Thursday, December 30, 2010

India Wilson interview


Q: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
INDIA: Although I’m an early riser and full of energy at that time of the day, I actually find myself gravitating towards writing at night. Something about the darkness, the end of the incessant flow of emails from my other profession and the dissipation of some of my physical energy from doing things all day makes the nighttime a productive time for me to concentrate and make progress.  However, it often strikes me as counter-productive because I also tend to crash and burn at a certain point so can find myself nodding off at the desk – hardly a good state in which to be creative!

Q: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
INDIA: I can write absolutely nothing anymore by hand – my fingers ramp up in a matter of sentences and my handwriting is also atrociously illegible. But I’d say the main reason that I can only use the computer to write and rewrite is because it allows my fingers to try and keep up with my brain, which usually is going at lightning speed.  There have been times when I’ve thought it would be valuable to slooow down that natural speed, but when my fingers lag that far behind my brain, the creative process is impeded and I it makes me cranky.

Q: What do you draw inspiration from?
INDIA: I think the germs of my ideas in terms of plot and settings often comes from the newspaper, which I read carefully although often several days after the fact as the New York Times often piles up while I try to keep up with my professional obligations.  I will find a story thread, or the quirks of a character, from small or large pieces in the paper and then when I give my imagination permission to have at it, the rest is pure invention from projecting myself into those characters.

Q: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?
INDIA: Oh God no, that sort of counting and performance management would be the death of me!  I have days when I don’t get to the desk to write at all, other days when I seem to fiddle there for hours without coming up with much in the way of measurable pages, and then other times when I can write many pages over multiple writing sessions throughout the day or night. I think one huge mistake we make as a society and certainly within the artistic community is to judge success or accomplishment in terms of measurable productivity. Much of what happens artistically happens in the dark recesses of the mind, which is always working on a work-in-progress – the unconscious and subconscious mind move at their own pace and one of the beautiful things about being a bit older is the accumulated wisdom to have respect and patience for the creative process and keep the faith that the fire is always lit, even when you cannot see the flames.
Q: Are you a published or a self-published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
INDIA: I am published by a new small press called Lightning Strikes Press, which is owned by a couple, Edward Jaffe and Tracie Hotchner (an oft-published author herself), who are friends of mine. Because India Wilson is a pseudonym and I also have chosen to remain anonymous, I had asked Tracie’s assistance to get THE KNOT ARTIST self-published without revealing my identity – and I am honored to say that she and husband (who is a financial advisor by day, and now publisher by night!) started their company believing my book had great commercial potential. 
As for the cover art, they have a cover artist they work with who is based in Brussels and the questionnaire she had me fill out – with descriptions of the book’s setting, theme and also what sort of covers I personally liked or disliked – resulted in a home run with her first attempt. Traditional publishing never includes the author in the creative process of the cover art or back cover copy – so it was thrilling to be an integral part of the cover design process. Many people have remarked on what a powerful cover it is – so I am grateful to be proud of a cover instead of resigned to it.

Q: What drove you to choose the career of being a writer?
INDIA: I am pretty sure I am like most other authors someone for whom writing came easily from an early age – who had always loved story telling verbally and on the page – and for whom there is often a “voice” compelling me to sit down and write what I hear.  This book was very much that way: the character of Dominique kept talking to me, telling me about herself, demanding that her story be written.  I am not sure we choose the career of writer as much as submit to it.

Q: Do you own an ebook reading device?
INDIA: I most certainly do not! I am a dyed-in the-wool techno-phobe and never embrace any technology when it is new. I was the last person I know to get a cell phone – the absolutely last person I know to use email and only joined Twitter and FB very recently with much grumbling. I love the feel of a book, the annoyance even of having to rack the spine open a bit to get it to stay open.  I appreciate why people are embracing Kindles, Nooks Ipads and the like, and as a writer I am very glad this new technology means more readers able to access more books.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?
INDIA: I love Toni Morrison and think BELOVED is a life-changing book. I love all the novels of Paul Watkins, from his first masterpiece NIGHT OVER DAY OVER NIGHT which he wrote in his 20’s, creating characters so realistic and descriptions so vivid and immediate that you could swear he must have been a German soldier in the trenches himself. Updike for his use of language, although the themes and characters are pretty repetitive.  Kurt Vonnegut and John Irving for their outlandish imaginations and socio-political themes. Right now I am reading the new Scott Spencer novel MAN IN THE WOODS, a work as brilliant as his very first novel ENDLESS LOVE which remains a personal favorite.  

Q: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
INDIA: I think anything that helps draw attention to a book – captures someone for even that extra millisecond – is great. Having said that, I have not asked the publisher to consider doing one for me even though there are companies doing decent versions for as little as $100. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I still believe that books are about the power of the word and the reader’s imagination – literature is not a visual art form, other than requiring the use of the reader’s eyes (although I listen to some terrific Books on Tape – Kiryan Desai’s THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS comes to mind - so eyes aren’t always required!)

Q: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
INDIA: The first title was THE ARTIST, and the book originally was essentially a character study of a dominatrix so good at what she did - so renowned as to receive vast sums of money for her skills - that she was truly an artist in her own realm. Adding “knot” came later, after the book became more of a thriller and had a political plot.

Q: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
INDIA: I am working on the second book in the trilogy, this one called THE WHIPPING GIRL.  It picks up precisely where THE KNOT ARTIST left off, with Dominique and the hero of the book Reynolds on the brink of embarking on an affair and dealing with complex money issues around the millions left in limbo at the end of THE KNOT ARTIST. It is very fun to be able to continue with a character and watch her change, grow and take action and go along for the ride. It really feels as though it is up to Dominique what will happen next – she is my muse and I am her scribe – so it’s as exciting and surprising for me as it will be for the reader (I hope!).

 “This is a fascinating timely erotic political thriller that goes deep into the S&M fetish world in which men of power pay large amounts of money to be a Sub to a discreet Dom. The key to this entertaining tale that twists from the dungeon to political intrigue is that India Wilson avoids moral condemnation of the BDSM crowd. The fast-paced story line is at its best when entering the dungeon and Dominique’s panic over what to do. Her past with her sister enhances the erotic elements as the audience learns how Dominique got to where she is. Although the spin into a taut international political intrigue subplot adds plenty of well-written suspense, this also takes the audience away from the thrilling visits to the dungeon.” From the rave 4 star review on The Mystery Gazette
                                                            By Harriet Klausner, top Amazon reviewer


India Wilson is the pseudonym for the author, who has also chosen to remain anonymous despite the fact that this is a work of fiction. Who she is – and why she needs to remain anonymous – have caused considerable curiosity. Although she regrets that her anonymity prevents her from having a public presence, India Wilson is cultivating a following in the social media and at, where she can be contacted for written interviews.

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