First Post – Introduction
Hello, and welcome to my very first ever blog post. Which is both terrifying and quite exciting.
What will this blog be about? Mostly, it’ll be about writing and my progress at self-publishing my first book (Crimes Against Magic) in a few months time. But it’ll also be about whatever comes to mind at the time I sit down to write the newest post.
To do something a little different for my first post, I enlisted (or forced/blackmailed, depending on your point of view) some friends of mine to come up with some interview questions for me. Each of their names will take you to their blog, so please feel free to go there and nose around.
So, let’s get underway.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
Commander Sir Samuel Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch. He’s a smart, capable, badass and an utterly ruthless bastard. He’s also deeply flawed and went from a drunk who spent most of the time lying in a gutter, to becoming one of the most feared and respected members of the city through sheer ability and determination to get the bad-guy. I could read stories about him, and the watch in general, all day.
Most unique or unusual research you’ve ever done for a book?
There’s two things here. I contacted the fire brigade and asked them how you’d hide a fire so that it didn’t appear to be arson. I got put through to a very nice, if slightly confused, member of their fire investigations unit who (after a lot of explaining on my part) was very kind to walk me through how to do it. Basically if you want to do research, tell them you’re writing a book. You’d be surprised how many weird questions are answered without worry.
The Second was when I got to go the underground, no public allowed areas of the Imperial War Museum in London to look at some 16th century guns. That was a pretty cool day.
What do you consider to be the major world event of your life thus far, and why?
No hesitation at all – The births of my daughters, Keira and Faith. Both were amazing, although for very different reasons. I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared, concerned, awe inspired, utterly overwhelmed and blissfully happy all at the same time.
Keira’s birth seven years ago gave me the jolt to get serious about my writing.
What are your three (3) favorite books of all time and why?
My favourite books change on a daily basis, sometimes even more often than that. But today:
Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan: The best Sci-fi book I’ve ever read. Probably the most violent and fun too.
Men at Arms – Terry Pratchett: I could have picked any of the guards books for this one, but Men at Arms got me into reading Terry Practhett, so it makes the list.
Preacher – Garth Ennis. Not a novel, but a comic book. Preacher is not the book for people easily offended. It’s about Jesse Custer, a Preacher who is merged with Genesis (the product of merging an angel and a demon) that gives him the power of the Word of God, which makes people obey him. It’s incredible, funny, moving and utterly insane. It should also be required reading for anything even thinking about writing comics.
Hon Mentions – Usagi Yojimbo. Another comic book. This one about a Samurai Rabbit. Yes, you read that right. All of the characters are anthropomorphic animals, which replace humans in a 17th century Japan setting. It’s a fantastic book that can’t come highly recommended enough from me.
Tell us about the kind of writing you do: what genre, length, topics etc…
I write Urban Fantasy, although I do have a Sci-fi and Epic Fantasy story floating around my head somewhere. I’ve got some ideas for short-stories too. But for the moment, full-length Urban Fantasy is where I’m happily staying.
Do you write in silence or with music? If music, what kind?
Silence normally. I switch off all of background noise when I really start writing, so if the TV/music is on and I concentrate on the writing, I exclude everything else anyway. If I do listen to music, it’s when I’m trying to figure out a scene and need to have the mood set. So depending on the scene, it depends on the music. Mostly it’ll be things like, Foo Fighters, Black Stone Cherry or Joe Bonamassa.
When did you first start writing seriously? Like with a mind to pursue publishing?
I wrote a book about four years ago called For Past Sins. That was my first attempt at seriously getting a book done for publishing. In hindsight, it wasn’t good enough and I re-started with Crimes Against Magic.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Books, anime, videogames, TV, films. All over the place, to be honest. I’ll be walking down the street and something will pop into my head, or I’ll be watching TV and I’ll see something I quite like. From there it sort of evolves inside me. Which is a slightly weird now that I think about it.
What was the hardest scene to write?
In Crimes Against Magic? The first major sex scene was pretty (excuse the pun) hard work. Mostly because getting the tone right in a sex scene is actually quite difficult. Other than that, the first chapter. That went through about a dozen re-writes.
What advice would you give to aspiring and unpublished authors?
Don’t let the bastards get you down.
In all seriousness, learn to take criticism. Not nasty, unnecessary stuff, which doesn’t help at all, I mean real constructive criticism. Personally, joining a good writing group helps, and you’ll learn how to critique others too, which in turn will improve your writing dramatically. But above all, enjoy yourself. Because if you’re not enjoying writing, you’re doing it wrong.
Well that’s it for part one. Yes, part one. Originally it was going to be one long post, but it just got longer and longer. Now, part two will be posted tomorrow. So, check back then to read even more very interesting things about me. Like how I discovered Cold Fusion, or am a spy. Or you know, stuff about writing, whichever sounds more plausible.