I’m guessing the book writing’s maybe not full time? If not, what’s the day job? Can you give us a quick biography of yourself?
Writing is my full time work, I have done many jobs over the years from Sales jobs working abroad, time shares, running my own sales team in Belfast, working in the Middle East doing casual jobs, like fuelling boats on the jetty, but for the past fifteen years all I have concentrated on is to enhance my writing skills.
Do you have a typical writing schedule?
No, I don’t have a typical writing schedule, I only got into some kind of routine when writing my debut novel, which I found was necessary to put into some kind of schedule to complete the typing of the manuscript, I usually work by hand writing everything first, making note books with ideas and then I build from there into some more kind of structured document, until I find it is time to start the actual typing.
Do you insert family, friends, and colleagues into your characters?
I have used certain friends and family members to reflect in my debut novel, I certainly focused on my Mother and Father, especially my Father as one of the main characters Stan! I do have to point out though, that he is nothing at all like I have portrayed him in the book, only certain characteristics and mannerisms that I found suited to the structure of the book. I also used certain names from my family tree, that I attached to characters in my book.
When you have an idea and you sit down to construct your story – do you know what the end result is roughly going to look like? Are you a plotter, or do you make it up as you go along?
Yes, when I start plotting in my note books I have always have a strong feeling of how the end of the novel will read, as I continue to hand write ideas into the note book. I always draw and sketch the front covers and titles, I also work on the blurb for the back covers.
Are there any subjects off limits? From my reading of The Ink Run (a few pages to go now) and the trials and tribulations Otiss endures, I’m guessing not many.
There are no subjects off limit to my writing at all as I actually got into my writing as I have a number of social issue to write about from a personal point of view, I would say that The Ink Run covers a lot with reference to the abuse of children in the home, and also covers the abuse of patients in asylums, where my second book,The Death Row Thrift shop is more of a main stream crime/horror story, and the only reason that I have decided to write something of this nature is in the hope I can get into a bigger publishing company where I can then get the main book published which is titled STITCHED. I am getting quite tired of the main stream writers that are out there and seemingly at the top of the game, I respect their craft of storytelling, these however do not seem to be pushing the boundaries of social problems, which I hope to eventually cover within my own novels, as for instance the third novel that I will be publishing under the title of Stitched, covers the horrific social stigma of enduring a miscarriage of justice.I found whilst researching, that only the highest profile of case get some kind of media attention, the Stitched book will highlight the little man on the street, the one that does not have a big shot lawyer or has some kind of business in the echelons of high society that may be able to influence the outcome of trials, while most miscarriage of justice centre around murder, my intention is to highlight fully the stigma of an innocent man dealing with a rape case.
How long from conception to completion did The Ink Run take? Was it a smooth process or were there many bumps in the road along the way?
The Ink Run took at least 15 years to complete, that doesn’t mean I sat at a type writer for 15 years, I would put it in that time bracket as an example from when I first initially wrote anything first used in the novel to the actual day of typing the end. It certainly wasn’t a smooth journey, there were many obstacles in my own personal life that put the book on the back burner, from things as being totally skint and having to put my laptop into the pawn shop, and due to having no money to get it back out I lost it! Then having to save for a new laptop to work on to more, personal horrific bumps in the road like being diagnosed with bowel cancer, which then spread to the liver and lung! Which for the past five years has slowed the process down, but did not stop me from getting the book finished and published.
Did the end result mirror your expectations at the start of the process, or is it a very different book to what you imagined?
The book was completed totally as I imagined from how I had written the manuscript, although I put off typing this due to the monumental task of editing it, but once I had taken the plunge and over a couple of years steadily edited into the hand written manuscript I found that once I began typing the book it almost typed itself as I had read the book through so many times, this was implanted into my mind as an already completed piece of literature.
Is The Ink Run your only published work to date or do you have more stuff out there?
I do have more published work, although this is not out for sale, I first published through Route a poetry book, which I entered in for the TS Elliot prize, I have also contributed to a friend’s book called Why about the alienation of fathers in custody battles and why this is important to have both mother and father present in their lives as they grow up, many magazines I have also written for, which include MMA Uncut, Glasgow Eyes Magazine and Inside Time the national paper for prisoners.
Any unpublished gems in your bottom drawer?
What’s the current project in progress?
My current project in progress is as mentioned previously, The Death Row Thrift shop based in Dripping Springs, Texas and is a crime/Horror novel, it follows a widower from Ireland who flees Ireland to America and gets caught up with three serial killers who are all operating in her new hone town.
What’s the best thing about writing?
The best thing about being a writer is the freedom to write anywhere in the world at any given time and to have the chance to have your thoughts read all over the world, if you are writing something that is a powerful perception of a certain subject, then that can become a very appealing reason to become an author in the first place.
The worst thing about writing is, spending many years working very hard and feeling that sometimes you have not been given the money/pay that reflects your hard work.
What are the last five books you’ve read?
The last books that I have read are the two follow up books to the Steig Larsson trilogy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, after his unfortunate death A writer called David Lagercrantz took up the mantel of the trilogy using the same characters and in my opinion did a marvellous job, I have had many books on my to read list but due to writing my own things haven’t got around to, but I have managed to read a book that Jamie Byng the director of new books at Cannongate sent to me it was a book about alcoholic writers by Olivia Laing titled A Trip to Echo Springs, I found this a very thought provoking novel about the literary giants that wrote with what some assume as a burden, not my personal thoughts however. Another great book I have read that won the Man Booker Prize was A brief History of Seven killings by Marlon James, which covers the political turmoil which surrounded the shooting of Bob Marley in Kingston, Jamaica. Whilst on holiday in Mauritius I read Steinbeck’s buccaneering novel The Cup of Gold about the life of the Pirate Sir Henry Morgan, which given the setting only added to the genius of the writing.
Who do you read and enjoy?
Is there any one book you wish you had written?
The book I wish I has written is Papillon, by Henri Charriere who was sentenced to life in a French penal colony for a murder he didn’t commit, it has been quoted on the cover as the best adventure story ever written.
Favourite activity when not working or writing?
I used to enjoy boxing and training however due to the ongoing issues with my health I am unable to train to my full ability, I do however enjoy socialising with my friends, the cinema and spending time with my dog Nap
What’s the last film you watched that rocked you?
On my way home from my last holiday in Hong Kong, on the inflight entertainment I watched a great film put together by polish students it was an animated adaption of Van Gogh’s life and murder/suicide, using the actual paintings he produced as the back drop of the film, which was titled Loving Vincent.
TV addict or not? What’s the must watch show in the Hyde household?
I don’t usually watch much TV as I find this a distraction to my writing and I know that the majority of people have seen The Sons of Anarchy, but for me I am only just bingeing out on this on Netflix,
Many thanks to Dale for his time.