Interview with Newton

Newton Blog Photo

Newton author of Set in Stone and The Reconstruction Descending

About the Author

One half author and artist-one half bona fide boogeyman; Newton has returned from years spent wandering the wasteland between worlds to offer up tales to tempt, tantalize and terrify.

Tell us a little about the person behind the mask.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

Just kidding.  At my most basic, I’m your average middle-aged Midwesterner.  I prefer baseball over football.  I love dogs but am distrustful of cats.  I like to cook almost as much as I like to eat and I enjoy alcohol in all its various incarnations.  I’ve been an avid reader and a full time day dreamer since early childhood and remain so even today.

I would love to be inside your head for one day. Where does your inspiration come from?

Be careful what you wish for!  I have a viciously overactive imagination, so inspiration can (and does) strike at any moment.  A family picnic, a public restroom, the DMV; any and every setting or situation has potential.  But on the rare occasions that my life fades into the mundane and I require an aesthetic kick in the ass, I immediately turn to the Art world.  Online research of both classical as well as contemporary artwork is a great place to start, but nothing beats actually wandering through a gallery and standing face to face with someone else’s creation.  The Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City is one of my favorite places on Earth and a wonderful place to go and feel inspired.

What is your favorite genre to read? And what are you currently reading?

Science fiction and horror have always been my favorites, although I read a lot of different material.  I have an extensive catalog of what a friend of mine affectionately refers to as “French Surrealist Porn” that includes the likes of the Marquis De Sade, Apollonaire, Aragon, Mirbeau, etc.  I always seem to be in the middle of at least two or three books at any given time.  I’m currently rereading some of Robert E. Howard’s ‘Conan’ books, all of which I absolutely adore. 

Who is your favorite author? Why?

I can’t pare it down to just one, so I’ll pare it down to two.  First off, I’m a huge fan of Clive Barker.  The unprecedented originality of his work is awe-inspiring and I find the sheer scope of his creativity to be simply staggering.  Secondly, I’m a huge fan of Ray Bradbury.  The ultimate wordsmith, Mr. Bradbury was the best at always finding the perfect adjectives that would breathe such color and life into his work that one could not help but visualize them clearly.  Additionally, I’ve always been attracted to these two because they are prolific short story authors, which is what I tend to gravitate towards in my own efforts.

Do you have any writing habits or routines?

My creative process is only about as ‘routine’ as my poor, feverish brain will ever allow.  The only habit I have is that I always try to seek out someplace quiet and distraction free when I set down to write.

I’ve always enjoyed having an actual book in my hands and feeling the paper between my fingers as I turn the pages, but am slowly coming around to the digital age. How do you prefer to read your books: digital or paper?

Good question.  I’m as much a fan of paper as anyone.  Some of my fondest memories are of digging through the horded masses of estate sales and neglected libraries in search of bibliographic gems.  I love nothing more than wandering amongst stacks of books that stand taller than my self, the stench of dust and wisdom swirling about.

That being said, however, I have recently begun the arduous task of reverting everything I can to digital format.  It’s more a matter of practicality and spatial constraints than anything else.  Books take up a lot of room, and they weigh a ton.  Just ask the CFO of any major book retailer about overhead and shipping costs.  I’m quite sure they’ll agree.

I’m assuming that when it comes to writing that you are far from finished. What does the future hold? Are you currently working on anything?

Far from finished is exactly correct.  In fact, I’ve only just begun.  I have two books (parts one and two of what promises to be a significantly long series) that I am in the editing phase of right now and hope to have published by year’s end.  Beyond that, I have numerous works, including my very own website, in various stages of development.

What made you decide to publish your stories for the world to enjoy?

My ultimate goal with my art is quite simply to provide something original.   This will almost assuredly doom me to commercial failure, but I am perfectly accepting of that.  I’m fearful of the word ‘derivative’.  I understand the business end of Art, beast that it is, and the motivation to be successful.  However, when so much of what is produced (whether it be books, films, music, etc.) is formulized, homogenized, commercialized, pre-packaged and served up in ready to digest bites by people who worry more about things like demographics and profit margins than they do innovation or actual talent, Art, as an industry, suffers.  I feel confident that I can, at the very least, bring something new to the table.  Hopefully the world will agree.       

Tell us something unique about yourself?

I’m not certain as to how unique this actually is, but I always keep a notebook and pen near my bedside so that I can immediately write down any remarkable thing that I may have dreamt while it is still fresh in my mind’s eye.  A good deal of my writing is based on dreams that I’ve had while in a hypnagogic condition (the transitional state from wakefulness to sleep).   Luminaries such as Nikola Tesla, Salvador Dali, Thomas Edison, Edgar Allen Poe and Ernest Hemingway have all made reference to this “threshold consciousness” and its effect on their creativity.  

Do you have any hobbies or extracurricular activities that you enjoy doing on a regular basis?

I must confess to being a bit of a closet rock star.  I make sporadic attempts to play guitar and bass, always dreadfully so, but it is a past time I thoroughly enjoy.  I’ve always had a deep seated love for most all genres of music; from country to classical, from rock to R&B, and all points in between.  

Do you have any advice for someone who decides that putting pen to paper and writing down the stories locked inside their heads is something they want to do?

The best advice I can give is this: Write.

Write what you know and then write some about what you don’t know.  Write in the morning, write in the afternoon and then write in the dead of the night.  Write some stuff you love and then write some stuff you hate.  Write, write, write and then write some more.

I’ve met people who claim to be writers and talk about their ‘someday’ novels that they intend to author just as soon as they find the time away from their busy little lives, as though they have next great literary masterpiece tumbling around inside their skull and all they need do is set aside a week to scribble it down.  Writing isn’t like that.  Writers write.  Everything else is just talk.

You can follow Newton on Goodreads.

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