BG: What inspires you to write?
AJ: People inspire me to write. We are a funny old lot and observing people going about their day to day, no matter how mundane, fills my mind with inspiration. Whether it is a short story or a rambling epic, it is the people who bring it to life in the end.
BG: Tell us about your writing process.
AJ: I write every day. It is a promise I made to myself and so far I am sticking to it. I flesh out the idea for a story in my head, ruminating over the idea I have for plot and sub plot for a while, trying to get things straight before I commit anything to paper. Then I’ll plan the whole piece like a story board. Quick notes of what happens when, encapsulated in a timeline.
After that, I split the piece into sections and plan each one with a series of bullet points. Finally, I sit in a cosy coffee shop somewhere and write the full piece. I like to write it quickly, and then spend about three times as long revising it and editing. Finally, I ask someone to proof read it for me. Not just anyone of course, he is a proof reading demon. Once his input is incorporated, it’s good to go.
BG: What advice would you give other writers?
AJ: Number one – Write for you, not for others. OK, so if you want to sell books to make a living out of it, or make a name for yourself, this one is difficult. But for me, more than anything else, I write because I love it. I write the stories I need to write, and some people like them. If you aren’t writing because you love it, seriously question why you are doing it. If you are writing for the pay cheque, put the laptop away and go get a real job.
Number two – Keep writing. Write every day you possibly can, and if you feel uninspired or don’t really feel ‘in the zone’, write anyway. Waiting for inspiration is like standing on a train tracks and waiting to see if you get squashed.
BG: How did you decide how to publish your books?
AJ: I went self published straight away. I have never tried to get an agent or a publisher. I have never sent a copy of any of my books or excerpts to anyone in the industry. I knew that the stuff I write is all wrong for traditional publishers. They are too short, too weird and in a genre which is niche, at best. But going back to my point before, I write because I love it. I wanted an outlet which would give me somewhere people could access my writing in an easy to read, convenient way. Amazon, teamed with Createspace, was perfect for that.
BG: What do you think about the future of book publishing?
AJ: I can see more of a blend of self publishing and traditional publishing. Kind of similar to the Wool books, but perhaps not so dramatic in most cases. Most self published authors need to realise, it is unlikely they will make a living wage as a writer without a publishing house behind them and all the things that brings with it (editing, press exposure, translation, audio books, shelf space etc.). But I think more people will self publish things they have yet to find a publisher for. Some of these will then get flipped to trad publishing houses, while other will languish in the Amazon lists, perhaps making their authors money, but likely not.