Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Words With... Phillip Thierjung


Thanks to Phillip Thierjung for this interview

How long have you been writing? 

I started writing my first book, Bethyl and the Dragon Dagger, in January 2009.

Do you have a day job or do you write for a living? 

I wish I had a job. The economy is in a bad shape here. I use the computers at the library to communicate online. I am also homeless, living in a tent in the woods here.

What do you feel is the ideal recipe for a good novel/story/poem?  

There is not one recipe. It depends on how creative your mind is. 

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?  

Ego. You have to want people to read what you write

What books have you written? Do you stick to one genre?

So far I have written Bethyl and the Dragon Dagger, and White Tiger and other short stories
I am currently typing my next book, Bethyl and the Winter Night Rider.

How long did it take you to write your book/s?  
My first book took me three months to write. Then I put it aside for nine months before I started to edit it.

Do you have any works in progress?  
Bethyl and the Winter Night Rider.

Which character from your books do you like most/are most like?

My main character, Bethyl, is my alter ego. 

Where and when do you write ­ – do you have set times during which you write 
or is it just when the mood takes you?
I have no set time. I write when I am in the mood to do it.

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? Has the person guessed?
All my characters are fictional. 

How do you find the marketing experience? Any advice for other writers? 
Do you use a blog or twitter, etc?

I do blog on Friend Finders under  wander_in_star. The advice I would give a person who is just starting to write would be: start with an idea and build on it. After you have finished writing your book, be prepared to rewrite it. Do not be afraid to change your story.
Links:
Bethyl and the Dragon Dagger

Monday, 27 June 2011

Words With... Faith Mortimer



Thanks to Faith Mortimer for this interview

How long have you been writing?

I started writing properly in about 2007, when I began my first book, The Crossing. Before that I played, wrote short stories, terrible poetry, etc.!

Do you have a day job or do you write for a living?

No, I am retired now, but I seem to be marketing all the time as well as writing. So writing is my my work now.

What do you feel is the ideal recipe for a good novel/story/poem?

A superb plot. Some excellent, well-defined characters who stand out. Perfect prose and a setting that takes your breath away.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

I inspired myself, I think. My children had left for University and I was impressed by their learning skills. I sat for a degree myself (Science with Biology), passed with a super mark and realised I now had the stamina, determination and confidence to write and FINISH that novel.

What books have you written? Do you stick to one genre?

I’ve completed and published two so far. The Crossing – action, adventure, drama and romance. The second is The Assassins’ Village – a murder-mystery thriller set in Cyprus and not unlike an Agatha Christie ‘who dunnit’. I have another in progress, which will be drama with a nice bit of gore!

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

It probably took me about 18-24 months from start to finish.

Do you have any works in progress?

Yes. Children of The Plantation a drama with some gore. This is set in 1950s Malaya.

Which character from your books do you like most/are most like?

Impossible to say – maybe Billy in The Crossing as he is such a nice man and full of compassion for others.

Where and when do you write ­ – do you have set times during which you write or is it just when the mood takes you?

I write in ‘my snug’ a lovely room with nice surroundings or in my inner courtyard. We have a 200-year-old stone house in the mountains of Cyprus. Gorgeous! And it’s a perfect retreat for writing. I write at different times of the day.

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? Has the person guessed?

Yes, both my published books are based loosely on people I know. The Crossing is partly true as well.

One day you’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…

A good dictionary (English of course)
Complete Set of Shakespeare
The Far Pavilions by MMKaye
Tanamera
All of mine!

Some of your fave things: Animal? Food? Drink? Film? Colour? Band? Song? Place to chill out?

Love walking, good food, red wine, chocolate, kittens and puppies, my children, my husband, the film Zulu

Which book do you wish you had written?

The Far Pavilions – a beautiful love story in India.

Which three authors (living or not) would you like to take to the pub?

William Shakespeare, Conn Iggulden and MM Kaye.

What other hobbies/interests do you have or has writing taken over?

I walk and run when I can, and I tread the boards (act).

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

Write at least 4 more books, and be happy and healthy.

If you won the Lotto, what would you do with all it?

Ha! No chance of that as I never waste my money. Probably buy my children new houses with no mortgages and a theatre for my husband as he loves acting too!

