Interview with C.G. Durrant

Who are your favorite authors?
My favourite authors vary depending on my mood I guess. There are several that I switch between: Stephen King, Clive Barker and Dean Koontz. I spent time with their books, reading the same ones again and again, strengthening my relationship with the characters and I suppose trying to identify with them too on some level.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Get out of bed? Writing inspires me to get out of bed but I would have to say the word is the requirement to do so. Like every author, I want to write for a living, want it to be what I do every day, all day to establish that balance I guess between what I do and what I am. My family also inspire me to get out of bed of a morning. I've never really been one for sleeping in. I prefer to be up early and write and read and - most recently - market my books than under the covers catching up on sleep.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to exercise. I practice martial arts and generally try to keep fit - either at home or down the gym. To be honest though, even when I'm not writing I'm thinking about it on some level. Much to the annoyance of my friends and family, I have a habit of zoning out, switching to auto-response mode, while I'm thinking about my stories - whether it be plot structure, character development or the less appealing side of writing such as marketing.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I used to read a lot, just for fun I mean, just for the shear pleasure of slipping out of my world for a time to explore a new life vicariously. But now, If I'm honest, the books that I read are those on eBook promotion and marketing or my own books for proof-reading etc. When I read other eBooks it's always with the approach of understanding other authors and their stories to gain a better understanding of my own and how I go about structuring them etc. I wish it wasn't like that, but until I can right full-time, I need to juggle my 9-to-5 job with my writing and reading. But, when I do read eBooks I come to...yep...you've guessed it - Smashwords mainly.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Definitely, and it's not the first story I completed - at least not in final draft, or what I later realised was not a final draft. It's called Emerge - and this is in fact my next full-length novel once I've proof-read my Theft of Lies series. I finished one version of Emerge many many years ago as my first attempt and writing a novel ...way back then when eBooks was just a whisper and the concept of self-publishing was condemned as the recourse of an author's failed attempt and mainstream publishing. I returned to it over the years and soon realised that what I thought was pretty damned good was in fact pretty damned crap. I focused on short stories after that and they were always with the intention of gaining the experience I needed to return to Emerge and turn it into something great. I restructured it since then here and there to the point that the version I will be writing is quite a bit different from that first attempt.
What is your writing process?
Okay, that's a big question. I've recently started using Scrivener and even though this is my now indispensable tool for writing the process of structuring etc hasn't really changed not even within that software. Once I have and idea that would really be a scenario, I'll spend a few days with it, throwing it back and forth looking at different situations. I think it's important to ask questions - the who, what, when and why. Ask lots of questions and from these answers develop a theme. Looking at the "opposites" is important. If you think that the story will involve a rich elderly man, then ask yourself what if the protagonist was a young poor woman. Doing this opens up all sorts of possibilities for the development of new characters. I do keep the three-act rule in mind but do not adhere to it rigidly. The important thing in shaping a story is keeping things like, progression, objectives, challenges and opposition and conflict in mind. Focus more on the characters rather than the plot and allow the shaping of the characters to determine the flow of the story. I normally layout the whole storyline in chronological order and this allows me to identify potential gaps and major inconsistencies that I would need to address. I determine a starting point, keeping in mind that everything before that would serve as back-story. I have an ending in mind but I am aware and indeed expect this to change as my characters develop. I use that perceived ending to gauge the evolution of my characters as I "want" the ending to be far removed from what I initially anticipated as this tells me that my characters are driving the story beyond my expectations of structure and plotting. The key thing for me, is to develop the characters, get to know them as real people and allow the story to evolve from their objectives, mentality etc. I try not to get to tied down by a rigid process.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Ah...I was waiting for this question. Yep, the first story I read was Lightning by Dean Koontz - still had the R in his name. It focussed on a woman named Laura Shane who as a young child witnessed the murder of her father. Meanwhile a german soldier from WW2 using time-travel to travel into the future to determine the outcome of the war in an effort to change it when he returns to his own time. He falls in love with Laura and does everything he can to change time to improve her life. I admired his and her resolve and, unflagging efforts to stop life and people in it from screwing up their lives. Both driven by love of others. It inspired me a lot and for years I tried to to write like him before realising that emulation was entirely different from imitation. I still read that with nostalgia, taking me back to my teens. I know it sounds odd to say this but I think back then a part of me fell in love with Laura, her strength and passion and I often saw myself as her protector in the story.
How do you approach cover design?
