Over the last 5 years, I've really grown to love the short story, or short short stories or flash fiction - really anything that's bite size and well written. I still love reading novels, but I'm certainly intrigued these days by the immediate payoff, and the efficiency of the short story. I think there's an art to it, and perhaps a relevance to it that is unique. Every day, every interaction or endeavour becomes a potential story that can be twisted and turned and made into an interesting story. The desire to try and get good at this is really what inspired me.
How did the title "Rumours & Lies" originate?
It's a pretty eclectic group of stories, so using one of the story titles as the title of the book didn't make much sense to me. A few of the stories do have a lie or collection of lies at the heart of the plot, and one of the stories involves the science of starting rumours so the title was born out of that.
Who are your favorite authors?
Lawrence Block and Jeffrey Archer are a couple of great ones. They've both written many short stories. Block is very diverse, and so you can pick up one of his series books that's aligned to your particular mood. Archer is the master of the plot twist in my opinion - I go through his short stories like popcorn.
What is your writing process?
I usually have 4 or 5 stories on the go at any point in time, all usually at different stages of completion. For some, the whole process is quite quick; I'll get an idea directly from something that has happened or something I've heard about etc., and the story will be done in a couple of days. For others, I outline the whole thing and then try and create the twist or the turn, and I'll often go back and tweak it a hundred times. Some come easy and some come hard. Bullies and Frogs is a story that came from a novel that I haven't quite finished; there was one particular relationship between two of the main characters that seemed interesting and I thought might lend itself to a short story.
How do you approach cover design?
The cover for Rumours & Lies is a painting that I did a couple of years ago. Again, much like choosing a title, the challenge I found was that the stories are quite eclectic and really don't embrace a dominant theme. And so I had this painting of a street scene with buildings and windows, and my link was that the windows, or dwellings, or inhabitants are likely diverse and eclectic in their own right - a stretch perhaps, but I liked the idea of using something I had created.
What are you working on next?
I'm going to do another book of stories. Again, they'll likely be quite diverse, and touch on a collection of unique experiences and will definitely have twists and turns and surprise endings. I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of 2014.
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