Now for the creative bit. Please complete this story…

There was a young frog called Kipper who lived in this enormous pond. All around him was deep water. Perfect you might say for a frog… except he was terrified of the wet stuff! His brothers and sisters all made fun of him. ‘You are such a whoosiecroaker !’ They all chorused as soon as the sun set over Kipper’s pond. ‘What are we going to do with you?’
Things got really bad and one little frog that wasn’t much bigger than a tadpole decided she had to look after matters.
She commandeered the biggest lily flower leaf and made Kipper climb on board. She then jumped off the leaf and propelled Kipper towards the shore. As they neared the sandy edges, Kipper became excited and crawled ashore.
‘I knew it!’ sang the little frog in glee. ‘No wonder you’re terrified of water! You’re not a frog at all! You’re a toad! Toads crawl on land, and frogs hop and love water.
And Kipper lived happily ever after.”

Links: 

Amazon links for the two books, including the paperback of The Crossing

The Assassins' Village


The Crossing (includes links for paperback version)

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Locked in?

I’m halfway through reading this brilliant book that a lot of people will have heard of, or read. It is Jean-Dominique Bauby’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

On the front of the book there is a quote from the Financial Times calling it “one of the greatest books of the century”. I’m inclined to agree. It is probably the most inspiring book I have ever read. 

Why is it brilliant? Because the author found himself locked inside a body that no longer worked. The only thing he had left was his mind and one eye, which still functioned. The other eye had been sewn shut in the hospital and his body was paralysed. I tried to imagine the overwhelming fear and horror at waking up to find yourself in this position. But I can’t. Could anyone imagine this? How would you cope? It is unimaginable.

Jean-Dominique was an editor, a man of words, and had two children. Then he suffered a stroke. He was about the same age as me. The title of the book comes from his idea that his existence in this new body, which no longer worked and was a constant source of pain, felt like being inside a diving bell. When reading the book I imagined his mind as the butterfly, which could fly free, leaving his now lifeless body behind. 

And his mind really flies free. His existence becomes one created from his memories and what he can view through one eye in a hospital room. The condition of Locked-In Syndrome is more understood now, and Jean-Dominique set up a foundation for it in 1996. Back then, it was more of a mystery. The thing that stood out for me was his hope. It’s not a book filled with self-pity or self-loathing, but hope. This and the indominable strength of the mind. How would we cope if the only thing we had left was our mind? The strongest part of the body perhaps. With it, I like to think, we can do anything. Or at least, we can dream that we can do anything. We live in a world in which most things are possible. We can dream to dream that we can achieve our dreams. The power of the mind.

I also started thinking about the prisons that we can find themselves in. This lack of freedom that we do not choose, but we are stuck in, and then how do we cope? What do we do? And the power of positive thinking, which we can lose at times, which can drift off; sometimes we don’t even notice it leaving.

I read this week of the release of Weiwei. A free thinker and artist who, in our ‘modern world’, lives in one of the countries without freedom of expression, human rights or freedom of information. He was imprisoned because his beliefs are against those of China’s oppressive government. A man with the power of mind to stand up for his beliefs and try to achieve the freedom that many of us take for granted. He has been released, but at what cost to him? At the moment he can make no comment. Thus he is still living in an invisible prison and I will watch with interest what happens next. I wish him all the best.

Then there are the prisons that each of us may find ourselves in at any time of our lives. The bars that come up that prevent us doing what we want to do. Whether this is a government removing our freedom of expression or the removal of our human rights. Whether it is debt, which prevents us living how we would like to live. Similarly, lack of money, which stops us doing things. Or perhaps it is lack of confidence to do something. Or perhaps it is a physical illness that strikes us and suddenly we are not the same, or we think we are not the same as we find we cannot do easily what we once did before. Recently I’ve been inspired by a couple of writers, who have debilitating illnesses, but they are writing and doing their best to carry on as normal. And then there are the non-physical illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, which I have been dealing with for the past year, as have many other people. Although not a physical illness, it builds up and affects your ability to function, to enjoy the big things and the small things, colouring everything black and seeing negativity in everything; in the end it can result in a physical illness. And so the circle goes on.

All of these things can prevent us from doing things, achieving things. They can leave us thinking we are at the bottom of a hole with no way of climbing out. I visited an exhibition recently for the organisation MIND, which my friend, Gema Newby, helped to organise, and some of the artists/writers had come up with the idea of a well. That we all have this well inside of us. A negative thing that builds up, can overwhelm us, and the task of climbing out can become harder. On the outside, our clamber up can be made easier by hope, friends, family, therapists and interests, or goals, or even a pet. But for the person inside the well the climb seems like a Mount Everest to surmount. Sometimes the people on the outside will understand; sometimes they won’t.

