Author Interview – Rob Gregson

Rob GregsonQuestion 1: Who are you and what have you written?

I’m Rob Gregson, a skilled producer of origami frogs. Sadly, the paper frog market is no longer what it was, so I also have a day job that involves running a small consultancy business. Since I’m my own boss, I allow myself an unreasonable amount of time off to write comic novels / light-hearted adventures. My most recently published was ‘The Written World – a two-part fantasy comprising ‘Unreliable Histories’ and ‘The Endless Land.’ My most recently written book (still being edited) is ‘The Other Book of the Dead.’

Question 2: If you had to paint a portrait of any author who would it be?

I’m terrible at painting. It would have to be someone who’d been cremated. That would be the only way I’d have a chance of getting it to look right.

Wuestion 3: Why did you start writing?Unreliable Histories

My mind wanders. If I’m driving, sitting on the train, mowing the lawn, attending some boring conference or engaged in any number of other activities that require little conscious thought, I tend to start exploring ‘what ifs.’ Little scenarios ensue, and then I’ll start populating them with characters. It doesn’t take so very long before my head’s full of places and conversations. If I don’t write them down, I think I’d probably become dangerous. The word ‘spree’ might well be used. Believe me; it’s safer for everyone if I write.

Kwestion 4: Where do you write? Do you have a shed like Roald Dahl, or a special room away from the other people in your house? Personally I write in my pyjamas.

I write in a little office room at the top of the stairs. I’m still hoping to move to a draughty garret somewhere, because that’s how it’s supposed to be done. By a curious coincidence, I’m currently building a shed that will be shaped exactly like Roald Dahl, but I have no plans to write in it. I don’t own a set of pyjamas.

Question 5: What is the most interesting thing you have learned recently?

North Korea signed up to the Paris climate change agreement. They’re mocking Donald Trump for pulling out. (You’ve got to wonder whether your policies might be a bit iffy if North Korea can claim the moral high ground.)

The Endless Land.jpgQuestion 6: Have you experienced what psychologists call “The ultimate experience”? Which is the frame of mind when you are writing and everything is flowing perfectly and the creative buzz is so great you lose track of time.

Thanks for the clarification. For a moment, I thought we were straying into some very personal territory. And no. Some days are more productive than others but it’s generally quite a slog. There are times when I’ll write and write, but then I’ll come back to it a day or two later and find I’m having to change big chunks of it. So much of ‘writing’ is actually editing; applying a kind of quality control. It’s not all about that first stage of getting the ideas down on the page.

Question 7: Last question: Are you happy as a writer?

No. I’ll be happy once I’m recognised as the most prodigiously talented writer of my age and weight. To do that, of course, I’ll inevitably need to develop a prodigious writing talent, so I’m not holding my breath.

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Ron Gregson’s Unreliable Histories and The Endless Land are available on Amazon now.

Author Interview – James Court

James CourtQuestion 1: Who are you and what have you written (Most recent book, no synopsis).

I’m James Court, supposedly retired, but active socially and a full-time grandparent. My most recent book on Amazon is ‘Farewell to Peckham‘: the fourth in what was intended to be a series of three comic novels.

Question 2: If you had to paint a portrait of any author who would it be?

If I could work through a genuine medium I’d ask Thomas Hardy to sit for me. Otherwise it would be Michael Palin, although I doubt singing ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ as we worked would be be conducive to a steady brush hand on the canvas.

Wuestion 3: Why did you start writing?

I’ve always written from an early age, and as a child preferred reading to playing games. After a lifetime of watching adults being anything but adult, retirement meant I again had time to myself to indulge in longer works than the odd article and pantomime.

Kwestion 4: Where do you write?

Generally I sit on a sofa with my trusty laptop on my knees. A couple of hours in the early morning gives me about a dozen pages, topped up by periods when baby-sitting sleeping grandchildren.

Question 5: What is the most interesting thing you have learned recently?

