Saturday, 5 January 2013

In a grave yard with a serial killer

Being a writer can be quite a solitary affair. After all, we're typing out the things that we're carrying about in our heads, often in a shed or somewhere that we can't be disturbed. If we're taking it seriously, of course.

But, if you go looking, you find that there's a whole community of writers out there, particularly since the advent of social media, and it's very welcoming and supportive. Sometimes I wonder if that's displacement therapy; anything to avoid staring at the blank page (because people know if you're playing games on Facebook, Ashley McCook!). But we comment on each others' blog posts, tweet (and not just pleas to buy our books) and help out both new and established writers where we can.

Personally I'm indebted to Richard Denning for advice in how to actually get Echo on to Amazon - - as it looks really complex but, with a guide alongside, it's actually not.

One of the ways to support other authors is the guest blog. This week, Tim Vicary an author of courtroom dramas and historical thrillers, published his latest interview in the Tim's Curious Questions series where authors and artists get to choose and answer four questions, hopefully in an interesting way. And the interviewee? Me.

I chose to talk about jumping off a building, wanting to steal a painting by Turner, life in a student house and the fact that my Dad was a gravedigger and worked with a serial killer - I'm slightly disappointed that, so far, nobody has asked who it was, which suggests nobody has read it yet.

All this is aimed at getting our names out there into the public domain and, ultimately, selling books. Will it work? I have no idea, although I did sell a book yesterday. Fortunately I have a real job and have just survived the latest round of NHS reorganisation (although I did have to compete for my own job) so being a writer and author is purely for fun. But, it's a fun and cool thing to be accepted as a real author and I got a kick out of seeing my interview on Tim's site.

I'd love to do something similar for other writers although I'm hesitant in inviting anybody to write a guest blog for me as i'm not sure that it's worth their time and effort when I only have 13 followers (no offence, dear followers, I'm very grateful) and maybe a hundred hits a month.

If you like legal or historical thrillers, please drop by Tim's page and maybe buy one or two of his books.

If you've not seen the interview, click on the link 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

If in doubt, make it up. Or copy it

As I've said recently, the joy of writing fiction, particularly science fiction, is that I get to make things up. In reality, I've made very little of Echo up myself. The spaceship she rides and the rules that describe the design and how it travels owe a lot to the role playing game Traveller. The armour worn by the Bad Girls does more than nod to the Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000. And Echo herself takes her genetic make up from various heroines that appear in novels by Robert Heinlein, but none more so than Friday.

Even the weapons. Echo's bolt thrower, for example:

I didn’t want any nervous guards opening fire because they could see the shape of the bolt thrower under my arm. It was, realistically, a most impractical weapon. The revolving chamber was bulky, the length and weight made the gun unbalanced and the lack of a proper barrel made it wildly inaccurate at distances of more than fifteen metres. But, in close-quarters combat, the 8 mil discarding sabot rounds would penetrate every type of armour I’d come across and the bang of the high explosive warhead scared the shit out of everybody.

Can't imagine where I got the idea from. You take your inspiration where you can find it.