Author Questions part 2

Last week I blogged some questions I answered during an all day chat session. Here is the second lot of answers.

Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?

I started writing about ten years ago now. I was unemployed at the time and spent a lot of time online. I read a lot of the stories you get in newsgroups like a.s.s.m. and figured I could do that too. So I did. Except it wasn’t very good. About four years ago I joined a writers group called Desdmona’s Fishtank, and I learnt all about things like plot structure, conflict, grammar, style, you name it. I learnt tons. I’ve not looked back since.

Who or what has been your biggest influence as a writer?

The Guys at the Fishtank. They really are great. I owe them so much.

Your work is very popular with readers and reviewers; how does it feel to have such positive recognition for your work?

Well… My first Phaze release isn’t out until April so I can’t say if it’s popular or not. I’ve had work go down well on StoriesOnline, but I’m hardly a star there – I’m not prolific enough for that. It seems that SOL readers prefer quantity over quality. And I get hardly any feedback from Ruthie’s Club, I don’t think many people do.

Ask me this again in a year’s time and we’ll see if my Phaze work is popular or not with paying customers. If it is, I’ll answer it. If it isn’t, I’ll cry.

What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?

Great Characters. Great conflict. Great resolution. Simple really. Oh, and great sex, if it’s a sex story. 😉

Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?

Ahh. That’s easy. The Colonel from “Lost & Found”. He started out as a secondary character. Just an obstacle in the way of my lovers. But as I fleshed him out, he started talking to me. He told me what drove him. He’s an honorable man and a proud man, but I didn’t realize it until I got into his head. My editor says that through the various drafts of the story, he earned my respect. And she’s right. He did.

I think that these characters that start out as one thing and evolve into something else are my favorite to write – you’re never quite sure what they are going to do until they do it.

Another character I really enjoyed writing was Kelly from Reunion. I work shopped this story at the Fishtank as it was being written, and got great feedback about what people thought about this character. I knew who she was. I knew her secrets. But the reviewers didn’t. So it was great watching their reactions change as I revealed what I knew about her and as she revealed more about herself.

Please tell us about the projects you are currently working on; what can readers expect to see in the coming months?

I’ve been writing a story which has had all sorts of draft titles, but is currently called “Chloe’s Education.” It’s a long way from finished, but hopefully, it’ll be worth the effort.

April sees “Charlotte’s Secret” finally revealed. While “Lost & Found” is a July release.

Ruthie’s have accepted a story called “Extended Family” about a woman who asks her husband to ‘help out’ her twin sister. I’ve also nearly finished a forth Ladz ‘Local Lovelies’ story, and I’m sort of working on two more.

Finally, I’d like to go back at some point in the future and rewrite Reunion. I feel there is much more of this story to be told. I’d also like to finish (actually, completely re-write and then finish) “College by the Sea”. But I don’t know if I’ll ever get to these projects if new ideas keep coming to me.

Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?

On my blog, or my webby, or my myspace,

My new email a should work, but it’s not really been tested. If someone wants to test it for me…..

Do you have a strict writing schedule? How do you balance your personal and writing time?

I wish. I’ve got a two year old son and he demands a lot of my attention. My wife says it’s because he loves me. But I don’t get a chance to write while he’s awake. He keeps trying to ‘help’. Trouble is, “fhgfe rag fg js” doesn’t mean an awful lot to most people.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your work? Who or what has been your biggest support?

The guys at the Fishtank. I wouldn’t be the writer I am without them. Special shout outs should go to : Cassie Exline, Mat Twassel, Jenny Mount, H.L. Berry. All have guided me in the right direction.

Which author(s) is your favorite? And who has most influenced you work?

My favorite author would be a chap by the name of Terry Pratchett. If you’ve never heard of him, look him up. Once you get past the wizards, witches, trolls, dwarfs and other customary fantasy shit – you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.

Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?

The best fiction is driven by character, because interesting characters drive the plot by their actions. Two characters would react differently in the same situation resulting in different plots.

For example, if I could replace Charlotte from “Charlotte’s Secret” with Beth from “Lost & Found”, then I wouldn’t have a plot for “Charlotte’s Secret”. Because Beth would never have kept the secret that Charlotte did. They are two different people, who’d have reacted differently.

It’s always about character. Always.

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