T.W. Piperbrook

I’m a post-apocalyptic, science fiction, and horror writer living on the east coast of the US. My writing “career” began at ten years old, typing up stories in my bedroom on a Smith Corona word processor. Fast forward a few decades, and I’ve completed five series, including CONTAMINATION, THE LAST SURVIVORS, and SANDSTORM. My latest is a zombie story with a twist called ALIVE AGAIN.

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How long have you been writing for and how much of that time have you spent writing fiction?

I’ve been writing since the age of ten, but my first published work was CONTAMINATION in 2012. Since then I’ve authored five complete series and am working on a sixth. I’ve also contributed a guest blog for the Bookbub partners website on the topic of collaboration.

What’s the average word count for the books you write and how long does it take you to write your average book?

The typical word count for my books is 50-100K. However, I’ve also written a fair number of novellas at around 20-25K, as well as a short story collection called BETTER GUNS & GARDENS.

What is your writing routine (Do you have a daily word count goal? Do you write whenever the spirit moves you?)

These days, I aim for 1500-2500 words a day if I’m in drafting mode.

How much do you research for a book before you start writing?

Depends on the project. For some, a lot.

What do you find most difficult about writing a book?

The mucky middle.

Which of your books are you most proud of and why?

Probably The Ruins series. It contains my favorite characters and I often find myself thinking about them.

Which of your books was the most difficult to write and why?

The Ruins. This was a follow-up series to a collaboration called The Last Survivors, and I wanted to make sure I did the characters and the world justice. Thankfully, the reader feedback has been great!

Would you publish with a traditional publisher if they contacted you? Why?

One of my science fiction series, SANDSTORM, is currently with a traditional publisher on audiobook. I’m always open to discussion.

How many unfinished or unpublished works do you have?

Too many to count. If only I had enough time to finish them all!

Do you prefer creating stand-alone books or series?

Readers seem to prefer series. However, I’d love to try my hand at a standalone at some point.

What’s one character you wish you would have created? What do you find compelling or interesting about this character?

Dexter. Somehow, they have you rooting for a serial killer (!)

What book do you wish you would have written? Why?

Stephen King’s “Misery”

What does success as a writer look like for you?

Entertaining people with my words, and having the freedom to spend time with my family and friends.

Writing can be a lonely job. Do you take any special steps to ensure you remain part of the world?

The indie author community is amazing. My author buddies (and all my friends outside the business) keep me grounded.

Constantly sitting and writing can be physically debilitating. How do you take care of yourself, physically?

A mid-day hike does wonders!

Do you read your reviews? How do you deal with bad ones?

I used to read them in my early days, but now, I find I’m better off focusing on the next book.

What books have you read that were particularly inspiring?

Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy

Do you have a favourite author? A favourite book?

Favorite authors dating back to childhood: Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Christopher Pike. Favorite current authors: Blake Crouch and Jeff Strand.

Do you plot your stories in great detail before starting to write, or fly by the seat of your pants?

I use a combination of those methods, depending on the project. I guess you could say I’m a “plantser”.

Of all the characters in your stories, which is your favourite?

Bray from The Ruins

Have you based any characters on real people? If they found out, how did they respond?

I definitely have. Usually they’re a combination of several people, or disguised so well that people will never find out. However, I’ve based a few on people I know, and they’ve been psyched.

What’s the best thing about being an independent author? The worst?

The freedom. The worst is burnout.

Do you make a living selling your books?

Yes, and I’m thankful every day!

What advice would you give to a new author?

Keep writing, and finish the book. You’ll get there!

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