I’d like to welcome Marc Neuffer, author of Light Thief – Journey to the End as a guest on my website. He will be sharing a little about himself, his latest story, and of course his process as a writer. If you have questions that aren’t answer in this interview, please feel free to comment below so he can respond personally.
Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…
- What is your name, and do you write under a pen name?
Marc Neuffer. My children refer to me as ‘the old one.’ I don’t have a pen name. I use a pencil.
Oh boy, it looks like Marc is a comedian… I have a feeling this interview might be very interesting.
- Where do you call home?
Middle of nowhere in Marshall County, Alabama
- Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
I’m fully retired from the U.S. Navy – 22 years – and a follow-on twenty-year civilian career as a business owner and as a professional photographer. Perhaps you’ve seen my work on the wall at the post office. I was very good at what I did and have the documentation to prove it. Those other records have been sealed by the court. In the navy, I was a nuclear propulsion engineer.
- What is your family like?
Well, my four kids are out on their own with successful careers and families, and they don’t ask for money. I blame their mother for their individual successes. We are empty nesters with one dog and three cats. I don’t know where the cats came from; I’m allergic to cats.
- If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
My childhood homes? Well, there were five of them. My father’s career, as an aerospace engineer, caused us to move around a lot until the space program settled down in Huntsville, Alabama. The houses were always in the suburbs, real Leave It To Beaver-villes.
- Do you have any hobbies other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? Well, I like Pina Coladas and walks in the rain … no wait, that’s just a song I heard on the radio yesterday. Since retiring, I have taken up the piano; it soothes me as much as writing does.
- What is your greatest dream?
Well, if you’re asking about a persona dream of doing something I have never done before, then I haven’t got one. I have been around the world, visited more than a dozen countries, played guitar on stage with a band, arrested people, driven police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks, been a sports coach, and Scout Master, started and ran a successful small business, which I have since sold. Everything on my bucket list has been crossed off.
Now, if you’re asking about things like people I would like to meet or places I would like to go, and we’re talking dreams here, then Samuel Clemens and Mars… yeah, those two.
- What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
I’d like to be thirty-two, tall, dark, and handsome with an exotic accent. My wife would like that. Time and genetics hold me back.
Yes, a comedian… I was right.
- Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love?
YES! She had the most sorrowful brown eyes. Her tail wagged furiously the first time we met. I was twelve. Sadly, she passed away.
- What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? Well, I suppose I would have to say the deaths of my mother and father.
- What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I remember precisely when I decided to start writing, I was just starting my daily nap, my mind disengaged, letting whatever thoughts might surface, drift around. I came up with a story idea. Ended up writing a science fiction novel around that … then four more books … since late March of this year.
- What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Not really any dreams of the future when I was growing up. So, you can leave this one blank. I was a boy, and as I recall, we didn’t sit around planning our dream wedding, we were too busy finding food and fun.
- Who is your role model?
Sorry, I thought about this one … seriously, I don’t have one.
- What is your greatest fear?
The greatest fear is something terrible happening to my wife or children. No phobias
- Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers, or audio-books?
When my children still lived at home, we would make a trip to ‘the big city’ once a month to visit the book store. Everyone loaded up for their monthly read. So, print books back then. Now I use e-books since I can keep my library on my phone available at all times. I have a few audiobooks I listen to … they help me fall asleep at night.
- Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so, what was it?
Since e-books have come along, I have occasionally re-read some of the Sci-Fi classics I read as a teenager. Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke.
- What is your opinion of novellas?
I like novellas much the same way I like short people. For me, it’s all about the story; word count is irrelevant.
As a rather short person, I appreciate the lack of discrimination. lol
- Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
No, not without reading a synopsis or back cover.
- What is your favorite film based on a book?
Can’t think of one.
- What is your favorite book genre at the moment?
History, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction
- What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why?
Humm … don’t have a wish list. I browse when looking for my next book.
- What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
“Let me see,” he said, reaching for his phone …
Robinson Crusoe … to study Defoe’s first-person narrative style.
The Ruin of the Roman Empire – James O’Donnell
Sector C – The Chosen, by you-know-who
Yes, I do believe I know who write SECTOR C – The Chosen and I appreciate you reading it.
- If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
I don’t care for fictitious people with publicists.
Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.
- What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say?
Light Thief – Journey to the End
Sci-Fi – In the far future, a twelve-year-old girl finds her purpose 20 years later, while searching for something else.
- Is the above book part of a series?
Yes, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel
- How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?
When starting a new book, I browse the pre-made cover offerings for something that fits. I do the title graphics myself.
- Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?
Not unless my wife has the radio on.
- How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
Well, for the first one, I was thinking about physics and the universe, how heat and light are the basic building blocks. Don’t get me started on E=MC2; it’s not an equivalency. Anyway, Heat and Light became the title, followed, naturally by Cold and Dark, then Light Thief. See what I did there?
- Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it?
No book trailer… have a boat trailer.
- In your latest novel, who is the lead character, and can you tell us a little about him/her?
In Light Thief, Darby is a 12-year-old, precocious self-assured daughter of a scientist mother and a lost space explorer father. The book follows her through the next twenty years.
- What is your character’s greatest strengths?
Belief in self and living a non-self-limiting life.
- And what are his/her greatest weaknesses?
Men? The unrelenting pull into space to find her lost father, or what had happened to him.
- What are some of his/her favorite foods?
Jahuna chips — very crunchy with just the right amount of salt — the hot ones. I made that up for the book.
- Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Unless the reader is a sociopath, they will not only like, but identify with her coming of age story. She never kills anyone who doesn’t deserve it. What a girl!
- What first gave you the idea for your latest book?
A reader of my books, Paradox Twins and Riley 2.0 asked what happened to Riley after the 2.0 story. Rather than continue with Riley as the main character, in Light Thief, she becomes an off-stage (and disembodied) persona that occasionally interacts with Darby.
Let’s talk now about your writing process.
- What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I write with my high-beams on … letting the characters live their lives unencumbered by me. I simply type as I watch the movies play in my head. Given that, I usually have an end-of-story I’m driving towards.
I write in much the same way. I do use a planning guide to help me keep track of important details, but mostly I just fly by the seat of my pants following my characters’ lead and writing what I see at the movie of their lives play out.
- Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?
I would pick the brains of someone who had been through self-publishing themselves. As for writing, I generally do a very structured stream of consciousness flow, not letting myself be too concerned with commas, split infinitives or starting sentence with an –ing ending word.
Self-publishing is very easy, once you learn the technical steps. If you need help, ask a teenager to walk you though the website steps. I think they are all IT department people.
- Since you are a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?
First, it is very time consuming to find an interested traditional publisher. I think Amazon’s platform for indies makes them nervous. They may become the next buggy whip manufacturers, as in ‘what purpose do they serve.’
Secondly, I don’t trust anybody’s opinion but my own. I know my material, I do research for my books, and I know when my work satisfies me. I learned that editors don’t read like real people; it’s so sad.
- What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
I never received any, except from my 6th grade teacher who wanted me to write legibly. I didn’t know any writers when I started. So, I got nothing on this question.
- Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.