Sunday, August 25, 2013

Virtual Coffee Interview with Andrew Blackman
Andrew Blackman's first novel won the Luke Bitmead Bursary for new writers. Now working on his third novel and providing an editing service on the side, I have a few questions for him...

Hi Andrew. First of all, please tell us how you became a writer and what sort of thing you're drawn to write about?

I wanted to be a writer from an early age, so naturally I started out by becoming a corporate banker on Wall Street. Hmm... I think my logic at the time was that I would make a lot of money, retire young and then write, but I quickly realised this wasn't such a good plan. I quit and became a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and at first it seemed ideal: it was writing, but with a regular salary. But then I found myself waking up at 6am every day to write my own stories, and knew that I wouldn't be really happy until I at least tried to do what I’d always wanted to do. So I quit, moved back to London and started to focus on fiction writing, while temping at night and at weekends to pay the bills. After a few years of failure, I finally got a break and got my first novel published.

My writing, I suppose, reflects some of my life experiences. I like to write about characters who are struggling to assert their own identities and wishes in the face of the world’s contradictory expectations. I write about people trying to live authentic lives, and the compromises they’re often forced to make in the process. 

How did your first book, On The Holloway Road get published? Did you have strong ideas on the final product or were you happy to put it in the hands of your publishers?

It was a very straightforward process, actually, involving no mysterious contacts or connections or chance events. I just submitted my manuscript to a contest for unpublished writers, the Luke Bitmead Bursary, and a few months later discovered to my amazement that I’d won. The prize was a cheque for £2,500, and a publishing contract with Legend Press. About seven months later, the book came out.

Luckily there wasn't much conflict with my publishers over the final product. They only edited the book quite lightly, and when I disagreed with some edits they were mostly happy to go with my version (except for a few strange issues of “house style”). I left the cover design and the blurb to them, because I decided they knew more about it than I did. 

What a great start! Did you feel the need to get an agent after that? Have you stayed with the same publisher?

Yes, I was clear from the beginning that I wanted an agent as soon as possible. I signed up with my agent after I won the prize and before On the Holloway Road was published. Even though I already had the publishing deal, and even though I stayed with the same publisher for my second novel, having an agent helped because he could negotiate the details of the contracts on my behalf. I would have found that difficult to do myself, firstly because I don't feel as if I know enough about the intricacies of rights, royalties, ebook terms, etc, and secondly because I want to have a good relationship with my publisher. It's good to have someone else to go in and negotiate, so that I can just concentrate on working with them on the editing, publicity, etc. I also had a few approaches for film rights, and he handled those for me too. I think having an agent will be more useful as my career progresses and there's more complex stuff to handle, but I wanted to have one from the start.

You offer an editing service, as well as regularly write articles and blog. How do you balance these activities with writing?

No matter how busy I am, I always make sure that writing fiction is the first thing I do each morning. And most importantly, I do it with the internet switched off! Only when I am happy with what I've accomplished do I put it away and start on the other stuff. I find that the most important thing in creative writing is not time, but mental space. If you have time, but your mind is cluttered with other things, then you won’t get anything done. So I resist the temptation to work on anything else in the mornings, and write while my mind is fresh. When I fire up Twitter, I know that’s the end of my creativity for the day!

All successful writers say discipline is the key - that's a good example. Recently you moved from Barbados back to London. A big cultural switch! How does the change effect your creativity?

Well, since then I've moved from London to Crete, so another big cultural switch! The moving obviously disrupts my creativity for a while, because there’s a lot of logistical stuff to be done each time you move anywhere, let alone internationally. But once I settle down, it’s worth it. Moving to a new place gives me new ideas, a new way of seeing the world. The worst thing for a writer is to get stuck in a rut. Good fiction relies on fresh ideas and fresh images, and I find that living in a different place helps recharge my imagination. Plus, to be quite honest, a big reason for moving first to Barbados and then to Crete was that the cost of living in both places is much lower than in London. Here I can write full-time and just about get by, whereas in London it was a constant struggle just to pay the rent and council tax and keep the lights on each month. Living a simpler, cheaper life means more time and energy for creative work.

