Author Interview – The same old questions

A short interview with Mark

What are you working on at the moment?  

At present, I’m involved in the editing of Legacy, which is taking up a considerable time as the book runs to 136,000 + words. Although it is part of the series ‘The Chronicles of the White Tower’, it is also separate from them as it blends the present day into the medieval past. It is also part of an individual trilogy within the series, which is called ‘Throwback’.

Legacy, which has a projected publication date of March 15th. 2016, was, in reality, the first book I had written which was sufficiently well written to present to a publisher. When I finally did get an Editor interested in it, she mentioned that it was really too long for the publishers guidelines, but if I wrote anything shorter, she’d like to see it. I sat down and wrote Janette’s Tale, using the medieval background of Legacy as a setting.

They published that and the second book I wrote, continuing the series, Bennett. Although both books had good reviews, they didn’t sell particularly well, so I regained my rights and self-published them, and the third book in the series, Winter Moon.

What inspired the original Legacy? That’s a difficult question to answer, Maybe I just wondered if dreams could possibly become real.

What writing habits do you have that are a little unusual?

Well, I usually write with a pencil in cheap notebooks of A5 format. Then I transfer this, or at least, the parts that are good, to a word document. When this is finished, which can take considerable time as I type with two fingers, I print it and sit down to read and correct the typescript. This usually takes longer than the writing.

Then it’s a matter of sending the corrected typescript to my editor and discussing changes and adaptions with her. It’s quite a drawn-out process.

Finally, it’s ready and I can send it to print. Winter Moon took two and a half years to get to this stage.

Have any books influenced your writing?

I’ve been reading since I was four, so, I assume, I’ve been influenced by many authors. One is probably Anne McCaffrey whose books are very much character based, but are also very good adventure fiction set in believable worlds.

What are you writing at present?

At present, I’m writing the second book of the trilogy ‘Throwback’, which is called ‘The Summoning’. I doubt if it will be finished much before summer 2017 as it is both long and complicated – I’m talking about 200,000 words +, about three normal novels.

The Summoning follows directly on from ‘Legacy’, with the same characters, and more.

How are you promoting your books?

Actually, I have only just starting to promote my books, up until now I’ve had no time to sit down and work at it. What with the day job – the academy: teaching, writing and running the business, time seems to vanish. And I have to eat and sleep. Maybe …. Someday ….

Any advice for new writers?

I hate giving advice! Nobody takes any notice of it. I suppose the best thing to say is: write, and then, correct, correct, correct. I know typos are easy to make – I make plenty myself. But some of the cheap and free books I’ve downloaded don’t appear to have been revised once, let alone edited. If I find too many mistakes in a book – I give it up and chuck it.

My advice is to have the book professionally edited.

Okay, editing takes time and money – but it is essential for a good product. I price my books high because I believe that a year, or two years, or four years (Legacy) of my time and effort is worth some reward. If people don’t want to spend money on a good product – that’s their problem. As Robert Heinlein once wrote (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) ‘Everything that is free is worth what you pay for it.’

The best advice you have ever heard?

Sir Winston Churchill said it, and it applies to everything in life: ‘Never Give Up.’

What are you reading now?

I’m re-reading some of the old, familiar, Peter Wimsey detective books of Dorothy L. Sayers. I don’t like to read books too similar to my writing as I find the style can influence my own work.

And promoting your books?

On the 1st. February until the 5th. of February I’m giving away Kindle downloads of my first book, Janette’s Tale.  (Janette’s Tale – amazon.com) The idea is that if people read it, and like it, they may dig into their pockets and buy the other two books available at present: Bennett, and Winter Moon.

Can people read part of Janette’s Tale before buying it?

Sure, the first few chapters of all my books are available on my website. (www.markpatrick.net)

 

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