What writing technique do you find yourself relying on the most?
A technique that author John Barth calls triangulation. It means taking sight for granted and focusing almost exclusively on the other senses—smell, touch, sound. Used correctly, this creates a greater sense of immediacy.
For example, instead of writing about the shape and appearance of a gun, I tend to omit such descriptions altogether. I focus on defining the smell and feel of a gun, as well as the emotions that come from pulling the trigger.
What is more important you? Plot or characterisation?
Characterisation. Because if you have an intriguing character, you will have an easier time building a plot around him or her. And let’s not forget that a plot is essentially an exploration of conflict—where a character desperately wants something but is prevented from achieving it. So I’ve always found it useful to conceptualise a good character first. And the plot—the conflict—will emerge as a natural outgrowth of that.
How important is research to you?
Hugely important. The very last thing I want is for a real soldier to pick up one of my books and say, ‘Hey, you got this wrong. It’s not called a clip. It’s called a magazine.’
If you are familiar with firearms, you will understand exactly what I’m referring to here. And, in all fairness, if you’re going to write an authentic story, then you have to get the details right. And that calls for research. Lots of it.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing?
I hope that people will be entertained by my stories, as well as come away with a greater appreciation of unique subcultures that exist outside the mainstream.
How do you feel about digital publishing?
If you are an author who loves colouring outside the lines, then digital publishing is a godsend. You’re answerable to no one but yourself and your readers. And, if you publish directly on Amazon, you get to keep 75% of your royalties.
The potential is enormous if you want to sell stories that would otherwise be ignored by the traditional press. Novellas and new forms of interactive fiction are good examples of this.
It’s no surprise, then, that even established writers like David Mamet are opting to bypass the gatekeepers in order to put out experimental works on their own.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Hands down, it would have to be marketing. With thousands of books flooding the market every week, it can be real challenge for any author stand out and be noticed.
Investing in a good cover, a good blurb and good advertising always helps. However, there’s a lot of trial and error involved, and what worked yesterday won’t necessarily work today. It’s a dynamic environment where things are always changing. You have to be on your toes if you want to keep ahead of the pack.
Not surprisingly, writing and publishing a book is just 10% of the battle. The other 90% boils down to good marketing.
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Genre - Romantic Suspense
Rating – PG13
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