I agree with today’s featured debut author, John Walker, who says writing a book is “a bit like riding a wild Mustang bareback.” Quite the adventure, indeed.
Name of book: Shadow Dancing (the first in the Charles and Amanda series)
Book genre: Romance, Invention and Crime
Date published: October 2011
Publisher: Amazon Kindle
What is your day job? Invention, engineering and, of course, writing
What is your book about? In Shadow Dancing, Italian Mafiosi unearth a priceless bronze statue, some 3,000 years old, in the Saharan sands. Smuggled back into Italy, it is sold to a wealthy industrialist. Our heroes get it back.
Why did you want to write this book? To say something positive about our brilliant inventors and engineers, drawing on some of my own experiences and some that might have been. And to explore in some depth the love between people.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? As they say, when you have written it, you are no more than a third of the way through.
Did you conduct any kind of research in order to write this book (visit certain locales, etc.)? I hardly needed to, since I know England, Italy, Greece and Egypt.
What motivates you to write? Wanting to make a difference.
Did you experience writer’s block? Never, although I spend a lot of time planning the next stage before going to sleep and upon waking up. It never works out as planned, of course.
Tell me about the self-publishing process. Amazon’s great. They hold your hand and advise so that you feel like you have a friend in need. You also need a good editor, and I cannot speak too highly of Frankie Sutton in North Carolina.
Was writing a book easier or more difficult than you thought it would be? It got progressively easier once I realised that my characters had minds of their own. Some even arrived, unpredictably, and elbowed themselves into my book, and after a while I got used to welcoming them in and letting them do their thing.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about writing a book? That when you have the first draft, it’s finished. Actually, you’re less than halfway there.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? Watching the characters develop, often grabbing what I thought was the plot and turning it on its head.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? My website contains a lot of information about myself and my writing – there are short extracts to read, space for comments and reviews, and my blog. I also have a Facebook page and Twitter account.
What made you decide to turn this book into a series? Nothing to do with me. The people in Book 1 demanded a Book 2, and then a Book 3. I hope they won’t get fed up with me, because I love them all. Book 2 is called Shadows and Lilies and is at the final stage of editing. Book 3 is called Shadows Blue, Silver and Gold, but is only about 30 percent complete.
My favorite last question: Oprah once famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I don’t believe in luck particularly, but once you’ve started, the extraordinary way that the people [in your books], and even the locations, do what they choose whether you like it or not could be called… what? “Serendipity”? I love it all anyway. It’s a bit like riding a wild Mustang bareback. And the oddest thing is that the unlooked for bits can, and frequently do, reduce me to tears. Living in Greece one is, of course, being surrounded by the ancient gods. Is this their work? Who knows?