Monday, 12 October 2009

Interview with myself

I read an interview on a Swedish blog and thought the questions were quite good so I decided to interview myself!

1. Do you have a writing schedule? E.g. every day an hour between 7 and 8 or do you write sporadically?

I'm very disciplined! Usually I write in the mornings between 9 and 12 before going to work at the library in the afternoon. Sometimes, if I feel inspired, I write in the evenings after work as well, but then I'm happy if it's only an hour. On my days off I tend to live in my nightie and I move between my bed, the kitchen and my PC all day with a break for a long walk or a coffee with a friend. All in all I manage to write about six hours on those days - and some of that writing is done in my head. Focused thinking is also writing.

2. Do you suffer from lack of inspiration sometimes or is it the other way round?

Sometimes I suffer from complete exhaustion. I don't want to write a single word, not even in my journal. It happens when life around me is too hectic and I haven't had enough time to chill out. Usually it happens when I've finished a big chunk of work, like completing a draft or a part of a draft.

3. Do you work on several projects at the same time? E.g. a thriller, some short stories and a childrens book etc.?

When I work on a novel it tends to take over my life and I find it very hard to work on other projects at the same time. However a couple of times a month I feel inspired to write a poem, it's a nice break from the tedious novel work as you can finish a poem in a week or a day even. There's also the satisfaction of performing poetry, of reaching out and showing the world that you are alive. So writing and performing poetry is my hobby. If I try to take the poetry too seriously I lose interest. It needs to be a fun thing.

4.How many books have you finished and sent off to agents/publishers?

I finished a novel called Mötet med Malva (Meeting Malva) in 2004. Then I completed Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd (Punk influenced hard rocker with attitude)in 2006 and it was published in 2007.

5. How many times have the same book been rejected? If so did you receive any constructive feedback?

Mötet med Malva
was rejected by 11 publishers, but yes I did receive a couple of nice letters with relevant feedback. One publishing director even took me out to lunch and told me he was very impressed with my writing, but encouraged me to write something else. He gave me the useful advice "write what you know". Mötet med Malva was a novel I wrote pretty much to impress both myself and my friends, but there was no heart, no true feelings in it.

As most people know Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd got accepted, but by the time the book was finished the publishing director who had encouraged me had passed away and his company had gone bankrupt! Luckily I found another publisher. Again I sent it out to 11 (my lucky number) different ones and after a month one of them phoned me and offered me a contract. So I contacted the 10 other ones and said that my manuscript had been accepted. I'll never know if those other 10 would've said yes or no.

6. Do you feel bad if you haven't written for a few days?

Yeah, I feel restless in my soul. Something is lacking from my life. I feel boring, not my normal self. I get controlled by my feelings when I don't get that emotional release and a chance to step into another world for a bit.

7. Why do you write?

Because I can't help myself! It's part of who I am. As I'm originally a shy person I find it hard to express myself in day to day life, so the writing helps me with that expression.

I also have a need to work out certain issues and explore certain topics and I love doing that through my characters.

Another reason is that I've got an interest in documenting the time we are living in, telling people "this is what it's like", "this is my reality".

8. Have you had anything published that is available for reading?

Well, you could have a go reading Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd if you are willing to learn Swedish. I've had a few poems and a short story published in anthologies and magazines, but most of them are out of print. Sometimes I post poems at MySpace - at least that's something to read while you're waiting for my English novel Replacing Angel. At the moment I've just finished editing the 1st 3rd of the 4th draft ... I'll begin editing the 2nd 3rd as soon as I've received some more feedback from my editor.

9. Do you have anything you'd like to add? (my own question)

Yes, I saw Nick Cave (him and his lyrics have been a great inspiration while writing Replacing Angel) at Palace Theatre in London yesterday. It was a very nice surprise when P.J. Harvey entered the stage and did a song! There was no photo permission, but I managed to get one picture ...

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