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?
I have to be honest and say of the work I have released thusfar, I have written them for myself. Brainstorm, a short story about a clinical psychologist whose life is falling apart was written in a creative writing class I took in 2012/13. The main set piece was written in that class and I expanded it after I left. I wrote it solely for myself.
My Bumpkinton stories are again a product of that course and I write them for myself also. I have had a number of people asking me to write more about Amelia Goose. However, for me, she is a character purely there to irritate. Bittersweet, the first Bumpkinton novella had her as a main lead, but her elongated words can be grating and to base a lot of stories around her, for me, would be something I would get tired of.
However, saying that, I am currently working on a set of children's stories. I have definitely had to tailor those for the younger audience. Those are purely aimed at children and not myself. I find myself changing words to make sure I don't alienate a younger audience. I try to take the Roald Dahl and Harry Potter approach with those stories. It's best to write them so they don't talk down to children. Children are intelligent and there's no point patronising them. I have had to change some things they wouldn’t understand and describe more, but they are written in a way that an adult would enjoy too.
It's finding the right balance, so so far that is the only piece of work I've made compromises on.
What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.
I write mostly humorous fiction. I like to think I have a good sense of humour. Bumpkinton, for instance, is very light and can be read by anybody. There's no bad language and they are an easy read. Sometimes after I've read a heavy book, I like to then read something that's a bit fluffy and daft to rest my brain. I hope that people find this in my Bumpkinton Tales.
They are the least stressful pieces I've worked on either published or still in rough draft and I just find humorous fiction enjoyable to write. It's always interesting to see how people react. A one-liner I think is brilliant may not hit a note with some readers, where a weaker one-liner I've had feedback saying they 'loved that line'. Every reader is different and I enjoy hearing what people like and don't like.
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?
I have a number of notebooks with random ideas scribbled into them. Mostly it's the start of stories and the odd bit of dialogue.
How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?
In my Bumpkinton Tales series, I would say I am most like Father Whitworth O'Grady. He gets vexed quite easily, tries to be a good person and always does what he thinks is best. However, you know at some point something will go wrong when his plans seemingly look straight forward. Story of my life, really haha
I'd like to have a pint with him. I'd find him hilarious.
In Brainstorm, Michael Eriksson, is very much the me of my early 20's (even though he's much older in the story). He's suffering from depression and struggling to cope. That is a story very personal to me, not only with what Michael is going through but the psychologist session is very much what I went through. The coping techniques with his patients are what I had to do to help with my problems. The issues are changed so as not to bare all that I was going through, but the sessions are very much personal to me.
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 wish I had the time, actually, that sounds wrong. I don't write nearly as much as I wish I could. I have a number of other interests and they all fight for my time. I mostly write at weekends and the odd time during the week. Holding down a full time job as well as watching brilliant TV series and spending time with my partner, Elaine, means I don't neglect her for the sake of writing.
Maybe one day I'll write a lot more than I do, but I love spending time with Elaine and that is my first love before my writing.
What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?
I like to read Terry Pratchett's discworld novels, Sherlock Holmes and Jo Nesbo. To be honest, I'll give most things a go. I think I prefer reading thrillers if I had to choose. I take my hat off to anybody who can write so many plot twists. I have a thriller in mind, but I'm still working on how to throw in red herrings without babbling on. I'm sure I'll get there one day.
How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?
Annoyed at myself! However, I quickly resolve it and upload a new copy.
What do you like most about visiting KUF/GR/forums?
KUF really is the friendliest forum I have ever know. I know of nowhere else where so many people are so supportive. People can be so cut throat in this world and begrudge success, but when you see an indie either sell well or get a publisher everybody is right behind them.
I don't frequent GR as much as I should. I try to when I can and find people are supportive but I find it hard to get noticed on there.
What is on your near horizon?
I have a Bumpkinton short story out on 12th December 2014 called Albert's Christmas. The novellas Bittersweet and The Bachelor are the main Bumpkinton stories, but I like to throw in a festive extra, hence this years release and 2013's Last Christmas.
I'm also working on next years Bumpkinton novella. I am hoping I can make it into a full length novel, but we'll see. I'll know better by around April how long it can be and if I have the story to last a novel.
As stated earlier, I'm also working on a set of children's stories. At time of writing I have written one around 10,000 words long and plan to do another four around the same length. They are all based around the same character. He's a character I used for NaNoWriMo in 2011 but the novel, so far, just doesn't sit right with me. So, in the meantime, I've decided to make him a few years younger and write some background that I think will then help me smooth out the novel.
Where can we find you for more information?
You can read more about me at the below links:
I am also running a launch day on Facebook for my short story, Albert's Christmas. I will be giving away a number of prizes including Bumpkinton pens, Amazon gift cards and signed books by fellow indie authors. People can join or be invited at the below link: