Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Chatting at the Cafe

Yesterday I was chatting at the Love Romances Cafe. As always there was a bunch of questions for us authors to answer. And here are the ones I gave.

When did you seriously sit down, and say to yourself, I'm going to write a novel?

I remember it well. It was a Tuesday. The sky was gray and filled with drizzle. I was 24. I’d lost my job and had no girlfriend.

Okay, so that’s an over-dramatisation of the facts. I’ve wanted to write for a long time. And it took me a long time and a lot of practice to get good enough to write anything worthwhile reading. The novel I’ve just subbed to Phaze, Kissed by a Rose, was the first time I sat down with a full plot in mind and tried to write something of that length. Both Charlotte’s Secret and Lost & Found started out as short stories and just sort of got longer.

What do you find the most difficult to write? Dialogue? Back story? Emotion?

I’ve been told by more than one person that my strongest point is my dialogue and its realism. And the best way to convey emotion for me is through dialogue. My characters do have a tendency to pour their hearts out every now and then.

I don’t like telling back stories because I always feel that I’m doing just that – telling rather than showing. That said, back stories are essential. Lost & Found was to all intents and purposes a story about the characters back stories. So was Charlotte’s Secret now I come to think of it.

Look, can I go away and think about this some more?

Have you ever found that you didn't like your Hero or your Heroine? If so, what did you do to change that?

I can’t say that I have, really. Sorry. I like my heroes. And I LOVE my heroines (if you know what I mean)

If you were to start again, with the knowledge you have now, what would be the first thing you do?

Er.... Um.... Oh, look at that pretty bird in the sky over there.

Do you write full time, what is your schedule for the day? Or do you have a full time job, if so, when do you find the time to write?

I have a day job. A tedious, counting other people’s money and wishing it was mine kind of day job. I try and snatch a few minutes to write when the boss isn’t looking – which is a lot easier to do since I became one of the bosses.

Other than that I write late-ish at night (when Jr is in bed) and at weekends (unless Jr says otherwise – which he does a lot).

Do you have the support of family and friends?

Yeah. Mrs Nobbs is happy as long as the royalty cheques keep coming in. Jr is too young to know what I’m up to. My parents don’t know. I mean, come on, can anyone imagine their mother reading the sort of stuff I write – it makes me shudder to think about it. It’s my mother, dude.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career?

Getting that first story published. The first is always the hardest.

Where do you expect to be in five years?

If you’d have said four years, I’d have said at the London Olympics. But you didn’t. So I don’t know. I’ve never been one for planning that far ahead.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? If you are a plotter, what are you methods?

A bit of both. I have a basic idea of where the story is headed in my brain when I start out, but then I let the characters go where they want to take me. As long as I can steer them in right general direction, I’m happy.

How have your techniques for character development changed since you've been writing? Is it still the same, or has it developed over time, if so how?

I’m still in the early stages of my career, so this is a hard one to answer. I guess I’m looking deeper into who my characters are and what motivates them more than i used to. I think I now realise that you need to know where people have come from to work out why they do what they do and where they are heading. That’s more of a life lesson than a writing one though, isn’t it?

Where is the last place on Earth you'd want to live and why?

Swindon. I don’t think I could cope with The Magic Roundabout everyday.

Would you live in a biodome for 5 years? What would your must have accessories be?

What’s a Biodome? Is this some weird David Blane thing? Cause he’s just bonkers.

If I had to be locked away somewhere for 5 years, I’d like my laptop and a power supply please. Think of all the stuff I’d be able to write if I wasn’t getting disturbed all the time.

You're the villain of your latest novel. What nasty things do you have planned for your heroine?

Well, most of them involve her being naked…

If you were a cartoon, which character would you be?

HONG KNOG FOOEY – Number one super guy. Hong Kong Fooey – quicker than the human eye.

In your next life, if you came back as a critter, what would it be?

Do you mean creepy-crawlies or just small animals? I think I’d like to be a spider. It’d be cool to be able to make things several hundred times my size scream and run away just by being me. (no, wait, people scream and run away just because I’m me now anyway)

Who were you in a past life?

What is this? Regression therapy? I reckon I was someone really, really, bad – which would explain why I’m having to atone for it this time around.

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