Monday, 4 November 2013

Interview.....with myself?

One of the things that I want to do as both a writer and Editor at J.Ellington Ashton Press, and as a keen Blogger too, is perhaps do a series of Author Profiles in which you, the reader, can learn a bit more about some the people behind the books you read. My good friend, muse and joint founder of the Press, Catt Dahman, came up with a series of questions the other night while we were talking and I thought it only fair that if I expect others to answer them that I first go under the spotlight. So, without further ado, please welcome.....MARK WOODS!

Interviewer:"Hi Mark, please take a seat."

Mark Woods: "Err, there aren't any seats. This is a virtual room that
only exists for abstract purposes on my Blog and in the imagination of the reader...." 

Interviewer:" ...stand then? (This is going REALLY well so far, goddamn author types - they're SUCH divas....) Anyway, let's start with some easy questions..."


Author: Mark Woods

Books/SS: Several short stories that include UP ON THE ROOF; HAND BUILT BY ROBOTS; COLD HANDS, WARM HEART; DAIRY OF THE DEAD (no typo); TIME OF TIDES; LET IT SNOW and several pieces of short Flash Fiction. Currently working on my first full length novel, ZOMBIE EVERAFTER and a joint collaboration on a Vampire novel with six other authors. Links to author pages and websites and Amazon page: All my short stories and the anthologies they are in can be found here:

What genre(s) do you write in and why? Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy - basically any genre that inspires me. I don't like to be restricted and if I have an idea, I wait to use it in the right context.

What is TIME OF TIDES about both on the surface and down deep? On the surface it is kind of a monster tale featuring fishy threats to a family travelling down the Norfolk Broads trying to escape flooding and severe weather conditions. Deeper down, it is a look at a possible explanation for Global Warming with just a hint of Lovecraftian Lore thrown into the mix...and will be available soon - plug plug!

Interviewer: "Okay that's enough of shameless plugs!"

What inspired this? A group of authors at J.E.A were all asked to do fish stories with a nasty twist and I thought I can do that! I started brainstorming, came up with several elements I wanted to use, came up with an opening segment and went from there with no idea where it would take me!
What is difficult for you as a writer? Being original and finding a new angle of looking at things. It is okay to be inspired by something else but you need to then make that idea your own and not do what has been done before! For example, in my Zombie story UP ON THE ROOF, I had several different and unique concepts that I wanted to throw in which I used right at the end just when you thought you knew kind of where the story might be going in order to leave the reader thinking after the story was done.

What is the best part about being a writer? The satisfaction of seeing my name in print. That is all. For so long I wanted to be a writer but never did anything about it then one lady said "Write something" and I did. Then I wrote something else. Then I thought hold a minute, I have a novel idea. No two. No three.... and I began work on the first while I continued  with my short fiction to help get my name out there.

 What advice do you have for new writers? There are lots of helpful pieces of advice out there. One is try to write everyday. With my hectic life, that isn't always possible but I am stricter with myself than I used to be now I have seen results. Another important thing is to write even when you are not in the mood because you may come up with a germ of an idea but not get the details right. You can change the details later in self-edits!
Finally believe in yourself! It IS a cliche but if you don't believe in yourself, how is anybody else going to? I have had a couple of rejections outside of JEA and that is fine because I know my Editors believe in me and want me to keep going. But even if you don't already have a Press you can go to, keep slogging on because if you are good someone will take note and want to publish you at some stage as long as YOU believe you are good. Writing is 95% perspiration and that's not just writing. That's making the effort to put yourself out there! Never be afraid to ask for professional advice either from a rejection. A good Press will say this is why you are not suited to us at this time, try doing this with your manuscript...

What writer(s) inspire you and why? Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Catt Dahman, Robin Hobb. If a book provokes an emotion then it is a memorable experience!
What book(s) do you wish you have written? Stephen King's IT, simply because of the legacy it invokes. The town of Derry and Pennywise the clown still feature in many of King's other novels as though the author is reminding you they will never go away and will always be there at the back of your sub-conscious. Also Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas because it chokes me up every time at the end. Or Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief, another book that makes me cry every time!

Do you write for yourself or for readers? Both because if I wouldn't want to read it, why should I write it?

What is difficult/frustrating about writing or being a writer? Being rejected after all the hard work you have put into a story. Finding time to write.

How is your writing evolving? I think it is getting better every day but then you would have to ask my fellow Editors about that! I think I have started out a little raw but am learning to slowly refine my art, my writing to a point where I am comfortable having other people read it. My biggest fear is someone I know reading something I wrote and just going 'no, it's shit!'
What work of yours was enjoyable to pen? My work-in-progress, Zombie Everafter is lots of fun to write. I don't want to give anything away because I am playing my cards a little close to my chest with this one but it is intended as a very different Zombie tale set in a familiar land with characters you might know...

What 3 words describe your writing? Fresh, speculative, chilling

Do you like to write a series or stand alones?  My short fiction at the mo tends to be stand-alones but Dairy Of The Dead is set in the same universe as Up On The Roof though it is difficult to say how far along in the intention is to tie things loosely together in my books in the same way as Paul.F.Wilson does with his Secret History Of The World series or King does with The Dark Tower and it's influence.

Do you outline and plan or wing a book? Both. I start with a plan and start writing, I often know elements and ideas I am going to use but not where they will turn up. Sometimes, as with Time Of Tides, the story goes its own way and all I can do is direct it and steer it to the course it wants to take.

How do you begin a novel? With a basic idea. I go 'what if this happened...' and then extrapolate outwards. I then think about characters and how they fit in. I often have deleted scenes in my head which I save for later should I choose to expand the idea into a novel. Up On The Roof may well expand into a larger novel at some point as I have scenes in my head I never used in that story...

Will you be prolific? I hope so. As long as people WANT to read my fiction, I shall write it. If I feel I have nothing more to say, I will stop. Some writers don't, they keep going and going and this is to their detriment as they begin to alienate long-time fans.

What is your goal? To see a full length novel by myself in print. I have one anthology in print so far with my name in and seeing that makes me feel good!

Which books have been grueling to write? Time Of Tides was a bitch to write until I just let it do what it wanted. Until that point I was fighting it. It is currently in edits so I am waiting to see if I need to make any changes....

Interviewer: "Well, thank you Mark Woods. That was very insightful I think. You can stop talking to yourself in the Third Person now."

Mark Woods:  "My pleasure. And thank you for having me."

Interviewer: " The interviews over now. Don't milk it...."

1 comment:

Sharon L Higa said...

Refreshing and fun! Also, very insightful into the mind of Mark Woods! Hopefully I am looking forward to interviewing with this gentleman in the very near future!