Interview with F. P. Dorchak

Posted on September 4, 2013


FPD Publicity Shot

Tonight I will be  talented F. P. Dorchak (A.K.A Frank) Isn’t that a great smile!! Enjoy everyone!

Do you write under any other names?

I go by “F. P. Dorchak,” but you can call me “Frank.”

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m working on getting all my unsold manuscripts released the Indie route, i.e., self publishing through Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, and other retailers. As of this interview, I have two books out, Sleepwalkers and The Uninvited, but around mid-July, I will also have ERO (Exoatmospheric Reconnaissance Organization) released. Following ERO, will be Psychic (which is a follow-on to Sleepwalkers), and following that may be one more, the title of which I’m not revealing yet, since I’m reworking it and that may take into mid 2014? We’ll see how much I get done with it. As for new work, I’d started a brand new novel that returns to my “going behind the curtain” of life and death and dying M.O., but have backburnered that until I got these other works out.

Do you have a specific writing style or one that you prefer?

I just try to get the job done.  In The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, there’s the following passage: “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.” That is my style goal. And to try to write in as transparent manner as possible.

How did you come up with the title of your book(s)?

Usually I arrive at the titles about the same time as the story—in a flash of inspiration—but in my newest work that I’ve since put on hold, it doesn’t really have a solid title yet. I have some working titles for it, but nothing in stone.

Is there a message in your writing that you want readers to grasp?

Most definitely. I would like readers to look beyond the ordinary. Widen their perspectives a bit. My message is that there is/has to be more to life than meets the eye, than what is traditionally considered.

How much of the book is realistic/true?

I always try to incorporate real situations into all of my work. But in my upcoming novel, ERO, large parts of that novel are taken from my life. Lots of the upstate New York scenes draw upon my experience growing up there. The Navy part involving my dad are warped to fit the story, but my dad was a radioman submariner and was “this close” to being on the Thresher, but the “weird shit” is made up. Much of the Colorado scenes are also based upon my personal experience, since I live in Colorado…not involving actual UFOs nor rear-ending trash trucks, I must stress. In all my work I try to make the stories so real that a reader could say, “Yeah, this could happen….” At least that’s the goal.

Are the experiences in your writing based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

It’s all a mash-up. I love incorporating real events and warping them just enough to make people wonder. In ERO there’s a scene about a dead horse out on the eastern plains of Colorado; while that didn’t happen to me, about 99% of that story…in ERO…was related directly to me.

What books have most influenced your life most?

While I could go into how the Bram Stokers or H. P. Lovecrafts or Stephen Kings affected me as a writer, I have to say…to be honest to the question…the metaphysical works of Jane Roberts, Robert Butts, and Seth (they’re all one “team” who worked together) are really the books that have so directly and greatly affected my life and view of it. It’s not so much that those books “created” who I am, as they gave definition to my way of questioning life, even at my early preteen and teenage years. And, in the same vein, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five really got my attention as a young man. When I read Slaughterhouse-Five, I said, now that’s the kind of work I want to write!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a “mentor”?

In real life I kinda had one, Moe (M. E.) Morris, an ex-Navy captain and author (Alpha Bug, Biostrike, Stealth, The Sand Crabs) who passed away several years ago. Though we “talked writing” a lot, got together for our Saturday breakfasts at Village Inn, we never became a critique group unto ourselves in that we were never about critiquing each other’s work. It was just a small part of what we did. We mainly enjoyed each other’s company and conversation. We did read each other’s work and offer suggestions and comment. He as a great guy, and we were both supportive of each other’s work and just really got along quite well (I’ve always seemed to get along with people much older than me, and he was many years my senior). But in terms of whose writing I followed and tried to emulate in finding and forming my own voice…that would be Stephen King. He gets the job done, and that’s how I try to hold up my end of the writing deal: I want to get the job done.

What book are you reading now?

I’m so “overwhelmed” in getting my projects released, that I haven’t been doing any pleasure reading the past couple months. I started several books, even have one at the bedside for several years, The Adirondack Reader, edited by Paul Jamieson. I’d started Marc Schuster’s, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, but haven’t gotten very far, given my previously mentioned workload. I have stacks of books calling to me….

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

I belong to two writer groups, so I can’t say one without the other: Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Pikes Peak Writers.

Do you see writing as a career or a hobby?

