- Guest Author -
Time to introduce another multi-talented author from the UK. Viv is not only an author, but also a good artist and gift card designer.
Welcome, Viv ...
· TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
· Hi. The first thing I can remember writing was a story about a dog. My favourite book at the time was Shadow the Sheepdog. I think it was by Enid Blyton, but I could be wrong about that. I was only about 7 at the time, I think. It was very heavily influenced by that book.
Later, in my teens, I wrote a rather bad story about three girls who went on holiday to Italy (which I knew nothing about) and met three Italian boys.
I always enjoyed Creative Writing at school and once wrote, for homework, a story that went on for page after page. History does not record what my English teacher had to say when faced with marking it!
When I went to college, I wrote some poetry. My first publication was in the magazine of the university. It was a poem about Banning the Bomb! This is the only one that is still in existence from that time.
· WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
· I suppose I always was a writer, having written things from an early age. I did, however, not write very much between my poetry in the 60s and recently, although I did tell stories to my English classes from time to time, especially if I had a point to make.
· WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
· Preparation? What’s that?
Actually, I do have a good idea as to where my story is going before I put pen to paper—or should I say fingers to keyboard. The ideas swirl around my head for a few months at least, and I mentally ‘try out’ ways of putting things. If you mean do I write down a detailed plan, then the answer is no. I like the surprises that my characters give me when I geve them free rein. Quite often the story goes in quite a different direction from my original ideas.
I think that if I wrote a rigid plan, chapater by chapter, I would lose all the surprises and a lot of the enjoyment.
· WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
· The freedom to write or not as I wish.
· WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
· Procrastination. Sometimes I need to tell myself to stop pussyfooting around and get on with the story.
· WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
· I was a teacher. I taught mainly science, although I did Maths and English as subsidiary subjects in my training, and taught both. I also taught IT from the beginning. It was then called Computer Studies and I feel that that exam was more exacting than those today. The puils (aged 16) had to write a computer program and also do an ‘extended essay’ on some aspect of computing. The most interesting one I had was about the use of computers in music.
· WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
· Completion of my first novel.
· WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
· I am trying to finish the third novel in The Wolves of Vimar Series, but am also working on a Historical Novel set in Roman Britain and a novel that I began while doing NaNoWri Mo (National Novel Writing Month when the aim is to write a 50,000 word novekl in one month).
· WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
· Everything. Sometimes I hear something on the TV (like yesterday) and it gives me an idea, sometimes it’s something someone tells me an I think ‘That would make a fantastic story’, but other times inspiration just seems to come out of the blue. Who knows where it’s come from.
· WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE
· Mainly Fantasy, althoug I do have a Historical Novel on the go at the moment and ideas for several followups to it.
· DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
· Firstly, just write. Don’t worry about typos, grammar etc. Just get your story down. Then after that, go back and correct it. Then correct it again. Stephen King said that in this process a writer should cut the novel by 10%.
Secondly, don’t give up.
Thirdly, get on all the social media you can. Don’t spend all your time plugging your books, though. People get fed up with that.
Fourthly, join writers’ groups on-line. You get fantastic advice there.
· DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
· Yes, Yes, Yes.
· DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
· I usually write in the afternoons.
· DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
· No. I write usually in my study where my computer is, but I have Dropbox and so I can save to that and write anywhere using my ipad.
· WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
· Finding out about my characters. My current lot are a disparate bunch.
· WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
· I really don’t know. It’s often who I’ve read last.
· WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
· Don’t keep us waiting for the next one.
· WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
The Prologue is more intriguing than Chapter 1.
· WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
· Not consciously, but no doubt I am subconsciously.
· OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I paint and draw, crochet, tat, knit, make cards, sew, do cross stitch and cook. One other thing I haven't said is that I like gardening, and along with my husband and some neighbours have taken on a local park which had become very neglected. The council only cut the grass and it was full of weeds, brambles and self-seeded ash trees.
* DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
* DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
* I had a perfect day a couple of weekends ago. It was an important wedding anniversary and my husband and I booked a lunch at Blenheim Palace, Sir Winston Churchill’s old home. We invited family and important friends and had a lovely lunch after which we had a walk round the beautiful gardens and caught up with lots of gossip.
Afterwards we all went to a hotel in nearby Banbury where we had hired another room and laid on a buffet, and so the festivities went on through the evening. It wass a fantasstic day with so all family and friends around us.
* WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
* Get your fingers out and sort this world out!
* WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
* To keep on writing and hopefully increase my readership.
* WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
* Oh, my goodness. That’s a hard one. Can I be a bit vague about some?
A poetry book. (not too modern. I don’t get some of the ‘poetry’ I’ve seen recently.)
The Dragonlance Chronicles by Weiss and Hickman.
Dune by Frank Herbert
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
And if there are birds in heaven, a bird book.
* DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
* Only in Aspholessaria (Asphodel) whose name I use for my blogs, twitter account etc. She is someone who won’t necessarily do something if she thinks it’s wrong, no matter what. This gets her into a lot of trouble.
She can be somewhat feisty too, although I’m not sure how much of this is me and how much is what I would like to be.
* DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
* Yes! They seem to be only interested in publishing writers who have already been published and are successful or celebrities (some of whose books are, I believe, ghostwritten anyway.)
* DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
* WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
* My first. The Wolf Pack. I knew where it was going. At least I thought I did until my characters got into their stride. It grew from a Dungons and Dragons scenario I had written, but I don’t think that my players would recognise much of it now.
* HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
* Getting read and enjoyed by readers.
* WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
* That they’ve had a good time. I am not trying to teeach anyone anything. At least not consciously anyway. If t hey do learn soething, then that’s good.
* HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
* Quite a lot. I design my own covers and it takes quite a long time and experiment to find the correct cover. In fact, because of a comment from a writer collegue, I am thinking of making some changes to the covers of my two published novels.
* WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
* A nightmare. It takes up so much time and effort. I seem to have little time for writing these days with marketing my published books. I don’t actually hate the process, just the time it takes.
* ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
* DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
* Dreamer, Polite, Sociable, Kind, Generous.
* WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
* The way society seems to be all ‘me,me,me’ these days with no thought for anyone else. This goes from parking cars in the most stupid places because it’s more convenient for the person concerned to not puttin supermarket trolleys back properly so that more will fit ito the hut.
* WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
* The last book I read was Frankinstein, believe it or not. I decided I should read a few of the classics that I’d somehow missed out on. Yes, it was good.
* WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
* Not much. I’m not going out to work and am comfortably off. I can go on holidays when I want and am still married.
Clancy' comment: As you can see, Viv has many talents. Well done. Keep going, Viv.