How do you feel about self-publishing?
M – Self-publishing seems to almost have a negative emotion attached. Independent self-published work should be a mark of quality just like indie films or music. The indie book scene is vibrant and creative, so there are no limits to the future.
D – I am pleased perceptions are changing around self-publishing. For us it wasn’t a difficult choice. There’s nothing a small or medium sized press can do for you that you cannot do yourself in the medium and long term.
Do you know your neighbours?
M – I say hello everyday.
D – Yes, I had a few glasses of wine with Colin the other week, he’s a retired school teacher.
How important are friends in your life?
M – Vitally important to share highs and lows with. Meeting in a group can break you out of moods and help get some perspective.
D – Crucial, I can relax with friends and enjoy having company. I think everyone needs some down-time, and part of it for me is socialising with people I like.
What social issues interest you the most?
M – Social breakdown due to greed and self-interest.
D – Child poverty, everyone deserves an equal chance and I think our government should strive to create that.
When you get free time on the internet or you go to the library – what do you want to read about?
M – Science and Environment.
D – I love to catch up on all of the daily news from around the world. I don’t like going cold turkey, I have to have my daily fix.
Do you find the time to read?
M – Yes I always find time for new and interesting books. I read at night generally to wind down.
D – Mostly on holiday or when traveling with work. I try to read a couple of books a month.
Last book you purchased? Tell us about it.
M – The secret life of trees. I am a volunteer for the Woodland Trust and also have to deal with trees in my subsidence business. This book was fascinating and examined the genealogy of each species.
D – Fractured by D.J Molles. He’s an indie author with a great series ‘The Remaining’. This is his fourth book and he’s done a first rate job. Check him out if you haven’t already.
Who do you admire?
M – Usain Bolt
D – James Anderson, he’s an English cricketer who is currently the best in the world at what he does. I’d love the ability to bowl like him, but his sort don’t come around that often.
What is your favourite quote, by whom, and why?
M – One life. It’s a simple mantra to remember.
D – “Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.” By Winston Churchill. What he says rings true for me. You can’t force your way to potential or try to think your way there, it’s a long road full of hard work.
What’s your favourite place in the entire world?
M – Harrogate
D – Milford Sound in New Zealand.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
M – Sometimes I work on a sentence but can’t get it right. Also going back over work and thinking it’s all wrong, too negative, too positive. Writing can drive you mad tuning the manuscript.
D – When starting out, it feels like there’s a big mountain in front of me that is littered with dangers and traps, one slip and it could all be a wasted effort. The challenge is take my time and not get ahead of myself, it’s difficult not to think ahead, but I have to force myself not to do it.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
M – Show don’t tell. Let the reader make their minds up and guide them along with the plot.
D – It taught me just how many clichés we now use in every day speech.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
M – I would love it to be part of a career; I just don’t know if the finances will stack up.
D – At the moment, it’s a sideline to my career, I would love to go full time one day.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
M – Writing has to be your inner voice or it won’t work. The book echoes how Darren and I would have conversations.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
M – Examining plots from every angle.
D – Coming up with original events and scenarios.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
M – I can’t think of writers block at the moment. My mind is always active so I hope it never happens.
D – No, I have stewed a while over a single paragraph, sometimes for a couple of hours, but generally I am okay. I move on, or take a break to have a good think.
How did you come up with the title?
M – We changed the name of the book a few months before release. Harry Dewulf commented that the original title didn’t make sense. We came up with ‘Activation’ then he added the ‘First’ to it.
D – Our original title, which wasn’t set in stone was ‘Mutual Armageddon’. Harry Dewulf said to me, “I’ve only got two problems with you title…. Mutual and Armageddon.” We changed the title within three days.
Can you tell us about your main character?
M – The main character has a conscience and tries to make sense of what is going on around him. He is fallible and makes mistakes but is generally acting in a logical manner.
D – I like to think that Harry is just like what a normal person would be like in an Apocalyptic scenario, confused but slowly learning and adapting as the story goes along.
When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have?
M – I would like to think I had emptied my brain of ideas.
D – That I made the most of the ability I had.
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Genre – Horror/Science Fiction
Rating – R