Reading The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly I’m reminded how the smallest things should give us joy. Today is a sunny day and I’m intending to go out soon to the forest. The smallest things – the feel of the sun, the air on your face, walking under leaves where everything smells green, the chatter of birds. All these things. Everyone has the right to joy, to be happy. These things can be taken away so easily, which is why it is so important to make the most of everything, and I’m pretty guilty of not doing this lately. These simple things, which, really, are huge things - the essence of life.

And so I come back to the power of the mind. The power of the mind to surmount difficulties. The power of our minds to help ourselves. Yes the mind can also trick us at times, or lock us into negative thought patterns and inaction. But mainly it has the power to ride out the difficulties around us. I’m amazed when I read about the strength of people. All of us have problems, large or small. All of us know of other people – it may be ourselves – who have overcome or are dealing with massive problems. We all have the power to unlock the prisons inside our minds. Or to ask for help. The expression of free thought being one of our dearest things.

In the case of Jean-Dominique Dauby, it was a speech therapist called Sandrine who finally gave him a way of reconnecting with the outside world and his family and friends. She gave him the power to communicate, so he could release his thoughts, which had been his only companions for so long, and the butterfly could fly free.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Words With... Brian Hayden

Thanks to Brian Hayden for this interview


How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for 12 years. I wrote a management book that was published in 1999, and wrote 5 scripts for educational videos.

Do you have a day job or do you write for a living?

I am retired. That is my day job.

What do you feel is the ideal recipe for a good novel/story/poem?

The ideal formula for writing may be different for everyone. For me, the formula is simply to write about things I know and are important to me.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

My wife Denise inspired me to write and still inspires my writing.

What books have you written? Do you stick to one genre?

The first book I wrote is called 'Using Strategic and Tactical Plans for Veterinary Hospitals'. My new book,'Death:Living To Talk About It', is a memoir of living with heart disease. I share dynamic changes in family and self. The book is full of hope, inspiration and emotion.

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

The first book took me 4 or 5 months. This latest book took about a year.

Do you have any works in progress?

I have three books in the works right now. The first one, a sequel to 'Death: Living To Talk About It', follows my journey towards a heart transplant. Aptly named 'Road To Transplant'. The second book is a redo of the first book. I am adjusting it to accommodate most small businesses. The third will begin after my heart transplant. If I can't get one it will follow me until I die. Doctors don't think I will live more than a year or so without a new heart.

Where and when do you write ­ – do you have set times during which you write or is it just when the mood takes you?

I have an office at home. I write in the mornings. Sometimes the mood will strike at other times and I will sit down and write.

How do you find the marketing experience? Any advice for other writers? Do you use a blog or twitter, etc

Marketing is tough. I blog, get on TV when I can, join groups like Book Junkies, It is hard.

One day you’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…

Five books I really enjoy are: Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, War and Peace, The Bible, When will Jesus bring the pork chops?

Which book do you wish you had written?

I wish I had written Moby Dick. It is so original, interesting and full of life.

Which three authors (living or not) would you like to take to the pub?

Three authors I admire are Ernest Hemingway, J D Salinger and Herman Melville.

What other hobbies/interests do you have or has writing taken over?

Writing has pretty much taken over, but I enjoy fishing and playing with my grandchildren.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

I would like to be alive in five years so that I may experience the following five years.

The creative bit: please complete this story in 100 words or less…
  
There was a young frog called Kipper. He hopped from place to place without regard to where he was going. One day, as he was hopping he noticed a little pond, full of fresh flowers and bushes. For some reason, he had never passed that way before. He thought... the road not taken is the opportunity missed. He hopped to the pond, discovered a beautiful girl frog and they lived happily ever after. So, children, the moral of the story is: once a missed frog is always a missed frog, but a jumping one lasts forever.

Finally, what question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer?  

I wish you would have asked what do you want people to take away from your book? There is always hope, despite the odds, never give up. There are no expiration dates tattooed to our asses. If I can live, after all I have been through, all I am going through, maybe you can too. 

Links:


I would like to wish Brian Hayden all the best in his journey towards a heart transplant



Sunday, 19 June 2011

Words with... Lee Taylor


Thanks to Lee Taylor for this interview

How long have you been writing?

