Friday, November 30, 2012

Meet Clayton Crooks, Author

Clayton Crooks is an American author, computer consultant, and software developer. He is best known for his books on topics including game development and mobile devices. Clayton began his writing career working for various magazines such as Dr. Dobbs Journal, Code Magazine, and Web Techniques. He authored his first book on Visual Basic in 2001 and began writing about various tools and languages afterward. Along with his writing career, Clayton has had games published on various platforms including "3D Air Hockey" and "3D Duck Hunting" for PC's, and a number of mobile games and apps.

His book, iPhone Game Development for Teens, is a step-by-step guide for beginners who want to create games made specifically for the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

1. When and why did you begin writing?

I'm a computer consultant by trade. The writing actually came somewhat by accident. I was helping some people in an online forum many years ago. Someone noticed a post that I had written about how to fix an issue with a server or something. They asked if I might be interested in writing about technology related topics for their newsletter, and everything just took off from there. Before I knew what was happening, I was writing for five or ten magazines, and had an offer to do my first book.

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

It really depends greatly on the subject at hand. For most of the books that I've done, it takes an average of about three to six months. I've had a few take much longer, and some that were a little less. Much of the time, it depends on how much time I can devote to writing, as my consulting business keeps me quite busy.

3. Where do you get ideas for your books?

When I was first starting out, I had to think a little more about what to write about, but as time has gone on, I have publishers reach out to me about topics they have interest in. They'll usually contact me and ask if I'd be interested in doing something on a particular topic. With the basic idea in hand, we work out the details on content, audience, and direction.

4. How many books have you written, and which is your favorite?

I’m not sure of the exact number, but probably somewhere around 20. I guess it depends on if you include 2nd and 3rd editions of books as well. My favorite book was a programming book called Learning Visual Through Applications. There are a number of reasons why, but well before tablets had become mainstream, I wrote a couple of example applications related to development for the Tablet PC. I had such great feedback from other developers. There are even a few examples on Microsoft's Developer Network that utilize things from the book.

5. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love being outdoors and any type of sports related activities. My wife and son are huge sports fans as well, so it's something we do as a family. I'm sure it's not surprising, but I also love all types of gadgets: mobile devices, game consoles, tablets, phones, and computers.

Thanks, Clayton!

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