Interview with Darcy Lin Wood

Who are your favorite authors?
I will read anything if the mood takes me (last year I read Malleus Maleficarum and a few years before that I read The Divine Comedy). I am a huge James Herbert fan and his books are my guilty pleasure. However, I love J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, some Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Pullman and H.G. Wells. There are so many great authors out there and so little time to read their works!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee. After that, the will to succeed as a writer. Writing becomes habitual, but it is the coffee that gets me out of bed.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working as a waitress at weddings, funerals and parties. It allows me to meet many people and I can see the spectrum of the human condition. My job is never in a fixed place and I get a sneaky peek into many grand mansions. Apart from work, I enjoy reading, playing computer games, painting, gardening, walking, cooking and eating. If I had more money, I would travel the world with my other half.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I use Bookbub to find freebies. I use the Kindle store (as I have a Kindle) or I look at Smashwords, of course!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Unfortunately yes. My first ever attempt at writing was a collaborative project between me and a girl in my class at age 11. It was a post-apocalyptic story about a pandemic disease that killed off all animals and only mankind survived. Like 12 Monkeys, but the other way around and written by a child. The first ever novel I wrote is in a drawer, maturing like fine cheese. I hope it will be my magnum opus.
What is your writing process?
I keep a mini book of ideas for stories. When I have time to write a new story I dive into the little book. First drafts are always done on paper with a pen; I write about 2,000 words a day in this 'vomit draft'.
After it is done, I leave it and get on with other things like short stories or editing. When I type up these hand-written stories, I am giving them another edit, but after that I will leave it in a drawer for as long as possible to gain distance from my words. Usually I will print out later drafts and edit them on paper. There is always so much editing to do!
When I am happy, I will give it to my other half, my constant reader, and hear what he has to say. Once the big problems are fixed, I get beta-readers for more feedback.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The Natural History of Britain and Europe was the first book that I ever loved. I still have it, in all its battered glory. The first fiction book I loved was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Although, I struggled through curriculum story books for years before finding my own way.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Hard question. These are not in order.
1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, because he is a tour de force and the book is all about revenge.
2. The Road by Cormac McCarthy, because it is so dark. It is a tale where the apocalypse has happened and yet it isn't about that, it is about a father and son surviving. Brilliant.
3. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes,, because it is very clever and makes you feel such empathy for the protagonist.
4. The Lord of The Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, because it is original, the founder of the fantasy genre and epic.
5. I don't know whether to put Game of Thrones (George R.R. Martin) in this last space or The Dark Tower series (Stephen King). I love them both.
Describe your desk
It has recently become a standing desk. It was my dad's before me and is a 70s prefab with a curiously brown top. It is a mess. There are post-its, papers, rejections and stories all over it. In between the deluge of crap is my keyboard, monitor and mouse. Poor mouse.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up outside Glasgow (hence the Lin Wood in my pseudonym). It was the 80s, there was recession and cold war. The houses were grey pebble-dash and people wore tracksuits. My mum was the only foreigner in a ten mile radius and my dad was a helicopter engineer. Me and the kids on the estate hung out together all the time. They even taught me how to cycle. I was too young to see what I now know. It has influenced me greatly and the memory of my early childhood in Scotland is one of my most precious. When I was around six we moved to the south of England and it was a huge culture shock.
Published 2015-03-16.
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