My guest today is author Von Trapp. He submitted to my interrogation, I mean, . . . an interview for your reading pleasure.
1. How do you manage writing with the rest of your life?
I’m a night writer. I usually have to wait until after work, once everyone goes to sleep. I mostly write between 10pm and 2am. I function pretty well on four hours of sleep. It also helps that I write mostly on my phone. I use Evernote. It’s really handy. I write a lot laying on the couch. I try to make time on the weekends, but my wife usually has the weekends pre-planned, so literally when I can.
2. How in the world can you write with your phone? I’ve tried to use my phone, but I can’t do it. Maybe it’s the type of phone.
*Von laughs, telling me I need to up my thumb game*
- What part of writing do you find to be the most difficult? Other than finding time? Dialogue. Just filling in the gaps with dialogue. Creating dialogue that helps move the story along in between action.
I can relate to that. I have in my mind a certain bit of dialog, then I have to fill in around the edges to make it believable. At least I hope it’s believable.
- Which is the easiest for you? Developing a general story and character backgrounds. I see the big picture. I know what I want to happen almost immediately. I know the beginning and ending, it’s just getting the characters there.
- What is your most treasured possession? It’s always my current cell phone. I’m lost without it. I have a mini panic attack when I can’t find it. I’m one of those people.
I can relate. My husband and kids told me I was addicted to mine. I’ve recently cut back but it was a hard process – like staying in a rehab place to dry out.
- What is your greatest regret? Do you need her name, or … Other than the girl who will remain nameless, it’s not writing sooner. I’m not a naturally driven person. I wish I would have had more confidence in myself to chase my dreams down. Now that I’m older I definitely regret that.
7. Which book have you read the most in your lifetime? The Odyssey by Homer. I used to really like Greek Mythology and such and this was my Bible.
- What advice would you give to aspiring authors? My advice would be to never let your dreams die. When you’re a kid people tell you that you can be anything you want to be and you believe them. You dream these huge dreams and you’re naïve enough to believe they can come true. Then we get older and the same people who told us we can be anything and do anything tell us to quit dreaming and be realistic.
Ain’t that the truth! The very same people. It’s always “Get a real job.”
Why do we do that? So, we put our dreams on the shelf. My advice would be to never put your dreams on the shelf. If you wake up every day and the first thing you think about is writing, then you are meant to be a writer. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
- What are your top 3 books? Really? Three books. Oh, okay. The fact that you are only allowing three… anyway. 1. The Catcher in the Rye. I was sixteen when I read it. I was Holden Caulfield. All the angst and cynicism – that was me. 2. The Alchemist. I just read this a year ago. If I would have read this instead of reading Catcher in the Rye, it would have changed my life forever. It should be required reading for middle and high school students. 3. Bridge to Terabithia. I read this in 6th It almost ruined me. People weren’t supposed to die in books. Especially not kids. Up until this point everything was happily ever after.
I’ve been told before how cruel I am for only allowing three. You get the nice version actually. I used to only allow one favorite but as I couldn’t stick to it myself I decided to loosen up.
- Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing? A lot of my ideas come from dreams. I am a really vivid dreamer. Most of the time I can remember them when I wake up. Other than that, I just have a really amazing imagination.
- ON the subject of dreams as this is a fascination of mine. Some people say they never remember their dreams, and as a vivid dreamer I can’t fathom it. There are times when I can’t remember them but on the flip side I can remember in vivid Technicolor and detail dreams that I had when I was a child. (We won’t go into how long ago that was.)
I think it is fascinating how our subconscious mind takes the things from our conscious life and contorts them into something far removed from reality.
11. Do you use real people as your characters or do you completely make them up? Describe your process. I used characters based on real people. I use people as identifiers in a way. I will use them as a basis of how I want a character to look or sound so I can be more descriptive. Sometimes it’s not even the person themselves, but maybe a character they’ve portrayed – or an attitude they’ve given off, maybe some of their mannerisms. For Dominus the characters are physically/aesthetically based off actual people. For example, Jennifer Sparrow-Gallagher is Charlize Theron in my head. I kind of pretend everything I write will be made into a movie and base my characters on the people I would want to play them. Sometimes though, I inject myself into the story. I write what I would say or how I would respond.
A certain writer friend of mine has stated that he feels that every character is in some way an extension of ourselves, the writer. Do you feel that you do this?
Yes. At least in what they say. If they reply in a smart ass manner, that’s basically me saying what I would say.
Interesting. I hadn’t thought about that aspect of it, in the dialog.
- Do you outline or are you a pantser? I’m a jotter. I jot down ideas and scenes. It’s not a full-fledged outline, but I usually have a general sense of the storyline in my head. Any new ideas or storylines I usually type in Evernote so I don’t forget them. I try to write in sequential order … except for when I don’t. Sometimes I’ll have an idea and run with that and incorporate it if/when I can. I have “jots” that didn’t make it into this book. Some may not make it into any book. I don’t know. I just write.
- Is there one book that you wish that you had written? (Not for the profits – but for the quality of the writing.) Again, one book? Oh, okay. Well, I’m giving you two. I already talked about The Alchemist, so I won’t go into detail. The other is Queen by Alex Haley. This book is amazing. Mr. Haley traces the roots of his grandmother back through slavery. I don’t know. The story is layered. There’s love, hate, morality, introspection and a study on the human condition. Its epic in every way and it’s what I aspire to as a writer.
You can read Von’s current book now.
That’s just a brief look into author Von Trapp’s creative mind.
About the Author:
Von Trapp – 36/M/OH. I’m a married father of four. I like to write things. I like to think I have a good personality. I’m funny, I think. Sarcastic definitely. What else …? Oh, I go by the pen name Von Trapp.
(By the way, he’s right. He has a wonderful sense of humor and a delightful sarcasm. Well, the sarcasm that I got a taste of was delightful.)
Write on my friends, write on and read a good book today!