Sunday 5 August 2012

Interview: Questions from Readers

Joey recently asked on her Facebook page for people to send in questions they would like her to answer. This is the first batch received. If you missed your chance, don't worry, Joey will do this again!

-> What's your favourite part of writing a book?
I'd have to say the part after you've set the story and you've started to get knee deep in plot. I do like the beginnings where you're setting everything up and I love the final chapters where you tie up all the loose ends, but I'd have to choose the middle part as my absolute favourite part.

-> Who do you call your "favourite author"?
I do a lot of reading, I like to find authors, who like me, are generally unknown and give their work a try. Having a kindle allows me to do that and sometimes I find a gem that I'd previously not known about and sometimes I don't. If I had to choose from my favourite short list of authors, it would be down to Harlan Coben and Sue Grafton. Both are great writers, both tell great stories. I love them both for different reasons, Harlan Coben for the way he keeps you guessing and draws you into the story and Sue Grafton for her character Kinsey Millhone who is a strong, female private eye, solving crimes and sometimes getting herself into sticky situations. I don't think I can pick between the two of them.

-> What do you prefer writing, your standalones or the Dying Thoughts Series?
I love both, which is why I've chosen to split my books between the two. I love writing the standalones, such as Blackout because it's a whole new bunch of characters to fall in love with and go through their story with. I do find it hard sometimes to say goodbye to those characters after the story is through though. That's also one of the reasons why I love the Dying Thoughts Series, it's a bunch of characters that I know and love, and yet they still continue to surprise me as I take them on their adventures, I'm still learning to know things about them and it's also one of the reasons I write two books at once, I like to have the best of both worlds. On one hand, the characters I will take through one story and on the other, characters that are like old friends.

-> Why don't Kaolin and Tara have Facebook and other social media?
The problem with writing a series and writing so far in advance is that although time moves forward for you, it doesn't once the book is done. I started writing the Dying Thoughts Series when I was about 20, I'm now 30, so ten years have passed since then and when I first put pen to paper, there was no Facebook or Twitter. There were other types of what we now call "social media", but I never saw the need for them to have that. Due to the fact that the books themselves happen over a period of (at the moment) eighteen months, Tara and Kaolin are still stuck in the past. They're still in 2003 and Facebook has yet to hit the internet. I can't bring them this far forward in time without losing some of the book content, so for now, they will stay in 2003/2004. Maybe towards the end, they'll finally get Facebook!

->What's the worst part of writing?
Writer's Block! No, I mean that's one part of it I don't like, but it comes hand in hand with the job really, the thing I really don't like are those chapters that just exist to move the story along with everyday things - like for a teenager going to school and having a normal day, before a piece of plot happens. Those kind of things. I call them "filler chapters", but I've been told that they don't always exist, they seem to in my books.

->What made you start writing?
I had just been retired from my job on medical grounds and the thought of being 19 and never being able to hold down a 9 to 5 job or having to watch daytime TV from then until the end of time just depressed me. I'd tried my hand at writing before and decided that I would finish what I had started a few years previously which was taking apart The Friendship Triangle and turn it into a proper book. I was well and truly "bitten" by the bug after that and although sometimes things like university have gotten in the way, I haven't stopped writing since.

->Where do you get your character names? 
From a lot of places, I brought a baby name book at one point and used to just look through it for inspiration. Other names are inspired by people I know or knew, and sometimes places and things. It's amazing to me how many names you need to come up with for just a standalone book, never mind a series!

->What inspires your stories?
A lot of things do, I'd had the idea for Blackout in my head from about the age of 14, it took until I was 19 to write it down. I got the idea for the Dying Thoughts Series whilst shopping in ASDA! Other books have been inspired by events in my life, such as internet romances, and other times it's places I've been or people I've met. I can't pin it down to just one thing - Life inspires me!

-> How long does a book take - from idea, to start, to finish?
It depends really. Take Blackout for example, the idea formed at 14, I began writing it when I was 19 and ten days later it was finished. It's the only book I've ever written that fast. I generally keep a note of the date I start the book and they usually take anywhere from 18 months to a few years to finish. Especially now that I am juggling writing with a part time degree. Thankfully, I have the summer, autumn and half of winter off this year before my next course starts in February 2013 so I plan to spend that writing.

That's all the questions for now! Thanks to those who submitted them and keep an eye on this blog and Joey's Facebook page to take part next time and for any updates! 

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