Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. For those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit the clubhouse is via membership or invite to the clubhouse tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation I’ve had with a guest over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
Welcome to the clubhouse tearoom, Magz. I’m pleased you could join us today. I hope I’ve manage to get the right drink for you.
Thank you so much for asking me to take part! Oh, thank you for ordering me some Japanese Ramune.
Let’s me start by asking you what writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
I try to write in as visual a way as possible and hopefully that comes across to the reader. I’d like to be better at plots, as in actually having some.
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 currently working on the 3rd volume in the Veto Lark series where our ‘heroes’ find themselves on a bit of a journey after an unexpected bird watching related incident. I can give you an exclusive and reveal that the cover will be… Yellow! I would give you the title, but I’m trying to decide on one.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
I have lots of unfinished projects lurking around. One book has been lingering for a long time. There’s no excuse for me not to just get on with it as It already exists in script format and does actually have a title. That’s going to be the next one after I finish Veto 3. I have several existing short stories that I keep meaning into put into a small collection too. There are a good few others that I’m just too lazy to start.
I also have several (hundred) notebooks either partly scribbled in or waiting for their first words. (Nothing to do with my stationery obsession.) I’ve taken to writing longhand for the first draft, then moving it to the PC for all the other drafts. There’s something really nice about writing in a physical book with a bright yellow fountain pen. This method also doesn’t rely on battery power, although I do frequently run out of ink just when I finally get into the flow. Quite ironic really.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter, or let the characters lead you?
It’s as much a surprise to me as it is to the reader as to what happens! It’s definitely a case of letting the characters lead. That works out pretty well, because I can just blame them for everything.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
Thankfully, no. Although now that I think of it, some of the minor characters have arisen from random passing encounters, usually from snippets of conversation wafting past on the odd occasions I leave the house.
What did you learn when writing your book (story, play or poem)? In writing it, how much research did you do?
I learned that having a spell checker is of vital importance. One of the good things about writing fantasy/SF (especially the non-science based stuff that I do), is that I can get away with being as inaccurate from reality as I want. I can just make stuff up and not have to worry about clever people pointing out how wrong I am. Surprisingly though, I have done a little research during the Veto books. For example I discovered there are actually folks who think the world is flat and some people really do eat fennel soup.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I don’t have a work schedule as such. It depends when I remember I’m actually in the middle of writing something and when I can find quiet time in the house. This is virtually impossible, especially at the moment during lockdown. I’ve done lots of some writing in the very early mornings during camping holidays where there aren’t the usual distractions like, well, anything and everything. I get distracted very easily… Oh look! It’s raining! I also find I write a lot more when there’s something important that I’m trying to avoid doing.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
I don’t set a daily word count because I would constantly disappoint myself. I consider any words a good daily bonus.
How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
I love coming up with names for characters. Some pop into my head out of nowhere and are usually very silly. A character can just come into being purely because of a random name I’ve thought of and I’ll have to find a reason for them to be in the story. The characters tend to come out all on their own which can be a bit of a nuisance when I have to go back and rewrite things to fit in. You’d think these pesky characters would be a bit more considerate!
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Probably anything between 5 – 10 years. Only partially joking there! I have written some short stories that have taken a lot less time. I find it really difficult to finish a book or story because I keep having the need to improve it, although probably everyone creatively inclined feels this way.
Thank you so much for joining me, Magz.
If you would like to find out more about Magz’s books please check Amazon.
It you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.