Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Interview with David Nicol

David is the author of The Deluge of Elias and Hannibal House, you can find him at various places on the internet: His website, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter.

He has this to say about himself: "Hailing from the celtic parts of Britain I have a duality between science and myths. I write stories that involve a number of different themes, some are obvious, others not so obvious. Currently I have a full time job and write on the side. I'd like to get to the point where my job is writing. If nothing else, it'd be cool for my kids to be able to say their father is an author."

I know of him through my boyfriend and have read both his offerings to date so asked him if he'd do a quick wee interview for me and, happily, he agreed - so read on!

Julie-Anne: You've now self-published two short stories through Amazon. Was this always the plan or did you try and go through a publishing house first?

David: It may seem strange but I didn't/don't have a plan at all. Going through a publisher, or even getting an agent didn't enter my head when I decided to start writing seriously. Currently, the traditional route doesn't appeal to me as I prefer to make the decisions about the content I create. Plus I'd rather put my energy in to writing rather than courting publishers/agents.

JA: For any aspiring self publishers reading this, how easy was the process?

DN: Now that's a question with two answers. Depending on your technical knowledge it's either very easy, or has a steep learning curve. A basic knowledge of HTML is necessary to produce a properly formatted ebook. Luckily there are many different tutorials on the interwebs for those who may be unsure how to do it. The most important thing is to take the time to get it right. All the proofreading and editing in the world can be undone by poor formatting.

JA: Did you design the covers yourself or did you get someone else to do it for you?

DN: The covers were designed and produced by me. I originally trained and worked as a photographer, and over the years I've done some graphic design and worked in a printers so I have a bit of a head start in the graphics department. The first cover for 'The Deluge of Elias' was a mash up of some other images that sort of represented the story, but I was never happy with it. When I redid the cover I enlisted the help of my wife who enjoyed throwing water in my face and then taking a picture. For the cover of 'Hannibal House' I used the picture I took of the house that inspired the story. I wanted the cover to be reminiscent of the old school, late 70's creepy books/films that were about. I also do all my own stunts.
(A bonus to being self published as well - JA)

JA: You've already stated that The Deluge of Elias is a sort of prequel to a series, what about Hannibal House? I think that seems like a great start to a series.

DN: I don't have any plans to write any more about Hannibal House. Supernatural tales aren't what I set out to write, but the story just formed itself.
(Man, that's too bad. I would've liked to have read more from that place. It was creepy - JA)

JA: I assume you have another job, how easy do you find it to write in between working and keeping up a regular life?

DN: The biggest problem is going to bed. I have two children and the youngest ensures that I'm awake at 0630 EVERY morning. On top of that I work long hours which means that I usually don't start writing until at least 10pm. If I get in to 'the zone' it can be almost 2am before I'm at a point where I can go to bed. Not a lot of sleep. On the upside, when the flow is flowing like a flowing thing I hit around 1000 words per hour.

JA: Did you do a lot of writing at school or is it something you got into as you got older?

DN: When I was in school, twenty years ago, 'creative writing' as it would be called now didn't really exist. Although we had to study fiction as part of our courses we weren't encouraged to write our own stories. There was one time when we were set a task to write a piece on anything we wanted to. I wrote about the aftermath of an intergalactic war. I guess my teacher was expecting a critique of 'The Rocking Horse Winner' or something.... There was a lot of red pen and question marks on that piece of work. When I was about 14 I wrote my first complete manuscript about a guy who dies before his time due to a clerical error – it's still knocking around somewhere, in a box. It's probably terrible. Over the years I have started writing other stories, but gave up part way through for various reasons, the main one being that it seemed futile if the finished work was unlikely (statistically) to be published. Self publishing changed that.

JA: What genre(s) do you read when you're not writing?

DN: The majority of my reading comprises of non-fiction and reference works. It's something that I've always done, even as a child I read many books on mythology and natural history. I will actually read pretty much anything though. The only caveat is that it needs to be readable, and by readable I mean well written. The only genre that I don't tend to read is erotica.

JA: Any recommendations for my readers (and me)?

DN: For actual titles, no. But I do recommend stepping out of your normal reading comfort zone. Most people have their favourite authors and stick to those writers and those closely related to them. So pick up a book that's not what you would normally read and get stuck in with an open mind.
(I've found Netgalley to be great for introducing me to new authors.  As well as Goodreads - JA)

JA: Do you read while you're in the process of writing? Or does that run the risk of mixing things up in your head?

DN: As I'm not a full time writer I have a job that includes quite a bit of travelling. Bouncing about in the back of a minibus doesn't allow much scope for writing, so reading is the only other viable option. I do the majority of that reading via an app on my phone. But nothing ever gets mixed up as I have a very compartmentalised mind space which keeps my thoughts and the works of others separate.

JA: What stories should we look forward to reading from you in the future?

DN: Well, there's book one in the series that leads up to 'The Deluge of Elias', and another set a couple of years after a zombie apocalypse. I also have a number of other stories and concepts noted for development, some will be short stories with others having the potential to become a series. I wish that I could be a bit more detailed, but I like to keep uncompleted works under wraps. There's one story, and the main premise or plot point is really exciting to me, but I currently can't work a complete believable story around it so it may never see the light of day.

I'd like to thank David for agreeing to do this and also any of you who may be reading this. I was planning on doing a giveaway of David's two titles but unfortunately Amazon UK haven't implemented gifting yet and I can't purchase through another country Amazon so instead I'll give you the links to go buy them yourself.

Hannibal House
The Deluge of Elias

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