What is your writing process like? Do you stick to a daily word count, etc?
I write with every spare second that I have. I am terrible with it. I have a full time job which normally hits 50 hours a week, plus another 6 or 7 in commute times, and four young children. Writing time is something I am not given, necessarily, but need to take. I get up at 04.20 every morning and write until 06.00 (roughly when the kids wake up). This is the permanent fixture of my writing time. For the rest, I try to write whenever I get a lunch break at the office, or in the evenings. I like to see at least 1,000 words a day. On good days I can have this done in my morning session which means the rest of the day is a bonus.
How do you come up with new ideas?
To be honest with you, I have no idea. I just seem to get them. I see something, or hear something and it gets stuck in my head. I then just play around with it, never with the intention of turning it into a story in any form; it just happens. It helps that until now every idea I have had has developed into two or three different ideas, which in turn have led me down avenues I would never have thought of. I have 31 novels and stories planned out in my head, most of which came from a handful of basic ideas. Inspiration is all around us. Every second of every day we see, hear, or feel something. Coming up with ideas is not a problem, it is finding the time to write them all down.
Do you research an idea before committing to it?
If there is a requirement for research then I do it. For my Highway to Hell trilogy I researched Hell and the 18 levels of the ‘Diyu’. I am more of a research-as-you-go kind of writer. I don’t plan my writing. I sit down with an idea and write. I don’t want to have any restrictions or limitations which I find are unavoidable even if only plotting a few pages ahead. I will look up small details, and mark down passages that I know will need more specific research and pick it up later on before I start edits.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing for me is finding the time to do it. As I mentioned above I have a job and a family. Writing time is a precious resource and one I never waste. I try to get in two proper writing sessions a day, and most of the time I hit my targets but it is never enough. Actually, now that I think about it, I am the hardest part about writing. I am hard on myself, I push myself and am never happy with how much I write or what I write. I am proud of everything I produce but always chide myself for not doing something differently. I want my writing to be about more than just words on a page or a nice story. I want it to linger after the books has been returned to the shelf.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Writing itself. I have never struggled when it comes to putting the written word on the page. I have had numerous failed starts at novels, but each start was easy to write in its own way. The same way I am the hardest part of the process, I am also the easiest part. I can sit down and write without the need to focus my mind. I can turn off work during my lunch break and be lost in my writing in the time it takes to open the file.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Cabal by Clive Barker, Death Mask by Graham Masterton and The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larrson. I don’t always read multiple books, it has just happened that way recently, but I like it.
If you could invite any five authors from any time period to dinner, who would they be?
Edgar Alan Poe
Clive Barker and,
Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?
Yes, it was when I was fifteen. I even remember the opening line. “The smell of burning flesh stung the eyes of all in attendance.” It was a wonderfully awful attempt at fiction. An action novel without action, I would cut away as it began and come back to deal with the aftermath.
Can you tell us about some of your titles and where we can find them?
I have Highway to Hell and its sequel Highway to Hell : Trials and Tribulations (which is due for release within the next week). Currently that is everything because I have just unpublished my 9 part zombie series as it is being re-edited and published under the J Ellington Ashton label. I will also soon have three short story collections published under the Vamptasy label. I have another novel that I am editing and two more that I am writing, but these three projects are nowhere near completion just yet.
All of my work can be found on Amazon or via my blog. You can find all of the links you need at the end of the interview.
Of all the stories you’ve written to date, which one would you most like to see turned into a movie? What director, actors, and actresses would be involved?
I have never actually thought of it before. I would like to think that fresh faces would be used. As for Directors, there are a few who really get the horror genre. James Wan in particular currently. I think Tarantino would do a good job with Highway to Hell, but at the same time I would love to see that as more of a Manga style movie. As long as it doesn’t get into the hands of Uwe Bol I will be happy.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a vampire novel and the third installment of the Highway to Hell trilogy. I am also editing a character driven horror/thriller novel about a police officer with a troubled past. It plays out as a race against time. Both of his lives are coming to a head and until the last page, even I didn’t know which one would win.
I am also re-editing my zombie series Diaries of the Damned.
In addition to writing fiction, you run a popular blog. How do you decide what to post on the blog?
Much as I do with my writing, I just sit down and type. It isn’t uncommon for a blog post to end up being split into three or four posts in total. I have spent a lot of time recently interviewing other authors. I find blogging a nice release yet still keeps me writing, honing my skills from a different perspective.
Have you found that blogging is a successful promotional tool?
To a degree, yes. I have not seen a large number of sales coming directly from links on my blog, but my blog has certainly played a pivotal role in establishing my platform as an author. It is a great way to stand up and make your presence known. I am just myself on the blog. I write what I believe and it is that honesty I think people can relate to. I will post personal things, rants, thoughtful posts, interviews and teasers, images… you name it, I have posted it.
I love re-blogging too. I love to re-blog a friends post or posts I find interesting.
Even if my blog generates 0 sales for my fiction, it repays the yearly subscription in many other ways.
Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
I hope that I will be writing full time and doing what I love to support my family. Luckily however, my day job is good fun. I may complain about it, but I think everybody does. I actually enjoy my day job and it gives me the chance to travel the world – to a degree – and challenges me in a different way than my writing. So, if in ten years’ time I am still working there and writing in my free time, then I will take it happily.
Where can we find you on the web?
I can be found on Facebook, my blog, and on Twitter – sometimes. I have a love hate relationship with Twitter.