Interview with Alec Beattie

How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I'm always on the lookout for books to read and tend to find new contemporary books through reviews. I don't believe a good reviewer has to be a professional writer, such as a journalist, but has to be aware of why they like or dislike a book and have the ability to communicate this well. The medium isn't important; newspapers, blogs, social media - I'll read through them all. And what's particularly good about smashwords is being able to download new ebooks for free so that I'm not put off by taking a gamble with my hard earned royalties.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I think a wrote a story about Howard Carter discovering Tutankhamen's tomb when I was about 8 years old. I got to read it out in front of my school.
What is your writing process?
Get an idea. Research it to death. Find an angle and get in. Write. Write. Write. Stop and leave to simmer for a few weeks. Get back in and edit. I never finish editing; I've stories I've written years and years ago that I'll continue to edit.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I can't remember any one particular story. I do remember being given storybooks at school and taking books from the library and being a voracious reader as a child. I also remember thinking that children's books were too childish for me (when I was a child myself) and trying to read books for grown ups. My dad read lots of westerns but I hated them. I remember reading Animal Farm when I was about 10 and feeling very grown up.
How do you approach cover design?
I've studied design and have friends who are professional designers who keep me in check...
I like to start with an image (usually from one of my own photographs), and I edit it until I get the image into a form I like, and that will fit in with the book it's meant for. I also like to mess about with fonts and layouts (I use InDesign). I usually make dozens of mock ups before deciding which I like best. I also like to look at book covers in the same genre I'm working on, more to see where people have gone wrong, but to steal good ideas too.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Far too many to have to choose....
One day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch as it's the perfect novel for so many reasons
Wuthering Heights as it's a great novel to hate all the characters one by one
I, Claudius because I'm interested in the history and I love the way Graves interpreted it and the people
Sunset Song (by Lewis Grassic Gibbon) - the greatest Scottish novel (but there's hundreds of them to choose from...)
Anything by Katherine Mansfield
What do you read for pleasure?
For pleasure I tend to read history textbooks.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Kindle Fire 8.9HDX.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm new to marketing so I'll have to get to you on this on.
Describe your desk
Covered in post it notes and pens. And my radio which is on permanently. Plus all the junk any writer has, like a laptop, jars of pens, reference books....
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the west of Scotland in a town called Clydebank. I use people from my teen years - friends from school, for example - as fodder for some characters. Not really all that much of an influence,, if I'm honest.
Published 2015-10-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Mendacities
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 32,980. Language: English. Published: October 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Mendacities by Alec Beattie. Short stories suffused with untruths - dead foxes, malicious cats, and lost ghosts. Featuring deceptive people too - the extraordinary, the everyday, and the ill-fated. Mendacities is an diverse mix of tales that takes an indirect look at life and people, with a sense that any attempt at closure is an illusion.