It's with great pleasure that I introduce my second Guest Author, and friend, Steven John Howard.
Although Steven writes in a completely different genre, that of Adult Thrillers, I thought it would be interesting to get his views and opinions on the creative process.
His first book, Cure, is currently available as both ebook and paperback from Amazon, by clicking on the cover image.
Thank you for the invitation, David. Reading the questions, I can say that I have several answers for each! I am quite a complex character myself and writing is an adventure for me.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
My writing does energise me, but it also lets me get away from real life. Although my stories use memories and personal experiences mixed with fiction and fact, it lets me run free for a while. A rest if you like, it is like taking a break from life!
Are you ever tempted to let your spell checker do what it wants, give in and write in 'American'?
Spell checker is awful, yes I use it but it converts to American English and UK English, it confuses my script into a mixture of both as if taking it out of my hands. So, yes I use it, but I do not let it run amok (unless by accident) It is a shame, but most of my typos occur as I type faster than I can talk and spell! That throws in a few mistakes, I avoid auto correct like the plague as I do not read what I type, I am a keyboard watcher. (spot the typo! haha)
Do you have a fixed image of your characters' appearance, as you are writing?
My characters are taken from the people I have met or know well, so yes I have a fixed picture of the characters before and during writing. I have a photographic memory of the faces I love and know. If any of my books are ever made into a film I could help make the perfect cast for the producers.
What made you decide to be an Indie Author?
I decided on going the Indie publishing route plainly due to the expense of using any other options. I would love to become an author with a fixed publisher, hopefully, a publisher may approach me and in that way, I know they really like what I produce. But mainly it all boils down to cash and affordability, most writers start out skint until they build a reader following.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
At the moment I am working on my next adventure thriller, Fuel, it's exciting writing it as the next book is always better than the last (so far) but I have another 3/4 books in my head and in note form, all current and topical. BUT, I only work on one book at a time. I am easily confused!
Keyboard or pen?
I type, keyboard only when writing, although I sometimes have a notebook by my side also. My current book I am writing is going to be POD and Kindle, but my main edit will be after I print the paper copy and go through it. I find it much easier to edit on paper and transcribe to PC from the paper book.
How many hours a day do you write?
Daily writing? I try, but it's mainly every other day that I write! I write most script while waiting for my daughter coming out of school, sitting in my car, but I do have the odd few hours in the day when the house is empty and I am alone. People can distract me easily and kill the imaginative mood. School holidays are times I don't write. Children tend to stop all thoughts of writing and take most of my attention.
Do you carry a notepad around with you?
I make notes on my iPhone, I never carry a book; although I carry one in my car, just in case!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Book reviews guide my writing, without reviews, I would not know if I was suiting my target audience of adult adventure thriller readers. I read all my reviews, my books seem to be popular with the lady readers as well as the men. That may be due to the mixture of action, intricate plot and sex, as long as they like it I shall keep writing it. I haven't had a bad review (yet) I am sure I will have one, but, hey, we are all entitled to an opinion. I would take a bad review on the chin and take onboard any relevancy the review has, after all, you learn from your mistakes. The good reviews always get a thumbs up from me and spur me on in the direction I am heading with my writing. A great review always makes my writing more prolific!
How long did it take you to start writing again, after finishing your first book?
I started my second book before the first book went to print! Like I mentioned earlier, I have ideas for future books and each time I write I formulate more ideas for even more books and items to put in my planned books. My first book spawned 4 future books, the book I am writing now has spawned 2 future books so far! I will pick the best of the ideas for my next book and so on.
Do you Google yourself?
Yes, I have Googled myself, only to see how near the top of the list I am. It's a way of monitoring your book sales and your reader following I suppose. I started writing for fun, but now my profits from Cure will be going to my charity, Cancer Research UK. As it is in memory of family and friends that have endured or have been affected by cancer, so I check my popularity for them really.
Do you plan and plot before starting to write, or dive in and see where the characters take you?
Planning and plotting! Before I start writing I already have the ideas from my writing idea factory! So, the loose plot is there already. I plan very, very loosely, a tight plan would waste writing time as I tend to go with the flow and the plots change and intertwine throughout my books. I never have just one plot! My books are complex, as I have several antagonists all after various things from their lives. I have megalomaniacs, survivors, heroes, psychopaths and lovers as my main characters, with greed, envy, revenge, love and survival as the main driving forces throughout my novels. My characters drive the story, their interactions are key to interest and plot formation. I try to end my stories with the heroes still heroes, I am a great believer in Karma and bad people get what they deserve, my stories follow this rule and that is why I try and make the ending erupt from the pages and make the reader feel the buzz, edge of seat suspense and the euphoric relief as the hero wins from the brink of disaster. I love writing and I guess I always will, it exhilarates me, and I hope to give this feeling to my readers.
Thank you for the interview, David, it has been a pleasure speaking with you.