Smashwords recently asked me a series of questions so their readers could ‘get to know me’ and have some insights into my processes and thoughts about writing. I thought I would share those questions and answers here as I thought they were pretty good questions that I get asked quite a lot……..
If you have any questions you would like me to answer, please drop me a line, and I will always respond.
Who are your favorite authors?
Without a doubt, Stieg Larsson, with his Dragon Tattoo trilogy, spoke to me. His characters were incredibly drawn. My slightly more famous namesake can write fantastic character-driven fiction and tell a great story, too, and I’ve read everything he has ever written.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Two things, mostly. My mother sadly suffered from Alzheimer’s and wasted away in a nursing home. I’m told I have a one in four chance of going the same way, so every day, I can recognize my wife is a good one. Secondly, since I got back into writing, it’s the one thing I look forward to doing more than anything else.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I’m thinking about what I’m going to write next. That may sound corny, but it’s true. If I’m not writing, I’m plotting and planning. Naturally, I have a career outside writing and a wife, so the day-to-day stuff gets in the way too.
How do you discover the e-books you read?
I think a good book cover that grabs your attention helps. If it’s in a genre I like, thrillers, and has an intriguing outline, I’m always happy to try new authors and discover gold. Of course, once I find an author I can relate to and enjoy, I want to read everything he or she puts out.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I do. It was an entry in a short story writing competition, and it received an honorable mention in dispatches and got short-listed. I was delighted with that, being so young and so new. It was called Michael’s Playmate and had a rather gruesome ending.
What is your writing process?
Once I get the spark of an idea and have spent some time thinking about it and making sure it’s workable, I get into a headspace where there is nothing else I want to do but write. Most times it’s like the story is coming ‘through me’ rather than ‘from me’ if that makes sense. In that zone, I can write five to ten thousand words in a sitting and then sit back and ask myself, “where did that come from?”
Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?
Not the first no, but I can remember books that impacted me for their storyline and plot. Isn’t it a wonderful experience to find a book you just do not want to put down? And it gets to three am in the morning, and you have to be up at six to go to work, but you just have to read that one more chapter.
How do you approach cover design?
I was fortunate to have Katrina Wall do that for me in the early days. She also does my website design and is one of the loveliest ladies and most talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. It was a fantastic experience the first time she did a book cover. Seeing a cover that had only lived in my imagination is incredible. I still get goosebumps when I remember the first time I saw her work. Since then, I joined my NY publisher, The Wild Rose Press; they create professional covers based on concepts I provide, and every time they present me with one I get goosebumps.
What do you read for pleasure?
To be perfectly honest, these days, I spend so much of my free time writing I have little left to read, so I listen to audiobooks in the car. I just can’t get enough of an outstanding police procedural thriller.
Describe your desk
Messy for work and empty for writing other than a coffee cup or wine glass.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was a youth in the late 60’s in the UK, and what a time to have lived. For some people, sex, drugs, and rock and roll are a cliche – for me, it was a way of life. My love of really good thought-provoking song lyrics influenced me to write poetry and learn to play guitar and write songs, so I entered the demi-god-rock-guitarist stage of my life. I’ve always loved creating and performing – yes, I have an ego, and it’s not a dirty word.