For the purposes of this interview, the interviewer will be represented by bold text whilst my reponses will be in italics (Spoken by Jack Bauer – You get the drift)
Good morning. It’s nice to finally meet you and may I start by thanking you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us about your writing career to date. Let me cut straight to the questions that are on everyone’s mind; please share with us what your typical day is like?
Yes, well, good morning to you too. My typical days consists of rising at 7:30am and preparing to go to my day job. This is Monday to Friday of course.
At this time of year, it is dark then isn’t it?
Oh yes. Quite. And cold too. It can be difficult to get out of a nice warm bed and go foraging for breakfast. After a light breakfast of cereal and tea, it is time to either hit the shower or wash the hair. It wakes me up for the day ahead.
What are your day-job working hours?
9am to 5:30pm. This means that I am missing from home between 8:30am and 6pm generally.
And what do you work at?
I am an IT professional. This means working on Servers, networks, hardware, software etc.etc.
At this stage of your career, would I be right in suggesting that you are expert? There is nothing more to learn?
Not at all. The very nature of IT means that it is constantly changing. In the last few months I have had to get up to speed on Linux (CentOS and Debian), become proficient on Asterisk, an open-source telephone system, SAMBA – a file sharing technology for exchanging files between Windows and Linux/Unix, Programming in a new language and installing and configuring Linux based Servers. To mention a few.
That sounds terribly technical.
It is. It has been challenging but I am happy with my progress. Nothing has beaten me yet.
That effort must come at a price. I mean, how ever do you find the time to write?
Indeed it does. My passion is writing but I find that by the time I get home in the evening, I am generally exhausted. Mentally more so than physically.
And your writing?
Well, it suffers. It has to. Ideally I would like to write between 9am and 5pm. Turn my working day around. But there is the mortgage to think of. And other bills. Without a job, my lifestyle would collapse.
How does that make you feel?
Slightly peeved, I must admit. Actually, it is very frustrating. When I sit down to write, I am either so tired that the effort required seems to be beyond my reach or I am trying to grab a slice of time to do it. Time that is required elsewhere.
What do you mean by ‘elsewhere?’
I am involved as a director of two small companies, neither of which is doing particularly well. But I don’t want to dwell on them. Suffice to say that I am now in the process of simplifying my life. I realise that writing is what I most want to do and I know that I need to make some changes, get some breathing space, in order to fulfil my dream.
So you are doing all that AND holding down a full time job?
You have mentioned in your blog that you are working on your first novel ‘Schism’. Can you tell us something about that? How is it progressing? What is it about?
‘Schism’ is a pet collection of ideas of mine that I have had for some years now. It is a story that encompasses many of the enduring subjects that I am interested in. However, I would rather not get into the specifics of the story. I think it was Stephen King who gave the advice that a writer should not tell anyone about a story that they are writing until it is finished as otherwise, the need to tell the story dissipates through that telling.
This was in his book ‘On Writing’ I think. So when do you think that you will finish it?
I used to think that I would have it finished by December 2011. That hasn’t happened. In fact, I am very, no extremely, disappointed that I did not get to write as much as I would have wanted to last year. Not by a long shot. I don’t really want to put an end date on it as it is so inextricably linked with the time to write, and time is the main ingredient that I am short of at the moment.
So do you see yourself getting more time soon?
Indeed I do. I will be able to devote my full time effort to writing in 2014.
Do you feel bitter about this lack of time?
Not bitter. No. I would love to win the lottery or have an alternative income stream that would allow me the luxury to do nothing but write right now. But I am not complaining of my lot. I am happy that my story is strong. And it is a story that I would gladly read but there is nothing else out there quite like it that I am aware of.
It has been said that a writer must make the time to write. Are you making enough of an effort?
Perhaps not. I do wrestle with that one. I am aware of this and I believe that routine is the writers best friend. I think though that for me, it goes back to simplifying my life. I am trying to do too many things at once. That has to change. I also did try and write early in the morning. I used to get up at 5:30am and write until 7:30am. It worked but it was so very hard. I was writing in a shed and it got too cold during the winter months. I now have an indoor office to write in but it is not my own space exclusively and every time I go into it, it is a bit of a mess. I need to have somewhere permanent, I think.
Your home is a reasonable size. Could you not make a space there for yourself?
My wife has allocated the space I currently have. She does not see that there is room elsewhere in the house. It’s not an ideal situation, I know. I am sure that when I free up some of my time and the book progresses significantly, things will change. I am sure they will.
That’s kind of a chicken and egg situation though, is it not?
– No answer –
Moving on, we have discussed where and when you write. Next I would like to explore where you get ideas from and what you do with them when they come.