Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m 34 years old, and I live in Germiston, South Africa, with my wife. I’ve written four books, with a fifth due to be published around April 2015.
My ultimate wish is to one day support myself exclusively with my writing (you, dear reader, can help with that)! For now, though, I have a day job as a computer programmer in Rivonia, South Africa (roughly 30km away from home). Unlike most authors, I really don’t mind my day job – in fact, I often rather enjoy it. It would be nice to be able to spend less time there, though.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book’s a very short story called Billy’s Zombie. It’s my fourth published book, and I really wanted to try my hand at a little bit of horror (my previous three books being a fantasy, a thriller, and a young-adult contemporary story about social issues, respectively), and also to try writing first-person present tense.
I think it turned out quite well. So well, in fact, that I decided to make it permanently free! You can pick it up on a wide variety of sites, and there’s even an audio version available on YouTube.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Hmm, none that come to mind… most writers will tell you that they write first thing in the morning, but there’s no way I’m productive at anything first thing in the morning. So, I write in the afternoons, after work. Does that count?
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The author that finally convinced me to give this self-publishing thing a shot, was a friend of mine on Twitter, by the name of Ryan Peter. After many years of writing, and trying to find an agent to get it published, he self-published his book, When Twins War. I read it, and thought it was pretty good!
Now, the difference between us is that, while I’ve always been telling stories, it had simply never occurred to me before to try and get my work published. I guess I just decided that it would be far too much effort, I wasn’t in the mood for all that rejection, and in general I just didn’t think my stories were good enough.
When I self-published A Petition to Magic (my first book), I was amazed – people bought it. Complete strangers were reading my book, and leaving reviews. Well, I was hooked! Not only is my work “good enough”, I have fans who absolutely adore it.
And I never would have experienced that kind of elation, were it not for my Twitter friend. So, thanks Ryan!
What are you working on now?
A couple of things, as always. The one that’s most likely to be published next is a murder mystery set in a fantasy world. It’s kind of a spiritual successor to A Petition to Magic, only it’s far longer. I can’t go into any more detail that that.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Pretty-hot.com, obviously! Duh!
But seriously, I am ALWAYS on the look out for ways to promote myself and my books. Whatever comes my way, I will evaluate – after all, what does every writer want, if not for his writing to be read by as many people as possible.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Just keep your head down and write. Don’t let yourself get distracted by naysayers, and people who tell you that you’ll never make it, or won’t be good enough.
Don’t over-edit your first draft. The first draft of anything is shit, said Hemingway (something like that). You can edit later. Focus on getting your thoughts onto the page (keyboard, screen) as quickly as possible.
Don’t underestimate how much hard word it is to promote yourself, and keep promoting yourself. But don’t let that stop you from writing, either.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write more books. Another book is quite simply the best marketing tool there is.
What are you reading now?
Blood Sport, by JD Nixon. But by the time you read this, I’ll have finished with that, and be on to the next one. I read voraciously, in all sorts of genres, every single day of my life. And that’s another piece of advise I can give to new authors, by the way.
What’s next for you as a writer?
The skies the limit. One day, my dream will come true….
What is your favorite book of all time?
Probably It, by Stephen King.