Interview with Spatch Logan

When did you first start writing?
I first started writing when I was in my teens, but a lot of the stuff was derivative and heavily based on what I was reading at the time. There was a lot of dystopian fiction, action, and out and out rip offs of better stories. However, the discipline and method of writing really came about when I was doing my PhD (early 20s). I have written quite a bit of scientific writing before I even thought about coming to fiction.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Irrelevant Experience is a diary based novel about a first rung of the career ladder job in psychology. It heavily draws from my own recollection from that period of time after finishing university and starting your first job, and my discussions with others. I was never an Assistant myself (although I subsequently have had several I have worked with), but I think everyone goes through that horrible period of uncertainty where you go from the protection of the education system out into the big wide world.

I wanted to create something that resonates with people who are on the psychology scene, but also be accessible for anyone who may never even have heard of the profession.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had thought about taking the traditional route, and several people had encouraged me to consider this. However, I really thought that this subject area was quite niche, and I would have a hard time in persuading a major publishing company that the world of professional psychology would interest people beyond it. I also wanted to have the experience of being able to create, produce and disseminate a book on my own, almost as a form of education in itself.

I was also attracted at the amount of control I would have over the final product and the comparatively short turn around time. I had heard of horror stories about good novels being held back because of political reasons on the behalf of the publisher. At another level, I think indie authors challenging the establishment is a positive development, both in terms of its gate-keeping function but also the way it takes up so much of the revenue that should be given to the author.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think the creation of an entire world, and having such precise control over all aspects of it are appealing. It's something that I can't imagine accomplishing in any other sphere of human endeavour. Not that I have a God-complex or anything...
What are you working on next?
Initially, I never had any plans beyond Irrelevant Experience. I thought it would be a self contained exercise and I would just move on with my life once I had it out. However, once I had got through the second draft the world became "real" to me, and the stories of the other characters started to almost interfere with my main story.

One of the side-stories was that of Sarah, the quiet best friend who has a really difficult job at the nursing home. This is alluded to in Irrelevant Experience but not really covered in any depth. I would really want to write that story, not as a novel, but as a short story. That isn't a form I have written in the past so it will be another educational experience for me. I also think its going to be harder in many ways. I already know the events and rough sequence of what happens, but I will need to develop my thinking a lot more. It will be called "The Death of Grace" and I am planning on doing it over the forthcoming winter.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have lots. My all time favourites are George Orwell, Charlie Brooker and Ben Goldacre. I also really like authors who have a panoramic vision in their writing such as Dickens and Victor Hugo. Other key influences are writers who dwell in the grim and grittiness of real life, such as John Steinbeck, Charles Buckowski and Patrick Hamilton. That said, I have to admit I am quite promiscuous in my reading habits. I am near addicted to reading and would do it all day every day if I didn't have a job to do.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yeah. I was about 13. It was a really bad rip off based on Lord of the Flies crossed with Mad Max. The premise was that this airliner crashes onto an island that is carrying these kids on a school trip (except there are several schools, with a fairly bitter rivalry between them). I can't remember much, but the "better" school, in my mind at least, managed to almost recreate civilisation on the island complete with guns and architecturally sound dwellings. The bad school descend to savagery and marauding if I recall correctly. There was a lot of death and sex in it I think. I remember doing pages and handing them over to the kid at the desk next to me to read, instead of doing my homework.
How do you approach cover design?
I get someone else do it. I have a brief idea which I outline, but then trust them to do their job properly.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle app on the iPad.
Apart from the short story, is there going to be a sequel to Irrelevant Experience?
At first I didn't have any plans, but as I wrote I realised the story lends itself to a natural arc, starting off as a rookie (in this book), going through clinical psychology training and coming out on the other side working in a clinical setting. It's unlikely to have the same main character, but it would exist in the same universe and involve the same characters. I have a rough idea how it would pan out, and the fate of the characters. However, I think I will wait and see the reception this book gets before I go off and write the next ones.
If you were starting again from scratch, what would you do differently?
I would expect a longer time frame to write it, and adjust my expectations accordingly. I had expected this thing to take about 3 months and it took nearly 10, which shows how incredibly naive I was. I would also have saved some money up and had more professional help with the various elements of production rather than rely too heavily on people I already knew. (However, to their credit they did an amazing job). I also think I would have cut various side plots and "deleted scenes" a lot sooner and more ruthlessly. The streamlining really helped the pace of the novel and I think I lost relatively little in cutting them.
Published 2013-08-24.
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Books by This Author

Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist
Price: $6.00 USD. Words: 104,570. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit, Nonfiction » Psychology » Clinical psychology
The path to becoming a clinical psychologist isn't easy. Good grades, work experience, and getting a spot on the fiendishly competitive doctoral course, make it hard to break into. Friendships, rivalries, and climbing the career ladder come with the territory after graduation. Embarrassing parents, Facebook addictions and a quarter-life crisis are entirely optional.