I'm delighted to be able to welcome Agent Wolf's first Guest Author.
Creator of, among other things, the hugely enjoyable 'Mindless Trilogy', popular Horror and Dark Fiction writer S.P Oldham.
Click the image below to visit her Author website.
Do you always finish one book in one genre, before starting another?
Yes. I find hopping from one to the other makes me lose the ‘feel’ for the story. Besides, once writing I tend to become absorbed in that story until its resolution. I have written more in the horror genre than any other, probably because much as I love to write whatever takes my fancy really, I feel a ‘pull’ towards that kind of writing.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Great question! For the most part it energises and excites me. I get a genuine thrill from outlining a story that might, with luck and a fair wind, be enjoyed by others when it is finished. When it feels laboured it is either time for a break or a re-write.
Are you ever tempted to let your spell checker do what it wants, give in and write in 'American'?
No! No disrespect to our American friends, but I am not American, I am British. I endeavour to spell as per British English (the Queen’s English, if you will.) It annoys me when spellcheck tries to tell me otherwise. I have also had one or two readers pick me up on my spelling because of this, which can be tricky. I appreciate each and every review, they are hard won and I have no wish to alienate readers, quite the opposite. But I think it must be borne in mind that there is a difference between spelling here and across the pond. Although I have been fairly non-specific regarding settings, especially in my zombie fiction, I think it is probably obvious that I am a Brit, which should be a heads up, I think.
Do you have a fixed image of your characters' appearance, as you are writing?
Generally speaking, yes. They present themselves quite vividly in my mind. That doesn’t mean that they can’t evolve or become more rounded as I write though.
What made you decide to be an Indie Author? How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Cliché coming up, but it’s true – I have been writing since I was a little kid. It is something I have always enjoyed. I started sharing my work online, as a member of writer’s groups, in particular UKA (UK Authors) about 18 or so years ago. I think I learned a lot from that. About two years ago I decided to put together a collection of some of my short horror stories. My son asked me why I hadn’t self-published them in e-book format. To be honest, at that point I didn’t realise I could! I looked into it, gathered my courage and put Wakeful Children: A Collection of Horror and Supernatural Tales together. It is now also available as a paperback as well as on Kindle.
I have quite a few ideas noted down for future use, but I only have two books that are actually partly written. One of these is going to be my next WIP when the third book in the Mindless Trilogy is complete.
Keyboard or pen?
Both. Keyboard for when I begin my work in earnest, pen and paper for jotting down ideas, snatches of dialogue, description etc. or for when I do not have my keyboard to hand. I used to write entire stories by hand back in the old days, then type them up and refine them on my pc. These days I usually type the rough drafts and edit on my laptop – so much easier and quicker.
How many hours a day do you write?
This varies, as I also have a day job and one or two other considerations. I tend to write most at weekends, especially Sunday as that is ‘my’ day. I am also quite nocturnal and it is not unusual to find me writing in the early hours.
Do you carry a notepad around with you?
Yes, at least one. I also have a couple at my bedside. Too often an idea or an observation has come to me that I have liked, only to forget it later. It only takes a second to scrawl down a few words for reference later.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I have so few, so yes! It is an interesting way to find out how your work is received and the different interpretations readers have of your words. Bad reviews I try to take on the chin – after all, if I am sticking my neck out and saying ‘tell me what you think’ then I have to be prepared for the fact I might not like it. In some ways, unless they are malicious, you can learn more from a bad review. The bottom line is, ALL reviews count where Amazon is concerned. No publicity is bad publicity – as long as your book is not absolutely trashed of course. I try never to respond to reviews either, or to argue a point or defend my writing – that way lies madness.
How long did it take you to start writing again, after finishing your first book?
If I have an idea sitting in my head and it has been there for some time, then I may just get right to it and start writing immediately after completing a book. On the other hand, I may have some time off writing books and dabble with the other forms of writing I enjoy, such as poetry, other short fiction, limericks and more recently, puns. Whatever takes my fancy I will have a go at. I just love to write.
With regard to my first book, I enjoyed the process of putting together a collection of some of my short stories so much that I decide to do it again. I wanted a collection centred around witches, but for grown-ups. This prompted me to write the opener for Hag’s Breath: A Collection of Witchcraft and Wickedness fairly soon after Wakeful Children had been published. The opener is more a piece of prose which provides background for the rest of the book. Once the opener was written, I couldn’t wait to get on with the book.
Do you Google yourself?
Yes, but this is not as vain as it might appear to be. When you are your own agent, marketing team, manager, web designer etc. etc. it pays to make sure you are as visible online as you can be. The only way to find this out is to search for yourself. That has been quite a learning curve.
Do you plan and plot before starting to write, or dive in and see where the characters take you?
When it comes to longer stories and books, I always have a plan in mind and a direction for the story to travel in. Not necessarily in the case of shorter stories, although there is always at least a rough idea in my head. Again, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be adapted if something occurs to me as I write, but in general yes, I plan first.
Will we ever find out Lavender's real name?
I cannot possibly answer this question! To find out, you would have to read Book 3, coming soon…
Thanks for sharing with us and giving us some insight into your writing process. I'm really looking forward to the launch of 'Mindless' Book Three
Thank you so much for having me David, I have really enjoyed your questions. Good luck with Agent Wolf and with your writing journey.