Have you ever gotten “reader’s block” and how did you get through that?
Earlier in my career, yes. I have since discovered that careful planning really helps avoiding that stage. I outline everything ahead, including the ending. The more detailed the outline is, the easier it is to write.
How did you balance writing your story your way and giving readers what they want?
I don’t really ask myself that question. I write what feels right, I try to do justice to my characters. I thinks that’s really the most important part. If the characters are fully formed and show some emotional growth along the pages then it is easy for the audience to become invested in what happens to them.
What was an experience you had when you discovered the power of words/language?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved reading. It’s always been a good way to escape the monotony of the every-day world. In books, you can go on space adventures, or solve complicated murder cases along the cops… there’s no limit. That’s what drew me to the craft.
What’s your favorite under the radar novel?
Under the radar… hum, I guess one would be Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. It’s a short novel that is partly a biography of Einstein’s life and partly a poetic study of the structure of time—I really love it. Another one would be The Portrait by Iain Pears. That one’s 200+ pages of monologue. From a writer’s point-of-view, what he did is quite the tour-de-force. It may be a little hard to get into it, but once you’ve adjusted to the unusual style, you’ll discover a really gripping story (and if you find it too hard to get into, try the audiobook).
How many unpublished or unfinished books do you have? After successfully finishing this book, do you feel any of those could be revisited?
I have one story that has been sitting in a drawer for many years. It was going to be a trilogy, and books one and two are finished. I didn’t really know about outlines back then, and I dove head first into the story without thinking about the ending too much. So I realized when I started book three that I had no idea how to end it. I’ve been stuck there ever since. A good lesson, that one!
Maybe I’ll revisit it one day, and salvage what can be. If I ever find the time for it.
What did you edit out of this book?
Mostly unnecessary adverbs
Since I started carefully plotting my stories, I’ve never really had to chomp out big chunks of text during the editing period. Careful plotting allows you to get a good feel for what pacing will be like and to check the consistency of your characters. So yeah, editing is mostly about getting rid of unnecessary words here and there, coma placement, verb tenses and the likes.
Do you read, or plan on reading, reviews of this book? If so, how do you deal with the good and the bad ones?
I’m always very anxious about it. I usually read the first couple of reviews that come in right after the release and then I force myself to forget about it. Every now and then I may stumble on my Amazon page or something and read a few new ones, but I don’t go looking for them. Good reviews are always nice, of course. As for bad reviews, I like it better when people try to explain what it is they didn’t like.
Does your family support your writing career? Were any of them instrumental in the creation process?
It’s a bit complicated because I write in English and most of my folks only speak French. I do have one cousin who is bilingual like me; I usually get her signed copies for Christmas. And my mum likes to comment on the covers.
Do you like audiobooks, e-books, or physical books better? Why?
I love the feel of a real book in my hands, I don’t think anything can replace that. And I collect autographs, so signed copies are even better. That being said, I’m also very fond of audiobooks. My eyes are often exhausted at the end of the day, so reading with my ears is a good alternative.
What is your favorite time of day, season, and place to write? Why?
I mostly write during the weekend, and in bed. I love going out of long walks in the sun, so I guess I write more in winter.
What is your favorite word and why?
Interregnum is one of my favorites. I don’t really know why, but I always found it really cool.
I also love words like ampersand, umlaut or dieresis… we all know the symbols, but so many people don’t remember what they’re called.
Is there anything you’re currently working on that would intrigue or interest readers?
Well, Hostile Takeover is the first book in the Vale Investigation saga. The second book Evil Embers came out earlier this year. I’m currently editing the third one, Avenging Spirit, and I’ve started outlining the fourth.
Do you share books before they’re done or wait until you have a completed draft?
I always complete the first draft and do a little bit of basic editing before it goes out to my beta readers. I don’t want them to have to suffer through something that is riddled with spelling mistakes and grammar hiccups.
Writing is usually seen as a solitary affair, is this true in your case?
Yes, it’s one of the loneliest job in the world, but you do meet interesting people along the way. As an independent author, I’m also responsible for everything from typesetting to marketing. I had to work with a cover artist, a proofreader, a publicist… Finding the right people, learning how to work with them, it’s another aspect of the job.
Do you have a day job other than writing? Does that job ever get in the way of writing?
Yes, I have a day job that pays the bills. I like it a lot and I love the colleagues I work with (I’ve been in the same company for 17 years now). There are times, when I have to do a lot of overtime, so that does get in the way of my writing because I’m just too tired when I get home to do anything creative. But the main advantage of being an independent author, is that I get to make my own schedule. I don’t have deadlines to meet; I’ll publish my next book whenever it’s ready.
How critical are you of your own work compared to reading other authors?
I’m very critical with my own work. I look for errors. I check the pacing, the plot; look at the consistency of the characters… Whereas, when I read someone else’s work, I just look for a good story to spend a good time with; a way to relax and escape reality for a little while.
How important is privacy to you as an author? Do you mind fans or plan on adopting a pseudonym?
I think the need for privacy and using a pseudonym are two very different things. While I do write under my own name, I’m not going to start handing out my home address to my readers. I have a different email address for everything writing related and I’m being careful with the personal information that I share. It’s a matter of safety (and bloody common sense).
As for pseudonyms, I don’t really understand why people use them anymore. To me it feels like these writers are ashamed of their work… like somehow they’re not proud enough of what they’ve done to be publicly associated with it—I just don’t understand. Personally, I stand by everything I’ve ever written. If it’s out there, it means I consider it good enough to be shared publicly.