Q. If I send you some of my writing, will you read it?
A. Sorry, no. Not only do I not have the time, but reading works from readers can cause a whole host of legal issues if someone were to later claim I “stole” an idea from something they sent to me. Rest assured, if you ever make it as a professional writer, you will have the same policy for yourself.
Q. Do you need an agent to get a book published?
A. I will say yes, with qualifiers. While it’s possible to get a novel published at smaller publishing houses without an agent, almost all of the larger houses require agented submissions. And an agent does far more than simply sell your book. He or she will get you the best possible terms for your book, they will handle book club, foreign, and dramatic rights, mutli-media rights, audio book rights, etc. Their experience is really invaluable.
So my recommendation is to get an agent for your novel. (Caveat: do not use an agent that charges a “reading fee” or “marketing fee” or some other scheme designed to part you and your money. Use only agents who work off of commission.)
Q. Are you available for book signings or speaking engagements?
A. Why yes, how nice of you to ask! The simplest way is to send me an email. Please include your contact information. I encourage you to provide as much lead time as possible to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
A. Honestly, from everywhere and anywhere. I can get them while watching television, reading a book, talking to a friend, brainstorming about ideas — they come from just about anything. I keep a notebook of ideas and read it often to see if lots of different ideas would work together to make an interesting novel concept.
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. I have far too many to list, but a few of the best are: Michael Connelly, Michael Chabon, Frank Herbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, Dan Simmons, Stephen King, Neal Stephenson, Tad Williams, Peter Straub, James Ellroy, Steven Erickson, Richard K. Morgan, and Alastair Reynolds, to name a few.