Today I’m delighted to start once again with my series of talks with authors. There’s lots of interesting talks in the pipeline.
Martin: Before we look at you as a writer I wonder if you could tell us which authors have had the greatest influence upon you?
Paul: Growing up it was all sorts of Sci-Fi and Fantasy writers. I was a prolific reader and I enjoyed almost everything I could get my hands on. As I got older I went through several stages of different authors, including Stephen King, Kate Elliott, George RR Martin, Robin Hobb and Jacqueline Carey. I like books that keep you reading and leave you wanting more.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Was there a specific event that made you decide?
Not an event as such, but I had been toying with the idea of writing a book for about five years before I actually put pen to paper for the first time (after writing a couple of smaller pieces).
What’s been your favourite moment in your writing career?
I always get a kick out of being published and seeing my name in print!
Who in your early life would be most impressed by your writing and why?
My English teacher told me I would never pass my English exams. I think my grammar is now somewhat improved. However, even at school I was always writing small pieces of fantasy prose.
If someone had the power to look into your creative mind what would they see?
Heck, even I don’t know what goes on there sometimes! There are always a hundred stories and pieces of plots rolling around. Unfortunately I never get the dedicated time I need to get everything out and down on paper. Eventually some of the ideas meld together and real weird things end up on paper!
Are you a plotter and planner or do you take an idea and just run with it?
I’m a plotter – and proud of it. I could never approach writing any other way. However, that’s not to say I don’t have ideas as I’m actually writing my novel – in fact I do, and I usually incorporate those new ideas into my plot.
Which research tools, sources and web-sites do you find most useful in your writing?
There’s nothing in particular I use for research, even though I do quite a lot of it. As for actually writing, I use Scrivener.
That brings us neatly on to the next question. You use Scrivener software and your enthusiasm was instrumental in getting me to try it. How has it affected your approach to writing?
Scrivener allows me to plan my novels far more effectively than when I was using Word. Now I can write my plot points (imagine small index cards), and then attach the actual manuscript part to that card. This makes it really simple to move parts of the novel around or change a specific part very simply. This really isn’t possible on a Word document of over 50,000 words! Overall, I just feel so much more comfortable using Scrivener. I wish I had discovered it ten years ago!
What would be a typical writing day for you? Do you have set times, spaces, routines or rituals?
The last couple of years have proved challenging to me and have forced me to re-think my approach to writing. I am trying to turn out 300,000 plus words a year and so I need plenty of time to actually write. The problem is that I have a day job that takes up almost 12 hours of my day. I used to write first thing in the morning (5am to 6am), but I can’t do that any more. So now I have to write from around 5pm to 6pm. Because I’m a plotter, at least I can write about 1500 words in that time. I try and write 10,000 words a week when I’m actually in manuscript writing mode. As for the rituals, I listen to classical or light music with no lyrics. It helps me get into my space.
Tell me your thoughts on the role of marketing for an author?
Help, I need a marketer. Help! I don’t have the time to do anything like a decent job. However, I previously hired a marketing firm to help me and the end result left me with a very sore taste in my mouth. The jury is still out on this one.
Which of your characters amuses you most and why?
In my Fergus Fedderfeeny books, I wrote a character named Sofia (one half of the Gwillville Mafia) and she makes me laugh just thinking about her. I loved writing the scenes that involved her.
If you were to give advice to someone thinking of writing a novel what would it be?
Be true to yourself. Write the book you’ve always wanted to write, just for you, and then after you have edited it, read it back as if it was written for someone else. Then rewrite all the boring bits!
What is your next writing project?
I have the first two parts of an upcoming Sci-Fi series being released over the summer. I’m very excited about these books which are a small departure from what I usually write. And currently I am writing the first in a trilogy sequel to my novella, Ryann. As I said, 300,000 words a year keeps me busy!
Thanks very much, Paul, it’s been a pleasure to talk with you.
Paul’s blog is well worth subscribing to; it’s full of tips and advice. Be sure to take a look.
Paul Dorset was born in Poole, Dorset in England but has been living in America since 1995. He has been writing for many years and some of his early works were published in ‘teen advice’ columns. He has also had many technical articles published, mostly in the field of Computing.
Paul currently lives in the Pacific Northwest but has traveled extensively and worked many times with teens and youth groups. It is this background combined with a vivid imagination that has enabled him to weave a tapestry of magic into complete novels. His first epic fantasy series, aimed at young adults, is entitled ‘The Southern Lands’. However, the storyline is more than exciting enough to keep adults turning pages as the story unfolds.
Paul is a father of five who has worked as a computer consultant for more than 30 years. His publications include fantasy novels for ages 12-plus, how-to books for adults, and dark paranormal thrillers for ages 16+. He incorporates his extensive experience in computers – and his insightful perspective on the possibilities therein – in novels that include layers of contemporary intrigue, romance and mystery.
You can follow his blog at http://blog.pauldorset.com
A book on Amazon: Ryann