» Where do you get your ideas from?
From any number of sources, like any author, it can be a snippet of overheard conversation, a news item in the paper or TV. Sometimes it’s from commentary about a minor/major event, or, more often or not, from a dream I had.
» What genres do you write in?
Everything, but mostly speculative fiction, a smattering of science fantasy with the occasional foray into the supernatural. I’ve also strayed into thriller territory, and thrown in some romance along the way. After all, it can be pivotal in any number of why did he/she/they do that, scenarios.
» What’s your writing schedule?
I like to get up early in the morning and start at a fixed hour, write through till lunch break and then, pick up again writing throughout the afternoon. I’m not one for writing in the evenings. I’m at my freshest first thing. I also usually write Tuesday-Friday, never at weekends (simply too busy with my personal life) and, strangely enough, never Mondays, which is when I do email, catch up on paperwork, and Skype family.
» How long does it take you to write a novel?
If you really want to know, I can write 50,000 words in a month, so I can complete an 80K novel (however bad it might read after a ‘first draft’) within 4-6 weeks. That said, however, what really takes the time, after you’ve actually written a novel, is the editing process. And here is where you (if you are a writer, or hope to be one) should pay particular attention.
Never, but never, skimp on the editing process. This is where you make all the necessary fixes, fill in the plot holes, add body, bone, and sinew to your characters, check out the weak verbs, and nail down the storyline and character-arcs.
» What’s the hardest part of writing a book?
Stopping. Just ask family and friends. My short stories end up being novella-length, while my novellas end up being lengthy novels, and what should be an average length novel, for me, end up as an epic. I guess I haven’t used up my word quota yet. That or I was dropped on my head as a child and have the written equivalent of verbal diarrhoea. Your guess is as good as mine.
» Do you ever base your characters on real people?
In a word, no. That doesn’t mean I don’t thoughtfully lift character traits from this or that person, whether I know them or not, when compositing a character. Usually, though, a character comes to me fairly well fleshed out having lived in my head for a period of time. Then, when I let them out, they grow throughout the course of writing about them. Especially once I place them into this or that situation, and see what they decide to do next.
» What authors do you like to read?
I read quite a cross section of genre authors including but not limited too, SF, fantasy, thrillers, and murder-mysteries. I tend to stay away from a lot of current SF and fantasy and am not a big fan of the current crop of paranormal/supernatural offerings, not being a fan of werewolves and or vampires. I’m old-school dinosaur SF having been brought up reading Asimov, Clarke, Le Guin and Heinlein, among others.
» As an Editor, can you give me some advice on how can I get my books published?
The only advice I can give is to write the best piece of prose you possibly can. Finish it and then polish it. And then? Polish it some more. Once it’s shiny and bright, start to submit it to agents and editors that represent or buy the kind of story you’ve written. And while you’re waiting to hear from them (which will be several months or more) write another book.
Repeat the process. Write, edit, polish, polish some more, and then, when it’s finished, send out book two. Then do the same with the third, and then the fourth and so on. You have to keep doing this until one of two things happens: you sell a book, or you give up. There’s no shortcut, no easy way to the finish line.
» What advice do you have for new writers?
The same advice I take myself, read, read and then, read some more. Meanwhile, take courses and write, in fact, never stop writing. Write every day. The most important caveat being write for yourself. Don’t try to anticipate trends, don’t write to fill a niche or a perceived need in the belief you might get published. It very rarely, if ever, works that way, unless you intend being a freelance writer as opposed to a novelist.