Happy book birthday, Graham-Austin King.
Welcome back to the interview series, my lovely readers.
You will read about your beloved writers in two or three installments depending on the time and pain they have taken to withstand my wordy grill.
Today’s spotlight is on Graham-Austin King, again. Had fun yesterday? Today, he is going to share some more inside info on his writing method. Especially, his writer-zilla mode.
Have you checked out Faithless yet? Isn’t that a pretty cover?
If you want to read my review of Faithless, go here.
If you want to check out the book details on Goodreads, go here.
If all that checking makes you want to get some pretty in your own pocket (or shelf, if you are a paperback person), go here.
The first part of an interview (posted yesterday) with Mr. King is here.
Let’s move on to the next part of the interview.
Time for some personal and professional scoop. These questions are mostly for wannabes and curious readers who want to see the man behind the book up-close.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer but never realized it was possible. Authors were special people like actors and astronauts. Maybe one day I’ll get there too.
[Thank the Forgefather you didn’t become an astronaut. Those poor boys would have ended up mining in the moon. Or worse, Mars.]
How long does it take you to write a book? Each draft, edits, etc. the works. You have a complete series and a new in the making. How do you manage time with your kids and other engagements?
Roughly a year, all told. I don’t get much done over the summer with my kids off school. I don’t think my life as a writer is that different to anyone else, we all spend time trying to juggle too many things at once.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Stepping out of the book. Okay, I know that doesn’t tell you much, let me explain. I’m writing the book, I’m in the story. I know what happened and I know why. The hardest part for me sometimes is making sure that the reader knows why too. It can take an effort to step out of the story and see the book from the outside.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
When it’s flowing. When the words are just dripping from your fingers and you are pounding away at the keyboard. Words appear on the screen and you aren’t even sure where they came from. That’s the best and easiest part for me.
[Yeah, love that part.]
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I used to prefer physical books but then my house filled up with nine thousand children and their toys. I simply don’t have space. I use ebooks these days
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
No, never proofread your own work. I think 99.9% of the population are incapable of doing it properly. I used Sarah Chorn from Bookworm Blues and the SPFBO to do my copy editing. Claire Rushbrook did my proofreading.
Sarah, I’ve known by reputation for a while and I trust her judgment on what makes a good book. Claire was a new connection for me. I found her through Reedsy and she did a great job (I hope). The problem with proofreading, of course, is if you can’t see typos and missing words (which, let’s face it, is why you’d hire a proofreader) then you can’t tell how good a job they’ve done. I’ve had some really bad editors, Claire seems to have done very well.
[Good piece of advice. *notes down the names*]
How is your work schedule when you’re writing?
I really don’t have one. I tend to write while my kids are at school but this can change depending on where I am with the books. I also tend to write best in sprints – blocking off internet access for a time and racing another writer.
[Kids at school. The best time to do things…Ahem. Where were we?]
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write best on when perfectly caffeinated.
Do you get cranky when you are deep into a story? How does your family handle the pressure? What do you do to keep things under control?
I am, apparently, hell to live with at the end stages of a book. My family hide behind the sofa and throw coffee and food at me from a safe distance.
[Told you, he is a writer-zilla!]
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
You have successfully self-published a complete series. What’s your process? How did you overcome the initial hiccups and fears related to the idea of going solo?
I didn’t really give it any thought. I wrote Fae – The Wild Hunt with no real concept of where the story was going, it evolved naturally. I didn’t really have any expectations of incredible sales or international fame, the ultimate goal was to sell enough books to be able to keep writing. So far I seem to be doing that.
Do you believe in collective help? The voluntary fan group or a launch team?
To a point. I have several people who are glad to help me anytime I need them, but I don’t have a “street-team” or anything like that. I think most people can see through efforts like that and it’s perilously close to “buy my book!!!”
[Yeah, those are a little sad. *furiously scratching away lines from the notebook*]
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I research as I go so it’s hard to say for sure. I write until I need to know how something works and then I go and find out.
How did your academic life help you with this particular profession?
I don’t know that it has especially. I probably have better research skills than I would have, but then it’s not exactly hard to google something. I think time spent playing roleplaying games or reading books probably gave me a better foundation for writing fantasy than studying international relations did.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first book was Fae – The Wild Hunt. It published in 2014 so I was 39.
Have you ever experienced a writer’s or a reader’s block?
I’ve actually never heard of reader’s block. I do get writer’s block but I can usually work through it in a day or two.
[We bloggers get a reader’s block. It’s horrible. Don’t feel like touching a book for a day.]
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Of course, they can. What a writer feels is irrelevant, it’s what they can make other people feel that matters.
What’s your support system? Any friend or family member who has immense influence in your life as a writer?
My wife is my sounding board. She rocks.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I am friends with several writers via social media, I don’t know many face to face but that’s the way the world is becoming. I tend to bounce ideas off people and see it works. Mark Lawrence has given me a few good lines before now and Michael J. Sullivan and Django Wexler have both given me good advice. Writing is a solitary thing though, a lot of it, you need to work out on your own.
Which is the favorite character you have created till date?
Tough one. Selena is a fun character but a lot of her comes from my wife (which got me into a lot of trouble.) I think she’s probably the easiest character to write but for that reason. My favorite characters would be some of the fae, Aervern or Ileriel, just because it’s fun to be utterly alien.
[Should’ve called the wife for an interview!]
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I read. I wrangle small monsters. I’ve been known to do some karate.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Support groups that turn into mutual appreciation societies.
Do you have any suggestions for new writers? Do you believe in engaging in discussions with your peers regarding the craft? With newbies?
I’m always happy to talk shop. My advice is to not read over your own work too soon. Finish the draft and then go back, otherwise, you’ll spend half your life editing something that isn’t finished.
[It was a stupid question but no harm confirming things for future.]
Thank you so much, Graham. It was wonderful talking to you at length about the craft and business aspects of a novelist.
[Forgot to actually thank him in paper so assuming he says, “My pleasure. Absolutely.” Me: *blush and giggle-heeheeheehee*]
Oh, wait. The most important question of all!
Where can we buy your books?
All my books are available on Amazon and any good bookshop can order them in.