Interview with Doug Schwartz

1) Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your entry for this contest?

 Two things inspired me to write this story. First, if people believe in Santa Claus, I wonder what Santa believes in. Second, one thing that came to mind about cookies and the holidays, which the line from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas about "visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads". Combine these two things and you have that Santa believing that sweet dreams are what make cookies magically appear on the plates. Why not? It's no crazier than any other belief.

2) What made you decide to enter this “That's Not How Cookies Are Made” contest?

I entered the contest on a whim. The last half of 2018 was stressful with a couple of deaths in the family, some minor surgery on my eyes, and I generally had a major creative drain. I wrote this story to help pull me out of my funk. It worked. I'm getting back into my writing groove. Just another service from SIA, whether they know it or not.

3) Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

Douglas Adams, because of his witty sense of humor and unconventional way of telling a story that is very quote-worthy. Neil Gaiman, because he has a wonderful way of telling fantastic stories. Terry Pratchett, because he had a way of giving characters their own unique voices and quirks. Stephen King, because he can craft his characters in such a dimensional way that you feel like you know them. And, JK Rowling, because of her remarkable world building and creative vision. I've had the privilege of meeting three of the five. Care to guess which ones?

4) What is your favourite book you read this year and why?

Since this year is still so new and I'm in the middle of my first read of the year, I'll pick one from 2018. I read my set of favorite fall-back books every year or two. But, I'd have to say it is a toss up between Slip of the Keyboard by Terry Pratchett and View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman, (and even Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams), because their words (whether stories or essays) are always inspiring to me.

5) What is your best piece of advice for all the new independent authors out there?

If you enjoy writing, then write. And, write something you would enjoy reading. Hopefully, when you have the courage to share it with the world, other people will enjoy reading it, too. Just don't be too upset that not everyone will like it or understand it. Writing is a form of art, and everyone's tastes are different. There will always be something better and worse than your work of art. Learn from both, and then keep writing.

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