Frequently Asked Questions (things people ask me on a regular basis)
Where do I get an idea for a book?
I love things that are not possible and it starts from there really. I mean who would have thought sitting in a chair would take you through time, (H.G.Wells The Time Machine) WOW! what an idea. I am always looking for Ideas if I'm out and about. Just everyday things can trigger an idea. Fantasy is all about events that are fiction or take a fact and fictionalise it, and from there the skies the limit. I take an ordinary everyday situation and make it into something fun and interesting.
Characters names, where do they come from?
I must admit that in Wizards' Kingdom in particular, I looked inside my medical cabinet and just changed some of the labels for foot powder or medicine and turned them into wizards. (in one famous d-i-y store I used the name of a product for the character Veltzeg.)
If I get stuck writing, what do you do?
I'm asked this more than anything else. Normally, if something blocks my way I would leave it for a while and come back to it later. I have a story in which my creative writing lecturer Roy Duncan (sadly no longer with us) told me once. I told him I had 'writer's block' and he went mental. There's no such thing he raged. If you are walking down a passageway or street and there's a door ahead of you... and your ideas stop flowing, then turn around and head another way, somewhere else...well it worked for me.
How do I work the settings for each chapter?
I lay down foundations as if I was building a bridge - around a 1000 words a chapter. First I write down little ideas and descriptions and move along. Later I come back and put more into the base, such as colour, sound, feel and conversation and just keep building up into the shape I want. The trick is not to over do it, or you could end up with overdeveloping the storyline. You have to know when to stop.
What character do I like most in my book WK?
I think Crasmont the chubby wizard is the answer to that. He's jolly and loves food and always makes light of a situation, but be warned he's not a pushover by any means. He maybe short and slower than the rest, but he's very clever and very powerful also.
Do I ever get bored writing?
Don't get me wrong I really enjoy writing, but sometimes you can do a little too much. What I mean is I go over and over something until I get it exactly the way I want it and after a while well...it does get tedious. The end result though is well worth the hard work.
What do I think is the most important part of writing?
There's a simple answer to that. The most important part for me is that somebody, anybody reads my work and really enjoys it. It's an old cliche, but it has to be gripping, and I write exciting stories. So you must get a readers interest in the first paragraph or they'll move onto something else.
Where is the best place to write?
I find anywhere is OK, if it's quiet (it has to be quiet). I can't work with a noisy background. I'm lucky, I can hide away in my study at the bottom of the garden, and write to my hearts content without any distraction. I also go down to my local library for a few hours a day, when I'm not doing schools of course. Not everyone has a study; so bedroom, bathroom, cubby-hole under the stairs. If you are passionate about writing...you'll fine somewhere. I didn't always have a study.
Is there a certain time to write something?
I've read other authors 'F A Q' and some say you should write..write..write, all the time, at least a thousand words a day. Well I disagree, I write when the mood takes me, if I force myself to write it's not as good as when I am ready to flow. Different situations suit different people I suppose.
Is everything you write good?
My answer to this question is a resounding NO! When writing a first draught, it is rarely brilliant. This is true of any author. Try it yourself, write something and leave it. Go back to it later and you'll see how bad it really is. Then you need to go over and over and over it until it begins to take shape. Edit. Rewrite. Revise. The more you tighten it up the better it gets.