A Writer’s Interview: Part One

This blog post was inspired by a friend of mine. I don’t know how to do a trackback, or pingback, or whatever it is that marks a blog post as a response. However, they are going to be doing a series of blog posts answering questions from a writer interview. I thought I would join them in answering those same questions. You can find their post here.

I know I haven’t blogged in ages. I was ill for a couple of months, since then I’ve struggled to catch up and get back into a normal routine. I did want to write a review of Avengers: Age of Ultron, possibly still will even though it was some time ago that I saw the film. I also had a post in the works about the Marvel Heroes achievement system, another about all the Swtor news, both the expansion and the 12x story boost in action.

Given circumstances I know better than to make any promises about when, or if, these blog posts will make it live. However, those posts along with the rest of the writer interview series, will appear at some point.

On with the interview.

1) What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I have written for years for fun and I will likely always write no matter what. However, that being said my ultimate ambition for my writing career is to earn enough to pay the bills. I’m not asking for the earth, just enough to scrape by, that’s all. Whether that’s a pipe dream remains to be seen.

My first real ambition I guess is someone buying one of my books, someone that I don’t know. That really will be a red letter day. To be honest it’s only relatively recently that I decided to even try for a writing career. I believed that it would never be possible, as traditional publishing is so unlikely I thought I needed to find something else to pay the bills. However, indie publishing offers a chance and it’s one I’m going to take.

2) Which writers inspire you?
I wouldn’t really say any specific writer inspires me. There are certainly authors who I enjoy but I haven’t modeled my style after anyone, there isn’t anyone that I would like to be compared to one day.

My real inspiration, and what I owe a debt of gratitude to, is the literacy program/challenge NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. Without the encouragement and structure of the challenge, I never would have attempted to put my original ideas onto paper.

3) What have you written?
I don’t have any original work published – yet. However, like quite a few authors these days I’d imagine, I got my start in fanfiction. My earliest stories are thankfully not available anywhere on the internet any longer, or at least I certainly hope not. I was eleven, and reading a lot of Tom Clancy and Dale Brown. If you want to imagine how terrible it was, mix the British sixties drama Heartbeat or The Royal, with books by those two authors, it’s seriously embarrassing.

I wrote fanfic for a couple of other fandoms and I still have an account on fanfiction.net, though I haven’t posted anything in years. I’m undecided as to whether or not to delete my account there. Almost everything was written when I was under sixteen, and I would hope that I have improved since then.

Actually I suppose the question is what I have written, not just what I’ve let other people read. I have a fair few novels archived on my hard disk, products of successful attempts at NaNoWriMo. However, only one novel has been through a complete revision. That novel is currently waiting for my editor to become available. Once edited, I’m going to commission a cover, get it all formatted and then it will be the first book I publish. Currently I’m aiming for October, but as with all things in life that’s not set in stone just yet.

4) What are you working on at the minute?
Well it’s been a bit of an odd month. I started writing the sequel to my first finished novel in April, during Camp NaNo. However, I got really ill partway through the month and had to stop writing, truth be told I stopped doing nearly everything I felt so bad. I was still ill all through May but I’d recovered halfway through June and so I decided to prepare for the July session of Camp NaNo.

The problem is I still had some lingering issues after being ill, this month hasn’t gone how I planned. I’d decided rather than face the challenge of picking up the sequel straight away, which was quite daunting being partway through a series novel, I’d write a new project instead to get back into the groove. This new project was designed to be a series of short stories, I was only asking myself to write the first one and it still wasn’t happening.

In desperation I just started typing and came up with a new idea that I really rather liked. However, the problem was that I hadn’t planned it, so I didn’t know where it was going. This wouldn’t be a problem if I was just writing for fun but I’m not any longer. I didn’t know anything about this idea, so I couldn’t determine whether it would be a waste of time, or if it would turn into something I could revise, edit and eventually sell.

As I don’t want to waste my time I thought it best to shelve this new idea. Therefore I’ve decided to go back to the sequel, which is fighting me a little but hopefully by the end of the month I’ll have made some solid progress.

5) What genre do you write in and why?
Crime, Science Fiction and Espionage are the three labels I decided to apply. However, I suppose there could be others. In all honesty I don’t really worry too much about the labels, all they do is help try and sort the massive pile of stuff out there into smaller massive piles, in the hope people can find something they like.

I like what I like and I don’t like to limit myself really. I suppose I am drawn to crime dramas, political thrillers, spy intrigue and sci-fi speculation more than anything. However, a lot of genres can fit inside one another, some romance, some action can be found in a lot of other stuff. I write what I like to read or watch on the TV, wouldn’t make much sense to write something I didn’t like, although some people can do it for money. I don’t think I could as I don’t think I have the talent.

6) Who would you cast to play characters from your novel?
The original question asked about lead character, but if I’m honest I cast everyone that I can – if I can. Sometimes I get an idea about how a character looks and I don’t see anyone in reality that feels quite right. Other times an actor/actress will come to mind almost before I decide on the characters quirks. Sometimes they say a role was written with an actor/actress in mind and I guess that’s occasionally what I do, I’m not sure if that’s wrong or not.

I don’t want to get into specifics here as this is my personal blog, which ideally I don’t want linked with my professional identity. I want to only present the best impression professionally, and I don’t think I do that here as I’m quite casual, not to mention a complete nerd/geek.

Anyway that being said I recently cast Tony Amendola, a younger Erik Jensen, Jaime Ray Newman, Emily Wickersham and Victor Webster in a variety of different roles. Notice I said younger Erik Jensen, as I don’t limit myself to actors/actresses who are actually available. If they had the correct look back in the 1980’s then I cast them, even though it’s impossible. I’m not casting them for real after all, just as inspiration and help when it comes to description.

