To see their original blogs please use these links, but only after you have read this blog.
Q1. Are you still writing?
There are many ways of answering this, most of which will be sarcastic. If I say I am a writer, or an author, then the answer will remain “yes” until I tell you that I am no longer a writer or an author.
Q2. Is your new book out yet?
My new book is always out, until I have a new new book, then the old new book becomes the previous book. Books that aren't out yet aren't books, they are works in progress.
By the way, my new book is called The Magi and it will remain my new book until the next new book comes out in a few months. It will be Book 2 of the Magi series and is called Genghis Kant.
I find them under logs (sarcasm).
Story ideas are all around us, all the time. What a writer has to do is pay attention to the world and find a way of turning the mundane into something interesting.
Q4. Want to go shopping/to the beach/out to breakfast/(insert other distractions)?
No. I’m too busy writing. Unless you want a game of golf.
Q5. How about tomorrow?
Still busy writing. I’ll have time for diversions when I’m no longer a writer (see Q1). Unless you want a game of golf.
Q6. What do you do all day?
Do you mean “give up the work I know I can earn money from to work for you for free for 6 months and then give you half the royalties on whatever comes out the other end”? I think I’ll pass. Pay me and I’ll think about it.
Q8. How much money do you earn from writing? (variations include "Is there any money in writing?" and "So, you're an author. You must be rich.")
How much money do you make from what you do? You show me your bank statement and I’ll show you mine. But here’s a clue: I drive a 7 year old Ford Focus and when I go on holiday I fly on budget airlines. 99% of all authors are like me, 1% are like J K Rowling.
Q9. Can I get a free copy of your book?
Yes, if you ask your local library to buy a copy and put it on their shelves, then you can borrow it. I do this for a living, not as charitable work. But I’ll sign your copy for free if you buy one.
Q10. So, like, you're going to be the next Douglas Adams?
I would like to say yes because he was such a brilliant writer, but the truth is I’m going to be me. I may be influenced by other authors, but the presentation will always be mine.
Sci Fi is just the vehicle I use to tell my stories. It allows the reader to see life from another perspective. Imagine if you were an alien and arrived on Earth, what would you make of some of the things we do to each other and to our planet? What would you think of the way we might treat you?
By the way, I don’t just write sci-fi. I have also written a fantasy, a political thriller, three action adventures and a parody of a Charles Dickens book. When I have finished writing my sci-fi series I may do something different again.
(This answer may be accompanied by physical violence, so please stand well back)
I sit painting my nails. What do you think I do all day? Have you ever tried to write a thousand words that are interesting to read and which keep the reader sufficiently engaged so as to want to read the next thousand?
Q13. So which character is you? It’s the hero, isn’t it. The book is a thinly disguised autobiography, isn’t it?
I wish I lived a life half as interesting as my characters. No it isn’t. That’s not how it works. Each major character is made up of a set of character traits that allows them to function within the environment that I create for them. If they are good it is because I make them good and if they are bad it is because I make them bad.
The one that dies horribly in Chapter 1. Sorry, did I say that out loud?
Please refer to Q13. I may, very occasionally, borrow some character traits from people I know, but none of the characters are wholly one person or another. If I do use real people’s character traits then they are usually mixed and matched to suit the story.
Q15. Writers are really weird. You know most of them go crazy?
There is no such things as normal, so there is also no such thing as weird, other than in the purely subjective sense. As for going crazy, it’s only by writing that I actually stay sane. Sorry, does me holding this knife make you feel nervous?
Q16. How do you go about writing a story?
I have an idea, I sit in front of my PC and I start to write. It’s easy. I may change the idea as I go along, or I may stick with it. I may scrap the whole thing and go back to square one. There are no rules. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy writing.
Please see Q16. Writer’s block is a fictional ailment created by real writers to give fictional writers a reason to get up from their desk and do something else. I may get stuck on a particular plot point from time to time, or struggle with some dialogue. I may even paint my characters into a corner and struggle to find a way out for them, but that is all part of the creative process. If I need to solve a problem like that I close the file and do something else for a while and let my brain work on the problem “in background”, so to speak.
Q18. Would I like your books? (Variations include “would your books appeal to me?” And “What sort of books do you write?”)
I don’t know. Why don’t you buy one and find out. It will cost you less than the price of two pints of beer and will keep you occupied for much, much longer.
Q19. Would I have read anything by you?
I don’t know. Look at the covers of your books; if my name is on any of them then, yes, you have read something by me.
Yes. Then I’ll kill you in the most horrible manner I can think of, then I’ll resurrect you so that I can kill you again.
Q21. How do you come up with the names for your characters.
Telephone directories. Except in my sci-fi novels. There the character names are created from a sort of Scrabble approach, sorting available letters of the alphabet into words to see which ones I like.
Q22. When will you give up writing?
When I’m dead or when I run out of ideas for stories, whichever is the sooner.
If you are an author, or from any other profession that gets asked dumb questions, please feel free to share them in the comments section - along with the answer you would like to give and the answer you actually give.
Which one would I recommend? That's a very good question. In fact its the best question I have been asked in weeks. If you like sci-fi then try The Magi, but if you are more into action adventure try either of The Warriors books, or maybe The Charity Thieves.