1.) When did you first get serious about writing?
A.) I’ve written poetry and short stories for years, but I would say ‘serious’ was about 5 or so years ago. The first novel came out of stories written for a game, plus something I’d been working on for a while. At first I wasn’t sure if I should publish – it’s a very daunting step. A few people had read the book, and past short stories and persuaded me to give it a shot. I wasn’t writing to make money, I was writing because I had a story which wanted to be told, and because I enjoyed creating worlds and characters.
2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?
(A) The discipline! I have a full time job, a few health problems and so finding the time to sit and write when I’m not too tired, too stressed, or too lazy is hard for me. Often it will take me a while to get started and usually I have several things on the go. I actually find it easier to concentrate on many projects and tasks at once, focusing on only one thing I find difficult.
Also marketing. In many ways this is the most challenging part of publishing. I don’t like pushy sales people and the line between acceptable promotion and spamming people is very thin. Many readers don’t like any author promotion and knowing when to mention one’s book is tricky. It’s also hard finding marketing strategies that work – what works for John doesn’t work for James, and James has a strategy which Joanne finds bizarre. Writing the book is relatively easy – selling the damn thing – that’s hard.
Oh and formatting. I hate it. BORING!!!!
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3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?
(A) Terrified. As I’ve said it’s quite daunting, and there is always the fear readers won’t like it or even find it. For many authors a book can take months or even years to write, rewrite and produce for publication and so there is a sense of relief, pride and achievement.
For me – there was a lot of joy and sadness. My mother was in the last stages of terminal cancer when I published but even so she was so proud of the achievement. I took the print version for her to see, and she had tears in her eyes. Even though she was so ill she told everyone about it – neighbours, friends, family members. For a while she had something else to think about and focus on. I was so pleased she was able to see it.
4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?
Both. Although if I had to choose, I’d lean towards characters. Flat, one dimensional characters can kill a book. If a reader doesn’t give two hoots about the characters then the plot doesn’t matter. That reader is lost. Well-written characters can carry a dodgy story but not vice versa.
5.) What is a typical day like in your world?
Chaos usually. Get up, make breakfast, fed pets and man of the house and tidy kitchen a bit. Go to work. Spend day grumbling about work and wishing I had time to write down all the story ideas which poke me. Get home, walk dog, have dinner, then maybe write if I’m not too tired, or annoy Facebook if I am and then walk dog again, then bed. Repeat cycle.