On The Holloway Road and A Virtual Love have both received high praise. What can we expect from you next?

I’m working on my third novel, which is quite different. I like to write in different styles and with different subject matter each time. Certain themes are common in all three – identity, authenticity, living a life you want rather than the life other people expect, the compromises people make, etc. But they’re explored in quite different ways. The new novel, although it’s mostly contemporary, also has a historical component, which is something I've never done before. The historical part is based on some real-life family history involving a distant ancestor of mine who gave up a claim to the throne of Spain in order to move to England and become one of the early nineteenth-century photographers. 
Read more interviews...

That sounds exactly like living the life you want rather than what people expect - inspiring. It must be nice to research something in the family. Good luck with it and thanks for taking the time away from the beach for the chat!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Virtual Coffee Interview with Francis Xavier Labiran
Wordjar are a poetry magazine that have produced 9 anthologies with varying themes from Love to The City. They have graciously included two of my poems over the years and I'm excited to interview the founder and editor Francis Xavier Labiran.

Hi Francis. Tell us about launching Wordjar and the stages of its development.

What I love about Wordjar is how organic it has been from its inception to where it is now. Most people don’t know this but Wordjar began as a blog. Back in 2010 I started a poetry blog, where I posted my poems and the work of people that I admired. Eventually people started to ask to feature on my blog and that is when I had my Eureka moment. I thought why not put all these poems together in an anthology, which led to the birth of ‘Write to inspire publishing’. The name was soon changed due to an unfortunate occurrence, which turned out to be a blessing. I couldn’t give you a step by step development, as a lot of what we have done has been without a business plan. To this day I feel as if we have been guided by an overwhelming purpose, which has allowed us to publish the 9 anthologies so far. However now is the time where you will see us implementing a more concrete strategy to take Wordjar forward.

It's a nice idea that you started a blog not knowing where it would lead... You write your own poetry too - what inspires you? Do you have personal ambitions as a poet?

When it comes to poetry, my inspiration comes from the life experiences that I feel are the most vivid. I am the type of person who usually doesn’t marinate in moments for too long, and therefore I am always moving to the next thing, almost afraid that I will die if I stopped. However there are a few moments that make me pause momentarily, while sustaining that feeling of life, those are the moments that inspire me. An example of this would be the birth of my daughter, a moment that showed me how powerful we can be as human beings, and simultaneously how fragile life is. Let that sink into your mind for a moment, it is a beautiful image.

I definitely would like to publish a book or series of books in the future that tells a story using poetry, page poetry is definitely the way forward for me.

I used to perform spoken word for about two years, but then I stopped doing that. I realised that when it comes to poetry, I preferred page to stage. My reason for this is the page has many voices. Each reader reads poetry in a different way and takes something different from what they read. In comparison when performing on stage, your voice is the voice of the piece. I realised that I fell in love with poetry because of the multiple interpretations that it provokes, the different images that it paints, this is what I want to do, paint on the canvas of the mind.

What do you think is interesting about poetry at the moment?

I think poetry in the UK is changing, or perhaps growing new branches. Spoken word is becoming more and more popular to the point that it seems that almost everyone can call themselves a poet. In the last 3 years I have seen poetry becoming so popular, which I love, because it is such a beautiful medium of expression. However what worries me is that I have also read and heard a lot of work that I cannot classify as poetry. I see people creating things purely for comedic value and giving it an ‘A,B’ rhyming scheme, and then call it poetry, that is something I am not too comfortable with. I feel on an urban level, comedic poetry is more championed than the beautiful art that I grew up with; it will be interesting to see what the future holds. 

I suppose like music, easy listening is more popular but hopefully there'll always be a thriving alternative. Do you feel the internet has given page poetry a chance to change it's image - reach an audience it wouldn't reach otherwise?

