Paul Whybrow

Biography

Ex many occupations,from the respectable 'career-ladder' to disreputable "somebody's- got- to- do- it". All a good way of seeing someone else's point-of-view. Best job,apart from writing, was dispatch-riding on a motorcycle in the 70's,though I've also enjoyed teaching,librarianship,counselling and helping to run a community-centre. Worst job - you really don't want to know,but it was in a processed food manufacturer's factory - put me off bacon,sausages and quiches for a long time,and made me look at pet-food in a new way.
I've been writing since I was eight,when I penned a story about a desert island and attempted to compile a dictionary - as Clarissa does in ' The Moon Is Out Tonight'. I've written for magazines under a variety of pen-names,ghost-written a couple of biographies and had a column in a local newspaper..
I used to concentrate on non-fiction of an informative,how-to instructional nature,as I'm a firm believer in the dissemination of knowledge to enable people to do things for themselves. Knowledge is power,and in these troubled times of economic down-turn and increased intrusion into our lives by government agencies its vital to know how to get through. My fictional stories also show people coping and finding ways to survive.
I began writing ebooks under the pen-name of Augustus Devilheart. Both names have strong ancestral connections,but it was pointed out to me by several female friends that this moniker may be frightening some readers away. Hence,I've reverted to my own name of Paul Whybrow.
I'm based in a Celtic nation,the county of Cornwall or Kernow. I've been here for twenty years,and have lived all over the country,as well as abroad - in France,Germany,Switzerland,Spain and the U.S.A.

Smashwords Interview

What is your e-reading device of choice?
Describe your desk:
I don't have a desk as such,for my laptop sits on a small wheeled table,the sort commonly used to pull over a bed to have breakfast. Various useful objects are within easy reach,including a back-scratcher! I write in semi-darkness, with the window covered over to prevent distractions. The room is illuminated by two strategically placed bedside table-lamps and my laptop screen. I'm frequently surprised by what the weather is doing,when I venture into other rooms and look out of the window. As I live in a noisy location, I drown out disturbance by playing music from the hard drive via earbuds.

What's the story behind your stories?
Many of my protagonists are outsiders and solitaries, which is rather a giveaway about my own place in society. Writers are hermits by the nature of their calling, though their seclusion is preceded by immersion in the ways of conventional society. So it was with me, and after a prolonged and intense dunking in the ways of man I took several years out getting to know myself again. I have learned much from reading fiction over the years, loving new words, hearing of new writers and taking encouragement from the success of the characters in their stories. I'll pass on some of these pleasures to my readers. Thus I may use words that aren't commonly heard anymore, mention musicians or authors that the character enjoys, both as an indicator of their nature and to introduce the reader to them.

What do you read for pleasure?
I have wide-ranging tastes,though since I started writing again I've confined myself to poetry,wary of being infuenced by the style of other authors. From 2009 - 2012 I read about 1,400 novels and volumes of short stories and poetry,as well as many non-fiction works. I think that I kept my local branch library open.

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had an agent when I started writing in the 1970's, and she did all of the hard work of finding me work and selling what I wrote. Sadly,she died while I was in America. I've been doing my own thing since,and the attraction of publishing via Smashwords is evident when you look at the percentage paid on earnings compared to traditional publishers. It's salutary to remember that JK Rowling was turned down a dozen times by publishers,before being accepted. As the great screenwriter William Goldman said of the workings of the Hollywood studios : " No one knows anything. " So why not let the reader decide ?

Who are your favorite authors?
For short stories I still think that Guy de Maupassant is the master,though Raymond Carver and Michele Roberts are satisfying and thought-provoking. I favour American thriller writers over British,and Michael Connelly,James Lee-Burke and Dennis Lehane are masterful. James Connolly is superb. Elmore Leonard has never written anything bad. Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series of mysteries are a delight. Henning Mankell is well known for his Wallander series of novels,but any of his novels are fine and moving. Alice Hoffman is always engrossing. I love Patrick Gale,Justin Cartwright,Helen Dunmore, and Donald Harington. I grew up reading articulate tellers of tales,such as J.B. Priestley,John Steinbeck,Ray Bradbury and E.L.Doctorow,all of whom are more concerned with getting their story across than being pretentious in a literary way. If I want to read something unusual I'll go to Haruki Murakami,and Annie Dillard makes me happy. If you haven't read any of Richard Brautigan,then please do,for there's no one like him. Try 'The Hawkline Monster' or 'The Abortion.An Historical Romance 1966.'

Whats the best advice you know about writing ?
Two wise observations spring to mind. The great American sports-writer Red Smith said " Writing is easy. Sit down and open a vein. " And E.L. Doctorow noticed that " Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights,but you make the whole trip that way."

What is your writing process?
I like to think that I have a good memory,but jotting ideas down immediately is a tremendous way of capturing slippery sources of inspiration. It can simply be a phrase or title,as well as plot ideas - don't let them get away. I begin composing stories mentally,often years before sitting down to write using some of the strange and amusing things that have happened to me and friends.I know that some writers stick to a strict regime of creating a certain number of words each and every day. I can see the value in that,as some good may come of it even if it's painfully forced,but I work better going with the flow that comes from needing to put down what's come to me since I left the story. Its more of a release of pressure,rather than a regular syphoning-off of words.

How do you tackle cover design?
Although I'm a writer I have a keen visual sense. My father was a noted photographer,and I grew up surrounded by cameras and mind-expanding images. I have a background that includes the creative arts,so have a go
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had an agent when I started writing in the 1970s, and she did all of the hard work of finding me work and selling what I wrote. Sadly, she died while I was in America. I've been doing my own thing since, and the attraction of publishing via Smashwords is evident when you look at the percentage paid on earnings compared to traditional publishers. It's salutary to remember that JK Rowling was turned down a dozen times by publishers, before being accepted. As the great screenwriter William Goldman said of the workings of the Hollywood studios : "No one knows anything." So, why not let the reader decide?
Read more of this interview.

Books

This member has not published any books.

Smashwords book reviews by Paul Whybrow

  • The Viatic of Thaddeus Moon on Nov. 25, 2013

    Good fun - an incorrigible anti-hero,an alluring and loyal heroine and a doggedly persistent policeman. I look forward to reading more of their adventures.
  • E. U. C. Bureau on Nov. 25, 2013

    Sadly believable as a vision of the future. Blade Runner meets Doctor Harold Shipman ( Wikipedia him ) and a good reason for hair-dye !
  • The Widow's Wail on Nov. 25, 2013

    Deeply moving. An inspirational tale of how to cope when change is forced into one's life.
  • Evaluations of the Tribe - Prossia Book 0 : A Coming of Age Space Opera on Nov. 25, 2013

    Gripping and imaginative narrative with slick graphics - a force to be reckoned with.
  • Beyond The Gate on Nov. 25, 2013

    A strong and imaginative collection of stories with some nice twists. A talent to watch,the author has the right attitude to his craft and I look forward to his new work.