How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?
Sophomore year at LaSalle High School in Pasadena, California. Brother Paul was a true inspiration because he taught us how to hold people’s interest using our own words. Later at Art Center College, then in L.A., now in Pasadena, during my creative classes in package design and advertising copy writing.
What inspired you to write Flash Fiction?
At Art Center College I designed a 40 foot outdoor billboard for AT&T: “A buzz is faster than a zip – AT&T.” When during my 40 years selling products and packaging, I learned to always be succinct. A package must be clean, to the point and chock full of information in almost no words. At Bed, Bath and Beyond, you can still buy a clever and useful product and package that I designed, namely: FRIDGE-LINERS TM. All of the panels of copy must read quickly, hold interest and tell a valuable story that makes you put it in your basket without question.
Describe your writing process.
I keep a pad of paper beside my bed. When I get a piece of a dream, or an otherwise brilliant phrase or inspiration, I jot it down. This either leads to more of the same and I write for hours or it was something I needed to record in order to relax. Satisfied that I would not lose the moment, I sleep in peace. I usually have three things in the mix so that when I need more rumination for my primary story, I can busy myself with rewrites on my other efforts. It’s like herding cats, sometimes. Rather than getting frustrated if I can’t seem to move forward, I jump on my bicycle and lose myself in the vineyards surrounding the town, where my wife and I live, in the Unter-Franken part of Bavaria. In winter I walk to town for an espresso by the Main River and return with a clean slate ready to write again.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a follow-up memoir to Hobie and Dewey Days, titled Dead Stones Days, 1968-1972. I hope to self-publish it on Amazon in early 2016.
I’m currently working on a more extensive non-fiction novel which I am extremely excited about. It is tentatively titled Émigré. It’s a story about all the current interlopers, including myself, here in Germany; the humanness of us all while moving from continent to continent, culture to culture, our fears and our strengths. It will be a third person narrative novel based upon individuals I meet here every week, all trying to find what we could not find in our homelands. How can this yearly migration into one country, over a million people, possibly work? And why can only Germany pull it off?
My third “critter” is a play about cosmetics, teased in my first submission to Fewerthan500.com, “The Canadian Goose Killer,” posted on October 27th. Great fun this.
I use my rather stratified middle name now that I find there are at least four or five published William Sturtevant’s. I’m the only Bentley in the crowd, so far.