Of course. Through the use of blogs, poets are now able to build a worldwide audience for their work. This is further enabled by social media, a poet's readership can be increased exponentially if they leverage the internet in the right way. Another advantage of the internet, is that poetry is a click away. Less thought has to be put into clicking a link than it does to picking up a book, and this is where eBooks come in. All you have to do to access an eBook is click a link, and then you can download it to your tablet/smart phone, and then you have it with you wherever you go. At Wordjar we have noticed that through our eBook's we have managed to 'persuade' people to read poetry, who may have otherwise labelled poetry uncool, simply by making it more convenient for them to read it.

What do you do to get a break from the world of literature?

At the moment I hardly get to break away for long, simply because there is so much going on at Wordjar. So most of the time I am deep into my work, then I stick my head out of my hole just to try and take in what is going on in the world. However when I do get some time on my hands, I try to spend time with family and friends as much as I can. I also try to make time for football, the gym, music and business interests, as these are some of my passions. However a lot of what I do requires that I read quite a bit, so every day I am reading some sort of literature.

What is the future for WordJar? Will you branch out into other forms of prose?

It is funny that you ask, because we are currently working on our first non-poetry publication. I can’t give too much a way, but it will touch on Generation Y, the generation that I belong to. As for the future of Wordjar, I do not want to over promise, but there is a lot on the way. We will continue to offer opportunities for writers to be involved with us, through anthologies, books, blogs and other mediums. We are undergoing a moment of transition, where we are trying to escape that association in people’s mind that goes “Wordjar, poetry”. We are fine with “Poetry, Wordjar”. However we want people to think “Wordjar, poetry, short stories, x, y and z.” There are exciting times ahead, we are relatively new to what we do, but we believe that we can make a positive impact.

Your mention of Generation Y is intriguing. I will look forward to seeing what that's about. Your last anthology, Haiku, focused on a specific kind of poetry and coupled each haiku with an image. I thought that was really original. Will we see more mixing of artistic forms from Wordjar? 

In my opinion, Haikus and images were meant to be together. Haikus, though short are known to paint powerful images. Similarly pictures, as the famous saying goes, 'say a thousand words'. What we did with Haiku was try to couple poetry and images that were sending out the same message, I would like to think that we achieved that. At Wordjar, we will try to mix art forms in the future, however they must have a workable chemistry.

Read more interviews...

I think Wordjar is doing something original and it will be exciting to see what you produce in the future. Thanks for the chat, Francis, and best of luck with it!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stuck in the Middle

The Beginning

I've got these two old friends, maybe from school, now in their early 30s living in a flat in London. The first part of the story sees these two reverse roles. The settled one, we'll call her Alpha, loses control over a few things in her life and ends up needing help from the restless one. The restless one, we'll call Beta, through helping her friend, sorts a few things out.

The Middle ?

So now I'm at this role reversal. But why is it interesting? How can this situation be used to produce conflict? Should some crisis happen that Alpha used to take care of but in her new found chaos, it's up to Beta? Also, due to this reversal, we've got some resentment simmering. The roles they had in respect to each other has been disturbed so that their friendship doesn't really work any more, though on the surface it's still ticking along. How could this be interesting? Should one need the help of the other? - but that would be a repeated plot point.

The End

I already know the end. We work out why that resentment developed, map it back to things in the past. Ultimately the two women have to work out a new way of relating to each other because their lives have changed and they have changed. It's something that does happen in longterm friendships and I know how to play that out - it all ties back to why Alpha needed Beta's help in the first place.

But I'm stuck in the middle. I need a plot filler. An ex-boyfriend. A crisis. A practical problem - a mouse in the kitchen / an alien spaceship in the back garden.

Suggestions, please?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Virtual Coffee Interview with Melissa Pearl

Melissa Pearl Blog
The author of 7 YA novels and situated in China, it's great to get Melissa Pearl's thoughts on writing and the industry. I wish her novels were around when I was a YA, with an exotic touch to these role models for young women.

