Here is a tiny interview
How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?
Writing for me was a very cathartic experience, erupted from nowhere last year following the death of someone I had known for over 30 years. Looking back now 'Twenty Tiny Tales' is a road map of my grieving over the following year, before I felt it was finally done with me. A daily battle with my own dark raged and a determination for something positive to come from this event grew in me, to create a tribute of sorts. Most importantly something with humour and cleverness throughout, to balance the grim reality it had sprung from.
I began it with a very 'punk' attitude, the most important thing for me was to just tell the story, to hear the laugh at the end of it. I had little concern for exact punctuation or spelling, computers were a mystery, as was creating documents, I just had something to say and therefore I was going to say it...
I was lucky to have a forgiving and encouraging audience on the Amazon forum, without this fine band of people my pain would have lasted a lot longer. The original version has had content added twice as the time passed, it took a long time to purge it completely. The final darkness near overwhelms towards its end but it came from the heart, and therefore it is what it is.
What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.
My initial inspiration came from being exposed to flash fiction on 'Smashwords' it made me realise that I could possibly do this, the complications and machinations of the publishing world had been removed - throwing open the doors for all. The main surprise of these stories was their variety of size, it set my head on fire. I love the intensity of the small space being used, it is much more difficult that people realise, it needs precision. Prior to that books/stories usually meant really big, even what was regarded as 'short' could be of a fair size - but now anything was possible. I was lucky to find 'Moxie Mezcal Manifesto' which mirrored the punk spirit, showing that it could be done – but now it was writings turn.
Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?
My writing just happens to me – literally.
I make no plans, no notes – nada. It is a pure experience - Zen like.
I woke the other morning and wrote 9 pieces for my next book in an hour then fell back asleep, when roused proper I had little memory of what I had written – but there it was near done and dusted. At the end of every story I am convinced it will never happen again, because I have no idea how it just did. It's peculiar, and I will never get used to it, it's literally like a light switch being turned on and off.
How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed like...er...bunnies)?
I don't really have enough room in my stories for bunnies - I did fit an ant into one this morning tho'...
Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?
I was completely lost to the world when I started writing 'Twenty Tiny Tales', and again when I created 'A Brave New Hope' over the course of a week, a year later. I doubt I will write any larger pieces, I seem to be quite naturally creating smaller and yet smaller...
What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?
My reading is on 'Random', I started a list of 'books read' last September and have just hit 100, most memorable was IQ84 and Irnaldur Indridason, as well as completing the Rebus/Rankin series. I find books like 'The Tipping Point' fascinating, the workings of culture and society provides useful ideas for the kindle world I find. I love Bob Dylan interviews.
I am forever drawn to Smashwords though, I will download 30 shorts then nibble through them moreishly – like alphabet popcorn. They are my literary punk singles, it's just a shame my old knees won't let me pogo to them... hehe.
What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?
I don't do any hard sell, I think things peaked last year for the one and only time, authors need to just be themselves as individuals. It is a word of mouth situation nowadays, there are few avenues left due to the number of authors around, it very like when new music movements erupt and the world is suddenly filled with bands. I have found making an effort to review books is a good route to go down, people seek out things and individuals that pique their interest, I know I do.
How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?
It was 9 months before I was made aware of spelling mistakes, by then I felt embarrassed, I had moved on from the period of intense emotional creative madness I had experienced. I then decided to make it as good as it could be, finding I had the time and brain space to look at it with a clearer head.
I thank anyone who makes the effort to make me aware of errors, I do it often myself. It is important to me now as I suffered greatly from poor 70s schooling, bad habits were engrained then. People should be encouraged to write, and express themselves - not criticised for the mistakes they may make.
What do you like most about visiting KUF/forums?
I like the civilised and approachable nature of KUF, but am always lured to the speed and dynamic energy of Amazon, the fora are forever changing, it has been a source of perpetual fascination for me over the last 2 years.
What is on your near horizon?
My 'editor' littlesheepy is in the process of completing my next offering 'Teeny Tiny Tales' for release any day now on Smashwords, a collection of 78 word 'nano epics' . I have only been writing them for 3 weeks and have done about 45 now, it looks like this is what I am going to be doing for a bit...
They are great fun, and surprisingly interesting to write, each being a small alphabet puzzle to be solved. They are perfect for the modern world and its shortening attention span...
Where can we find you for more information?
- or sitting in the cafe just up from the library.
'A Brave new Hope' is free on fri/sat/sun 28/29/30 Sept
Many thanks Joo for this, it is appreciated.