I tried my hand at writing back in 1993, when I was at Secretarial College. A few lads got together to see who could come up with the best story within a month, but after one day of watching me come up with a story based on killer rats, they stopped their projects and wanted to see what I was writing. That was when I knew I had a gift for storytelling. However, I didn't follow through with it until buying my first computer in 1999. That's when the 'Morgue of the Dead' story came to life.


Do you have a day job or do you write for a living? 

I wish I could write for a living, but I have had many health problems in the past, which affect my work pattern. From the months of November to March I am pretty useless. Work is hard for me then, and the writing slows down also. The plan is to move to a warmer country; then I can write quicker, but unless I make a living from writing or work then I doubt that will happen.


What do you feel is the ideal recipe for a good novel/story/poem? 

I wouldn't know what the ideal recipe would be because if I did then I would be making a living from it, but I personally have to see a movie version of what I want to write about before I write it. Basically, from chapter 1 to the end I have to imagine 'would this be able to work on the big screen?'. If I see it then I will write it. You could say my ideas are more aimed at movie novels, but the way I see it, if I can sell novels which can also be turned into movies/comics/videogames, then I've achieved 4 possibilites in 1 story idea. I also have to know the beginning and the end before I start a novel; then I just fill in the gaps.


What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you? 

This is a good question. I was brought up on the old horrors from the late 70s/early 80s, before the big ban in the UK, so I think it's been inside me to write stories that can be turned into sick, twisted movies like the ones back then. The great George Romero has to have an influence or I wouldn't have chosen to write a story about flesh-eating zombies. In general, I think horror movies have inspired me to write and my aim is to see one of my horror stories on the big screen.


What books have you written? Do you stick to one genre? 

I've written 2 novels, although 'Morgue of the Dead' is the only release to date. My second novel, BEDBUGS (Can you see them?),is based on the old saying 'Night, night, sleep tight & Don't let the bedbugs bite'. It's based in the year 2050, but the local chief of police has to link the recent murders to the ones that happened way back in 1977. The bedbugs are tiny, alien insects that eat people alive. I don't know if I will stick to one genre, as I like horror, comedy & even romance. In my zombie novel I added true horror, comedy with traces of romance to hopefully attract readers of other genres. The same goes for my second novel.


How long did it take you to write your book/s? 

The timescale for 'Morgue of the Dead' was a nightmare for me. I originally finished it in 2001, but I had a huge computer failure, meaning I had to rewrite it on my next computer. I couldn't format the floppy disc on my new system back then, but I had the novel in paper form, so I just retyped it. If you think that was bad, then this will make you cry. That computer got soaked after the fish tank broke and I found out that the discs were copyrighted for some reason, meaning I had to retype it again on my next computer. By 2006, I got an agent who said that my novel was 150 pages too big for a first-time novel, so it took me another 9 months to shorten it to roughly the version I have now. Since 2007, I have been trying to get it noticed, but I self-published it last year. Bedbugs only took me around a full year to get it to my first finished version. Like I said, I struggle for 4 months of the year, but I think if I was to write full time then I can finish a rough novel within 6 months.


Do you have any works in progress? 

Bedbugs is finished in draft version, so I need to edit it to make it more readable. My other started stories are Morgue of the Dead 2 & I've got about 6 ideas for stories that are waiting to be started.


Which character from your books do you like most / are most like? 

Many people tell me what characters they like from my zombie story, and it's nice that each like different characters. I personally like Mike (the chief of police) and Chris (the reporter) as they start off hating each other because of a past incident, but soon have to work together to help solve the mystery as to why people are eating other people. Eventually you see them repairing the rift between them. Chris is one of my comical characters whereas Mike is the serious policeman, so I like how they finally work out their differences.


Where and when do you write ­ – do you have set times during which you write or is it just when the mood takes you? 

I write at home, but I have no set times. I prefer to write at night, when it's quiet, but it's not cool to write through the night when I have to see my son. I've learned my lesson on that one, so I write when the mood takes me now.


Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? Has the person guessed? 

Most of my characters from my zombie novel are based on people I know. Like family members, friends. They all know, and most chose to be the character I used for them. My second novel is mostly made-up people, but I do have a habit of people watching in my town, just to get ideas for future characters.


How do you find the marketing experience? Any advice for other writers? Do you use a blog or twitter, etc?