Hi Melissa. You've actually lived in a number of different countries. When did you start writing and how has the travel influenced it?

I started seriously writing about 12 years ago. Before that, I had always had stories running through my head, but it wasn't until I was 23 that I wrote my first full-length novel. I fell in love with the craft immediately and set about learning how to improve. I guess the travel has influenced me in the sense that I have been able to experience many different cultures. I think it has helped me learn to understand people better and how to read them. I love getting inside the human psyche and figuring out why characters act the way they do. Seeing different cultures has broadened my perspective. We may all be human, but we are all raised very differently and this has a huge impact on how we react to the things life throws at us. 

I love the idea of the Taste Test, a free collaborative novella containing book extracts. Tell us about that, how has it been received? Also what has been your most effective marketing plan?

The Taste Test was not my idea originally, but I ended up taking the reins and pulling it all together in the end. It was a mission, but also a pleasure. I got to work with some fantastic authors. There are so many cool people in the writing world :) We made it FREE so that readers could sample the goods and hopefully discover an author or two they had never heard of. The download numbers have been really great and I think it has lead to sales for all of us. It's all about positive exposure, right?

My most successful marketing move has been to put Golden Blood (my first published book) online for FREE. I have since run some ads and this has lead to a huge spike in sales, which in turn has grown my fan base and led to many more sales. It has been an absolute thrill to see people enjoying my work.

Paid advertising is out of fashion these days, interesting to hear that you've found it so valuable. Given that the onus is on authors to do their own marketing, do you think first time authors should self-publish by default?

I have found self-publishing a great start to my career. I have learned SO much along the way, plus had the added bonus of earning a little money and entertaining readers at the same time. It's been a hard slog, but the right move for me. Doors have started opening a little wider in the last few months and after nearly two years, I feel like I'm starting to turn a corner and build some constant momentum.

How does writing a trilogy compare with writing individual books? Do you have a favourite amongst your work?

Writing a trilogy is much more in-depth and therefore harder, but it's no less fun than an individual book. Because I chose to release The Elements Trilogy in quick succession, it turned into a mammoth undertaking. I'm nearly there. Unleashed (Bk 3) is due out August 2013. It's been a big adventure and one I am very proud of completing...although I'm not in a hurry to repeat it just yet :D

I love all my stories for different reasons, but Betwixt is still my favourite. I love the characters so much. I love Nicole's voice and I'm really happy with how the story turned out in the end. I've actually just started writing a prequel novella (Before) and will be releasing that and a sequel novella (Beyond) later this year. It's really cool to hang out with the characters again.

I love the cover of Betwixt. In fact all the covers look great. How did you ensure that? Do you use the same agency each time?

I am lucky enough to have the world's best friend who knows graphic design and a husband who understands photography. Between the two of them, plus a few favours from a couple of other people, I have managed to pull together all my covers. However, my friend is getting a little busy with family life and her own sewing business (ZealousDesign) so for the first time, I have branched out and asked Eden Crane Design to do my next cover. She's done SUCH an amazing job. I can't wait to reveal the cover to everyone really soon :D 

That's exciting. Please do post a link in comments when the cover is revealed. What can we expect from you next? Would you write for a younger or older audience?
I have plans to write a few NA novels next year, but YA is still my main genre for now. Next year I have some exciting things planned. I have two new series starting (a YA leading into NA Paranormal Romance and a YA Contemporary Mystery/Romance? - still deciding on exact genre :D) I'll release the first books in both series, hopefully in the first half of 2014. I also have a couple of stand-alone novels I want to release. (a YA Contemp. Romance and an NA Contemp. Romance) And if I'm REALLY organised, I will release book two in each of the above series as well.

Read more interviews...

I'm so excited!! Bring on 2014 :D

Wow, that is a lot on your plate! Best of luck with all of it! It's been really interesting to get a peak at how you've developed as a writer and as a publisher. Thanks for the chat and do let us know about Unleashed...

