Saturday, April 9, 2011

M T McGuire Interview

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
Any time my son is at nursery or resting. To be honest, left to myself, the mornings but at the moment it’s more of a case of whenever I can.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
I still plan on paper and I write snatches of conversation, notes stuff like that while the plot is crystallizing in my mind. Then I go to typing. Actually I have to type. When I was a kid at school I could never spell but the teachers reckoned I was intelligent enough to know how. I didn’t so I made my writing as illegible as possible so they wouldn’t realise. I still can’t spell and these days, I can’t read my writing either!

3: What do you draw inspiration from?
Music is a big thing. I listen, I watch what happens in my head and I write it down. Most of my writing comes from there.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?
No, there’s no point. I love to write. There’s no pressure. I write because I’m driven and I have to. Goals just depress me because I never hit them and then, I feel a failure. They don’t suit the way I write, either, in that while my aim may be to write one scene, when I get to the nitty-gritty I may end up writing three others that I didn’t realise I’d need first and completely fail to hit the goal of reaching point x in the plot by the end of the week, or whatever.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
Self published. I like my cover art. Some people hate it but others love it. To me, that means it must be good. However, I’m thinking seriously of drawing the next one, more as an experiment than anything. Also I can’t really afford to pay anyone and people seem to like my artwork more than I thought.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I write because I have to. I don’t think I chose writing as a career, I think it chose me. Although to be honest, it’s only a career if you earn something isn’t it? I’m not exactly what you call flush but if a few people read and enjoy my books I’ll be happy.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?
No, see previous answer. I write but it doesn’t earn me anything. I’m skint. If I find £200 lying around I spend it on copy editing or proof reading. Also, I’m a stay-at-home parent with a two year old so I read about five books a year at the moment. It would be a bit of a sledge-hammer-crack-nut job to buy an e-book reader right now.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?
I love Terry Pratchett, I think he deals with so many serious issues with such a light touch. For example, if you told me I would enjoy a book about hate, which starts with a man beating his daughter insensible and his infant granddaughter to death I’d say ‘thanks but no thanks’. Hand me ‘I Shall Wear Midnight’ and I’m right in there. I wish I could write like that. Then again, I’ve been reading his stuff for 20 years,.so I know how long it takes to get to that point... and of course, his talent appears to have to have no ceiling. Even so, he’s an acquired taste. Most of my friends don’t get on with his stuff at all. Years ago, when I first started writing in earnest, I wrote to him and he wrote back. The fact he bothered was pretty cool and affords him God status (along with all four Beatles) in the M T M pantheon of greatness.
OK, who else, Bill Bryson, PG Wodehouse, Pete McCarthy, Douglas Adams, Jasper Fforde, Somerset Maugham, H E Bates (Fair Stood the Wind for France is the best book ever) Graham Greene, Nick Hornby, Mark Haddon, Neville Shute, Sir John Betjeman, Alexander McCall Smith (any man whose publicity photo involves him sitting, grinning, next to a tuba has got to be cool before you read a word of it)… I’m reading the latest (to me) Scotland Street book at the moment.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
They go pretty much over my head.
I saw the most risibly awful advert for a book on TV the other day but I can imagine the average trailer is a bit more sophisticated than that. To be honest, though, like any adverts, I’d imagine they’re a bit hit and miss. If I think of something that feels as if it’ll achieve cult status – like the Hamlet ads or that Sony Bravia video with the San Fransisco bouncy balls or the painty fireworks – I’ll go for it. If it’s just an ad for my book with some photos and a buy-it-now voice saying... well... buy it now, then it’ll be just an other ad. I’m not sure how effective that would be unless I was famous already or selling for a much bigger market than humorous fantasy. My market is small and niche. I think personal recommendation is what’s going to get me sales.

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
Hmm… now that’s a tricky one. It was Book 1 and called many other things, too, until the title just appeared. I tried it for size, kind of liked it and then one day, without really knowing how, I realised I was calling it Few Are Chosen all the time and that it had stuck.

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I’m working on ‘All The Wrong Stuff’ the second instalment of the K’Barthan Trilogy. I’m a stay-at-home parent with a two year old so, frankly, there are glaciers moving faster than progress on this book. Even so, I keep chipping away and one day, I’ll get it finished.

Thank you for interviewing me. I hope you and your readers enjoy the result!


MT McGuire

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