7) How much research do you do?
This is not a good question for me as my level of research is probably appallingly low. I google until I find answers, or I change what I’m writing so the details are no longer important, or the details have changed to something I know about or can easily find out about.

I have absolutely no patience for endless research, I want my answers quick and easy. I don’t want to cheat my readers, as even though it’s supposed to be entertaining, that doesn’t excuse it being wrong. Plus if someone knows it’s wrong, then it’ll ruin the immersion and for me that’s the kiss of death when I’m reading/watching something. I have to be able to believe in whatever it is, when that’s gone then I’m gone.

8) Have you written anything in collaboration with another writer?
I wrote a fanfic with someone back when I was eleven, it did not go well. We talked through all the ideas, bouncing them back and forth, but I did most of the writing. I gave them full credit but that wasn’t enough, they thought I’d claimed too much of it as my own I guess. As it was such a long time ago, and I was so young, I’m not going to say they were wrong. I could have easily made a mistake or bad judgement.

However, this has put me completely off ever collaborating with someone else. All I see with that kind of idea is a minefield about copyright, ownership, distribution of royalties etc. No, it’s not worth the headache, all my work will be my own.

9) When did you decide to become a writer?
I think this question has two answers. If I answer based on the word the question used – writer – then the answer is different than if they’d used the word – author. I decided to be a writer when I was nine, possibly younger, as it would be whenever I put pen to paper and told a story for the first time.

I dreamed about being an author until I was ten or eleven when I decided it wasn’t practical. I told myself to stop dreaming and get real, I needed to decide on a career that was actually possible and economically viable. Writing would not pay the bills so I could never be an author.

On and off over the years I dreamed about it, but swiftly told myself not to be so stupid. When I was at high school I decided I would be a doctor or a lawyer, something sensible but before I picked my A levels I’d ruled out both those options. I didn’t want the responsibility of other peoples lives in my hand, plus the only law I was interested in was criminal and I didn’t want to have to defend guilty people.

I decided on a career in computer programming. I actually went to university to get a degree in that but it was a bad idea. I steadily grew to hate it more and more, I used to code for fun, now I wouldn’t code unless my life depended on it. Then my friend, the same one who is also doing this quiz, told me about indie publishing. Suddenly the once impossible became possible.

Therefore I decided to become an author October 2014. Since then I’ve written and revised a novel ready for an editor, then publication. I’ve also moved house, been ill for several months and started the sequel. As I said earlier I’m aiming for October this year to be my publication date, so publish on the first anniversary of making the decision. That might not happen but I hope it does.

10) Why do you write?
I want a career as an author as it’s a job I can have, where I work from home. I write because I have stories to tell, it’s as simple as that really. Sometimes I think it would be simpler if I just let the ideas live in my head, they have untapped potential then, they haven’t faced the ugly reality of the page.

Writing causes a lot of heartache, it’s not an easy path but when it’s over, it’s immensely satisfying. I can hold a stack of paper in my hand, look at the printed pages and think to myself that I wrote that. Plus writing it down is a baptism of fire, like I said the idea has to face reality and prove whether it’s good or not. I want to publish, I want to see if others like what I have written, I guess part of me hopes for approval. I know some will hate it but I just dream that one person will like it.

11) What made you sit down and actually start something?
As previously mentioned, when it comes to original fiction, National Novel Writing Month takes that honor. As I just said above, I have ideas living in my mind and before NaNo that’s where they stayed. Then November 2007 I put pen to paper and found that the idea fell apart. What worked in my head didn’t work on the page, I had a lot of work to do.

If we’re talking fanfic then, back when I used to write that, it was because I wasn’t happy with the way things had worked out. Sometimes it was because I wanted to fill in the blanks, sometimes I wanted something to happen and I was fed up of waiting for TPTB to do it, if they ever did. I was something of a shipper when I was younger, so I wrote fanfics where my chosen couple got together. I’m a bit of a romantic really for all that I dislike pure romance stories.

If we’re talking blogging then it was because I had something to say, an opinion I wanted to formulate and write down. It was usually because I was unhappy about something, but sometimes it was just because I had some thoughts and wanted somewhere to spill them so I could think about other things.

As I said I will always write.

To Be Continued …

3 thoughts on “A Writer’s Interview: Part One

  1. Heh, while I liked this post on its own and I didn’t wait for part 2 and 3 on purpose, I confess to liking it even more since I knew there were 2 more parts to read right after so I could go: This post, I like it! ANOTHER! XD

    Also, nice to see some updates again and I hope you feel better soon so you can get back to the book(s). =)

    • Heya! Thanks Waya 🙂 I hope things are ok with you and yes I will try and blog more. Yup and finish book two. I’m going to see Ant-Man tonight, so marvel mood “I like it! Another!” is quite appropriate heh.

  2. Hey.

    I’ve been meaning to post for a couple days now. Sorry for the delay.

    I don’t so much tend to cast actors or my stories (although I have been known to occasionally; I did for a number of fanfic where I had my own characters come in), not that casting actor is wrong. It’s not. I do, however, cast models; stock site models. When developing story ideas, I tend to browse stock sites looking for inspiration—whilst thinking about images for potential covers. Heh. Nerd/geek/dreamer.

    Fact. My research has gotten in the way of my writing. I do so much of it that it becomes a problem. I worry about getting things right on the first draft, and I shouldn’t. I am trying to rectify that. I praise your method, actually. Wish I could handle it like you do.

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