A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Robin Dynes of The Voice newsletter, produced by Wessex Writers. Primarily aimed at other writers, they sought my views of being a multi-tasking writer. I just like being busy!
Here’s the interview, but click here to read the whole newsletter (well, worth it!).
You do a lot: feature articles, short stories, non-fiction books, photography and also run courses. Which is your favourite activity? Why?
That’s a difficult one! I have my fingers in lots of pies because I love the variety. In the last month I’ve stayed overnight at a luxury stately home for The People’s Friend magazine, tweaked the ending of one of my stories the editor of Take a Break’s Fiction Feast wanted re-working, helped Country Walking magazine out with an urgent walking route they needed doing, and I’ve just sold the Icelandic rights to my first book, One Hundred Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human.
Do you enjoy doing research?
I enjoy MAXIMISING my research. By that, I mean making the most out of the research I’ve done. For example, staying overnight in the luxury stately home has given me a wealth of material to work with. The People’s Friend commissioned two pieces for that, but I’ve identified seven other angles, and have pitched ideas to different magazines. I’ve also come up with a short story idea, too. Research is fun, but getting as much out of it is even better!
Do you have a writing routine?
I try to keep normal office hours, so I’m at my desk sometime after 8.30am until about 6pm, unless I’m out walking for Country Walking or BBC Countryfile magazine. However, deadlines influence which projects take priority during the day. If I’m not out walking for one of the magazines, I make a point of going for a two-mile walk at some point during the day to stretch my legs (usually when it’s not raining!). Walking time is great thinking time too.
How important is reading to you?
It’s vital! I’m currently reading Hunter Davies’ biography of William Wordsworth for a book idea I have. And I’m reading the seventh book in Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series of novels, set in my local area of the Welsh Borders. In between those I’m reading other magazines for market analysis purposes, and soon I’m going to be judging a couple of short story competitions.
Do you have a favourite author or book? Why?
At the moment my favourite author is Phil Rickman. The first of his Merrily Watkins’ novels has just been adapted for ITV. As a reader I like his use of the local landscape in his books. As a writer I admire his ability to italicise exactly the right word for maximum impact.
What piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Three words: read, write, submit. You have to read other people’s work. You learn so much that way. You have to write. Lots. It’s the only way to find your own writing voice. And you have to submit. Too many beginners don’t submit their work because they don’t want to be rejected. That means they’re rejecting themselves. It’s an editor’s job to reject, but it’s also their job to accept. You’ll never get published if you don’t submit!
To find out more about Simon visit his website www.simonwhaley.co.uk