2. The Title of Your Work or Group:
The Butterfly Collector
3. Where are you from? Does not have to be the name of the place exactly. You can say Hick-ville Florida, for example if you are more comfortable with that.
South Coast, England
4. In what genre do you write?
Contemporary fiction, screenwriting, non-fiction
5.In your own words, what is your book about? If you were not the author and trying to explain this awesome book you just read to a friend, what would you say about it?
The darker side of adult relationships explored from the male angle. ‘Chick-lit turned on its head.’
6. What is your writing style? Do you follow all guides and rules? Synopsis, outline etc. or do you just sit down at the computer and type to see what happens.
I write my novels longhand in notebooks, then put them away for up to a year while I work on something else. Then, after reading them back and writing a summary, I write them up on the computer. The rewrite process continues, draft after draft, until I’m satisfied (well – sort of satisfied!) They then go to an editor and proofreader for further improvement.
7. Have you ever written anything and thought; " The world has got to see this!" ?Yes – everything! But I’m particularly excited about a screenplay I’m working on based on a real life murder case from 1946.
8. Do you have an editor and Cover Designer or do you do this yourself?
Yes, as I said, I do have an editor. All kinds of errors are made during the writing of a novel, which the writer never sees himself. Good editing is a valuable part of the process and helps to make the finished work stronger.
My son, Alex, designed the covers for both my novels. His cover for The Butterfly Collector won an award from Joel Friedlander’s online resource, The Book Designer.
9. Who is your favorite author. Not just someone that you read allot. I wanna know whose book you read that made you suddenly know that if you didn't do this for the rest of your life then you would never be happy.
I read A Clockwork Orange as a teenager, and was captivated by the strange language and the psychotic narrator. Books like, The Outsider by Albert Camus, and Junky by William S Burroughs were also extremely influential (I suppose this says something about my taste in literature!) I always knew that I wanted to write from an early age.
One of my favourite novelists is Graham Greene. For me, he is the master of economy, never a word wasted. The opening of his novel, A Burnt-Out Case is a superb example of both precision and imagery.
10. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Getting started! I’ve spoken to many writers who have a similar dread. There is something incredibly daunting about a novel – especially in the early stages. But generally it’s the thought of a blank page that makes it worse. Once you sit down and write the first few sentences, that awful fear usually vanishes. Coffee and digestive biscuits do the rest!
11. Do you write your characters or do they write themselves through you?
A bit of both. I usually start with a vague outline during the first draft, then build on that as I go, adding flesh to the bones with each draft. For The Butterfly Collector I had a clear image of Peter and Natalie meeting for the first time, and the sense of seductive antagonism that developed between them.
12. Do you ever write yourself into the characters?
Not purposely! But we may share certain traits, thoughts, and beliefs etc. I think it would be very difficult for a novelist to remove himself from the text entirely. But certainly, the characters take on a life and form of their own. That’s one of the fascinating aspects of the job. You get to be the resident psychoanalyst to all these weird and wonderful people!
13. Is writing your full time job or are you "Keeping your day job"? So to speak.
Writing is the only job I have. But … I am also the Director of a film company – West Cliff Productions Limited. We are currently in the development stage, looking for investors to bring the screenplay I’ve written about a real-life murder to the big screen.
14. If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be?
Julius Caesar. I find the whole subject of Roman history fascinating, and him in particular.
15. There are millions of new books released every year. What in your mind makes yours stand out from all those millions in your genre?
To quote the novelist John Banville, ‘My books are better than everyone else’s, but rarely good enough for me!’ Although my novels are controversial in the subjects they deal with, I have been commended on my ability to write about emotions from both the male and female perspective.
16. In the world of Indie, marketing is very difficult, especially if you don't have the funds to pay for it. Have you found a great free way to market your work that you think other Indies will benefit from?
I would have to say that I’m a late convert to social media, and use Twitter and Facebook regularly to raise my professional profile. Having said that, I would question the use of Twitter just to plug books exclusively. Having a Facebook Author Page is great for posting content: this can then be linked to blogs/websites etc. I also use business cards with the covers of my books on one side and contact details on the other. There must be a few thousand of these floating around in the atmosphere already!
The best advice I could give any aspiring writer is simply to keep writing. You only have so much time, so use it wisely. Remember – books don’t write themselves.
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