Welcome to my guest page. Here, every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation, over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something, if they are not driving, with a friend about their work in progress, or latest new release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
My guest today is the debonair Brian Heys. Welcome to the Clubhouse Tea rooms, Brian. I hope the coffee is to your liking, and isn’t too strong.
Thank you for coming by and joining me today, Brain. Firstly I would like to ask you, what writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
People who read my work tell me they enjoy my short descriptive paragraphs which provide context and setting for a scene. I will often spend a lot of time researching these to ensure they are accurate; for example, I’m aware how the seasons shape nature, and don’t want to make the mistake of writing about swans nesting in Winter! As for what I would like to do better, I would love to be able to drop in thought-provoking statements about the human condition; the sort of pithy quotes that multiple people underline in their Kindle app.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
I’m just over halfway through the first draft of a novel, which I started about seven weeks ago after being inspired by a column in the Saturday Telegraph. It begins as a nostalgic coming-of-age story set in Lancashire, punctuated by the music of the 1990s. Once I get an idea, I tend to start writing straight away so I can begin exploring the possibilities.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
Once I start a project, I tend to finish it, but I do have two or three unfinished short stories.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter? (If you only write short stories, or play do you plan your story, or let the characters lead you.)
I always start by writing the first chapter, just to see what happens. If I like the idea, I will then develop it by putting together a two-page synopsis. However, that synopsis is not a detailed plan of the plot, it’s more like an extended back cover blurb. All my writing is character-driven, and I don’t want to know how my stories will end until I get there.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
Definitely. In fact, I would say all of them are, to different degrees.
Did you uncover things about yourself while writing your books (or stories, play) whether that be a long forgotten memory, a positive experience etc.
Absolutely. I’ve been trawling my memories for experiences to write about, and have surprised myself by how much I can recall once I get going. Sometimes I will laugh but usually I will cry, not because the memories are sad, but because those times are long past, like photographs from the 1970s, faded and tinted with nostalgia. One of the things that has surprised me most is how strong my feelings are about the area where I spent most of my formative years as a young man.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
While working on the first draft, I write every day, and try to write at roughly the same time, but it’s not always possible due to other commitments. I have a full-time job which I have to work around.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
I have a minimum count of 700 words a day, which I find is achievable.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Yes, but he was a drunk and a womaniser who could only write using an olive-coloured IBM Selectric typewriter from the late 1960s. I like him as a character though, so he may end up putting in an appearance in a future work!
How long on average does it take you to write a book (story or play)?
It will usually take me three or four months to write the first draft of an 80,000-word novel.
Thank you so much for this chat, Brian. Please do drop by again and let us know how you are getting on. To find out more about Brian please check out his blog.