I learn as I go on the marketing side. I hate all that as it slows my writing down, but I know that, without any help, I have to do more than just write. I use facebook, twitter, myspace, even place ads on facebook. Try blogging, mostly on zombie websites or on my website. It's all money though, and without a proper job it's hard to finance the marketing side to my novels.My advice to other writers is to seek help from anyone and everyone. Especially if you are not equipped with the finances. Word of mouth will never fade, and with the help of the internet it gets spread a lot quicker and to places where you normally wouldn't reach.


One day you’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you...

I would recommend 5 books that I'd written, but, if not, then I will struggle. I've only completed 2 novels in my life. I get bored so quickly and my mind can't stay with a novel for too long, no matter if I like it or not. Sounds strange as to why I write stories, but i've found out that there's more people like me out there than I first thought.


Some of your fave things. Animal? Food? Drink? Film? Colour? Band? Song? Place to chill out? 

I don't keep animals. I struggle to look after myself, so I don't want to look after a pet, but I do like fish. Very soothing. Food is food to me. I eat most things. Films can vary. I like most classics from the last 20 years, like Shawshank Redemption, Cinderella Man, Million Dollar Baby, Rocky, True Lies, Avatar, all the way up to the zombie movies of Romero, Zombie Flesh-eaters, The Changeling (George C Scott), The Exorcist and, of course, my fave, the Chucky movies. Colour has to be red, blue or black. Song could be anything. I love songs with meaning, so I tend to sway towards American Country songs. Not the old style, but the new stuff - I like Carrie Underwood, and the fantastic Garth Brooks. Place to chill out is a strange one as I spend 80% of my time on my own, so i'm in a chilled place a lot.


Which book do you wish you had written? 

The Exorcist as it was a classic movie.


Who is your favourite character from any book and why? 

No faves, as i've only read 2 novels.


Which three authors (living or not) would you like to take to the pub? 

I've met David Moody & Wayne Simmons, so maybe those 2, but I grew up with the James Herbert, John Carpenter, Stephen King kind of writers, so they would be cool to have a drink with.


What other hobbies/interests do you have or has writing taken over? 

I sing, like sport, play tennis and football when it's warm weather, as I need to keep fit for when the weather hits me hard.


What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

I've been speaking to a producer from America for the past 9 months as she's got ideas to turn my zombie story into a movie/TV series, so in the next 5 years I would like to be behind the scenes on a movie version of my stories.


If you won the Lotto, what would you do with it? 

I've never had much money in my life, so I think it will be hard for me to spend it quickly. I will definitely find a nice country to buy a house. Make it my haven for rest periods. As for the rest, I will treat my friends to a large holiday somewhere. I'm sure I will have many friends once I've won the lotto...lol


Finally, what question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer? 

I think you asked some good questions, so I can't think of anything else to add. I hope I've answered them well enough for you.


Links



http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=morgue+of+the+dead&sprefix=morgue+of+the+dead - Amazon US has it in all forms again, but with an added blue cover version for only $11.99 - it's the same novel, but this was published by Createspace instead of my traditional publisher, LULU.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/morgue-of-the-dead?store=book - Barnes & Noble has it in all versions, with a nook download

http://theseashellbooks.com/september/TheSeashellBooks_v2.0/Home.html - The Seashell Books has it in a downloadable form for $3.00

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/23593 - Smashwords has it for download for many devices for $1.99

http://www.lulu.com/browse/search.php?search_forum=-1&search_cat=2&show_results=topics&return_chars=200&search_keywords=&keys=&header_search=true&search=&locale=&sitesearch=lulu.com&q=&fListingClass=0&fSearch=morgue+of+the+dead&fSubmitSearch.x=8&fSubmitSearch.y=10 - LULU is my main publisher and it's available in paperback / hardback with 25% off the original price - meaning it will be cheaper than Amazon. Also available in downloadable form

Sample Sunday - a poem from Kaleidoscope

Gothic



Gothic glimpses of golden ages
Stricken dumb in unseen places
Giddy up the days in faces
Come and see the wilder traces
Of days once lived and glances
Back.

Journey into the darkest hour
Murder wrapt and bloody sour
Into arms of grim dark ardour
Come and see the wilder fervour
Of days once lived of dusty glamour
Dead.

Scan all the yawning faces scowling
Poor and cold in the daylight yearning
For food and shelter in the dawning
While night unravels winter’s drowning
Of sorrows in ales and dark prowling
Woe.

The fine woman in furs slips her mask
In the light she regrets her one task
That night brings with a single cask
Forgetting numbness come here fast
Lest morning remembers this time past
Hell.

