EH Walter [elyzab]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I read everything as a child and I still believe in trying to read across genres. The first things I remember writing were animal stories, I wrote this story about a family of mice and proudly showed it to my parents who informed me the mice would have lots more children than I'd written so I kind of lost heart with it. It was going to be my Animals of Farthing Wood I think. I don't show my family anything I write these days, and I no longer show friends. I try and trust myself.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I love historical fiction. C S Sansom is a big favourite of mine as he combines two of my passions - history and London. I got very excited when he set most of his last book in Portsmouth as that's where I'm from.
I suppose I think of myself as a historical writer really, there is a huge part of my memory filled with historical trivia.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I no longer tell people what I am going to write, I find if I have 'talk out the plot' I am no longer excited by it and cannot motivate myself to tell it again.
What I do now is write a brief over view of the whole novel and carry a notebook with me to capture moments of inspiration. When I sit down to write I give myself a word count to achieve.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Reading tends to depress me as a writer, either it is too good and I will never meet those standards or it is so heinous I can't understand how it got published in the first place. I love reading and enjoy it for its own sake.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Laughter, tears and characters you would want in your life.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I have always gravitated towards first person, I like the intimacy and the directness of it. I think it comes from my background as an actor, I become the character and tell the story. I have tried third person, but it's not so natural to me or as much fun!
What well known writers do you admire most?
I admire C S Sansom, Christopher Brookmyre and Jasper Fforde. I love how they have really strong, unique voices and create their own distinct worlds. It's a shame there are no women in my top three and I do hope that will change some day.
I have met Jasper Fforde as I help plan the Fforde Ffiesta in Swindon every year and he's a very nice guy. His ffans are a great bunch who wholehearted throw themselves into his world. I think that's what SF and Fantasty fans are so great at.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
I try and visualise that character, I 'become' them and rehearse dialogue in my head. I try and give each character something distinct - a twitch or manner of talking that is wholly their's.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
I don't really tell stories orally, because then I don't want to write them down. I am pretty good at reading stories though, years as an actor help you gauge your 'audience'.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Me! I write what I want to read! I sometimes finish a book and if I hate the ending I rewrite it for myself in my head and make a mental note not to do that myself (Hunger Games 3 anyone?).
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
In many ways. My teenage self left a lot of poetry as testament to this, these days I have a good circle of friends I can rant to instead or, failing that, I try to keep a diary and blog.
Does reader feed-back help you?
If it's good! I had lots of good feedback for one book and then one bad one. That bad review stopped me writing for about a month. Honestly, why is it that we take the negatives to heart?
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I rarely enter competitions. The only one I have entered I got second or third prize. It was the Ilkley Literature Festival and I entered a short story I had written as part of my MA. It was a retelling of a Biblical story from female viewpoint. That's definitely one of my 'things' - retelling things from female perspective.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
I used to but now I tend to finish them myself and stick them on line straight away! People can follow my writing in progress on Smashwords.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I think your 'voice' evolves. I definitely had a defining moment when I did my MA and I'd written a short story featuring some rather graphic sex. I didn't know whether to submit it to group scrutiny, but I did and that freed me up. Now I feel confident enough to write whatever I deem appropriate.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
The only discipline I have is to complete a new novel every November as part of Nanowrimo, it's the only way I finish. I am trying to recreate this myself with some success and I am going to try campnano this year to see if I can get another novel done in June.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I type straight onto the screen, although I do carry a notebook to scribble ideas that invade my mind and insist on being written down immediately. At the moment I write on a net book and am desperately saving for a MacBookAir, I honestly can't describe the lust I feel for that machine!
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I use Twitter and Facebook to connect with readers. I often post things on my Facebook page where readers can suggest names for characters etc. at the moment readers are invited to submit themselves for a 'gang'. Grisly death may be inflicted on said characters. It's a bit of fun. A couple of friends have shared their names with characters who are fiercely building up their parts from the bit players they we're originally meant to be.
I also write a blog http://walterwriter.blogspot.co.uk/
What has been your experience with publishers?
I haven't had any experience with publishers! A friend in the USA is a very successful author through e publishing so I asked his advice and I haven't looked back. There is a wonderful freedom to e publishing. You know with a publisher you would be asked to make certain changes yet I get to decide what stays or gets cut and it's very liberating.
What are you working on now?
I am working on Paranormal Investigations three. It's slow going as I'm still formulating a few subplots and my time has been very limited. Hopefully the end of June will see it finished, I'm a very quick writer once I get going and can finish a book in four to six weeks.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Reread them. If it was a book in a store would you buy it? Would you change anything? When it's as you want it either send it off to a publisher and wait months or get it online at Smashwords and Amazon and let the reading public decide if they like it.