What made you write a series of short stories, as opposed to a proper novel?
Well, it was purely pragmatism rather than any active decision. I have written novels before - and they might well appear on Smashwords, so watch this space - but they are so difficult to produce and polish. You've got to come up with an idea that you know you can sustain over many thousands of words, and then just plug away at it day in and day out. Then when you've written "The End", there is the mammoth task of editing. It's just so much easier to write a short story, as your ideas need only be good enough to span, say, five thousand words. For someone like me, who has ideas popping into his head all the time but very little writing stamina, a collection of short stories is the obvious way to go.
Well, you've partially answered my next question. Would you consider writing a novel, and, if so, what genre?
Yes, obviously. I've tried several genres, including a bit of supernatural horror. My macabre imagination seems to respond to that sort of thing. However, I have had various ideas for novels which have nothing to do with anything horrific. As always, the easy part is coming up with the idea for the novel, the hard part turning it into text. I hope with all this "genre jumping" I don't end up as a jack of all trades but master of none.
Mish Mash is a very varied collection. Are any of the stories based on your own experiences?
One of them is actually a true-life episode that happened to me on a bus going into Kingston, though I've altered the ending a little for dramatic purposes. Apart from that, no, they're all dragged out of the depths of my imagination. The truth is that while I'm walking along the street or doing something completely unconnected with writing, an idea will pop into my head and I'll say "Oh, that would be good for a short story," and then I just have to hang on to it until I can scribble something down. I've lost track of how many countless good ideas I've had that have slipped my memory before I could capture them on paper.
What do other people think of your writing?
So far, very few people have read anything I've written. For instance, the only person who's read Mish Mash from cover to cover (apart from myself) is my mother. She thinks is very good, but then, that's what mothers are for, isn't it.
Now that Mish Mash is completed, what's your next project?
At the time of writing (early July 2015) I am just getting stuck into the July Camp Nanowrimo. For non-afficionadoes, that's National Novel Writing Month, which is a website that encourages you to write a novel in the space of the month of November. However, they also do something similar in April and July, where groups of like-minded budding writers "camp in the wilderness" and pool ideas, hence Camp Nanowrimo. In the space of the next thirty days or so, I hope to complete The Iron Tongue of Midnight, the next novel in my Paranormal Policeman series.
Having said that, I have a project that I am itching to complete, but I am saving it for this year's Nanowrimo in November. I've always wanted to write a whodunit in true Agatha Christie style, and I have the plot for one all planned out. It promises to be a really good one, too, even if I do say so myself!
Are there any writers you find inspiring?
To be honest, I'm not really a great reader, and haven't been since childhood. That's simply down to pressure of time. I've always got so many things on my plate, urgent tasks that have to be completed, that I have to squeeze writing into what few spare seconds I have, leaving even less time for reading. However, in my few spare moments, I do like to hunt around sites such as Wattpad and Authonomy for anything of interest, and have stumbled on a good few things worth reading.
One author I would particularly like to mention, and who has inspired me a great deal, is Rosemarie E. Rohrer, whom I first met on Nanowrimo last November. She was the one who got me interested in Fantasy Horror after reading excerpts from her book The Kelpie's Curse. As I write this, she's in the process of serialising it on Wattpad, and every time she uploads a chapter, I'm on to it like a flash. Indeed, whenever she appears on the Internet, you'll find me not far behind, reading her stuff and commenting (favourably) on it.
With any luck an illustrious career in digital E-books lies ahead of you. Do you see yourself ever moving into traditional paper-based publishing?
Oh, wouldn't that be nice? I think it must be every writer's dream to be able to hold a book with his/her name on it, together with that "new book smell" that you always get, and to sign copies for a long line of admiring fans. Who wouldn't want that? However, I am realistic enough to realise that that is shooting for the moon. With the traditional publishing houses being so cautious and risk-averse, only the lucky few ever get established enough to get their books in print.
However, if there are any traditional publishers who like what they see here, please do feel free to get in touch...
So presumably, if it were possible, you would want to be a professional writer, yes?
I would be delighted. The thing about "normal" work is that it is so repetitive and Sisyphan. Teachers teach a class of children for a year, only to have them replaced by another class of chilren. Posties deliver the letters to letter boxes and then have to go through exactly the same process the next day. With writing, you create something permanent. You write a book/play/film script or whatever and it's there for ever. For me, the idea of being a professional writer could only ever be a pipe dream, though as I still have to pay the bills!
Apart from writing, would you describe yourself as a creative person?
I'm glad you asked me that one. Yes, I've dabbled in a few areas now that you might describe as creative. I write a great deal of music in the classical style (often described as sounding like "watered down Beethoven"), which you can find on the Score Exchange website, and have produced a few rather silly animations which you can find on YouTube by typing "Chronicles of the Little Black Blobs" into the search box. Sometimes I describe my main hobby as "creating things that stand a chance of outliving me."
Do you have a blog or website where we can find out more about you?
I do indeed. Not a blog yet, though I'm thinking of setting one up because I'm sure you'd be fascinated in learning what I had for breakfast on any day, but I do have a website. Please give it a visit: http://www.richardbowles.co.uk
Two things I don't have are a Facebook page and a Twitter account. People keep telling me to sign up to these but so far I've resisted. Perhaps one day I'll give in.
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