Interview with C.M. Donaldson

Published 2014-02-18.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love murder mysteries, crime novels, thrillers, courtroom dramas and lite science fiction, in fact anything that takes my fancy and keeps me with my nose in the book until the very last page
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Oh that has to be my Kindle. I loved it even before I got it - the idea was genius, and I treasure my old keyboard version. I now have over 500 books on it, and will plough through each and every one...and I review everything I read too
When did you first start writing?
I used to keep diaries since way back in my teens, and I wrote down sayings, poems, thoughts, and jokes in old exercise books. Eventually in 2006 I put some diary entries together about my lifelong battle with my weight, and I turned it into a funny account of the dieter's struggle. I called it The Fat Bag stuck between a rock cake & a hard plaice (yes, 'plaice' spelt like the fish and not a typo as one purchaser kindly alerted me to) and published it under the pseudonym of Pearl Barley, a comical name chosen by my young daughter who thought is was quite apt since the story in the book was food-related. In fact the title and the chapters within were all a play on words like, 'Mind Over Platter', 'My Cup Runneth Over', 'This Little Piggie Went to Town' , 'Less is More?' and 'Not All Menus are Created Equal'. And I stipulated that the book had no common-sense dieting advice or weight-loss tips and simply chronicled the human side of yo-yo dieting.

I got the writing bug good and proper when I discovered how easy it was to write what you know about
What's the story behind your latest book?
I always considered writing something with a bit of imagination but I didn't have the confidence. The tale I wrote - lite sci-fi with a science-thriller feel (including a romantic twist), came about after I'd read an article about guardian angels and how we've all got one, and we can call upon them and ask for help. The article was plausible enough and not your usual whimsical airy-fairy nonsense, so I believed it although I was sceptical initially, and deciding to put it to the test, literally one day I asked for the imagination to write a best seller. I had no idea to whom I was making this request. It could have been The Cosmos, God, or this unknown guardian angel I wasn't sure, but I made the request anyway, and it fascinates me to realise that I had the book title within 15 minutes - nagging annoyingly away at me and compelling me to write it down. I wrote it on a scrap of paper, not really sure at first of what it meant, and then I started to get bombarded with an idea - the idea was linked to my interest in dreams - and then the bigger picture started to take form. Suddenly it all became rather exciting.

I was astonished to find that once I started writing, it was as though something or someone was putting the ideas in my head. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and became obsessed with the story that unfolded day by day. Even in the middle of writing it, I had no idea where it was going or how it was going to end but a definite tale was developing that I took interest in, and it was actually highly entertaining.

It remains to be seen if THIS will be my best seller, but to me, it's my best work to date, and I am at present working on the sequel, the idea of which came to me on the same day that I published The AL-EX Project. Hopefully that one, also compelled and driven by my faithful guardian angel, I hope to complete and get published by Summer 2014.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A friend of mine informed me that there was a way to get your work 'out there' without going the route of traditional publishers and the many, many rejection letters, and it sounded like a great idea, and it has turned out to be a very worthwhile and enjoyable pastime. You do pick up some useful skills along the way as well - my computer skills have increased a great deal, what with formatting and choosing templates, converting word documents to pdf, cover design and graphics, website design and blogging, and of course I understand the uses of Twitter and Facebook far more than I ever did.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think I'd be lying if I didn't say that it's the thrill of the rise in sales figures. I still can't believe that people are buying my books - people I don't know. It's an incredibly humbling experience.
What are you working on next?
In the AL-EX Project (ALternative EXistence) Testing the limits of dream control, certain experiments take place to enter the dream state, record the findings and play them back. The methods used were unethical and dangerous (and a complete fabrication, you understand, as I have no knowledge of such things, so the tale woven around these laboratory experiments was complete make-believe). However, while it is a stand-alone tale, there was the opportunity to expand on possible side effects of the experiments, then the idea took shape to take the main characters on another adventure that seemed inevitable, so while I don't want to give too much away just yet, that's the premise I'm working on next.
Who are your favorite authors?
Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, Dean R Koontz, Stephen KIng, Ed McBain, Agatha Christie, Ellis Peters, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, John Grisham, MC Beaton and JK Rowling.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I watch far too much television - games shows and movies mostly.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I get daily email alerts from sites I have subscribed to, and I've found some real gems which feed my reading habits.
What is your writing process?
I sit in a quiet space and wait for ideas to start forming. If they repeat themselves and persist, I know that's what I'm meant to write. Sometimes I only have a scrap of paper to write on, or I'll save the idea on the notes app on my mobile phone. If I can, I go straight to a Word document on my computer and let the words flow. Very often I end up writing four or five chapters at a time before coming up for air.
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