- Guest Author -
Today, I interview a very interesting author from the UK.
Welcome, Raymond ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
“There is little to tell. I grew up in a small seaside fishing town and there was little to do other than read or make up stories about the things around me. The strange thing is; there was so much around me that was interesting that I never even noticed at the time. I did not know this when young but as the years passed I started to realise that there was a Broch on our land that had existed for five thousand years. Kildonan dun, a place that I played as a child, was two thousand years old. A stone circle sat above the farm that had been there for almost five thousand years. I took part in my first archaeological dig when I was only twelve. It was on our land, an old burial mound.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
“I started writing early, loving those tales and histories and folk stories that I heard passed around when grownups came together. I tried to gather their thoughts and Idea’s in my jotter’s and school books. These things, were you to look back upon them now would be considered flawed and terrible but I was young.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I tend to just run with things when I wish to tell a tale but if you are seeking a longer novel then planning should be considered. I am just silly in the way that I do things.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I like both the mystique and the joy that I bring to myself and others. I have no great agenda, I will not change the world with my thoughts and writing but I do tell some great stories along the way. Or at least I like to think that I do.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
There is nothing that is difficult about being a writer apart from two silly things. The ability to make people wish to read your writing’s and the ability to keep them engaged. Something that I fail at on occasion.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I started out life as a “Polymer Technologist”, Plastics, essentially, but as that industry left the UK and made its way to South America, China, India and the middle east I was left without a job. I started writing again, Books, Magazine articles, anything that would sell.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
I am lucky enough to have seen a little success. I suspect that accolades should be mentioned here and I have had a few. The Guardian (British quality newspaper) Named me as the fiction writer to watch. I received the accolade of second best new short story writer of the twenty-first century and also, came third in the greatest short story of all time competition. Poetry monthly Suggested that “A Shiver” was the greatest book ever written. But I think that the greatest accolade I have ever had came when Ian Banks said “I like this menacing beauty”.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I am working on a few books at the moment. The first to be published will be “Winters Ghost”. Which surprise, surprise will be a strange tale
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Reading, information, films, news; anything that gives me sensory input of any sort.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I write in whatever genre takes my fancy at the time. I have written fantasy novels, Ghost stories, Sci-fi novels, Romances, contemporary fiction, predictive fiction, Horror and in a few other fields but I suspect that I am best known for my rather twee fantasy romance novels.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Stick to what you do best even if it is unsuccessful. Stick with it as it may again become a fashion. I have been too ready to try new things, genres and ideas but that is not always the best thing to do, setting me back at times as regular readers were put off by new directions and ideas.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I like to write all the time but that is not always possible and so, when able I like to write in the evening with the candles lit and the rain beating upon the windows feeling warm and safe in the flickering candle glow as the night rants and raves at my window.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
My dining room, It is a warm place, painted a dark dusky rose, filled with candles and original oils. The walls lined with bookshelves. The books are interspersed with Celtic and Norse art, candle sconces haunt every wall with flickering flame. It is warm, comfortable and suitably gothic.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
I like most things about writing, I enjoy the creation and fun of putting the story together and the fact that it might amaze and educate. I like the joy of making a joke or even addressing something that I think wrong in today’s society.
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I cannot answer this question, I doubt that any author could. To be an author you have to be a reader or at least that is the first stage in the equation. So, I have read widely and many authors are my favourites. On Monday it could be FMA de Voltaire, on Tuesday it could be Isaac Asimov, Wednesday; Dickens, Thursday; Dan Simmons, Friday; Paul Hoffman (best first line ever) and so on. The next week would be different again, and the next.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
In all honesty, I cannot answer this question. Strangely the comment came from the worst book that I have ever written. At least one person liked it.
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
I am lucky enough to get very few bad comments but like all authors I do receive the odd dodgy one. I could not tell you the worst as I must have put it out of my mind. Instead I will tell you of a very odd one. Many years ago, I wrote a book, a contemporary romance, the book cover said so, the blurb said it was a romance. It looked and felt like a romance, generally because it was; a romance. Mainly it gained good reviews, as a romance but one bucked the trend. I still remember it. “I hate romances, this is a romance, why do people have to write romances, it’s just rubbish, but all romances are. I hate romances”.
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Always and all the time. Everything that I write comes from imagination and memory. Almost all that you read in some way is real even in the oddest story or creative fantasy.
20. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
My job is an editorial one. I run a magazine and so should be able to edit myself. The strange thing is you can never truly edit your own work. It is too personal, to close to your heart, thought and mind. You need a distinct other to edit your work and make it great. Of course, monetary aspects come to mind. Another author makes a great editor, perhaps you can swap. It is, after all, what Dickens did.
21. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
I cannot, like naming a favourite author each day will be its own and one day may be wonderful due to one thing and another will be better due to many things.
22. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
I was tempted to say “François Maree Arouet, but I think that he may become irritating after a while despite the fact that I am a disciple. Can I choose a female Porn star? She may occupy my days.
23. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
For goodness sake, Global warming is real, Carbon emissions are too high. You wish for power, I accept that, but do you wish for power over a land that cannot support life?
24. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I have none other than to keep on doing what I am already doing. I am no longer a young man and I am happy with my life and my way of life. I do not seek nor wish to change it.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
I have a few book trailers here and there. I do not think that they help other than ion an immensity view. The more that you throw at readers the more they may respond and buy your book.
26. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Almost all my male characters (in some way) are me, and so, of course, I do see myself in them
27. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
The publishing industry frustrates everyone. The key word, however, is industry. As an industry, they are out there, like any other industry to make money, both as a business and for their shareholders. Nor should they do otherwise. I grow frustrated with them much as others do simply because they do not choose my book. Were I the publishing house I would not choose the majority of my books.
28. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Only once, I had written a great book back in the nineties and my computer crashed. I lost the vast majority of the book. No pen drives and portable hard disks back then. I had saved it to floppy disc but the disk was corrupted. Bummer.
29. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
I think my favourite MS is “The River Girls Torment” simply because it is meek and mild. A great tale, cleverly told. It floats my boat.
30. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER?
I will never be a writer of “The Bestseller”, I never wished to be and never expected that to happen. Rather I wanted to be an author that many would like, consider different and imaginative.
31. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
That depends on the book. I hope that they will imagine that love should be foremost in our thoughts. After all money like life is fleeting. Love may also be but I imagine that it is not.
32. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
I have written a screen play but I cannot imagine any of my books made into movies, they would not suit filming.
33. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
There are two things that attract you to a book before you lift it and read the blurb. Those two things are the cover and the text. Creating a good cover and looking for a great title are paramount if you wish your book to sell.
I do pretty well with covers but badly with titles.
34. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
To live a long and happy life.
35. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
I think that having a brand is important even if it be a minor one. Who will have ever heard of Raymondwalker.co.uk, Mercurialtales,com, Wondroustales.com etc. Few, but they make a mark.
36. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
Most of my books are self-published. Four are traditionally published.
37. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Father, writer, fantasist, dogma, thinker.
38. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Time. Is that not the same for all, do you not wish for time to pass more slowly so we can savor the remains of the day.
39. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
40. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
I am pretty good, a Harley, A motor boat, A Ferrari. Kidding.
Clancy's comment: Thank you, Raymond. Top interview. Best of luck with future books and sales.