Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Interview with Colin Harvey Author of Vengeance

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 RPG (Rent / Rate Paying Gig, aka day job) is at the Bristol Eye Hospital, where I'm part of the glamourously named Destruction Team in their Medical Records Department. It's sufficiently surreal to ensure that one day I'm going to write a story about it....

My website is at http://www.geocities.com/colin_harvey

When did you consider yourself a writer? You know what I mean—the time when you realized that you crossed the line from “want to be a writer” to “I am a writer”.

I think that it was when I placed a couple of stories and an article in fairly quick succession back in mid-2001; up until then I'd been hovering on the edge of being a writer. I'd actually considered giving up, I was so dispirited.

I kept writing despite the rejection letters through sheer bloody-mindedness --no-one remembers the authors who didn't sell; "Oh yeah, that Colin Harvey, he'd a been a great author, if he'd only persevered." No one's ever going to say that.

Do you feel you have more than one voice in your writing?

I'm getting better at differentiating individual character's voices, but I still have some way to go! I consider writing to be a process of on-going evolution.

What kept you writing while getting rejection letters or struggling with writer’s block?

That's actually two questions!

I suffered writer's block for almost twenty years -- I could start stories, but couldn't finish them. I write instinctively and it was only when I learned about how stories are put together, what you would call 'plot' that I managed to finish them. That was a big step for me.

I've already mentioned how I almost gave up. What gave me momentum was an editor bought an article, and I realized that while my fiction wasn't selling, while I was learning, I could place non-fiction much more easily. Non-fiction can be a lifeline to novice writers.

Do you use certain tricks that help prevent you from straying from your goal?

No -- tricks can backfire. I keep one very simple point in mind -- I have to deliver a manuscript by a certain date. The only way that I can do that is to knuckle down and work

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

Part of it was a simple desire to learn how to write a novel. Part of it was a fascination with the way we apply labels. So a book with 'wizards' in is perceived very differently from a book with 'aliens' in. What happens if you start with one set of labels, and gradually introduce the other set?

What are your current projects?

One of my three projects for 2009 is Displacement, a collection of short stories built around the title novella, which is a near(-ish) future murder mystery -- a sort of CSI: Vancouver mixed with The Day of the Triffids. It's about 25,000 words long, so it has all the challenges of a short story at half-novel length. Whether it's one of the best stories I've written is really something for my publisher to say....

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Write. Write every day. It only needs to be one hour daily -- it's better to have a small amount every day than a huge burst of writing followed by nothing for days or weeks. But write every day: If you write just five hundred words in that hour each day, at the end of seven months you'll have a 100,000 word novel.

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