Up until a few months ago, I had no idea about cover designs. I design my own now - having realised that designers often cannot give me what I want. It's not their fault; the're just not tied into the story as strongly as I am. Of course, they cant' be as it's my story. a face - a building - a silhouetted figure here and there. In my mind, I see these elements in very specific ways. I've often been accused ( by friends and family ) that I have too much happening on my covers. I believe that the cover should tell a story in its design. I need the key characters on there and for it to display the core, abstract elements such as sexuality of, revenge or hatred etc. I've spent many days on a single cover, thinking about what I would want, playing around with images. I've swapped out several covers that completely different from their original design. As with a story, it needs to evolve - people, lighting, shading, shadows etc. It's a process.
What do you read for pleasure?
I hate to admit that I rarely read for pleasure now. My work ( I work in IT ) takes up a lot of my time. Outside of that, I focus on either writing and marketing etc. When I read now, it's always with an editorial eye - comparing character development, structure, pace, progression, description etc. I sometimes wish it wasn't like that but the more involved I've become with working on my own stories and publishing the more I think "behind the scenes" rather than just reading the story for what it is. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading generally but I can't really remember the last time that I sat down and read something just for the shear pleasure of doing so.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Device? I have a Samnsung tablet and I often use that to read eBooks. I sometime also use a eBook reader on my laptop too as I spend a lot of my time on computers. I like reading eBooks and there is a degree of convenience of jumping from one section of the book to another by way of links etc. But, every now and then I like to sit down with a paper back. There's something about feeling pages between my finger tips that makes reading a different experience from eBook reading.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I was going to say that it's too early too tell. However, I've sold on Smashwords, where as I have not sold elsewhere. So, I would say that publishing here - if that can be called a marketing technique - has proving successful to far. To what degree that will continue I don't know. I employed other techniques such as special deals and SEO for Amazon and Google Search etc as well as establishing a website. I spent a lot of time trying to publish conventionally - that is sending a physical manuscript of to publishers and waiting six months for a "thanks but no thanks" rejection slip. I admit, that I'm fairly new to this and am starting to realise that marketing is a full-time endeavour in itself. I'm still learning and it's a bit early to say what is working really well for me at the moment.
Describe your desk
When I read the word desk, I imagined my work desk - a narrow, black table on which sits a couple or chunky keyboards, behind which sits a couple of monitors. For my writing, I have my lap on which sits on my laptop...mostly in the lounge. I suppose my desk is also a virtual one, with storboards and notes etc.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing about fifteen years ago but it's only been the last couple of years that I started to take the publishing aspect of it seriously. I dropped out off school and never attended writing seminars of classes. Most certainly for the first decade, my writing experiences have been more about learning what not to do and developing writing skills than it has been about writing anything of value that I could use. It's been hard to get to this point and to be honest I'm still not where I want to be.
Published 2016-10-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

End of The Line
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,310. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
Cyrus doesn’t know why he’s standing on the platform, or why he decides to board the train when it rumbles into the station. He struggles with recollection and finally finds a glimmer of his past, of his life that brings to life horrors aboard that he must escape. Stop the train…change your fate.
What Goes Around
Price: Free! Words: 12,180. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Malachi found his release in killing, the tool to make that happen - scissors. He buries the bodies in a derelict barn - his special place. As they rot, he strengthens, finding power in their state of unrest. But an encounter with another victim forces the return of his past that he had buried beyond remembrance. But some things don’t stay buried.
Unto You
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 44,460. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Kicking...punching...mugging - just another fun-packed weekend for Miles, Burney and Jimmy. The violence and hatred of one weekend resurface. Things from the past turn them against each other to the outcome of ruination and murder. They must find the source of their retribution and stop it before they lose their minds and then their lives.
Flat Number 9
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 47,680. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Horror » General
Devlin's flat reveals a secret: a journal that belonged to the woman who was here before. The turning of one page leads to another, leads to visions of a place and a power that permeates the complex in which he lives, calling into question the apparent innocence of its residents. Why did she leave? How did she leave? In his search for answers, he finds love, darkness and something far worse.
Skin Deep
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 53,060. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Erotica » Paranormal
Carl and his daughter find a box of dolls at a car-boot sale and are later faced with beautiful creations that fight for his acceptance, for his love and lust. Creations that are driven by the power of sacrifice, born into fabricated semblances of the female form. He must find the architect of these forms to save himself, his daughter...and much more than he thought possible.
Bodies in Revolt
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 56,440. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Vicar Alex Jennings is drawn across the country to the village of Trenton by a reoccurring vision: a boy...flames...burning. He takes on a new parish and investigates what he believes to be a murder. He delves - exploring the cracks in the facade of our world, unearthing secrets, and finding blasphemous beasts beneath this human-driven society.