Today Stitch says has Andrew Goodman in the hot seat – let’s fine out what he has to say:
When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I’ve pretty much always been writing, in some format but it was during the autumn of 2006 when, in a combination of the nature of my work and terrible weather, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. A friend bought me some writing software and I started to really research the nature of writing – how it all hung together rather than just putting words down on the page. I did a lot of reading. Not just novels but books on how to structure stories, developing character, generating through-lines and how to complete a story arc. Some of the most useful books on how to develop a story were screenwriting books, notably Save the Cat by Blake Snyder.
The main impact I suppose it’s had is that I’m a lot more confidant in my abilities now. Not that it lessens the hurt a rejection letter gives, but it does mean that the Standard Rejection slip doesn’t make me want to throw my hands in the air and give it all up as a bad deal.
I’ve met a lot of great like-minded people, both in person and via social networks and it’s fantastic that almost all of them to a man (or woman) are happy to offer tips and advice on writing without recompense. It’s like we’re all one big family.
Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
My latest piece of work is a novel called Tiberius Found available on Kindle and Kobo as an eBook. It’s a near-future Young Adult action/adventure written in a similar vein as Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider stories. The story follows Daniel Henstock who, on his sixteenth birthday, discovers that his life has been a lie. He’s been genetically engineered and those responsible want him back. To survive Daniel has to run, and run hard, but it was never going to be easy or simple. He hides himself away in America but when his liberator is captured he decides to return home and puts his life on the line to repay the debt.
Tiberius Found started life as a short story for a competition that had a genetics theme. The comp had a reasonably short word count and I felt that there was more to the story than the 2,500 words limit. I continued with Daniel’s story as a follow-up short for another competition but still felt it had more legs. I developed the full story arc over a period of months then got down to serious writing and after about a year of edits and rewrites I eventually let it go into the world.
Tiberius Found is the sort of boys’ own action story that I used to read as a child where the adventure is mixed with believability, and from the feedback I’ve had so far the readers have said they could well see the background events happening in the near future. Also, the most readers so far have been girls (or rather, women) who have all said that they have enjoyed the story, so it’s not only for boys.
Tiberius Found may be found here:
• Kindle UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiberius-Found-Emperor-Initiative-ebook/dp/B0084U5M5Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1358077203&sr=1-1
• Kindle US – http://www.amazon.com/Tiberius-Found-Emperor-Initiative-ebook/dp/B0084U5M5Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1358077366&sr=1-1&keywords=tiberius+found
• Kobo – http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Tiberius-Found/book-go-osJH4UUKphQCHPPsBoA/page1.html?s=JYplrZFJr0qILN4Gb2WgFw&r=1
What are your future aspirations as an author?
I reached the point in Tiberius Found, close to finishing the final edit, when I decided that the story wasn’t finished. I’m not a huge fan of the ‘trilogy’ – it seems to be a bit of a literary cliché, but there was enough scope in the story to justify another two books which will complete the series with the overall ‘title’ of The Emperor Initiative.
So … at the moment I’m about three-quarters the way through sequel, which is called Tiberius Bound. This book follows on almost directly from the end of Tiberius Found and continues Daniel’s quest to have a ‘normal’ life. Daniel thought his troubles over but he realises – too late – that danger lies much closer to home. Once again Daniel has to fight to not only save himself but also protect those he cares for, and he has to make some very difficult decisions along the way.
Tiberius Bound should be available in late spring 2013.
The third, and definitely last, book in the series will be called Tiberius Crowned. It’ll conclude Daniel’s story where all the loose ends are tied up and – hopefully – bring the trilogy to a satisfactory conclusion. I’m looking to have a release date for this of around spring 2014.
I’ve also got a series of Young Adult historical adventure stories planned, which take place in 1926. The central character is a fourteen-year-old boy who, in the first book, is drawn into a world of myth, legend, ghosts and a cult who want to unearth an ancient collection of artefacts in order to gain dominion over Europe then the rest of the world. When the chips are down he realises that if he doesn’t risk everything then the bad guys will win – but at what cost to himself?
Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
Where do any of us get our ideas? I listen to the news, deliberately overhear conversations and generally let my mind wander. The biggest question I ask myself is: what if? I think that should be the Writer’s motto.
I’ve planned table-top role-playing games since I was a young teenager so I think my imagination has been ‘open’ for a long time. Any fiction is effectively ‘fantasy’ and as long as a writer concentrates on the story then the setting should add to it rather than dominate. For instance: I thought that Spartacus: Blood and Sand was one of the finest stories of loss, revenge and friendship ever told – and the fact that it was set in ancient Italy only added to its depth rather than taking centre stage.
What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?
As I’ve already said: I read a lot. Reading stories in the genre you’re writing in helps enormously. I read novels by authors I admire or who have sold well. I don’t copy them – I have my own style and trying to copy another author’s would be a big mistake – I try to pick out the bones of how their work hangs together; their story arcs, sentence structure, word choice etc.
There are many ‘how to’ books, some of which are considerably better than others, and it’s difficult to know who to listen to and which to ignore. If I read any book which states ‘This is the ONLY way’ then I usually pass on it. What works for one person may not gel with another and I don’t like the arrogance of some ‘how to’ authors. What I try to do is be open-minded and take snippets of advice and work methods which ring a bell with me.
One of the best ways I know of how to improve is: keep writing. The more I write the better I feel I’m getting at it. Writing is an art and I wouldn’t expect to be able to sculpt a block of marble on the first attempt but with practice and patience I probably would, given time. I give myself permission to write a bad first-draft then hone it down during the editing stage.
Stitch Says is currently enjoying reading Tiberius Found and will post a review once finished. Watch this space, because so far it’s a winner!!!!
Thank you Andrew for dropping by on Stitch Says! Best of luck.
As always keep reading, keep writing.
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