Voices behind the words : An interview series with writers (Interview # 13, River Dixon)

  • As LL Cool J once said, “Dont call it a comeback”. It’s been a year since I last posted an interview on my series “Voices behind the words”. Well it’s no longer dormant because I’m looking to revitalize this series and with the help of my guest for this post River Dixon I hope it can springboard more content creators on WordPress to not only see people’s post and do the generic like, comment or follow, but to go beyond that and see their thought process into creating the content that comes across your timelines, and that’s the reason why I created this series. I hope that after reading, you the reader can give feedback on this post which in turn can lead to people discovering said guests page. Having said that, you can start a conversation with the guests afterwards, and you never know possibly collaborate. Believe me I’ve done it before and it’s been worth the experience. I look forward to having another guest in the near future so if anyone would want be a part of this series let me know in the comments. I’ve been doing this for some time now so the way I go about it is conversational, and not like one of those mundane job interview types one liner questions where it seems like the interviewer has no personality at all. I digress, check out my interview with River Dixon from The Stories in Between. Peace

Here’s the link to his page. https://thestoriesinbetween.com/

Q: You’ve recently released a short story collection titled “The Stories in Between,” and from my quick research, it was well received with a lot of positive reviews. So, my question is, can you explain your process in writing the book or anything you write in general. Also, how long did it take to complete the book?

River: I don’t have any formal process, I just write. I never outline a story or work out character development; nothing like that. I don’t like to “think” about the story, I prefer to just write it. Typically, I will get a line of dialogue, or a small plot point stuck in my head, and I start there. I let the story develop organically. My poetry comes out the same way. I’m not sure how long The Stories in Between took me to write, probably three months or so. Then I sat on it for a couple months and went back and completed editing and re-writes. So maybe six months from start to
finish.

Q: I came into writing poetry in high school but all-around writing, including narrative fiction in college when I took a creative writing class. Did you also find a similar pathway and if so, was it something you wanted to pursue as a profession?

River: I have written poetry, short stories, and songs since I was a kid. It’s never been something I have pursued as a profession; I suppose it’s been more of a hobby for me.

Q: Writing is a process, and it can be a long one. I recently completed; well I still have to make a few edits to a novella I wrote that’s been two years in the works. I’ve scraped a whole story idea and broke it into chapters, making it a semi-autobiographical story. Anyway, do you feel ready after writing this short story collection to tackle a novel? And if so, do you have any ideas in the works?

River: Honestly, I don’t have any aspirations to write a novel, it’s not something that I am working up
to. If I find a story in my head that requires a novel-length to tell, then I will write it. The short
story is my first love and my preferred format.

Q: What genres of fiction is your favorite to read? Do you have any authors that you find yourself always looking to read more of even if he or she has a series of those books. For myself, I have the Easy Rawlins mystery series by Walter Mosley that isn’t just a normal detective fiction novel. With the backbone of the stories involving race especially a black man in Los Angeles the 50’s and 60’s it really puts into perspective that he (Walter Mosley) uses social commentary that make it more than a plain mystery novel but a novel that has many layers.


Rivers: I don’t know that I can really say what genre is my favorite. I enjoy good stories, and every genre is filled with them. I will say two of my favorite writers are Truman Capote and Shirley Jackson. Both were masters of the short story. Capote’s A Christmas Memory is, in my opinion,
perfection. And I constantly re-read Shirley Jackson’s short stories. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve read her novella We Have Always Lived In The Castle.

Q: I’m currently wrapping up my second poetry book and look to promote it heavily. In addition, I’d like to price it within a reasonable range, but one I feel best represents the effort I put into not creating it. With that said, how much activity is involved with your promotion of the book? Are you covering all bases with social media and Amazon promotion? I found out that recently and will try it out for myself.

River: For pricing, I just look at some of the best-selling books in the categories I am targeting and price accordingly. Marketing is the one area where it seems, universally, most indie authors struggle. Personally, I don’t put much effort into marketing, so I am not the best person to be giving any advice in that area. I use my blog, word of mouth and Amazon advertising. I know social media works for a lot of people but it’s not something I am interested in investing my time and energy into. I tried
having a Twitter account, but it only lasted a couple of months; I hated it. Social media is a game I’m not willing to play. Not to mention, on a personal level, I cannot in good faith support platforms like Twitter or Facebook/Instagram. Of course, that is my own opinion/bias. If someone enjoys the social media world, then go for it. It certainly can help get your work more exposure.

Q: Personally, I hand write at least a page of what I want to write then I go off (freestyle) the rest, but I already have a mental map of how I want it to all turn out. So do you have a routine i.e. handwrite, write for a few hours a day etc…


River:
I try to write something every day. I hand write a first draft of everything and then when it’s time to edit/re-write, I type it up on the computer.

Q: The two sample stories that I’ve looked through in your collection, the first in first person and the second in third person begs me to ask the question which narrative do prefer writing and reading?

River: I don’t have a preference. It’s whichever I feel is the best perspective to tell the story.

Q: Is there a way that you get yourself back to writing when the times you feel experiencing writer’s block, if you believe in that at all? I sometimes struggle to come up with new content, but I eventually one way or another come up with something.

River: I find it’s best to just write. It doesn’t matter if it’s crap or something you will never use; just write. Look around, you can find a story in anything. I think it also helps that I go back and forth from poetry to fiction.

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