Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I’ve been writing in one form or another since I was a kid. My first attempts were dirty rap songs that I wrote on A4 paper and illustrated – I must have been around eight years old then. My mother might still have them stored somewhere. Some angsty teenage poetry followed, then a few short stories that I thought were decent at the time.
I started taking it seriously when I turned 18 in February 2009. That’s when I wrote the first pages of what would eventually become my debut novella The Eclectic Prince that I self-published in 2012. It took me a long time to finish because I didn’t have any writing habits developed but in my mind, I knew I was pursuing something.
What inspired you to write your book?
Different influences inspired the vignettes in Southern Dust. Gretchen’s story is more of an introduction to the Governor. The Governor’s part explores similar themes I had already covered in my earlier novel Hayfoot but something still felt unfinished there and I took it a bit further with Nightingale’s story.
Roger Conaway’s story is a mash-up of several things. Captain America is one of my favorite heroes and I always liked the idea of a super soldier experiment. This was exacerbated when I watched The Guest for the third time – the best movie of 2014 by far.
I was also watching Game of Thrones for the first time a few months before I started outlining and Theon Greyjoy’s arc was so tragic and disturbing. Also Nightmare Alley with Tyrone Power. It made me want to tell a story where we see the complete rise and fall of a character. Someone who becomes truly monstrous and unrecognizable by the end of it.
Dominic White is about one third myself, one third Oberyn Martell – one of the greatest characters to ever be on TV – and one third something else.
Plotting this book was a lot of fun because I felt like I was writing a prologue and three separate mini-books. I think they tie together neatly in the end.
What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
None whatsoever – I only hope they’re entertained.
What drew you into this particular genre?
I think I bend several genres together in this one but as far as a black magic adventure story, this is my version of a Dennis Wheatley book. Now to replicate his sales numbers.
If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
Dominic’s the most like me but he’s very anti-social, I don’t think he’d agree to a meeting.
What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I used to be on Gab which gave me a few interesting acquaintances but I’ve gotten rid of everything except Instagram now. Something about being able to send out condensed little messages on a big platform brings out the worst in some people, myself included.
What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Force yourself to write until it comes to you naturally. I spent three years on my first book – a 20,000 word novella – because I only wrote when I felt “inspired” which is a copout. If you have a rough outline, set yourself some simple goals and get writing. I’m very proud of my first book and I wouldn’t change a thing about it but I was definitely making excuses and stalling for a while.
What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I’m working on a new novella now that’s a parody of the modern thriller genre entitled The Gone Girl On the Train Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I’m also working on a few TV pilots because let’s face it, that’s where the real money is for writers. Wish me luck.