What was the driving force that got you to start writing?
I cannot really say that there was a single driving force that made my start writing. It was something that was inside of my since as far back as I can remember. I have always been a reader, and was very young when I first started. I would read all day long if I could, and from there, my imagination grew and pretty soon I started writing stories. I could never sit still, even when watching a movie I would think of alternate ways to do things.
To me writing and being a writer is just who I am, and could not stop doing it, or thinking about the same way I could not stop breathing.
I see how much you write; just how much writing do you do in any given day ?
I write as much as I can in a day. I can average about 1500 words quite comfortably on a piece of fiction, however, I also write blog posts and freelance articles around that too, so I guess a total would be closer to 2500 a day. I get up at 4.20 and am writing within 10 minutes. I write until the kids wake up, then I write in my lunch break at work, and then again in the evening. Not forgetting that I also have to work my promotion into those same time frames.
How do you write ? Do you use outlines? Do you have a schedule ?
I never use an outline or a guide for my writing. I have tried, but got hopelessly stuck, and never actually stuck to it. I simply take an idea and write about it until the tale is told. I like to give my stories and characters all the room they need to grow successfully. In real live nothing ever goes the way you plan, so why should it in writing either. It wouldn’t be realistic.
Why do you think a writer should have a blog?
I don’t think that it is imperative to have a blog. I believe that it helps, when done properly, but it is not a case that failure is guaranteed if you do not blog. I have one, and I try to keep it updated regularly, but I actually see it more as a fun outlet for ideas and a different side of writing, than as a direct selling tool.
Blogs are useful to help build a platform, to create a level of name recognition so that when your books come flying around people see your name and don’t feel like total strangers to it.
I was thinking about this very thing this morning, before I saw your questions, because the thing that currently bothers me is with regards the posts you make on a blog. As a horror writer, should all of my posts be at least in some way themed to what I do? I am trying to sell myself after all. I interview a lot of writer, that is fine, it links to writing. I post random musings, again, that’s fine because it is a look at me, but where should an author running a blog draw the line. Are there different rules for people blogging professionally, looking to make money from the blog itself, compared to writers who are using the blog to direct people towards their main (intended) source of income?
Which is harder to write, a short story, or a novel, and why ?
To be honest with you, I am perfectly comfortable writing both styles. I know some people prefer one over the other, but I have always enjoyed them both. I tend to know when I get an idea whether it could be a novel or a short. Although I have been surprised on a couple of occasions.
I tend to work on both at the same time. While I am writing (and editing) an novel I will often write short stories in between. I find it a good way to retain the focus needed for a novel. Just allow yourself the distraction of a short story. You are still writing, still being productive, but you are re-grouping your thoughts at the same time.
Almost all of my shorts have been written that way.
Do you think you’ll ever do other genres ?
Well I am dabbling in the erotic side of writing. I have a short story coming out in a Valentine’s Day anthology which is a full erotic piece. I also write a lot of erotic horror shorts. These are a mix between the two genres and are probably hard to classify. In general I don’t like the term genre, and use it as little as I can. I simple tell stories. I allow them to roam where they need to roam in order for their tale to be told. I find using a genre to try and fence them in is restrictive, both for the story and for me as a writer.
What writer(s) influenced you most, and why ?
Stephen King was my first main influence as a writer. I remember reading it when I was just a boy, well before my teens even began, and I loved it. I devoured a few more in quick succession. I was fascinated by the way he could spin a story, and keep it moving forward. To this day I find myself reading his books and making mental notes of the things he does that make a scene or a dialogue exchange really pop.
As I got older, I also found myself moving away from King, who can be a bit straight laced at times, and instead exploring the darker side of horror, the sensual and the truly disturbing tales of Clive Barker. The first time I read his Books of Blood, it was as though my entire understanding of horror changed. Hellbound Heart soon followed, and all of them are titles that I have read several times.
There are plenty of other writers that I have read, and a great many indie writers who I am friends with and whose writing keeps me alert and looking to push myself forward even more, for fear of being left behind, but I shall not name them for fear of unintentionally missing one.
When your not writing, what books are you reading ?
I read an eclectic mix of things. Last year I read predominantly indie books, but right now I have a big list of, shall we say, mainstream novels that I am planning on reading. I am almost finished with Doctor Sleep, which is, in my opinion, one of King’s strongest novels in a long time.
Tell me what you’re working on now.
Currently I am working on the re-write / first round edits of a vampire novel. I tried a new approach to writing with this and it backfired on me. Another reason why I just like to let the natural flow of things take charge. I hope to have the edits done by the end of the month, and off to my editor for the red pen treatment. I am looking to have it ready for publication around March / April time, but then it will depend on when it can be fitted into the release schedule of my publisher. After that I will start working on Highway to Hell III, a novel I am equally excited and petrified about starting.
Do you have anything else you would like to add ?
If you want to find me around the internet, feel free to look me up on:
My Blog: http://alexlaybourne.com/