I had the pleasure of learning a little more about a friend on Facebook, Nick Perkins! He has some interesting tidbits to share.
Who is your absolute favorite original character? Why them?
I have a character in my Fade trilogy who I have grown very attached to during the three years I have been writing the stories. In the first part we only meet Domino right at the end of the story, but by the end of the third part she is very much the main character. So in a way I have watched her grow up, much as I have with my own daughters. She is a strong character, but with her own doubts and insecurities, like many teenagers, and I hope that I have written her as a character who the readers will grow to love as much as I have.
Do you pour yourself into the characters you create? Which of your characters do you feel has more of you in them than the others?
When I started out, writing short stories, they were all based on my nightmares so naturally there was a lot of me in the characters I wrote. There is less of me in characters these days, mainly because I can’t be every character, but there is certainly me in Jack Adams from the Fade trilogy. But the character that is most me, is the main character from my short story Best Left Alone.
Where do you usually find the books you read? Book stores, thrift stores, or online? What genres do you like?
I find most of my reading material on-line these days, but I still love the smell of books so I love to walk around bookshops every now and again, new or second hand. I am a big horror fan and grew up reading the usual suspects like King, Herbert, Koontz. Sci-Fi runs it a close second, but I am open to reading most things.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
What are your plans with them?
I have one half-finished book called Draymaer. I had been writing it for about six months, when the idea for Fade sprang out of my head and insisted on being written. No sooner had I written that than Fader and Faded followed on and so this poor unfinished story has sat in my computer for the past three years. Now that the Fade trilogy is complete I am dusting it down with the intention of it being my next book. I have one other unpublished story called Phase IV, which will probably get a major edit and rewrite before being published sometime after Draymaer.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
My stories are full of secrets. People who know me really well have spotted some, but nobody has spotted them all, and even if they did they wouldn’t be secrets if I admitted to them.
Why did you start writing?
I started writing as a way of coping with depression and anxiety, and as a way of
dealing with the loss of my dad, and some things that had happened in my past. I started with short stories, which eventually became my two collections White Line and Dark Thoughts but I was finding short stories were no longer enough to deal with the things I was trying to deal with. Short stories are too focused, not enough room to widen the perspective. Writing my first novel , Fade, was a way of dealing with an enforced separation from a friend, a friend who had helped me through those periods of anxiety and depression. It was my way of keeping their presence in my life. The trilogy became my way of analyzing many things, including isolation, loneliness, and family.
Tell us about your writing process. Where do you start?
What do you struggle with?
Everybody is different in the way they write. I am a member of several writing groups on Facebook so I read a lot about how people plan everything, build worlds, draw maps, create detailed character maps. I do none of that. Most of my stories form inside my head, and from the way they come out, they must be almost complete in there, it’s just that my brain doesn’t let me know the whole picture straight away. I start with the first word and keeping going until I reach the end. Often I know where I am going, but have no idea how I get there, occasionally I have no clue where I am going until I get there. Characters introduce themselves, settings unfold, and situations develop as the words flow onto the page. I haven’t struggled with anything I have written yet, but I am sure it will come one day, and I will cross that bridge when I get to it.
What groups do you recommend to writers?
I have found the following Facebook groups useful for a variety of reasons:
Writers’ Soapbox – friendly group, full of encouragement. A good place to share snippets, and take part in challenges.
Fiction Writing – a good place for all questions writing, publishing etc. Watch out for the occasional trolls.
Writers World – good if you want some critique on your work. This group has been a little quiet recently
I asked a dozen readers what they wanted to know about authors, and almost all of them replied “What inspired them to write their story?” Care to share?
Nightmares mostly. Places I have been, and people I have met. Some ideas have come from songs, or even just a line of lyric. Stories are everywhere you just have to listen to their call.
How do you tackle editing?
I self-edit to start with, and I can already hear all those writers crying noooo. I know most would say you have to employ a professional, and if I could justify spending hundreds on a professional editor then I might. But what I do is a passion, not a business, at least not yet and I can’t justify spending hundreds per book when, currently, I have earned less than a hundred in total. So I do the usual things. I leave my first draft for a month or so, then I go back and read it on my kindle, making notes as I go. I then edit and proof read at the same time. Have just discovered the value of the text to speech facility in word, it’s marvelous and would recommend it. You pick up so much more than if you read it out loud yourself. I also have a good friend who reads loads, and is my proof-reader, amateur editor, and beta reader rolled into one. And then there is my growing team of beta readers, who read what I think is the final version. As a group I think we have done pretty well so far as nobody has come back an pointed out myriads of typos, or gaping plot holes, in anything I have written.
What advise can we get from you about writing, editing, reading,
or anything related to this work?
Write for fun. Make sure you want to write, and don’t need to write. The quality of the work is so much better when you want to do it. Endure the edit, because your writing will be much better after. Read widely, because only by reading can you learn how to write.
Nick Perkins is a Project Manager in the construction industry, currently working on one of the biggest construction projects in Europe. He writes when he can, when work, family, and life, allow it. He started writing originally shortly after the death of his father but the arrival of two daughters took away free time. Now they are grown he uses writing as a form of therapy against anxiety and depression.
To-date, Nick has written and self-published two novels, and two collections of short stories. The third novel will be published in 2019, with hopefully more to follow in the years to come.
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