Monday, August 5, 2013

The I.T. Girl is FREE!

4 stars on Amazon
4.25 stars on Goodreads

The I.T. Girl is FREE for a short time on Amazon, so get your copy!

A short novel about life, love and high stakes in the city: Orla Hanlon is new to London and CouperDaye, a global investment bank. When she takes on a high-profile project  and buys her first home, with love on the side, she thinks she has everything under control as usual…

Until a bug in her code causes chaos on the trading floor.

Suddenly finding herself a scapegoat in a 
political game, Orla must fight to save her career, love and her new life in London.

How far would you go to clear your name?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Virtual Coffee Interview with Mark Barwell

Amazon Profile
Mark Barwell is an Austrailian author whose two novels The Naked Viking and The Turning were self-published 7 years apart; before and after the ebook revolution. Mark and I are Twitter friends. That's a thing these days.

Hi Mark. The protagonists in The Naked Viking and The Turning are both misfits in some way who become involved in bizarre social change. What attracts you to these characters and how do you invent such far-out story lines?

I quite like "misfit" as a descriptor. In my younger days it was a label I would aspire to achieve, which in itself probably goes a long way to answering the question!

Keeping my characters interesting has always been the most effective way to keep me interested in a story as I write it. I'm sure I'm not alone amongst our fellow authors in saying that I've had many a story peter out on me simply because I've grown bored with it. So I guess for me, breaking out the old "misfit" template -- and its various sub-categories, such as the guy who doesn't quite fit in despite his very best efforts, through to the guy who stands apart for nothing other than the thrill of standing apart -- is a good way of maintaining interest, both in the reader and in myself as author.

As to the aspect of some bizarre social change, or global calamity seeming to recur in my work? Well, I do like to amuse myself by imagining extreme scenarios, and wondering how I might manage my life in the light of such an event, and further extending that to wondering how a sufficiently colourful group of characters in varying life-situations would handle a similar catastrophe. I sometimes struggle to remember exactly how these concepts germinate in my mind; with The Turning I believe I'd been reflecting upon the sorry state of my love life at the time, and it occurred to me that I'd likely have a lot more luck with the ladies if the rest of the male populace could somehow be exterminated -- which sounded a lot less hyper-genocidal in my mind at the time. And as for The Naked Viking, I was probably having a bath (as you do), and I probably thought "man, being naked is awesome!" (As you do.) Next thought: "People should get naked more often. A lot more often. In public, of course. Now how can we make that socially acceptable, and develop it into some kind of global pro-nudist revolution?" Which, again, is a fairly typical string of logic for me. Ultimately, I find that interesting times for interesting people makes for the best writing fodder, and a relatively unique scenario is an excellent way to keep one's mind entertained. 

It sounds like you have a sense of being a reader of your own writing, which must be a great asset. The Naked Viking was released in 2005, and The Turning in 2012. How did the world of self-publication change in the intervening period?

Back in 2005, options for self-publication in Australia were fairly limited and quite expensive. After some searching I decided to leave a heaping pile of my hard-earned with Poseidon Books, a self-publishing imprint under Zeus Publications. They seemed to offer the best value for the outlay: I'd get twenty copies of my book in paperback form, and they'd make my book available via a print-on-demand system along with an ISBN, listing in the Australian Library's Catalogue, etc etc. This was their lower-spec package; for an even larger amount climbing well into four figures they would have sent me more boxes of books and provided a rudimentary level of promotion, but for my lower-spec package all efforts at promotion were left with my humble self. I did my level best, but ultimately I believe I only managed to shift sixty copies or so, mostly among friends and family. This was back in the day prior to the advent of the ubiquitous social-media-cum-promotional-platforms like Twitter and Facebook, in fact I think it was a good twelve months before MySpace came along! Wow. Really makes one feel old: "I remember back in the days before Facebook... you young whipper-snapping authors don't know from tough... had to use smoke signals and semaphore to advertise our work..."

