of my personal journal entries, along with 20 of my personal fly patterns gathered over a period of 40 plus years on the water. Several of the articles have been previously published over the years in fly fishing magazines. While my natural genre is outdoor writing, my true labor and passion is that of my novel. It’s a story that I loved from the start, and continues on with the 2nd book.

All of my books are available in print via Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I had always loved to write through school, but could never pin myself down long enough to carry through with anything more than something of essay length. Then in my 30’s I went back to school to get my degree and submitted some of my outdoor essays as assignments. They were well received and the suggestion was made that I should submit some of them to magazines. The suggestion spurred me to move forward with my writing, and after learning the ropes of article submissions and the keys to reaching an editor I finally ended up with a few in print. But it wasn’t until the 1st copies of those magazines came in the mail, and my name was in the table of contents, that I knew I wanted to keep pursuing writing.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

My first attempt at fiction writing was my Youth Novelette, BEGINNINGS- A Season of Archery. I had it in my head for a number of years and really felt that there was a poor selection of youth outdoor books available. I finally began writing it while travelling for work. I believe I rewrote each chapter about 3 times. Originally, I self-published it through a local newspaper printer, and while it was well received, the bindings were poor and I eventually pulled it back. About 10 years later, with the advances in self-publishing that we have today, I was able to produce a version of the book many times more professionally done than the original. I keep a copy of it on my desk at work. It’s is my favorite piece of work. It’s dedicated to my parents, and I wish they would have had the chance to read it.

4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

When I began putting my Book “Tomorrow’s Fish” together, I sampled some of my essays among a number of forums. The responses I received ranged from well received, to how they had touched a part of some of the reader’s experiences. One person wrote me to say how half way through my story about myself and my father, he became choked up and had to put the story down. Knowing that everything in the book was a personal experience I realized that just maybe I could actually write something other people would truly enjoy reading. That in turn has carried me through the bi-weekly “Whip Finish” article that I write. The responses I get in that pursuit, help to keep me focused in all of my writing.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

My favorite character is Bain, the lead character in my Novel. He is the reluctant and unassuming hero that I think we all wish we could be. He is the type of person who, regardless of the situation always seems to land on his feet. Sometimes it’s with the help of friends, or other times it’s due to pure luck. But he always seems to attain the same results. He’s the type of person that always seems to leave you shaking your head in disbelief.

6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

Snooki...or a big ass spider. Both are equally creepy.

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LOL! Thanks so much for sharing, Ralph! For more of Ralph and his writing, be sure to check out his blog and website.

This Monday, my guest on The Same Six Questions will be Alex Adena! See you then!