Gothic glimpses of fallen ages
Trembling across unwritten pages
Lived and dreamt on wooden stages
Fuelled by fire and unlocked cages
Come and see the magic of mages
Gone.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Words With... Shaun Allan

Thanks to Shaun Allan for this interview










How long have you been writing?

All my life.  Literally.  Well, clearly when I was a baby I was more bothered about holding a bottle than a pen, but soon thereafter!  Apparently (so I’m told by my mum) I used to write stories and draw the pictures to go along with them.  There have been times when I’ve not written for an extended period – a whole year at one point – due to life getting in the way.  I really didn’t like that, so it was a relief when the words flow again.  It wasn’t so much a block – a physical thing in my path I could get around – it was an absence of the urge.  Now, though, it’s often overwhelming!

Do you have a day job or do you write for a living?

I SO wish I could write for a living.  But no, I have a day job.  I work in the inspection department of an oil refinery and it takes up SO much of my time.  A bit rude, really, interrupting my muse!


What do you feel is the ideal recipe for a good novel/story/poem?

I’m a rubbish cook, so I have no idea about recipes!  I write what comes.  I actually had a conversation with a colleague yesterday.  I said that I have no idea what’s going to happen in my stories until it happens.  There’s no point in me planning as the characters may not agree with me.  He couldn’t quite grasp that I didn’t know the plot of the story.  But that’s how it is.  It’s like Sin’s blog – almost every entry is written from the first sentence.  That’s all I have – the starter.  Then it goes where it goes.  A couple of times they’ve been based on friends, as a sort of tribute (if being written into a lunatic asylum can be such a thing) but even then I haven’t known how they’ll appear.  I like to be surprised.  To like to be drawn in so I forget that I’m reading a book.  I like to be immersed.


What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

My old English teacher was my first proper inspiration, I think.  I wrote before that, but he kind of opened the floodgates.  I remember him reading To Kill A Mockingbird to the class and he was an excellent storyteller.  I wanted people to be listening to my stories like that.  Maybe one day they will.  Sin is actually partly dedicated to him.  Since him?  Life inspires me.  Sin is SO much a part of me and my experiences.  And things I see and hear often find their ways into my work.  And my family inspires me.  It’s been a long dark path to happiness, but I found it and it’s amazing, and they are always so supportive.

What books have you written? Do you stick to one genre?

I don’t actually stick to one genre.  Sin is a supernatural thriller.  Zits’n’Bits is an offbeat children’s poetry book.  Tooth is a humorous story set in my kitchen for the most part!  Final Entry is sci-fi and The Feast is a (very) short horror.  And there’s others.  I think my genre is ‘weird’.  Yes, weird...

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

Sin has taken ten years from the initial short story that now makes up the prologue.  I’ve written a multitude of stories and poems within those ten years, though.  Sin kept wandering off, and I’d have to wait for his return.  But when he did return, he wouldn’t shut up.  I went to Luxor in Egypt last September – it was a childhood dream to visit the Valley of the Kings, and even now I find the memory breathtaking – and I was so ‘in the zone’ I wrote 15,000 words whilst there!

Do you have any works in progress?

I do indeed.  I found 30,000 words of a children’s book I’d written and forgotten about, which I’m reading through (and enjoying) to continue with.  I’m writing another poetry book for children like Zits’n’Bits.  Then there’s the children’s story Zombies Are People Too.  And, Sin is coming back...

Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?

Definitely Sin.  OK, so people don’t die around me etc.  But his sense of humour, his randomness and a lot of who he is as a person, is me.  I’m not sure I should admit to that though!

Where and when do you write ­ – do you have set times during which you write or is it just when the mood takes you?

I wish it could be a set time or when the mood takes me.  It’s when I get chance.  When I can sneak it in.  I have Notepad open permanently on my PC, just in case, and I have a jotter and pen easily to hand at home.


Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? Has the person guessed?

I have and they have.  Sometimes, as in the case of Sin’s blog, it’s by request.  Other times it’s in jest and the person has taken the joke.  I never do it in a derisive way though.


How do you find the marketing experience? Any advice for other writers? Do you use a blog or twitter, etc

Hard!  Writing was easy compared to this.  There is NEVER enough time in the day to cover all the bases and sometimes I have to just say I can’t do it today.  It can take over.  But you must persevere.  And the bonus of this is you meet some amazing friends, many of whom are in exactly the same boat as you!

