I’d like to thank Steve Boseley for being the featured author in this week’s installment of ‘A Perfect 10’.
If you are an author and would like to participate, just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the information.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
That’s a tough one to answer for me. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis fifteen years ago, and find that I spend a lot of my time exhausted! Some days I can write for hours, but on others, I struggle to get as far as the keyboard! I completed NaNoWriMo, which surprised me, so, on the whole, I’d have to say that writing energizes me.
Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?
I do not write under a pseudonym at the moment. Initially, I could see no need to do so, but now, several years later, I feel that changing my pen name would be hurting all the work I have put in to build my author platform.
I have, however, just started to write some humorous content, which is quite far from the horror and dark fiction that I usually write. I think that when the time comes to consider publishing, I will definitely consider writing under another name, as I don’t want people to be confused about what they will be getting.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?
Another difficult question. I think there are pros and cons on both sides of that argument.
Ego is what helps us control our thoughts and behavior. It is often correlated with an exaggerated sense of self-importance. In some circumstances, this can be a positive. For example, when you have completed a story / book to the best of your ability, you need to hit the ‘send’ or ‘publish’ button. For me, that is a big deal. I am about to send something into the world that I have created / written. If that confidence and self-belief wasn’t there, I would never publish anything. That doesn’t mean I consider myself ‘better’ than others. My ego is what gives me the belief that what I have produced is good work – good enough to stand alongside other authors also trying to do the same things as me.
Ego could also pose a threat to my growth as a writer. If I have an over-inflated opinion of my own talents (conceit) I run the risk of ignoring the help and support offered by others, both in the craft of writing and all the other elements concerned with the marketing and promotion of my writing.
There is also a danger, I believe, of ego contributing to self-doubt, and ultimately to an author giving up writing completely. I call this the ‘I should be able to do that’ syndrome – as a new author / blogger, I see other people publishing books and appear (from the outside, at least) to be doing very well, and I ask myself ‘Why aren’t I doing that well?’ After months and months of writing, publishing, blogging with little return, you might reach the conclusion that your work is not good enough and give up, rather than accepting you have a lot to learn and applying yourself to that learning.
Ultimately, I think there has to be a balance in how you approach your writing – sometimes you need to learn and sometimes you need to feel confident in what you are doing.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I am still fairly new to being a ‘serious’ writer, so I imagine a lot of my spending is in front of me, but to date, the best 3 things I have spent money on:
- A Kindle – Reading is really important for writers, and Santa was good enough to get me a Kindle this year.
- A Laptop – At home, we have a Mac, which sits in the living room. This is where I have done most of my writing (it’s where I’m writing this now). I enjoy being with my family, but sometimes it is nice to be able to get away somewhere quiet!
- The cover for my latest book – I have fought against investing money into my books / stories so far, but have invested in a professional cover for my latest book. I think it looks amazing and all the feedback I have received says the same. I know we always say ‘don’t judge a book by the cover,’ but in reality, that’s exactly how we judge books.
I also think that I will be investing in an authoring tool such as Scrivener at some point soon.
What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?
This question takes me back to the ego question – what is realistic for me to attain? A year ago, just finding my way through all the tax questions for Amazon felt like an achievement, but now I have written 2 books, the most recent being available as a paperback and have started blogging regularly, my goals have shifted.
Ultimately, I would hope to become a full-time writer. I haven’t achieved that yet. My short-term success goal would be to have a novel completed. I am working on another collection for my next book, but in the next 12 months, I would like to have a novel to my name. I’m not putting a number on how many copies I would like to sell; I think just being able to complete such a project would feel like a win.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?
My first book, Die, Blossom, Bloom, was about a pensioner who killed his wife and composted her body. He also dismembered her first. I did a lot of research for this novella as it covered areas that I had little knowledge of. On my dinner break at work, I scoured Google for info on ‘how hard is it to chop a body up?’ and ‘how long would it take to compost a body?’ I had some interesting questions when my manager found out what I had been searching for!
