the man who missed the boat
living life backwards
the blogger @ countingducks.wordpress.com, check out his blog for his fantastic posts!
What made you a writer?
I think the answers to question one and two are very similar. I think I write to try and make sense of the world, and to try and capture something of what I feel the essence of being alive is. “Understanding” is an obsession of mine, and I express my thoughts in terms of imagination, hence the writing. In particular, I’m very interested in the tension between the brevity of life and the unchanging expression of emotions through succeeding generations.
2. Why do you write?
3. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve had a number of jobs, and experienced various levels of success or no success in a variety of circumstances and industries. Having said that I am a man with a very limited material “ wish-list” and understanding and the freedom to express mean so much more to me than the possession of a new car or piece of clothing. Having said that, I enjoy having a secure roof over my head, and enough cheese to fill a sandwich, but I certainly think that having, or having had experiences and being able to learn from them, and to create stories from them is among the most precious resources a creative person can have
4. Tell us a bit about your book/s, individually.
“Living Life Backwards” tells the story of a man who is satisfactorily married to a women whose family love and make him very welcome but his happiness is marred by the fact that he has a secret but severe crush on his wife’s younger cousin, to whom she acts as a mentor. Through his wife, the cousin enters into the exhilarating and sometimes taxing world of internet dating, and her adventures in that world throw up a range of situations and which make him ask more and more questions about himself. All we can say about the book is that nothing is predictable, and the consequences of our actions often include a surprise or two !
The second book, “The Man Who Missed The Boat” deals with the life of a piano teacher who is the younger son and brother of men who are highly successful corporate beings, although he can live with that as long as he does not see too much of his family. By chance he gets drawn into the intimate, dramatic and ungovernable consequences of a problem with the family of a young girl he teaches piano to, and the fallout from that drama changes his life in ways which are profound.
Both books mix drama and humour to make their point, which any reader of my blog would recognise as being typical of my output.
5. What is your favorite genre?
This is a very difficult question for me because, apart from anything else, I understand from my inexpert and sporadic investigations into the subject that genre and classification are central to the successful marketing of a book. Having said that, I have no idea, really, what the genre of “The Great Gatsby,” “War and Peace” or “Pride and Prejudice” are but my books are in there somewhere, although I am not deluded enough to presume my novels can be classified as “Classic Literature” or whatever the definition is.
They involve the exploration of character through events, whatever that genre is, and do not include persons with prominent and sharpened teeth, time travel, aliens with an interest in our table manners or any other para-normal genre, so possibly they could be called “Unmodern Literature”
6. Any book on its way to us?
I’m currently well into a book called “The Unsocial Memoirs Of Stanley Castle” about a man who develops an obsession which threatens to become unhealthy. More later of course !
7. How does it feels to become a published writer?
It was and has been a wonderful experience. I was picked up by an American publisher through my blog. When approached, I was happy blogging, but had never thought of writing a book. They asked me if I might like to write one, and a few months later “Living Life Backwards” appeared on the net and some kindles and book shelves which is a lovely thought for me.
8. Any tips/suggestions/warnings for wannabe writers?
Write for yourself. Do not worry about marketability, or have a person in mind. As someone dear to me said, “Spill your guts out on the page” and then results may well be interesting. Do not be diffident. Be challenging to yourself, be exacting about quality of expression, and love doing it, because creating fiction consumes more of your life than you will think is possible.
9. Who is your favorite writer/s? How much he/they influence your works?
If I had to pick a current favourite, although this is a moving feast, I would say F Scott Fitzgerald. I’ve mentioned it before but “The Great Gatsby” is fifty five thousand words long, but has enough plot in it to make a film from and a wealth of character and scene setting. What makes it special, apart from it being something of a masterpiece, is that every word and sentence has had to earn its place in the text. There is no rambling or verbosity. It is a taught, precise and yet emotive text, and if I could write as well as he does in this work I would be a happy man for several days at least.
10. What do you think of self publishing? The latest trend of authors?
I have to hold my hand up here and say I don’t know that much about self-publishing, although, through Blogging, I have come across and corresponded with quite a number of authors. It is a great development in many ways, but certainly doesn’t solve the fundamental problem where there is a much greater supply of new novels than there are readers who will spend the time discovering fresh talent. It makes marketing, which is increasingly the responsibility of the author, that much harder, and creative people are often not the best marketeers which may explain why so many now famous artists and authors were “discovered” after their deaths.