Neil Davies [nwdavies]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I've always written stories for as long as I can remember. I taught myself to type on my dad's typewriter and remember getting my own, cheap typewriter some time later and shutting myself in the shed at the bottom of the garden to write. Having said all that, I didn't really start taking it seriously until I met Cathy (my wife) who encouraged me to actually finish the novel I'd been working on off and on for years. I was never very good at finishing things! It was still almost 14 years after that when I finally gained enough confidence to try and send things off to publishers. I'm still sending but I could do with some more confidence :)
I can't remember what I first read, but I can remember the very first book I bought for myself with my own pocket money. It was Islands In The Sky by Arthur C Clarke.
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?
My favourite genre, bounced between Horror and Science Fiction, but more often than not, Horror. You can read some of my work at http://www.nwdavies.co.uk or on Scribd at http://www.scribd.com/nwdavies
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I tend to think things over in my head for a while before sitting down the write them - although sometimes that ends up just being an excuse not to write! Often I have to make myself sit down at the computer keyboard even when I've no idea what I'm going to write, just to try and get things moving. Like many writers I'm an expert at prevarication.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Most books I read inspire me to write, although there are particular authors who seem to inspire more than others (Richard Laymon, Brian Keene to name just two). If it's a well written, easy to read, enjoyable book then that's all it takes.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
A good basic idea and strong characters.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
Third person, for both writing and reading.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Richard Laymon, Brian Keene, Graham Masterton, Charles L Grant, Douglas Clegg, Steve Gerlach, Frank Herbert, Arthur C Clarke, Robert Ludlum, Terry Pratchett, Connie Willis... the list could go on.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
I find it helps to base a character on someone you know - but not too closely!
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
No, although I read to my children when they were younger (don't most parents?) and even to my wife when she was pregnant. But I don't like hearing myself tell a story, and I couldn't bring myself to read anything I'd written to anyone else - too embarrassing.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I write stories I would like to read. Particularly with novels I think that's the only way I could do it. I couldn't maintain the interest long enough if I didn't.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Sometimes. I have put personal issues/conflicts into my writing occassionally, although those passages often get taken out again at the editing stage. Just writing them is cathartic enough.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Yes, especially when it's from someone I trust and admire. Everyone has different tastes but as long as the feedback is constructive I'll listen to it. I'm not interesting in hearing someone tell me everything I write is crap. I can do that all by myself thank you :)
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
When I decided to really get serious (in 2004) I did decide to try a competition. That year my story The Midnight Hour won first prize in the halloween competition on http://www.oncewritten.com, and a year later I won the writing prompt competition on the same site with Conversation. Those are the only competitions I've entered and I was lucky both times.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Not generally. My wife, Cathy, will sometimes read an early draft of something I've written and she's a very tough and good editor. Most times, however, no one sees what I've written until it's a couple of drafts in.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I think you're always developing, changing and hopefully improving as a writer, but I do think I've developed a certain style that is recognisably mine. There are plenty of writers whose style I admire, but I don't want to be a copy of any of them. I think I've found my voice, but I have no doubt it will change in the years ahead.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
Ah, my main problem. I'm very poor with self discipline, there always seems to be something else needs doing. When things are going well I try and write something every day, but if I'm honest it's more like two or three times a week. This is something I need to work on :)
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Silence and solitude. I can't write with distractions or noise. Mind you, I can't read with distractions and noise either. I just have lousy concentration!
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I write on a computer, yes, and I will do some editing on the computer screen. When it comes to the serious editing though, I prefer to print out and scribble all over the paper before committing the changes back onto computer.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
You can find me on twitter, myspace and facebook.
What has been your experience with publishers?
Mainstream publishers are very hard to crack, especially writing genre fiction as I do, and especially in the UK. I've been very lucky in finding a small publisher, Screaming Dreams (screamingdreams.com), who like my work and, so far, have been interested in publishing it. They published my short story collection, The Midnight Hour, and in 2009 will be publishing my novel Raised In Evil. They will also be shortly releasing a horror/thriller novel of mine called Welcome Home which we are making available as a FREE download. So there's no excuse for not reading it!
What are you working on now?
I've a couple of novels I'm working on, one horror, one science fiction, and I'm in the middle of a short story that may end up more like a novella! My most recent project was to finish the final edit on a science fiction novel The Szuiltan Alliance. It's currently being read by a publisher and I'm waiting to hear their verdict. Incidentally, The Szuiltan Alliance is book one in a projected trilogy, so I'll be working on book two in the near future as well.
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?
Find someone whose opinion you trust and show them. If I'd met someone like Cathy ten years earlier who knows where I'd be now? Sometimes you just need to find the right person to give you that push, that encouragement. Maybe you'll find some old stuff that's worth reworking, or maybe it'll get you started writing new stuff. Either way you won't know until you try it.
Wirral, United Kingdom