Researching my historical works throws up all sorts of odd facts. In 1100, Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst, a pair of conjoined twins, were born in the Kent village of Biddenden. Joined at the hip they grew to adulthood, prospered as business women and both got married. They left behind a legacy to feed the poor of the parish that still flourished in the early 2000s.

Question 6: Have you experienced what psychologists call “The ultimate experience” ?

I often lose track of time when Farewell to Peckhamwriting: especially if I have an idea at night and get up ‘for an hour’ which stretches until the dawn chorus interrupts me. At such times I find my output is phenomenal, but have to spend hours correcting the typos and grammar afterwards

Last question: Are you happy as a writer?

Yes! Very much so. I’m a naturally happy person, and I hope that my writing brings humour to the lives of others. Feedback from writers and readers of the ‘Peckham Novels’ led me to write a fourth when I originally only intended three volumes, so I guess that I’m achieving what I set put to do, and that always generates a satisfied feeling.

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Farewell to Peckham by James Court is available now on Amazon.

Author Interview – W. T. Keeton

W. T. KeetonQuestion 1: Who are you and what have you written (Most recent book, no synopsis).

I’m W. T. Keeton, and I write both science fiction and mystery/thrillers. My most recent release was The World of Erganna back on Feb. 1st.

Question 2: If you had to paint a portrait of any author who would it be?

I’d have to go with Chaucer. Mainly this is because of my limited artistic ability. I think even with my talent-level, I could manage to paint a guy who wore robes and a head scarf with his only distinguishing characteristic being a goatee.

Question 3: Why did you start writing?

I’ve been creating stories all my life, and at one point I wanted to draw comics. Eventually, however, sad circumstances interfered with that (mainly the aforementioned lack of artistic ability), so I just became an engineer instead. However, while that profession allows for massive amounts of technical and legal writing, there’s not much in the way of plot. So, writing novels is how I scratch that particular itch.

Kwestion 4: Where do you write? Do you have a shed like Roald Dahl, or a special room away from the other people in your house. Maybe you write at work when you should be working like that Terry Pratchett did. You should be careful, if your boss catches you you’re done for. Personally I write in my pajamas.

I began to answer this by saying I emulated Francisco Goya by working in a cave, and that the excess humidity was terrible for my laptop. However, that would not be true. In fact, I write in my bedroom or living room, often in the predawn hours of the morning before going to the office.

Question 5: Today a dog untied my shoe laces.

If you can get the dog do that trick repeatedly, you might just be sitting on a goldmine. That’s a how-to pet-training manual every dog person would buy.

Question 6: Do you think question 5 needs to be rephrased?

“How to Train a Dog to Untie Shoes….in Five Easy Steps!”

Question 7: Forget the last two questions.

Okay…but shouldn’t we go back to Question 5?

Question 5 (again): What is the most interesting thing you have learned recurrently?

One of the great things about writing is learning otherwise obscure facts during research. In this way, I’ve learned what life was like in 1991 Wichita, the detailed inner workings of the Irish Republican Army, tons about the ties between Siberian and Alaskan Inuit cultures, that plants are borderline sentient life forms, and much, much more.

Question 6: Have you experienced what psychologists call “The ultimate experience” ? Which is the frame of mind when you are writing and everything is flowing perfectly and the creative buzz is so great you lose track of time.

No, but I have experienced “the penultimate The World of Ergannaexperience”, so it probably won’t be long now. But seriously, for me this takes the form of characters “coming to life” and dictating to me how they will react. When this occurs, it is like interacting with another human being. In fact, given the old Gardner Fox theory of fiction and alternate earths, perhaps this “ultimate experience” is merely when dimensional walls become thin enough to “hear through” (like cheap apartment walls). Thus, we fiction writers are merely chroniclers of true-life events the next universe over.

Last question: Are you happy as a writer?

I’m happy as a writer, yes. There’s something very cathartic about sharing these people who live only inside my head (okay, maybe not just inside my head if Gardner Fox was right…).

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W. T. Keeton’s, The World of Erganna is available now on Amazon.

Author Interview – James Blakley

James Blakley AuthorQuestion 1: Who are you and what have you written (Most recent book, no synopsis).