There was also some research around a medical condition the wife had and what the possible treatments / prognosis was. There are a number of sites across the Internet with medical information that is particularly aimed at authors, so I was able to get some info here.
For another story in the collection, I needed info on a psychiatrist and typical treatment programs. I am lucky enough to have a friend who is studying for her PHD in psychotherapy who was able to help me with some of the details.
In terms of how long do I spend researching, it varies. So far I have only written stories of 5k – 20k words, so I imagine a novel may take slightly longer, but as an example, the psychiatrist story I mentioned above took me several nights worth of interviewing my friend along with several last minute phone calls!
During NaNoWriMo, I wrote a story that strayed into areas that I have limited knowledge of. I hadn’t planned for it to go that way, it just did, and I was more interested in getting the ideas down than in spending time researching the subject thoroughly. So for that story, most of the research will come after the fact!
How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?
I have a number of methods when choosing names. If it’s just a generic name, I will use a similar name to someone I know, or sometimes I will use a random name generator, such as:
It offers the option to select names from a variety of cultures / countries, masculine or feminine and a randomly generated last name.
Depending on the story, I may also need a name that is relevant to a particular time in history, and for that, I use a site such as:
It will give me a selection of the most popular names from a particular decade (English).
It may also be necessary to choose a name that marks the character out as a particular social class. It shouldn’t be the case, but certain types of names will create an image of a character in a reader’s mind whether we like it or not.
I’ve not yet encountered a name that I have regretted!
What is the hardest type of scene to write?
I think that will be individual to each author. For me, I find that I steer clear of romance / attraction-type scenes. I think that if I spent enough time working at it, I would get better, but so far, I’ve kept that out of the stories I write.
I think that any scene that I do not have direct experience of (e.g. dismembering a body!) always take a bit more work for me. I need the research for understanding to get me into that scene.
If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?
I would like to sit down to dinner with:
Charles Darwin – I would like to discuss his thoughts on disabled people, and the eugenics movement that his work fostered. Darwin said “We civilised men…. do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick… Thus the weak members of society propagate their kind.” I think I would like to chat with him about that and introduce him to Professor Hawking.
Professor Stephen Hawking – I very much enjoy learning about our universe and the physics that make things behave as they do, so I would like to hear more about that aspect of his work, but I would also like to talk with him about being a disabled man and how he has overcome the challenges he has faced. I think I would enjoy listening to him talking with Darwin.
Neil Armstrong – I would like to ask him what it was like to leave the Earth’s atmosphere, then to land and walk on the Moon. Was it frightening or exciting? I’d be too frightened to do it, so this would be my next best option!
Stephen King – As a horror author, this one is a bit cheesy, but I would still like to talk to him, particularly about starting out as an author. I would also really like to talk to him about his Dark Tower series and see if I could persuade him to write another book in that series!
A Note from Don: I recently read that Stephen King is treating The Dark Tower movie as a sequel to the Dark Tower series and it begins as Roland repeats the quest as he does at the end of the last book.
What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?
I think is a really difficult question to answer, for a number of reasons. I would consider myself to be in the infancy of my writing journey, so it’s still too early to say what is most successful. Also, in my experience, marketing needs to be a multi-platform approach. I think each of the elements has its place, but in my experience, an effective, live website, combined with a good sign up offer and an email list is most effective.
I would like to try some face-to-face marketing as well, but I’ve not tried that yet!
Connect with Steve:
My ebook, A Sinister Six: A collection of six darkly disturbing stories, is available for pre-order now. Send me a screenshot of your pre-order purchase to get 2 additional FREE stories, only available in the print version (when ready).
Here’s a short blurb:
‘A Sinister Six’ is a collection of darkly disturbing stories, where the ordinary and mundane become extraordinary and fantastic.
Come along, as we journey to the edges of reality and glimpse what lies just beyond our reach. Discover that nothing is quite what it seems, and explore the horrors that travel with us throughout our lives.
The characters you will meet within have been forced beyond the boundary of their reality and have encountered what lies beyond.
Universal book buy link: books2read.com/u/bMG255