Today I will be interviewing Lance Manion, author of The Ball Washer
. You can get The Ball Washer
for free on Smashwords
What are your favorite books?
Relevant to what I do now I have to list the usual suspects; George Carlin, Dave Barry, Dennis Miller and PJ O’Rourke. Great bathroom writers all. The Onion also produces outstanding toilet bowl literature. I also have to mention two other books that demonstrated to me the power of the short story; Nightshift by Stephen King and World War Z by Max Brooks.
Who is your favorite author?
I’ve been answering this question with a short list of authors but I think I was just being polite. If any of them were really good I wouldn’t have had to start writing in the first place. Obviously I feel pretty strongly that there wasn’t enough poignant stuff being written about masturbation and spiders.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Maya Angelou once said “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” In a lot ways I agree. I don’t get so much inspired to write as the feeling I need to purge dumb thoughts from my head. Until I write them down and share them they tend to stick around and fester. Occasionally I will interact with someone that makes me want to do a better job of communicating these bizarre observations but that’s as close to inspiration as I get.
Where is your favorite place to do your writing?
I have a home office right next to my bedroom. I usually write there but most of the ideas for the stories come when I’m out and about. I carry a small pad and pen with me so when I think of something I jot it down. I’m sure most of the time I look like a detective investigating the most boring crime in the world. I use to carry a little pocket tape recorded but every time I used it I would lift one eyebrow higher than the other as I talked so I had to abandon it altogether or risk being that guy who talks into pocket tape recorded with one eyebrow cocked.
What made you decide to become a writer?
For the longest time I believed that if you wrote something you were, by definition, a writer. The more I do it and see my shortcomings the more I respect those that can really turn a phrase and connect. I’m stubbornly avoiding treating it as a ‘craft’ so I don’t end up a douchebag.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
It has to be fighting the urge to be shocking or offensive all the time. When I write a story that I really like and it gets zero reaction and then write something that has the word fart in it or five dick jokes and it gets a lot of feedback the temptation is to write strictly for the lowest common denominator. The trick is to determine which rude thought is sincere and which crude reference is forced in order to get some hits on the website. Usually it’s obvious if it’s coming from an honest place but every now and then I find myself succumbing to the urge to say something just to be outrageous. You know what I mean fuckface?
Tell us about your newest book.
The Ball Washer is my third collection of short stories. I released it as a free eBook to not only help the sales of the first two but to put my money where my mouth is as far as utilizing the new technology. Kindles, Nooks and iPads are the future. It is the first time I used an editor so it might read a little more professional but it’s the same dumb crap.