My guest post this week comes from writer Richard Dee. Richard introduces his work below, but I wanted to say thanks to him for putting together the answers to the questions. If you’re interested in finding out more about Richard, check out his website Richarddeescifi.co.uk, or take a look at his Amazon author page.
This is the third of these interviews on Write with Phil. You can see earlier answers from Debbie Young (The Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries) and Tim Loane (Teachers, Versailles). If you’re a writer and would like to be featured on the blog, get in touch by either emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or using my contact form.
What’s your track record – what have you written?
I mostly write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures. I’ve also started a series about the exploits of an amateur detective called Andorra Pett. She has a heart of gold, unfortunately she’s clumsy and accident prone. Beneath it all, she’s smart; so far she always seems to get to the right answer.
Altogether, I’ve published 7 Novels, 2 collections of Short stories and had a piece in the 1066 Turned Upside Down anthology of alternative History. My next novel will be Andorra Pett on Mars, the sequel to Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café. All things being equal, that will be out in April 2018. You can find details of all my work at richarddeescifi.co.uk. My website also contains lots of free short stories, extracts and other goodies!
Why do you write?
I never meant to, I used to have trouble writing letters home when I worked abroad. Then one morning I woke up, having seen the start of a film in my dreams. Like that bit in the cinema when the lights dim and the picture leaps onto the screen. Somehow, I knew that I had to write it down. And once I started, I saw it all happening in my head. All I had to do was type what I saw.
I found that I could slow it down; I could pause and rewind it. The one thing that I couldn’t do was fast forward. I never knew what the ending of my story would be until I got to it. It was as much a surprise to me as I hope it will be to the reader. And that’s how every book since has been.
What makes a successful days writing?
When my characters have moved forward, when I’ve learned something I didn’t about the plot. And when my characters wander off and do something that I didn’t expect, especially when it works. As I don’t touch type it can be a surprise to look at the screen and wonder where the last few pages came from. I tried to fight it at first, but now I’ve found that they know as much about what’s going on as I do, so now I leave them to it.
When do you feel most productive?
Early in the morning and late at night, I always used to have to get up early for my real job, now that I’ve retired I’ve kept the habit, I just write instead of commuting. It means that in general, I have the day free to do what I want.
Do you have a writing routine? What is it?
I try to do at least 2000 words a day, some days it’s easy, some can be a lot harder. But even if I have to change project, I think it’s important to have a minimum before you stop for the day.
What stops you from writing?
Hunger! When I’m in the zone and it’s all flowing, it’s the only thing that can make me stop. Or a shouted reminder that I’m supposed to be doing something else.
Say you’ve hit a slump. What do you do to get going again?
I have several projects on the go at once, if the film stops for one, I just switch my mind onto one of the others. One of them will start up. If not, I have a list of short story ideas, plus there’s always some research to do.
What advice would you give someone who can’t get their writing going?
If it’s not happening, try writing about something else. You might get a short story out of it, or you might find that it fits in somewhere later on. Writing is like any exercise, you need to keep doing it. And remember, there is always the scope for a sequel, prequel or spin off.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever had?
Write! That’s it. Just get some words down on paper (or screen). You can always edit them later, until it’s written you don’t have a novel, just an idea.
Where can people find out more about you?
The best place to see all my work is the portfolio page on my website. All my novels feature there, with links to extracts and purchase links, go to https://richarddeescifi.co.uk/portfolio/
My Amazon Author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-Dee/e/B00CN4TTCG