Alan Black's vision statement: I want my readers amazed they missed sleep because they could not put down one of my books. I want my readers amazed I made them laugh on one page and cry on the next. I want to give my readers a pleasurable respite from the cares of the world for a few hours. (Amazon)
BBB: What inspired you to become an author?
AB: My first inspiration came from my second grade teacher. After doing an assignment to write a short story related to Greek Mythology, she took the time to call my parents and tell them how much she enjoyed it and how well it was written. I have been writing ever since…unfortunately, I haven’t gotten much better at it.
AB: I have published six books, with five of them still in print.
Eye on the Prize is historical fiction set in 751 bce in the Black Sea (out of print)
Steel Walls and Dirt Drops is military scifi (out of print, but being re-edited for rerelease)
Chewing Rocks is near Earth scifi
Metal Boxes is military scifi (this was a number one best seller on Amazon.com in March 2014)
Chasing Harpo is general/action/humor literature
The Friendship Stones is YA historical fiction and book 1 of An Ozark Mountain Series
The Granite Heart is YA historical fiction and book 2 of An Ozark Mountain Series
Mss written but not published yet
The Heaviest Rock is YA historical fiction and book 3 of An Ozark Mountain Series
Titanium Texicans is YA scifi
The Inconvenient Pebble is YA historical fiction and book 4 of An Ozark Mountain Series
A Planet with No Name is western scifi
Larry Goes to Space is scifi
How to Start, Write and Finish your First Novel – non-fiction
AB: Every public library has a big book in the back room on stories that have never been turned into books. You just have to ask the librarian to see the book. You then just pick which story you want to write and then cross it out of the book.
Actually, stories are the easiest part of writing. They come from everywhere: casual conversations in an elevator at work, newspaper stories, other books, an oddly phrased sentence, bad dreams, good television shows and/or personal experience.
For example, my co-author and I started ‘The Friendship Stones’ and the remainder of An Ozark Mountain series as an exercise for her memories of being a 12-year-old girl in extreme poverty in a very rural area of the U.S. Mrs. Bernice Knight is in her mid-80s and wanted to share her early life experiences. We decided to fictionalize many of her stories, people and locales to put them into a cohesive, easy to read tale.
My novel ‘Chasing Harpo’ came about because a co-worker wanted me to write him a short story about a monkey being chased by the police. He was looking for a short story to read to his four-year-old daughter. I wrote the story the way I wanted and it came out as unsuitable for four-year-olds, but that was his issue not mine.
‘Steel Walls and Dirt Drops’ (coming soon) was originally written because of a conversation with my wife. She loves to read military scifi and was complaining that all of the women were little more than sex objects (they were all tall, thin redheads). So I wrote her a book with an unattractive strong female lead. The protagonist is not incompetent, just not pretty.
‘Chewing Rocks’ came from…no, I think we will keep that to ourselves where this one came from. Some readers have told me they see the underlying back story. Some readers shake their head in wonder after I told them what they missed.
So, ideas? I keep a file with my unused ideas. It grows larger faster than I can write them and much faster than I can publish what I have written.
AB: Yes, every author has, even though I have met a few who deny it. But, there are a lot of ways to defeat writer’s block. It is really just a trick of the Blank Page, and as we all know, the Blank Page is a liar. I usually just back up a chapter or so and rewrite what I have already written. Then when I reach the spot where the Blank Page put up its roadblock, I can just keep writing skipping over the snare and trap.
AB: I am working on ‘The Jasper’s Courage’. It is book five of An Ozark Mountain Series.
BBB: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
AB: Readers can visit my website and visit me on Facebook.