10 Questions with Rob E. Boley
Rob E. Boley is the author of The Scary Tales, a series of dark fantasy novels published by StoneGate Ink and featuring mash-ups of classic fairy tale characters and horror monsters. His fiction has appeared in several markets, including A cappella Zoo, Pseudopod, Clackamas Literary Review, and Best New Werewolf Tales. His stories have won Best in Show in the Sinclair Community College Creative Writing Contest and the Dayton Daily News/Antioch Writers’ Workshop Short Story Contest. He grew up in Enon, Ohio, a little town with a big Indian mound. He later earned a B.A. and M.A. in English from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He lives with his daughter in Dayton, where he works for his alma mater. Each morning and most nights, he enjoys making blank pages darker.
1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve been writing since I was in high school. In my 10th grade English class, our teacher gave us an assignment to create metaphors for a list of random objects. The next day, she liked mine so much that she had me read each of them to the whole class. That’s when I realized I had a knack for this writing thing. Through college, I mostly wrote poetry. It wasn’t until after my daughter was born that I started writing fiction–first screenplays, then short stories and novels.
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Write every day, and set daily writing goals. I do 1,000 words a day, which takes about an hour. Don’t skip days. Write every single day. Also, read as much as you can, and don’t limit yourself to one genre.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
My three favorite writings books are: On Writing by Stephen King; Shooting Yourself in the Head for Fun and Profit by Lucy A. Snyder; and Hooked by Les Edgerton. King’s book is a brilliant memoir of the craft, but also contains a ton of helpful, pragmatic advice on the craft of writing. Snyder’s book offers a lot of great tips on being a genre writer, such as how to market your book, how to behave at cons, and how to binge write. Edgerton’s book focuses on how to craft a solid first chapter, but it also contains a lot of great tips on writing a solid story.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
I tend to gravitate toward dark fantasy, but certainly don’t limit myself to that. My favorite authors are Jason Aaron, Douglas Adams, Jeffrey Ford, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Lucy A. Snyder, Jack Ketchum, and James Welch.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
Get it done early, first thing in the day. If you can’t manage that, then sacrifice a lunch break or squeeze some other time into the day. Personally, I find it very difficult to write at night. That part of my brain is mostly drained by that point. Night writing works for some people, though. And that’s the biggest thing: do whatever works for you. All writers are different.
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I write on the fly. In the course of telling a story, so many unexpected twists and turns happen. Most of my stories end up surprising me in some way. It’s as much an act of discovery as it is an act of creation. If I outlined the story, I feel like it’d likely stifle some of that magic. Having said that, I do have a rough bare-bones outline in my head before I begin a story. Like, I know the beginning, the end, and a few steps in between. I’ve got a blog on my website that explains this in more depth: http://www.robboley.com/falling-leaves-inspiration-woes-outlining/
7. How do you deal with rejections?
Rejections happen. I just look at it as an opportunity to submit the story somewhere else. If the rejecting editor/agent is kind enough to offer some feedback, I take it to heart.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
By the end of 2015, I’d like to finish books 7-9 of The Scary Tales series (see below for more info). I’d also like to have a draft of a new book, though the hard part will be deciding which one. I’ve got several ideas that I’m currently playing with.
9. For the next five years?
I’d love to be able to call myself a bestselling author in five years.
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
I’m currently working on The Scary Tales, a series of dark fantasy novels published by StoneGate Ink. The series features mash-ups of popular fairy tale characters and classic horror monsters. The first book, That Risen Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White & Zombies, is currently available in ebook and paperback at your favorite online retailer. The next two books, That Wicked Apple: A Scary Tale of Snow White & Even More Zombies and That Ravenous Moon: A Scary Tale of Red Riding Hood & Werewolves, are available in ebook and will be available in paperback next year. By the time the series is complete, I will have introduced fairy tale versions of all the major Universal Pictures monsters, such as the Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, and even the Phantom of the Opera. For more information on me or The Scary Tales, please visit me online at http://www.robboley.com/.