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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Interview with Historical Fiction Writer


Interview With Novelist J.G. Harlond
  
1. What type of books do you write? Historical fiction/adventure/spy/romance - with a relevant, topical theme.

2. What is your newest book aboutThis book is about how one man can influence a financial scandal, and how and why different types of people get caught up in it.

3. What inspired you to write it? Two reasons: one whimsical; one very down-to-earth. While I was researching the sequel to my first novel in England the main character of this novel, Ludo, and two other characters 'appeared before me'; the evil character quite literally walked out of the shadows. Sounds silly, but it's true. I knew exactly who each of these three were, what sort of characters they had - but they were in the wrong century for what I thought I was going to write about. Sometime later, I was watching news coverage of sub-prime mortgages and how working people had been encouraged to borrow way beyond their means, the fall of Lehmann Bros etc, and I remember thinking; 'But this is nothing new - it's like tulip mania.' And then it all came together; the charismatic character called Ludo and a financial scandal: the innocent and the evil . . . so I shelved the sequel to The Magpie and started The Chosen Man.

4. What is the writing process like for you? I'm something of a workaholic: I start first thing in the morning, take a long lunch because I live in Spain and we have siesta before starting again in the afternoon, then I work until I'm just about cross-eyed. Each time I go back to something already written, I correct and edit so a first draft can take a while to produce, but it's relatively 'clean'.

5. What did you do before you became an author? I've been writing for a number of years, paid by the page or unit for text book material. I've also had a successful and enjoyable career in international education. About three years ago, I decided it was time to go professional. If things didn't work out I could always give classes - but things do seem to be working out!

6. How does it feel to be a published author? Seeing your work in print is perhaps similar to an actor getting his/her first job, or a pianist playing with an orchestra: there is the joy of achieving an ambition, but this is modified by the sheer hard work involved.

7. Any advice for struggling writers?  Oh yes - struggle on! But be an absolute perfectionist. Once you've finished your first draft - whether it's a 1,000 word article or a 100,000 word novel - leave it for a while, then edit again, and then give it to a professional editor and be prepared to make changes. A good story is ruined by lack of editing and proofreading.

 8. Where do you see book publishing heading?  Everyone says book publishing is changing forever: it's supposedly the best of times and the worst of times. The best because self-published novels are easy to produce - the worst because authors are being ripped-off like never before. Free-download sites are going to starve out any author that's not in the top 20 bestseller list. Writers need royalties! I also feel that what is happening to fiction is similar to what is happening in society with the gulf between the wealthy and the unskilled unemployed - art reflecting life perhaps. The gap between the more high-brow literary fiction for the cognoscenti, and the throw-away pulp-fiction of graphic sex-n-violence or fifteen-minute-celebrity-memoirs seems to be widening, with less and less in between. However, on a more hopeful note, the financial and literary economy can only improve. As to where publishing is heading, for the forseeable future I suppose publishers will only take on 'box office' winners.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©

2 comments:

  1. A fasinating interview. I so agree that history repeats itself and we see the same financial scandals being repeated down through the centuries. I don't know if that means we never learn and human nature never changes or if we should take comfort that we survived these crises before and will again. I also loved the way your characters walked out of the shadows and more or less demanded that their story be told. Characters do that to me like that too.

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  2. Very helpful information. Thanks to Harlond for his candid answers and to Brian for asking the questions!

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