Interview with Warren Troy:
Warren Troy and I met at the Read Alaska Book Fair on a very snowy November weekend. To me, he appeared to be the typical Alaskan; hiking boots, wool pants, plaid shirt and red suspenders. His gruff exterior coincide with his book, Trails: Living in the Alaska Wilderness. The cover drew me in, a dense forest picture with a bed of bright green moss. A thin trail broke through the center. I wanted to buy this book and discover the story within.
Trails can be summed up into one word – Refreshing. This was my review on Amazon:
Man versus nature in modern times. This book proves there are still places in the United States that are untamed and wild! The adventure the reader takes in Trails: Living in the Alaska Wilderness is just that. I found it very refreshing to read something not filled full of murder, fake, plastic people, and drama dripping off every page. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of excitement and adventure in this novel. This book is for anyone wondering about how Alaska homesteaders survive even today, right now as you read this! Snow, rain, consistent or lack of sunshine, mud bogs, bears, moose, and even modern technology is a daily challenge for the main character Denny Caraway. It’s an inspiring story to not give up and always fight for what brings peace to a person’s soul.
Warren Troy’s Interview:
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What made you decide to write a novel? I have been doing some sort of writing since I was a teenager, poems and short stories, but I didn’t start on novels until 2002, when I was in my fifties. As to why I started writing it (Jester), it was my wife’s suggestion, because I had so many stories of those times that I liked to tell, it seemed worthwhile to put them into book form.
2. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? My schedule is random, but I usually write for several hours every morning, or whenever the muse kicks me in the shin.
3. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I don’t start from the beginning and work toward the end. I write different episodes and then blend them together in proper chronological order.
4. Where do you get your information or ideas for creative writing? Though I spend quite a bit of time googling on things that I wish to write about, to keep things honest, I do write from my own experiences and, since I write fiction, I plunge into my imagination. It makes for an interesting balance.
5. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I like to experience Alaska. I snow-machine and use my ATV whenever possible, hunt and fish, do home projects, gather firewood, and think of new adventures.
6. What does your family think of your writing? They love it. My brother is a retired Comparative Lit. teacher in Sweden, and he is proud and surprised. My parents are gone, but they would have liked my subject matter.
7. What the most surprising things you learned about your ideas for creative writing? It is an amazing and sometimes eerie the way my books seem to let me know the way they want to be written. Sometimes when I want a character to zig right, I end up letting them zag left, because that is the way they want to go. Sometimes my plot scenes just appear to me, and I put them into words. There is some magic to it.
8. Can you give an example when a character was suppose to “zig right” and instead “zagged left”? Quite frankly, I could tell my stories in such a way that people really felt like they were there, when reading them. I was also surprised how I could write books, as easily as I told my stories. I found that the story developed a life force of its own, and often when I sat down to write, instead of what I intended to put to paper, I took a totally different direction that worked as well or better, and more naturally than what I had originally intended.
9. Which book is your favorite? My favorite, though it is not an Alaskan book, is Jester: memoirs of a Retired Hippie.
10. What is Jester: Memoirs of a Retired Hippie about? Jester is about a young man, just out of high school in 1966, who hitchhikes to San Francisco from southern California, and subsequently becomes involved in the original hippie movement there. It explores his life as a drug using, rock and rolling, free loving person, who eventually discovers that the life there has plenty of low down, gritty, non glorious moments. He eventually gravitates to other lifestyles to find where his life should go. It follows the man through his later years, and how those early times colored the way he lives, including many interesting road trips where he meets amazing individuals, becoming one himself.
11. Do you hear from your readers much? I hear from many of my readers, and their enjoyment of my stories, and their encouragement for me to keep writing is wonderful.
12. How do you handle writer’s block? Sometimes I get tired and need to recharge my batteries.
13. How do you recharge after having writer’s block? I don’t really get writer’s block, which I think often stems from mental laziness. I do spend some non-writing time after each book to kind of recharge my creative center. I never have a real “schedule” for writing. I just sit down at the computer whenever the words and ideas come.
14. Do you work with an outline, or just write? I just write, but I am constantly thinking of potential episodes for the main characters.
15. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you? I have always loved Hemingway‘s work, the way he used as few words as possible to paint his word pictures. But, I must say that the sea stories, Moby Dick, Two Years Before the Mast and Conrad’s work also influenced me.
16. What was it like getting your first book published? Actually, I self-published my book Jester in 2005 with Authorhouse, an on demand publisher that turned out to be a huge scam. They didn’t care a whit what I sent them, only wanting to sell me on more promotional programs, at greater cost. They were a huge mistake. But working with Evan Swensen at Publication Consultants was an easy ride, still is. He republished Jester for me, even though I am not sure if he had great hopes for it.
17. Can you tell us about your upcoming book? Actually, after I wrote Trails, which is now the first in what will be a trilogy, I never expected to write the sequel, The Last Homestead. People enjoyed my writing and started emailing and asking me what was going to happen next to Denny Caraway, remote homesteader. So, The Last Homestead happened. Now, I realize that his story has not ended and one more book is needed to complete his “saga,” and to follow through on his continuing evolution.That is what I am working on now.
18. Is anything in your book based on real life or all imagination? Trails is mostly based on the experiences I had while homesteading, but fictionalized to protect the guilty and to give me some literary license.
19. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? Quite honestly, I can’t think of any rough criticism, just good advice. The greatest compliment was when a reader of mine, who is well read, told me my book, Jester, reminded him of Faulkner’s Travels with Charlie. Otherwise, the fact that readers tell me to please keep writing is wonderful.
20. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? If I were to offer any advice, I’d say to sit down and write every day, no matter what else is happening. Even if what comes out is, to you, crapola, there is some value in everything that is written. Also, be sure to have a good editor. Though I believe the story is all important, a poorly written work is bound to fail. Also, choose your publisher carefully.
If you really want to write, if you have fire in your belly, then keep at it, never give up. It is most important to write what you feel. Only time, experience and practice will make it come alive. Be impatient for the next chapter, but not for fame and praise. If you are dedicated AND good, and you follow the right path, it will come.
21. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? Thank you, you make it all worthwhile, and be ready, the next book is coming soon.
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