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Tuesday 27 August 2013

Guest Author - Terry Tyler

This weeks Guest Spot belongs to Terry Tyler, bestselling author of Nobody's Fault and You Wish. If you enjoy Terry's interview check out her work here:

  1. When did you start writing and was there any particular event that drew you to the pen?
I seem to remember that I wrote stories as a child, and I remember writing a fair few in my twenties, but there wasn’t a moment at which I thought, I want to be a writer.  Writing my first novel, which I did in 1993, was just the natural progression from the short stories, I suppose, and started when I happened to have a lot of time on my hands.

  1. Do you have a favourite character from another author’s book?
Impossible to pick just one, but here are a few.  Gino Santangelo in various Jackie Collins novels.  Mr Wopsle in Great Expectations.  John Godwin in Susan Howatch’s The Wheel of Fortune.  Tyrion Lannister in GRR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.  Oh, too, too many.  If I start thinking of all the characters I’ve loved in books I would be here all day!  Those are the first that sprang to mind, though, particularly Gino. 

3. Do you pre-plan your stories or are you a take-it-as-it-comes writer?
My novels are always planned out first.  I don’t start writing until I know the whole story and have a chapter plan written out, at least for the first six chapters or so.  I need to do this for the continuity, as my books are very character driven, and I hate the sloppy continuity that you see in some books, where people behave out of character just to get the plot to the place the author wants it to be.  All my stories have ends that need to tie up for the last chapter, so I have to work out the time lines very carefully before I start.  I do tend to deviate as I go along, though, and think of better twists or new sub-plots.

4. Do you have set schedule to write to or do you grab the time as it comes?
I don’t go out to work, so writing is the focal point of my day.  It’s my priority, too, aside from family commitments.   I fit other things around writing, rather than the other way round. 

 5. How do you take writing interruptions?
Depends what they are!  I don’t get many.  The people who are likely to interrupt me know to ask if it’s a good time to talk.  But I don’t start chucking my toys out of the pram if someone interrupts me, even if it’s not particularly welcome.  It’s not the end of the world.

6. What do you enjoy and what do you hate about writing?
I love everything about it.  If I didn’t love it I wouldn’t do it.  I don’t know why I love it.  There’s nothing I hate about it.  One of my favourite bits is writing ‘the end’ at the end of a first draft – I love the fact that the whole story is now THERE, and my job is now to improve upon it.  I really, really enjoy the re-writing/editing. 

 7. What’s your advice as to how to handle a bad review?
Oh, I’ve written so much about this – a whole blog post, and more!  For a start off, you have to expect them, and they don’t really matter, because we all have different tastes.  The only time I think they DO matter is if you get several saying, for instance, that the punctuation and grammar is bad, or that it needs a good proofread/edit.  Then you know that it isn’t just personal taste, and you need to give the book serious reconsideration.  Happily I have never had very many, I’ve only got about six bad ones out of the over 3 or 400 reviews I have scattered over various sites.  Some of the negative comments I agree with.  I imagine most people who don’t like one of my books just stop reading it, the same as I do if I’m not enjoying something.  The first bad review irked me a lot, but you have to get sensible about them.  The way I look at is is this: do you honestly think that everyone is going to love everything you do?  Are you so insecure that you can’t handle a bit of criticism?  I think the best way to handle them is to read them, take in what they’ve said, and move on!

8. What other projects do you have on the boil?
Oh, lots!  I’ve recently finished novel number 6 for Amazon, which I hope to have out there by mid September.  I am currently putting the final touches to a short story collection, which I hope to publish in about November.  This will be free on publication, for the first 3/5 days – I haven’t done a free promotion for nearly a year, and thought I’d give it a whirl!  I’ve got the plan for the next novel, which I am DYING to start – I don’t usually start a project until one is finished, but I just had to write the first two paragraphs of this new one, because I have never been so excited about beginning a new book before! 
This week I have finished a short story which will be in a collection with proceeds going to an animal charity.  In the autumn I will also be busy with my twice weekly pieces on entertainment site The BizzNiz (I’m going to be commenting on Strictly Come Dancing!), and I have lots of book recommendation posts lined up (in my head) for my weekly blog on the UK Arts Directory.  Then there’s my own blog…. thank goodness I have an understanding husband and no children!

 9. Do you have any advice to offer other Indie authors about self-publishing?
Far, far too much to put in an answer to an interview question.  I’ve often thought, who am I to give advice?  But I am coming to realise that I do now have a fair bit of experience I can pass on.  In my blog on the UK Arts Directory I am, at the moment, writing a series of posts entitled ‘The truth about self-publishing’, in which I’m aiming to tell people stuff they really need to know, that they probably won’t read anywhere else.  Candid observations, if you like!  But far from all negative.  I’ll put the link at the end of this interview.

10. Does any particular strategy work for you to boost sales?
Not one single one, no.  It’s a combination of everything I do – the tweeting, the blogging, the Facebook page posts.  Sometimes I’ll do a 77p offer for a weekend; these have varying success.  I don’t know if people buy my books as a response to some post I’ve made, on the recommendation of a friend, or through finding them on Amazon – I expect it’s equally spread over all three.

 11. Does social networking improve your sales?
Without them there would be no sales.  End of story!
 12. Ever thought about branching out into a different genre? If so which one?
I don’t think about genres, I just write the story I want to write, then try to decide what genre it is when I put it on Amazon!  Although my books are all contemporary fiction, they’re all slightly different genres; for instance, Nobody’s Fault is a family drama, whereas Dream On is light-hearted rock fiction.  However, the one that I shall be starting soon – yes, the one that I am GAGGING to start! – will be different again.  It will span a period of about 40 years, and has elements of historical fiction, too, but I don’t want to say more at the moment because it’s the best idea I’ve ever had!!!

13. And to finish - how about giving us a few of your favourite songs, past and present?
Present?  I haven’t known about modern music for years!  I remember Alexei Sayle saying that a scientist had isolated a gene in the human body that made you go off pop music at the age of 37….!  I have to say that when I hear pop music now I think it all sounds the same – ooh, Daddy, you didn’t used to say that to me, did you??!  But my all time old favourites – too, too many to mention, I couldn’t say one without thinking of ten more, and wanting to include them all.  But I love most things by the following: Aerosmith, Free & Bad Company, Al Green, Steely Dan, Thunder, Kate Bush, David Grey, AC/DC…. I also love some old Motown (Roadrunner by Junior Walker & The Allstars is one of my all time favourites), Miles Davis, Will Young, Oasis, some early 70s ska, Deep Purple, mid 80s pop, some old 60s stuff like Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell and Windmills of Your Mind by Noel Harrison, some punk, Debussy, The Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams – look, I told you I could go on forever, didn’t I?  If I had to choose one type of music it would be rock, but I like so much different stuff.  There’s even one song I really like by Olly Murrs, but that’s about as modern pop as I get!

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