One day you’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…

To Kill A Mockingbird.  That was the book that made me go from writing to WRITING.  The Green Mile.  I’m a big Stephen King fan, and was SO humbled to have two different people compare Sin to King and Koontz.  Hmmm... I mainly read the Dan Brown-like books or some fantasy (Terry Brooks and David Eddings).  I thought Eddings’ Belgariad was great when I read it.  And Brooks’ Shannara.  As I don’t get a lot of time to read, as much as I LOVE to read, I don’t have much opportunity to discover classics.  Saying that, when I put the Kindle app on my Android tablet, I found a book called Silver – Dan Brown-esque – about Judas.  I thought it was excellent and was gutted when it finished.  I can’t wait for the second one.  I wouldn’t have even knew it existed without the Kindle app as I hadn’t seen it in my local shops.

Some of your fave things: Animal? Food? Drink? Film? Colour? Band? Song? Place to chill out?

Animal – used to be a dog.  I always had dogs growing up and was very close to them, but now I have 3 cats!  And the best present I was ever given was a cat – I lived alone in a flat and my fiancĂ©e gave it to me so I had someone to love me when she wasn’t there.  He was amazing.  Oh, and doesn’t everyone love meerkats?  Oh, again, I think penguins are pretty cool too....
Food – Chilli.  I used to hate spicy foods.  Growing up, if it went with chips (fries for you Americans – although I’m talking proper chips!) then it was ok.  But now I absolutely love chilli.
Drink – I nice cold can of caffreys, or water.  I have tea (used to be coffee but wasn’t being nice to me), the odd beer and vodka, but overall it’s probably water.
Film – I love films.  So many.  I’d be at the cinema every week if I could.  I have a great many favourites.  Highlander, Aliens, Wanted, The Empire of the Sun, the Indiana Jones films, Back to the Future.  Too many to mention!
Colour – blue.  Always has been.
Band – My favourite used to be the Eurythmics.  Now I am a big Snow Patrol fan, along with Florence and the Machine, Keane, Foo Fighters etc.  Also like the Police, Pet Shop Boys, Evanescence and so on.  I also like watching tv shows that generally have good soundtracks, like Grey’s Anatomy.  You can Shazam some really great songs from there.  I love Plumb’s Cut, which I found that way.  Haunting song!

Which book do you wish you had written?

Every one that I have liked, lol.  I read some books and just wish I could write like that.  It amazes me, and touches me, that I am getting such excellent reviews for Sin.

Who is your favourite character from any book and why?

Scout, from Mockingbird.  She’s got it sorted!

Which three authors (living or not) would you like to take to the pub? 

Stephen King, for one.  I read his book On Writing, for some tips, and was pleased to find that I already thought in a similar vein.  And he has some WEIRD ideas!  Dan Brown, to ask why the ending to Lost Symbol, which I thought was a great book, was such a letdown.  I felt deflated that, after the brilliant Angels and Demons, the Lost Symbol finished sort of flat.  Hmmm... Isaac Asimov.  I read a lot of his books when I was growing up.

What other hobbies/interests do you have or has writing taken over?

Writing has taken over to be honest.  I love films and computer games – well any gadgets.  I still manage with the films, but not so much with the games.  But I don’t mind.  Loving life!

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

To walk into a bookstore or my local Tesco etc., and see someone standing there looking at my book.

If you won the Lotto, what would you do with all it?

Set something up to help other authors like me!  It’s a minefield knowing where to go for help or promotion etc.!  Oh, and take my family on the best holiday they’ve ever had!

The creative bit: please complete this story in 100 words or less…
 
"There was a young frog called Kipper…" who, one day, discovered he was actually a squirrel.

"We adopted you," his tearful parents told him.  "We couldn't have any tadpoles, so you were our only hope for a family!"

Kipper was heartbroken.  For a long time, he thought his life was a lie.  All the times he'd been fly fishing with his dad!  No wonder he wasn't very good at catching them with his tongue.  And couldn't hop very well.  And sank when he landed on a lily pad.

But at least it meant he didn't have to hide his nut collection anymore.  And explained his impulsive urge to run up trees.

Finally, what question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer? 

Where you can get my books!  They’re available in all ebook formats from Smashwords, and for the Kindle and in paperback from Amazon!  Follow the links on my website lol!

Links
Twitter: @singularityspnt
Blog – diary of a madman: http://singularityspoint.blogspot.com