Saturday, August 30, 2014

World of Writing, interview

-- World of Writing -- 

Neal James began writing in 2007 when a series of short stories found favor on a number of international writing sites. Since then, he has released five novels and one anthology. He has appeared in both the national and local press, and has also been a regular at branches of Waterstones and local reading groups and libraries in his home counties of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Find out more about Neal James and all of his writing on his website:

Q: How have your books gotten published?

After self-publishing a selection of my short stories using Lulu, I began looking around, in 2007, for a publishing house prepared to launch my first novel. I came across Pneuma Springs after failing to grab the attention of any of the usual literary agencies and publishing houses, and have remained with them ever since. Pneuma are a publishing company operating in Kent, in the south east of England, and use the "Print On Demand" method of publishing.

Q: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I usually decide how a particular story is going to end, and then draw out a plot around that strategy. Of course, the ending planned is not always the one I started out with, but that in itself makes the writing so much more interesting. There are always twists and turns in my books, and I try to keep the reader guessing right until the end.

Q: What has been the most surprising thing you learned from creating your books?

The fact that, as a relatively unknown author, large book chains like Waterstones and the network of libraries in the UK have all taken my writing seriously. This has given me a window into other media such as radio and internet blogging sites, and I am building up quite a following using social media like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.

Q: How many books/stories have you written?

I currently have six books (five novels and one anthology) in circulation. The books are all crime related at the moment, but the volume of short stories covers a wide range of literary genres. My short stories number over one hundred and have featured in our local press and a number on internet writing sites. 

Q: Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer?

Read widely, particularly in the genre which interests you as far as your own writing goes. Look at the established authors and see how they weave their stories together. Study the characters which they create and try to understand how the authors flesh them out – there’s nothing worse than a two-dimensional hero. Never, never, try to edit your own work – it’s invariably a bad idea. Get an editor competent in the structure of English grammar to check for errors. They will be there.

Q: Do you hear from your readers? / What do they say?

Yes I do. I have yet to receive a bad review, and feedback via e-mail and the usual social media sites has been more in the line of asking when the next book will be coming out. The main question I am faced with relates to how I manage to dream up the plots which come out in my books. The answer is always ‘imagination’ – without that, writing would be superfluous.

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