Here is the second part with indie author Ari Sims.
What was your ghostwriting experience like?
I actually got so lucky. I got my big break from Erik Estavillo, the guy who famously sued the major video game companies. After that, it all fell into place. I scored two article writing gigs over the summer and fell in love. It’s like getting paid to learn. I joke that its like I’m in college again but instead of getting grades I am getting paid.
And I think getting paid is better than grades!
It’s amazing. I made $2,ooo last year in total and I’ve pretty much made that in the first three months this year.
Do you prefer ghostwriting to novel writing?
Right now I do. Like I said, I think the “real world” broke me. I went from having no life and an imagination to having a life and an imagination. But I think if I try really hard, I can still come out with a few books before I retire.
So is that what you want to continue doing for your writing career or do you want to be a novelist?
Unless something tragic happens to me again (which is highly possible since bad things come in 3 haha) I will probably stick to professional ghostwriting. I do have one more idea in mind and I am hoping it can play itself out soon so I can write a new fiction book.
And what’s that book about?
I’ve changed the premise at least three times in the last four years but it’s going to be something like this: There’s going to be one girl or two sisters who live with their mom. They were told their dad was dead but he suddenly appears at the door one day. The older sister finds it sketchy that their dad is indeed alive, so she starts doing research and then there’s a big news story about a jailbreak and it turns out the dad is most wanted. She has to figure out the mystery behind why he was in jail and she ends up finding out some disturbing things about her past.
Do you have a title?
It’s had like ten names so far. Originally it was called Alex and Ria. Then I changed it to Saturday, Everyday. Then I changed it to White Walls. Then I changed it to Leaving Hope, after the Nine Inch Nails song. I have like 6 different half written manuscripts of it. But I think I will stick with Leaving Hope.
I think coming up with a title is the hardest thing ever. Sometimes it is there from the beginning and other times you have to write the story to figure it out.
Do you have any idea when your next two books will be done?
To be honest, no idea. I’ve played with it since my sophomore year of college and that was in 2010. The Leader’s Path…if anything, that will come out first. It only took me six months to write my first two, but that was when I was in college and had a lot of free time. Now it’s hard working a day job, ghostwriting on the side, and having to keep up my apartment.
And then of course put time aside for friends and family. Family is key.
Absolutely. It’s not easy being a writer. I mean people romanticize it and say you just sit in a room alone all day trying to put words on the page but it’s much more than that. I think it’s one of the hardest jobs someone can do, especially if you want a social life.
If I sat in a room all day writing I don’t think I’d live past 30.
Who are your favorite writers? Your favorite books?
My favorite writers are R.L. Stine and Shakespeare, although I must say my favorite novel is The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. We read that in my senior year of high school and I fell in love with the idea of the steam of consciousness.
R.L. Stine, Shakespeare and Faulkner are all very different. How do they influence your writing?
R.L. Stine brings out the dark side in me. I like Shakespeare because his works are very relevant–how many Romeo and Juliet couples (in-laws hate each other) do we see today? How many Othello and Desdemona (interracial) relationships do we see everyday? And Faulkner…I only read The Sound and the Fury by him. But it was unlike any book I ever read before. It made sense in a different way. Like you have to shift gears to read each chapter because it’s told by three different characters.
Even The Gulick House has Romeo and Juliet in its foundation. Come to think of it, the chapters alternate between the two main characters. So it’s kind of like Faulkner’s work too. And the there’s the R.L. Stine twist at the end…
I think all a writer has to do is read Shakespeare if they want to learn how to tell a story.
Aside from stories, what inspires you?
This might sound kind of corny, maybe not, but I am inspired by some sort of spiritual force. I’m very moral…like I’ve turned in $30 I found on the floor once and I won’t jaywalk. I’m kind of nuts. My family inspires me too, always. The people in my life inspire me. I’ve seen t-shirts that say “watch out, I’m an author, you might end up in my next novel” and it’s true. All of my characters are based on real people. I just want to see people enjoy life. Books help you escape it for a while.