Moral Fortitude is proud to interview R D Burger, author of In So Many Words, QueerSpace and UnderGround.

Welcome R D, and thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

When did you first start writing LGBT books?

Well, it’s not so much that I write LGBT books as that I am ridiculously capable of writing sweet, steamy, sexy stuff.  And LGBT sweet, steamy, sexy, stuff is just as much fun to write as straight sweet, steamy, sexy stuff is!

What inspired you to write LGBT fiction?

I have made so many wonderful, lovely friends on Wattpad, and they encouraged me to write some LGBT fiction.  None more so than the most lovely and wonderful Rae Kitano.

Where do your ideas come from?

Hmm.  Well, apparently I have a busy little monkey in my head!  No, seriously, I research like crazy on the internet, and utilize all sorts of media – songs, books, videos, news stories, theses, textbooks, encyclopedias…and that cute little monkey inside of me.  Then, when my head is stuffed with all sorts of knowledge and ideas…I write.

I do, however, have six full-length novels burning in my brains.  They came to me in my dreams.  I am desperate to get them out, but I’ve not yet mastered the art of Writing a Full Length Novel.

Someday.  That’s what all this Writing Short Stories stuff is all about with me.  To learn how to write those novels.

How much research do you do for your stories?

Ha!  I just answered that question!  Tons, sometimes.  I researched the heck out of QueerSpace and UnderGround, to get the mood right.

Other times, I snitch bits and pieces from those great big Novels In My Head, and write a short story in honor of them.  In So Many Words is actually an example of that, as it’s a snippet of my novel Dots.  Only I substituted playing the violin in place of the ability to control Reality.

Yes.  Dots is an interesting story.  I want to get it out of my head very much.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Ha!  Thanks to Wattpad, I have answered this question about ten times.  I’m what you call a total Pantser.  I write by the seat of my pants, formulating the entire story in my mind, typically by ruminating over it for days.  I usually see the ending first, and then the beginning.  Then, I gotta find the reason for the Hero to want to get to The End, and create various obstacles, conflicts and motivations.

And then I write.  First, I do what I call ‘Monkey Banging’ which is basically pounding on a keyboard with both paws, hoping that correctly spelled words and reasonably contiguous thoughts emerge.  From that, I edit and write and edit and write about ten times, to create what some lesser beings might call a ‘story.’

Then I edit that hunk a poo about another dozen times.

Then, the monkey writes a Story.  Finally.

Do you have a special time of day to write or how do you structure your day?

Ha again!  Yeah.  Structure.  Huh.  I have two darling little children, one of whom is a precocious four year-old.  I currently stay at home, so as to take care of them full-time.  I ‘structure my day’ around trying to get them to leave me alone so I can write (I’m doing so right now!  Can you hear me saying ‘Leave me alone’ to them?)  I also stay up all night in lieu of sleep.

Who needs sleep, right?

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

The average time it takes me to write a book is F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  I can eke out a tale the likes of which Rae posts in her anthologies in about three weeks, the Good Lord and my Lovely Children willing.  That’s because I write most of my stories for various contests and anthologies that I find on Wattpad, and the hosts of these events typically give you three weeks to write a short story.

But now, a real book?  A novel?  Well.  Twenty-five years ago, I dreamt my very first novel, which is entitled C.A.R.O.L.I.N.  It burns like a forest fire in my brain, sometimes.  It currently exists as a hodge-podge of disconnected tales on my Profile Page, and about one hundred thousand words of pure Monkey Bangings.

Stupid monkey.

Do you proofread/edit all your own work or do you get someone to assist?

I have absolutely no help in the writing of my stories.  I do everything all by myself.  If you would like to help, let me know when I can drop off the kids for a week or two.

The cats, I can handle.

Do you think the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

The cover matters in the marketing of a novel.  One hundred percent.  After that comes the title, the blurb, and the first five hundred words of Chapter One.

All very, very important.

How do you choose the right cover for your book?