Anyways. Two years later I had "The Turning" completed. Much as I had done with "The Naked Viking", I spent a couple more years pursuing publishers and agents to no avail, sometimes coming frustratingly close but never quite grasping the bronze ring, so to speak. So I sat on it for another few years, polishing and refining, working with beta-readers and the like; my prior experience with high-outlay self-publication had me wary, as I had fallen well short of earning back my outlay, so I was determined to wait for the advent of a better way.

Come October 2012, I read an article about how a number of struggling Aussie authors had self-published with some success via Amazon's "Kindle Direct" platform. I was nothing short of flabbergasted: here was the zero-outlay, high-distribution to wide-market platform I'd been waiting for, and the thing had been in existence for two years already! So I slapped "The Turning" up into e-book format and put it out into the world, simultaneously slapping myself upside the head for not coming across this option sooner.

Buy on Amazon
And to address the question: seven years may as well be light years when it comes to the difference in self-publication options, then and now. Amazon's KDP may be the largest such platform available, but it's certainly not the only such way to get one's work out there: Smashwords, Kobo, and Apple's iBookstore are but a few of the ways one can self publish. And one needn't be limited to e-book format either; you can (and I have) get your words into print via services such as Createspace, catering to those who prefer the feel of paper to the glare of a Kindle screen. And again: for zero outlay! If my 2005-self could only have known... I can hear him even now, across the fourth-dimensional gulf, gnashing his teeth most grievously. 

I have been copying your tweet template of tweeting a quote from my book with the link to the website. What tips would you give to writers trying to market their book?

Ah, the old "imitation = flattery" scenario. I have seen a lot of people doing the same, and I'm sure I saw someone else do it before I did it myself, so I won't lay claim to inventing the concept. Thank you kindly though.

I started promoting my work about a week after "The Turning" went live on Amazon, after doing some research and reading some blogs about how other authors had refined their own marketing techniques. Having started nearly a year ago I'm afraid I can't remember the particular blogs I visited; there are a lot of excellent resources out there however, most of them easily found by googling "promote self published book" or searching Twitter for the same. That was a good place to start, and I quickly went from flatlined sales to at least a handful sold each day -- not quite the roaring independent success we all dream of achieving, but modestly successful nonetheless, and a great deal more than no sales at all. And I'm sure each and every sale could at least be partially attributed to my efforts on Twitter. It only takes a few Twitter-won sales to raise your title in Amazon's rankings, and from there it will appear more often in Amazonian shopper's search queries, which goes on to spawn further sales, higher rankings, and further sales still. Success begets success in this game, very much so, and a bit of self-promotional effort can take one a long way indeed.

If I could give only one tip to fellow self-pubbed marketeers it would be: promote, and cross-promote! When using Twitter, you've got to remember that your tweet is but one whisper in the roaring gale that is the Twittersphere. To combat the "shouting into the wind" effect, I use two tricks to help my self-promotional tweets be seen; the first, as you mentioned, is to make it interesting. Simply tweeting "Buy my book, it costs $X, here's the link" won't get you very far; pick a snappy quote from your book, or provide a tempting synopsis, anything that might actually pique a potential reader's interest within the confines of a hundred characters. Then quote your title, add the link to the page where the good people can buy your book, and at the very least you'll be generating traffic.

