Saturday, November 8, 2008

Author Colin Harvey on Writing Blind Faith

Colin, tell me a bit about your family. Your adoring public would like to know! Also include any info you would like people to know including URL to your website if you have one.

I've been married to Kate for just over 20 years. We live just outside Bristol in the UK with our black Cocker Spaniel called Alice, but lost Chloe --my first dog, a Springer Spaniel-- earlier this year.

My website is at

Do you have insight to share to help others writing find success in getting a book published?

By learning what editors and publishers want, and what they want --they've told me-- is reliability. If they say they want a manuscript by Christmas, they don't want it in January or February.

Tell me about any workshops you offer?

I don't at the moment, but maybe I ought to.

What inspired you to write Blind Faith? How long will we wait for the next book?

I wrote a story about three years ago called 'The Bloodhound,' about a PI who can smell people's sins. I woke up with a line running through my head: "Murder smells of black pepper..." It seemed obvious that there would be others with senses affected in the same way, although Frances and The Bloodhound will never meet.

The next novel is due out next year, but it's very, very different. More on that below.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

For characters, I try to make them composites of two or three people, so maybe physically they look like one person but have the characteristics of another. I plot them ruthlessly, building a crisis in at regular points.

How do you come up with ideas for your writings and why do you feel you choose some over others?

Idea generation is the easy part -- it's just a case of collecting ideas, grouping them in logical combinations, and hurling them together to create a fission reaction like a nuclear bomb. Why I choose some over others is down to what interests me at any one time.

How much time do you devote to marketing your book and what kind of marketing do you recommend?

I'm probably the last person that you should ask! Marketing is something I don't think I'm very good at. I blog -mostly reviews- for Suite101 and give on-line interviews, as well as attending local cons. But I'm sure that I could do better, if I could only separate the things that work from the things that don't.

What are your current projects?

A big SF novel called Winter Song about a man who crash lands on a planet settled by Icelandic settlers, filled with hard SF concepts like genetic engineering, terraforming, pantropy and nanotechnology and Artificial Intelligences. Oh, and a crashed space ship: the Winter Song...

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Apart from writing every day, finish what you start. I know too many authors who have several novels, all of them unfinished.

No comments: