Welcome to the first of the #SPFBO 2018 Author Interviews. This week we are chatting with Travis M. Riddle. He lives with his pooch in Austin, TX, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English Writing & Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University. His work has been published in the award-winning literary journal the Sorin Oak Review. He has published two fantasy novels, "Wondrous" and "Balam, Spring."
What drew you to self-publishing?
The freedom it gives is really tempting. But that freedom is a double-edged sword because it all rests on you. But I really liked the idea of being able to commission my own cover art, work at my own pace, marketing myself sounded fun (at the time), etc.
Why did you enter #spfbo?
I've somewhat kept up with the contest for the past two years, and it seemed like a great community had cropped up among the readers and authors, and I really liked seeing how supportive everyone was of each other. Becoming a part of that community is a big part of the contest, and I'm excited for it to officially kick off. Even just after a couple weeks and before the contest has actually begun, I've been engaging in the community a lot more and am starting to recognize a lot of names, which is fun!
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Sure, I think someone definitely could. Not every book has to be "about" something and can just be a fun time; I've definitely enjoyed my share of books and movies and whatever else like that. I'm not sure if I could write that way, though. Invariably all of my books have started out as what I thought were simply cool ideas and then eventually evolved to center around some central theme that was bothering me in my life and turned into a way for me to explore those thoughts and emotions. I've found that having that goal, to express something specific about the theme, does a lot to help motivate me to finish writing the book and focus on what's important within it.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I've published two books and am working on a third, and so far all of them have been totally standalone. With "Balam, Spring" specifically, it was always meant to be a standalone story but set within a huge world that I could then write new stories in about different characters, in different time periods, maybe even different genres.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
My biggest but also best expense so far has been on the cover art for my two books. Cover art is everyone's first impression of your book, so I think it's super important to get something that is really high quality and also perfectly fits your vision for the piece. And some of my cover art was nominated as a finalist for the cover art contest for SPFBO, so I guess it's paid off!
Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Mint chocolate chip. Duh. No contest.
For more information about Travis and his writing, check out these links: