Sunday, 19 July 2009

Yet another LRC set of interview questions

Last Monday was the second Monday of the month which means it was a Phaze Authors chat day in the Love Romances Cafe and, as usual, Dawn posed some rather interesting questions for us to answer. Here are mine.

What is your favourite movie of all time? The one where you can watch it and still get affected at the same spots each and every time?

Damn, Dawn, you may as well ask which one of my kids is my favourite. Of course, I only have one child, but that’s not the point.

There are lots of movies that still have the ability to affect me they way they did on first viewing, and one or two that have actually got better with repeat viewing.

The two “Bridget Jones” movies always make me laugh. Rene (I’m not going to try and spell that girl’s last name – you know who I mean) is fabulous – a truly inspired piece of casting even though us Brits were up in arms at the time.

But for that ‘melancholic’ feeling, I’d have to go with “The Shawshank Redemption”. It’s a difficult movie to watch because it can affect one so deeply, but it is, quite simply, brilliant. It’s also the only film that I can think of that’s based on a book (well, short novella) and is actually better than the source material (which is by Steven King no less)

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 things would you have with you?

My laptop and a power supply so I could write. A razor & mirror (can’t stand having too much stubble). Is that two or four?

What is your favourite way to relax after a hard day working and writing?

Actually, writing is my way to relax. But a nice hot bath is a close second.

What is the one era you would love to go visit and why?

I’d love to have been around in the sixties. Beetlemania, mini-skirts, swinging London and all that. Yeah, I am Austin Powers deep down – Groovy, Baby. Yeah!

What is one historical figure you would love to chat with and why?

His name is Bill. He wrote a few plays and is generally considered to be quite good at what he did. Can’t remember his last name but he was from just down the road from me. Well, about an hour’s drive away on a good day.

Out of all your books, do you have a favourite one? If not, then which one is closest to your heart?

You know what I said earlier about choosing between my kids? Actually, I do have a book closest to my heart – and it’s the one that isn’t published by Phaze. It’s not published by anyone actually. “Reunion” was the first ‘new’ piece of fiction I wrote after joining “The Fishtank” and all I learnt there. It’s available to read for free on my website. You can get it here.

What character out of all your books is the closest to your personality?

To some extent all my male leads, Matt from Reunion, Adam from Kissed by a Rose, Chris from Lost & Found, and David from Charlotte’s Secret, have a big chunk of me in them. I suppose to some extent they are all idealised versions of me. They act the way I‘d like to think that I’d react (although I probably wouldn’t) in the same situation.

What do you feel is the most important aspect a new author should remember when writing/creating their own stories? Any advice for aspiring authors?

First, put your heart and soul into it as you’re writing but maintain enough distance from the story and character to be dispassionate about making changes when you need to. I guess that’s the hardest part of writing – you need to learn to accept that something you’ve written or a character you’ve created just isn’t up to scratch. It’s really, really hard to do, but it’s also really important to be able to do.

You also need to develop a very, very thick skin. You’ll be shot down at all time from all angles – just look at the stick that Dan Brown and JK Rowling takes. New writers get it even worse. So you’ll need to thicken up that skin pretty quickly.

The last thing is slightly different. Listen to your characters. The best characters will tell you what they would do (or not do) in any given situation. They take on a life of their own in your head. So listen to them – they know themselves better than you do.

Have you ever been nervous over reader reaction when a new book come out? How much does reader response mean to you over your books? What do you hope readers get from your books after they read them?

I’m always nervous. Hell, I get nervous when I send new chapters to beta-readers. What I want the readers to get out of any given book will depend on the book, but you do want to hit the right notes and get the ‘right’ reaction out of the reader.

How long does it take to write a book for you? Is there much research involved in your stories?

I only write part time, so it takes me longer to write a book than it would take a full-time writer. Kissed by Rose took me nearly two years. My current WIP, Eternally & Evermore, is going much quicker. I’ve been working on it solely since around February and I’m in the ‘home stretch’ of the first draft. I’m hoping I can finish it before the end of the summer.

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