I’m James, a fellow mystery writer who lives in The States, specifically Kansas. And my most recent novel is The Diamond Head Deception.

Question 2: If you had to paint a portrait of any author who would it be?

I’d probably do a self portrait. (lol) Not out of narcissism or solipsism, but because I was an assistant public librarian for over a decade, and as such had to constantly promote and protect hundreds of other authors’ writings. So, now it’s my turn to earn “15 minutes”, to borrow from Mr. Warhol.

Wuestion 3: Why did you start writing?

I started writing because that’s one of my talents. I began at about 7 years old, writing mostly action and adventure stories on notebook paper and illustrating them with colored pens or pencils. Then, I would staple the pages together and voila, I’d published a book! I wrote easily 100 such “paperbacks” into my early teens.

From 16 until my early 20’s, I wrote for and section edited my high school and college newspapers–and they were still paper back then, no online edition. I win local and national awards for journalism, but went into library work for nearly 12 years. I only picked up the pen again about 7 years ago and wrote a string of multicultural mystery novels.

Kwestion 4: Where do you write? Do you have a shed like Roald Dahl, or a special room away from the other people in your house. Maybe you write at work when you should be working like that Terry Pratchett did. You should be careful, if your boss catches you you’re done for. Personally I write in my pajamas.

I can write business reports on the job, not fiction. When fiction writing, I do it on off work and from an IPad, smartphone, laptop, or desktop. I even revert back to jotting down ideas on primitive paper with dead tree utensils called pencils. (lol)

Question 5: Today a dog untied my shoe laces.

That would’ve been a leading headline back in the day. Now, it would only lead if your dog laced them together so you would trip and fall and sue him in a court case that would get nationwide news coverage.

Question 6: Do you think question 5 needs to be rephrased?

SPECIAL BULLETIN: DOG UNTIES SHOES. OWNER SUES.

Question 7: Forget the last two questions.

What questions? (lol)

Question 5 (again): What is the most interesting thing you have learned recently? (I just heard about an animal called the Tree Kangaroo that lives in trees regardless of it being utterly inept for that way of life and so often falls out of trees. And they are f**ing adorable).

Redux: I’m currently writing a sci-fi novel. And in the course of preliminary research, I’ve discovered a creature whose survival skills and hideousness makes Ridley Scott’s “Alien” look like Jones the Cat. It’s called a “water bear” (technically, a tardigrade). This creature is found in extremes of heat, cold, and even radiation. The Swedes launched 2 species of these critters into an ESA rocket and launched them into orbit. After 10 days of exposure to the hazards of space, 3 specimens of the M. Tardigradum “microorganauts” survived and even hatched healthy eggs! Perfect food for sci-fi thought, wouldn’t you say?

Question 6: Have you experienced what psychologists call “The ultimate experience” ? Which is the frame of mind when you are writing and everything is flowing perfectly and the creative buzz is so great you lose track of time.

That intoxicating sense of writer’s bliss has consumed me many times. When I’m in “the zone”, to borrow the sports phrase, I don’t want to be anybody else. And yes, I’ve written hours on end that have lasted from sunrise to sunset..on weekends usually. (lol)

Last question: Are you happy as a writer?

And that leads perfectly into your last The Diamond Head Deceptionquestion: My happiness as a writer. I’m a peachy-keen writer because I don’t do it professionally. I’m not under pressure to keep up with what’s trendy and create characters and plots that are mimicry or outright rip offs. I can create a brainy American Indian heroine and pair her with a jewelry CEO who’s a Hawaiian hunk and not worry about alienating the WASP buying demographic (who has an embarrassment of representation riches anyway). I can go against tropes like HEA (happily ever after) that a traditional publisher would likely demand be included out of “tradition”.

Fiction writing may not pay the bills, Andrew, but it still gives me thrills. And that’s what it’s really all about…until Tinsel Town makes me an offer for one of my books that I can’t refuse. (lol)

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James Blakley’s, The Diamond Head Deception is available now on Amazon