Welcome, John, let’s get to learn more about you …
What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
I guess it’s an amalgamation of a dark family saga with a fair smattering of mystery thrown in. I chose it because it’s the style of novel I like to read. A lot of authors appear to write several books in a series, but I prefer to try my hand at stand-alone stories. I like a beginning, a middle and an end all in one book. Oh, and a large twist that you (hopefully) won’t see coming.
Ah, a twist … I do so approve of twists!
Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
No. Because I write for a living as a freelance journalist, it’s hard enough to find the time to complete my paid-for work and a manuscript without having another one on the go at the same time. I admire people who can juggle several stories at once.
I agree with the juggling stories. I am attempting a juggling act at the moment!
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
No. When it comes to my own writing, I’m a bit of a loner. Although when I’d finished the second draft of The Wronged Sons, I did ask an awful lot of friends and their friends who I didn’t know to give me honest opinions. That helped incredibly about what they felt worked and what didn’t.
Can you remember your first reading book?
Not my first, but when I was a kid, I was obsessed with the Hardy Boys books. My idol was the author, Franklin W Dixon and I wanted to grow up and write like him. It was only as an adult that I discovered he didn’t actually exist – he was a collection of authors who wrote the books under the banner of the Dixon name!
How disappointing for you!
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
I don’t nibble, I gorge. Chocolate, crisps, biscuits… if it’s in the house, it’s down my throat. I’ve had to stop buying them and I’m trying to replace them with healthy snacks instead. It’s not working…
*smiling at the gorging comment * How honest of you!
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
It’s a big desk with a Macbook, printer, docking station for iPhone and a lamp on it. That’s all. However my desk at work is littered with newspapers, magazines, a dying pot plant, mugs and more Post It notes than one person should ever use in a lifetime. I hate a messy house, but I don’t mind a messy work environment.
I’m self-published. I could have sent my treatment or chapters out to agents and waited months for a reply, but I decided against it. Plus the chances of a first-time writer with no track record in novels being signed up is pretty low. I have two friends who are published authors (one in Chick-lit and the other ghost writes celebrity autobiographies) and they constantly bemoan the state of British publishing. And frankly, it puts me off. I’d rather take a chance and do it my way and see what happens.
I am with you, John. I have no regrets for choosing the self-published route.
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
The aforementioned Franklin W Dixon (albeit it a person who doesn’t actually exist); Tom Rob Smith (who I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing before and is utterly delightful) and John Niven (a British author with a very dark sense of humour). They all write in very different styles which sums up the books that appeal to me – I’m slightly schizophrenic in my tastes.
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?
If you really, really believe there’s an audience for you book, then never lose faith no matter how hard the struggle is. And it’s worth hiring a proof-reader or asking a friend who’s great with the written word to check over your copy. Readers loathe bad grammar and to have gone to the trouble of writing a book only to have one star Amazon reviews for terrible spelling is such a waste of your time. As for the writing process? Do whatever suits you. Some days I can write for 12 hours. Other days, it’s just a bit of proof reading and scribbling here and there. I’m totally undisciplined but that works for me.
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
Olivia Coleman is a wonderful British actress who starred recently in gripping drama Broadchurch. She would be perfect for my heroine, Catherine. And for my villain/ anti-hero Simon, I’d choose Tom Hardy. Although he’d have to slim down from his bulked-up frame first.
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … I bumped into Simon Cowell. I was actually on a job interviewing him, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger, judges on the British X Factor, in London’s Mayfair hotel. As I was early, I popped into Tesco to buy myself a bagel. And who should be in the queue directly in front of me buying a pack of menthol cigarettes, but Mr Cowell. ‘I’m on my way to interview you,’ I said, ‘Well I’d better buy some mints then hadn’t I?” he smiled and I walked back to the hotel with him. He’s a lovely, funny guy who is still down to earth enough to buy his own smokes.
What a great tale, thanks for sharing. I’m sure Mr. Cowell is certainly a great person to be able to interview, lucky you!
The Wronged Sons is available on Amazon Kindle: Author Amazon Page