Interview with Neil McGowan

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in the North of England. There wasn't too much to do there, so I read. A lot. Mainly horror, but anything I could get my hands on. I started writing when I was about eight, after reading a story that I didn't enjoy- I thought I could do a lot better, and decided then that I was going to write a book. Over the years, I discovered that whilst writing was easy, good writing took lots of practise. By the time I realised just how hard it was to write a good story that people would want to read, I was hooked on the whole creative process
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'd wanted to write a vampire novel for years, but didn't want to write yet another clone of Twilight. I wanted to take the concept of vampires back to a less polished creature, take out most of the glamour and return to the original roots of vampirism. That said, I wanted to use a contemporary setting, so I spent a while trying to find the right angle. I finally hit upon the idea of making my vampires the result of a bio-genetic accident. It allowed me to explore the inherent inhumanity of vampirism by setting a disparate group of individuals against them against the backdrop of a small town - the way the characters had to band together despite their differences, and the effect it had upon the town.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
In a word: control! I like the fact that I have full creative control over my books, from the initial concept through to the finished book. I'm able to explore themes that interest me in a way I choose; I don't have to worry about my books being rejected as not mainstream enough or conforming to current trends. I also have complete control over my vision of the book cover. My primary purpose is to be able to write, indie publishing allows me to do this in a way that a traditional publishing contract doesn't. It's not easier - if anything, it's harder, as there is no safety net from the publisher to help with the editing and marketing. It is a lot of fun, though.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing allows me to take a character and put them in an unfamiliar situation, then enjoy writing about how they overcome the problems they face. Having people read something I've written and feed back that they've enjoyed it is also pretty cool, that's like the icing on the cake.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a ghost story at the moment. Many years ago, I wrote a short(ish) story set in the fifties, about an alien invasion. That story has always resonated with me, and I've often thought about revisiting the village to see how the characters' lives played out. There were things in the back-story that never made it into the final version that I always liked - they were cut because they weren't essential to the story - and wanted to explore in more detail. After finishing Nanobite, I decided to play around with some of these ideas and over the course of a week, I realised that I had started sketching out a new story based on these ideas. I have a good idea of how it will go already, but that will probably change once I start writing it!
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, James Herbert, Brian Lumley, Lovecraft. I also really enjoy Stuart MacBride, Caro Ramsey and Tana French.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle! I'm still using a first generation device, it works fine for me. I'm not bothered by the ability to do other stuff, such as you can with devices lie the kindle fire - for me, it's about the reading experience. I have the kindle app on my smartphone, and my Surface; but I much prefer the kindle. I did try reading on an iPad and thought it was a horrible experience, far too bright and glary. Sure, you can play with the settings, but I just want to pick it up and read.
Having said that, I do like the look of the kindle paperwhite, so, when my kindle does go to ebook heaven, then one of those could well be its replacement.
What sort of things influence your writing?
The area where I live, that's a big inspiration for me. I'm a keen cyclist and often work through plot ideas whilst I'm out riding; I find that the Scottish scenery lends itself well to the sort of stuff I write - it can be pretty and picturesque one moment; dark and brooding the next, just depending on the weather.
What is your writing process?
Just write! I like to have some music in the background, but I basically just sit and try and let the words flow. Some days they come a lot easier than others, but as long as I get a few down to start with, I can usually get at least a couple of hours in, or around 1000 words. I don't usually do any editing until I have a finished draft - that's when the fun starts, rewriting and editing, trying to get it into a coherent form. I normally need two or three comprehensive edits and rewrites to knock the story into shape, before fine-tuning, correcting spelling and grammar etc. The hardest part is knowing when to stop - I'm my own worst critic.
Published 2013-12-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Nanobite
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 78,340. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Port Seton. A quiet town on the east coast of Scotland. Something is very wrong. A cyclist is missing. A woman is followed home from work. A house fire claims three lives. Liam Baxter and Karen Nicholls start to unravel a complex web of horror. An experiment involving genetically engineered nano-technology has gone wrong, turning all those who come into contact with it into modern day vampires.
Don't Drink the Water
Price: $1.99 $0.99 USD. (50% off!) Words: 31,050. Language: British English. Published: November 15, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Horror » Occult
Don’t Drink the Water is a collection of seven tales of horror
Crude Oil
Price: $0.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 3,860. Language: British English. Published: November 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Horror » Occult
(5.00)
An oil tanker undertakes a mysterious voyage with disastrous consequences.