Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
I’m an English author based in the UK and have two YA book series out through the publishers, Evernight Teen. I started my writing career in the short story market and gained over 30 publishing credits before I sold my first novel. I write horrors, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, but do enjoy a good genre mash-up so tend to be open about what I write. As long as it has a sharp, dark edge to it, I’m a happy author!
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write, but I’ve only been published the last 5 years. My inspiration is the money, only kidding (although someday it would be great to be able to write for a living) I really want to write the kind of books that people want to read. We live in a grey and unforgiving world, so if I can provide an escape from it, even if it’s just for an hour or two, then I’ll feel like I’ve done my job.
Tell us about your books.
I have a large amount of stories included in anthologies. My fav of these is the first acceptance I had a story called Fountain Flesh about a vampire in Venice included in Dark Moon Books’ Vampires! And For Audrey which is about a zombie dog trying to get his young charge to safety included in an anthology called, So long and thanks for all the brains.
My two YA series are with Evernight Teen. Battle of the Undead is vampires VS zombies urban fantasy and The Twisted and the Brave are supernatural thriller twists on classic children’s books.
How did you go about getting published?
I went traditional; I don’t have anything against self-publishing, but I just wanted to prove I could do it, to get past a gatekeeper and to work with a publisher. I think that a writer can become too close to their own work sometimes, and it can be detrimental to the overall book. You see it a lot in the movie industry where one person is the writer, director, and producer, so it becomes just one person’s vision. Sounds good on paper, but can be a recipe for long-winded ego trips.
I started with the short story market and then went on to novels, so I felt like I’ve worked my way up to where I am. I’ve still got a long way to go, my dream is to write for a living, but it’s only a small percentage of very successful authors who get there – hopefully, one day, I’ll be one too.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
I have a bit of an odd process; I tend to write the scenes I’m most passionate about first and then go back over the plot to fill in the gaps. It’s a bit unconventional, but I find that once I’ve written all the exciting scenes the story itself starts to evolve, and so the weaker ones become more coherent to the overall story, and I’m more committed to not wasting what I’ve already written and so I know I’ll finish the book.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
I work full time on a trade magazine and spend the rest of my time writing and promoting my work (a massive part of the modern author’s life) I try to exercise, but to be honest, my heart is rarely in it and I usually find an excuse – I’ve gotten quite a bit of writing done in the past trying to avoid the treadmill! I’m a big movie and TV addict and run a local writers’ group to encourage others that need help on the road to their literary dreams.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
Book covers are very important. People do judge a book by it, regardless of all the political correct nicety we’re taught. Get a real designer; cheap covers make your work look cheap. Make sure it’s representative of you work, for example, don’t have the character on the front looking different to what you describe in the book and try to drag out the most exciting elements of you story. The front cover is your book’s shop window, take your time and make it eye-catching for the right reasons.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
LOL, I’m currently doing everything to see what works! Interviews (like this one) are great to do, just make sure you read every question and answer in a well-thought-out way which is entertaining. I do a lot of author interviews on my site, and when I get back short answers that don’t answer my question, it gets frustrating. I feel like the author just wasted an opportunity to show a new audience what they can do.
What’s your favorite book?
It changes depending on my mood. I loved Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books but felt that the last ones in the series let it down. As an author, I wished they had ended differently. I recently read Robin LaFevers’ books and couldn’t put them down. Historical urban fantasy is so interesting to me – there’s something romantic about the past. The modern age of cell phones and APPs and internet shopping can be a little soul destroying at times like there’s no real magic left in the world.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. It’s research for my new book in The Twisted and the Brave series, The Assassin of Oz. I’d never read it before, and it’s surprisingly different from the movie adaptations.
What’s your next book project?
So, I’m working on The Assassin of Oz and am also working on the prequel book to this series too; I’ve not settled on a title yet for this one – I’m hoping it just pops out of the text when I do the editing!
I’m also writing the last book in the Battle of the Undead series, Bad Karma – so it’s all go!