67 years old, 5’11”, 18 novels published since 1980
Your latest book AWAKENING is an adult fantasy novel. Perhaps you’d you give us some insight into it in a few sentences?
Awakening, adult fantasy fiction. This is the second in a quartet of books about the Hyddenworld, a parallel universe of little people The overall story arc is how some hydden and human heroes combine to save the universe from destruction caused by human abuse of the Earth. (SA – This was published by PanMacmillan on 5th August 2011)
I had the idea a decade ago while driving along a motorway and imagining that little people (hydden) lived on the verges. I sold it to PanMacmillan.
Do you have a favourite character from the book? If so, who and why this particular one?
Yes, Bedwyn Stort, a scholarly hydden. He’s a true hero, meaning he doesn’t know he is.
Where can people buy your books?
In book-stores or as an e-book.
What qualities does a writer need to be successful?
Persistence, a reading habit, abilty to work alone.
2000 words a day, then revise previous words. I rarely achieve it, but that target means that the books get written.
What’s the single biggest mistake made by beginner writers?
Two connected ones: crazy belief that what they’re doing is REALLY important and an inability to ruthlessly self edit. The quickest cure is to read what you’ve written aloud into a tape recorder, and listen to it. Trust me, you’ll soon hear the errors of your ways and appreciate you are not Shakespeare or Chekhov.
Important. Especially now books are so badly copy-edited by publishers.
How much do you revise your MS before sending it off?
As a writer of fantasy fiction to what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?
The only thing useful in the publishing world is what gives readers pleasure and sells well enough to be worth repeating.
Marketing is vital. Study it. Even more so now that self marketing is possible via the internet. We are less in the hands of the publishers than we were so it’s gotten easier.
What sort of displacement activities keep you from writing?
Everything you can think of and more. When, during the writing day, I get a sudden conviction that I MUST do something other than writing, I know it’s displacement. Too often I do it anyway.
What support, if any, do you receive from family and friends, writing group, or dedicated professionals?
A lot from a very, very few. The rest simply do not understand.
Is presentation of the MS as important as agents and publishers suggest?
How long does it take you to write a novel?
About 14 months. Quickest was 31 days; longest 4 years.
Who or what inspires your writing?
If there’s a single aspect of writing you find frustrating, what is it?
Wish I could work faster.
Is there a particular feature of writing that you really enjoy?
Field research and writing the last chapters of a book.
Do you believe creative writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?
Both. People with no talent get published and make money; people with loads often never do.
The third novel in the Hyddenworld Quartet.
Do you have a website or blog where readers can visit?
Given unlimited resources, where would you do your writing?
In an airy, summery room with instant access to a hamam, swimming pool, boule ground, my partner, a great kitchen, wonderful ingredients, a top restaurant, and a deserted beach.
Where do you actually write?
In my living room.