That covers promotion, but that's only half the job. Cross-promotion is what I call the act of re-tweeting the promo tweets of other authors, as well as crafting your own tweets to "shout-out" the authors of works you've read, enjoyed and possibly even reviewed. Not only do these acts of generosity infuse you with a wonderful sense of smug karmic fulfillment, you'll often find that many of your fellow authors are only too happy to return the favour, and will keep on returning the favour well into the future. I use Twitter's "Lists" feature to keep track of reliable re-tweeters such as these (our Fiona has been on such a list since the day we met on Twitter) and I re-tweet them often, because they and I know quite well that a retweet is a wonderful trophy to earn. Not only does it mean that your original promo tweet has been repeated for the world to hear, it has also been re-broadcast to an entirely new audience, namely the hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of tweeps following your re-tweeter. This is especially beneficial when you're just starting out and you've only a few hundred (or a few dozen!) followers of your own; the more times your tweet is retweeted, the audience for your message grows exponentially. And even if they don't buy your book, you'll likely find yourself earning new followers all the quicker, leading to new re-tweeters, leading to further re-broadcasting of your message and the increased likelihood of further sales... and the cycle continues, most merrily.

Interesting that you include Quentin Tarantino as an influence (on Goodreads). Do you think his dialog-heavy style can translate from screen to book? Do you use dialog to move plot along?

I've long enjoyed Tarantino's work, most especially for the banter between his characters -- Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs are his best examples, I reckon. I believe dialogue to be a hugely effective story-telling tool, I favour it heavily in my writing and I really don't believe that dialogue can be over-done. I mean: why should you bother to tell your readers that a character is a cad, a sinner and a charlatan when as much can quickly become apparent in a half-page of caddish, sinful and charlatanic diatribe? One can do so much to add colour, light and shadow to one's character through his/her interplay with other characters, and in life the bulk of that interplay seems to arise through dialogue. I have a lot of fun in crafting a spot of verbal sparring between my characters, in fact I find it to be perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of writing.

As well as aiding character development, the fine art of dialogue certainly can be effective in developing one's plot. I'm sure we can all think of many life-altering events in our own histories that can be described by someone saying "and then he told me"; for me, my single greatest life-changing moment can be summed up by "...and then she told me she was pregnant". Talk about grabbing one's rudder! For the best, of course, for the best...

And as a happy little side-effect, a lot of my most positive reader critiques centre on two aspects: they love the style of my characters' banter, and I'm often told that they could see my tales working as a movie! Coincidence? Perhaps not. So ultimately, I do believe a Tarantino-esque abundance of dialogue translates quite well from cinema to the page... and who knows, it may even one day help a novel find its way to the big screen, too. Now that would be nice.

It really comes across that you write what you would like to read. Would you consider writing a screenplay?

I would definitely consider writing a screenplay if someone asked me to! Though for now I like to think I've put "The Turning" to bed, as it were -- it's out there, it's getting read and people are enjoying it, so I'm trying to save my writing mojo for new projects.

What can we expect from your next book?

I do have a WIP in the wings. Would you believe it features a world in chaos?

Tentatively titled "Space for Rent", it opens when a young lad named Jeremy and his friends watch a massive spaceship crash-land into the mountain next door to their school in suburban Australia (my favoured literary setting). A massive cloud of tiny robotic probes erupt from the alien craft, swarming around the world and attacking every human they can find; upon waking, it would appear that everyone now has a small alien device affixed to their heads. Half the population remain ambulant, while the other half appear frozen into some kind of stasis, completely inert but otherwise unhurt.

As the shocked and shattered remnants of our population come to terms with this new reality, Jeremy soon realises he is now sharing his head with the mind and consciousness of a copyright lawyer from Canada by the name of Vanessa. It turns out that Vanessa is among the frozen half of the populace, and it quickly becomes clear that everyone who remains unfrozen has had the mind and voice of a frozen person downloaded into their skulls via their mysterious alien headgear.

Can young Jeremy cope with having to share his every thought, movement and
Read more interviews...
action with a grown woman of the world? Will he and his father ever track down their frozen friends and family, each of whom may be anywhere in the world, having to share someone else's skull? What are the aliens up to -- why did they send their ship and the probes to halve our population and double our inner-monologues? Coming soon to a theatre an Amazon page near you...

Wow, well that sounds like its in late stages of development, good luck with it and with your future writing. I'll be looking out for that screenplay... Thanks for the chat, Mark.