I steal…er, I mean, I ‘borrow’ from the Internet.  I Google the crap out of ideas, and then whack the resultant images I find into an original cover design, via various software applications that I’ve also ‘borrowed.’

I like making covers.  It’s a lot of fun, and I don’t have to yell at the kids to shut up and leave me alone while I do it.

Honestly.  Can’t they see that I’m working here?  Isn’t, like, SpongeBob on TV or something?

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Good or Bad, Reviews are great, providing they consist of three things –

Specific examples.

Intelligent thoughts.

Correct grammar and spelling.

Otherwise, I view them as just some other monkey’s bangings.  To that end, I like the cute monkeys the best.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?

I beg my friends on Wattpad to please Read and Comment on the stories that I post there.  That’s it.

Do you use social media and how has this worked best for you?

My use of Social Media consists of, at present, Wattpad.  Again, that’s it.

What would you say are the main advantages / disadvantages of self-publishing?

I can think of no advantages to self-publishing.  To that end, I can’t say that it is disadvantageous, either.  What is disadvantageous, however, is expecting to make money selling unedited crap.  And I mean crap in the nicest way possible.  Really.  I do.  I’m a nice person.

But honestly.  Cover artists, line editors, content editors, block editors, blurb writers, critique groups, beta readers – they exist for a reason.  Use them before you publish.  Please.

What advice would you offer to other writers who would consider self-publishing?

Do it for fun, and do it for free.  But if you want to make money as a writer, do it for real, using the aforementioned people.  Throw in an agent, or a marketing specialist, too.

Do you have a favorite author / book?

I love old school Science Fiction.  Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Clifford Simak, Philip Dick.

But oh, Ray Bradbury.  I do so love the way he writes.  To pluck Golden Apples from the Sun while wearing a Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, singing the songs of The Martian Chronicles, all the while drinking Dandelion Wine.   Boy, could that guy write.  Something Wicked.

What is your next project and what should we expect?

I am currently in two contests on Wattpad – one is a privately sponsored event, where I am to submit a single chapter to a larger tale, involving a Cover entitled Essence of Gisella.  (I am writing that as Chapter Three of Episode Two of my anime series, The VocaLords.

The other is the first ever, Action SmackDown, a very popular elimination format type of competition that Wattpad sponsors.  Round Three is due January 21st!  My submission for Round Three must entail Vampire bats destroying New Year’s Eve, and a guy with two plasma pistols.  *urk*

Then, another lovely dear I know sponsors Holiday themed anthologies on her Wattpad Profile Page.  She also lets me write the ‘anchor story,’ which is the last story in the anthology.  So far, I have written stories for her Halloween and Christmas anthologies.  Valentine’s Day is next!  Yay!

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

I am old and set in my ways.  Once upon a time, I would have said chasing dragons while riding tigers.  Or conquering Mountains, or charting Fates.

But now?  I see myself sitting in front of this computer right here, answering interview questions for Rae Kitano.  And writing a couple of those gosh darn novels I got stuck in my brain.  Man, I sure do wanna see them written down someday.  Thank God for Wattpad.

How can readers discover more about you –

There is exactly one way, as of now, that readers can discover more about me.  Despite making my entire career in the field of Computer Science, and being around the Internet since it was no more than six room-sized digital furnaces screaming at each other via tin cans and telephone wires, I am a complete digital Luddite.  I don’t tweet or twit or twaddle or Facebook, or even use e-mail, unless absolutely necessary.

I am a face-to-face, or at the very least, a call-me-on-the-phone, sorta person.  Sorry.

But!  I love Wattpad very, very much!  I am @HardeeBurger there, and I have never met more wonderful, talented, and super-sweet people from all around the world, ever in my life.  You can find me there almost every day, chatting with them, pestering them and most of all, trying to make them laugh.

Perhaps, I’ll see you there as well.  I think I’d like that.  Very much.

Thank you RD for you time and on behalf of Moral Fortitude I would like to wish you all the best with your future endeavours.