Career: an occupation or profession, especially requiring special training, followed as one’s life-work (Random House Dictionary, second edition, unabridged). Writing is that to me. I’ve never considered it a hobby. I work hard at this gig, log my time and submissions, etc., and take it quite seriously. I do enjoy the journey, but do write to be read and to fulfill my own personal “value fulfillment,” in that writing is part of who I am. I’ve done it my entire life, but there may eventually come a time when this is no longer true, but…right now…I can’t not write. I’ve tried.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, there’s nothing I’d really change in my current efforts. I don’t write for the traditional Big 5 or 6 in New York, so I get to pick and choose what goes into my work. For good or ill, perhaps, but what goes in there, is what the story wants or needs. I‘m not married to any of the words (just the overall gestalt of the story—that’s what’s important to me), and consider myself pretty good at cutting what needs to be cut, adding what needs to be added. Though I’m certainly not perfect.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’ve always been interested in writing as long as I can remember. My mother tells me I did my first bit of writing at the age of six. I’ve basically been doing that ever since (I’m 52). I had written down ideas since high school or so, and had even kept all those ideas on their originally scribbled note “platforms”: pieces of toilet paper, ripped pieces of cardboard or envelopes, you name it, until I finally consolidated them all , a few years ago. Since I love to mess around with the imagination, I think this was a logical outgrowth, n’est-ce pas?

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

From the opening of ERO: “The missile, a brilliant fuzzy puff of light set against the stark blackness of space, arced from around the backside of the globe and above the thin, fragile blue film of the Earth’s atmosphere, its Multiple Independently Targeted Reentry vehicle packed with nearly a dozen five-hundred kiloton warheads. The MIRV hurtled unerringly toward destinations on North American soil. Behind it, like a bizarre thermonuclear biker gang, followed a chorus of additional fuzzy puffs, also targeted for twenty-nine-to-forty-nine-degree northern-latitude impact locations. Missile warning’s Space-based Infrared System tracked the MIRV, but its link to midcourse shoot-down capability resources were already elsewhere employed.” Sounds all techie, but it’s not. It’s about love, conspiracy theories, the unknown, and a young man’s self-discovery gone really left-turn….

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The second draft. That’s always the hardest part, because in the first draft I “vomit out” the story without much fact checking nor editing. It’s the second draft that takes the longest, because it’s there I fact check the hell out of everything and edit-edit-edit. Do all the grunt work. Every draft after that is a polish.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Hands down favorite remains Stephen King. It’s the way he wields his words! The power of his storytelling. The guy’s a genius.

Who designed the covers of your books?

For Sleepwalkers, in 2001, a combination of First Books/AuthorHouse and Michael Waite. For The Uninvited, I had Karen Duvall, of Duvall Design, and for ERO, Lon Kirschner, of Kirschner Caroff.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your stories to life?

All logistical, really, Getting the books out there. I spent so much time writing (an average of three years per book, writing part time), trying to get an agent, then I had one, and we both still couldn’t convince the Big Dogs in NY to take a chance. In the traditional publishing circles, all the intel is that no one wants to develop talent anymore—or the editors aren’t allowed to do so, anymore, is perhaps more correct. They want sure-fire hits out of the gate. Period. But…I could get really Zen and say…perhaps the biggest challenge for me has been in dealing with my own belief system about life and writing…I thought I knew me so well!

What character from your writing is your favorite and why?

Wow, okay, great question! Well, I really love The Man With No Name/Magic Man, from Sleepwalkers and Psychic. But, I can’t really tell you why, cause it’d give away the character! Rrrrrr…what I can say, is that he has a way with “Time”…and it’s how he “handles” things…gets things done. I can’t say anything more or he’ll come looking for me. He’s the coolest character I’ve ever written (a close second is my alien character, She, in ERO), and I have at least one more book in me to go with Sleepwalkers and Psychic. Yeah, the Man With No Name.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep at it. “Go around the rocks,” and by that I mean, if you find impediments to getting your work out there, find a different way. With all the “New Indie” outlets that now exist, you can easily find a way. But…do not sacrifice the writing. Work at getting your material the best it can be, whether that means joining critique groups, getting another writer/reader to go over your work, whatever. But, work on the writing first…then, when it’s ready…find a way to get it out there. Persistence is the key. And, probably most important…enjoy life and your journey through it; don’t wish your life away. I started when I was six. I’m 52. I like who I am and where I’m at. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you! Thank you for taking chances on people like me, going the Indie route! There’s more than one way to skin an orange! Just because New York doesn’t pick up people like me does not mean our work is any less valuable or readable. Any less good. Things are more hurried and tight everywhere. It’s a new world, a changing world, far different then when I started, and you gotta roll with the punches. I really thank all the world’s readers for taking a chance on Indie authors and the followers and readers of your and my blogs and tweets!

Thank you, Kristen, for this opportunity! It’s been fun! And I thank your readers for taking time out of their lives to stop by!

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