Dragon Soul Press sat down to interview the author of P.A.W.S.
Where do you get your ideas?
Anywhere and everywhere. I’m an avid people watcher. I love to sit in cafes and watch folk and eavesdrop on conversations. And a lot of those observations end up in my stories.
What is your writing process like?
During the first draft I set myself a daily goal of somewhere between 500 and 2K words a day and don’t allow myself on the internet until I’ve made my goal. I write the first draft through to the end and try not to edit at all. If I need to research something I put a note in the document and plough through.
Once I’ve finished my first draft I put it down for a bit. I’ll work on something else – editing for a client or write puzzles. Then when I come back to my manuscript I have fresh eyes. I start from the beginning and read and edit. Now also I’ll research the bits that need to be researched and smooth everything out. It sometimes takes two or three passes at this stage for me to feel ready for the next.
Next my book goes to beta readers. I currently have four—all trusted friends who I know I can trust to be brutally honest with me. Once again while they have my manuscript I work on other stuff.
When I get their suggestions back I go through my book again incorporating their suggestions when they make sense to me. Then the book goes to my editor. Then I make her changes, read through the whole thing again and then format and send for a proof copy. I proofread on paper. It’s amazing the mistakes we miss and I find using a physical copy is the best way to catch them.
Finally I publish … and then I start all over again with the next book.
What advice do you have for writers?
Just write. I spent years starting novels and dropping them. You have to start something and keep going until you’re done. For me the thing that helped a lot with this was doing NaNoWriMo. NaNo taught me the importance of getting the first draft down.
Also don’t sabotage your efforts by getting critiques too early. Wait until you’ve got that story down and self-edited one time at least before you start showing it to others. Yes, beta readers are an extremely important part of the process, but I’ve definitely seen writers getting discouraged before they even really start because of harsh criticism.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Imminent Danger and How to Run Straight Into It by Michelle Proulx. A wonderful fun space opera. Highly recommended.
How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
I respect my readers and understand that they are investing their time and money into my work. To that end I guarantee that it will all make sense in the end. I have created a massive world in P.A.W.S. with a lot of characters and storylines and it can sometimes seem confusing, but I promise that all the puzzle pieces will fit together in the end.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
The cat of course! There are cats in nearly everything I’ve ever written.
Do you base your characters off of real people close to you?
Often yes. Sometimes this happens intentionally. For example there is an animagus kangaroo in P.A.W.S. called Joey Marks who I wrote for my son, Joey. He shares a lot of his traits – bouncy, curious and very fond of games and puzzles.
Other times it’s not intentional, but when I look back at a character I realize they resemble a family member or close friend.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Not being distracted by the internet and in particular Facebook. For this reason I try to write in the morning before allowing myself on the internet.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Usually it takes around a year, but my newest release, Cotula, which is coming out in August actually took me two years to write as it’s the longest and most complex book I’ve written so far (over 130K words.)
I know a lot of indies rapid release mounds of books, but I can’t do that. My books need to percolate slowly.
Where can readers learn more about you?
I love hearing from my readers, so feel free to drop me a line!