John O’Keefe is an 8th grade English teacher with a master’s in creative writing. He is an avid fan of science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction. His previous published stories, Promises and Gehenna, appear in print and online. He is currently at work on other short stories, his stand-up comedy routine, and his first novel, Cold. He lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife and two dogs.
1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I have been writing since middle school, so about twenty five years. I’ve been submitting and trying to get published for about five years. My love of reading got me started. I wanted to create worlds like those I read.
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
My best piece of advice for new writers is to listen to feedback. It’s not personal, everyone wants the story to be the best it can be.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
I’d recommend the website duotrope.com to find places to get published. For writing advice, you can’t go wrong with Stephen King’s On Writing. Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing is a good quick and dirty resource too. Search out local writing classes and workshops. Nothing improves your writing like feedback.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
When it comes to finding time to write, sometimes quality is better than quantity. Set an alarm on your phone, and a timer for fifteen minutes. If you have more time, beautiful. But use it.
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I tend to write on the fly, starting with a general idea and going from there. I like to be surprised and not put constraints on what happens. I do use outlines from time to time. Ironically, Those Who Walk followed an outline.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
I deal with rejections by submitting my work to new markets and by writing something. Maybe the next place will like it or they’ll like the new piece.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
In the next year, I’d like to have my writing website finished, up, and running. Also I’d like to have another piece published. That would make four in four years, which would be pretty amazing.
9. For the next five years?
In the next five years, I would like to finish a novel I’ve started, if not have it published.
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
I don’t have a website to plug yet, but if you like to read and write, maybe thank a teacher.