We have the pleasure to post an interview with author, Ian Fairgrieve! THANK YOU, Ian, for taking time with us for this interview. It was a pleasure to read!
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Answer: It was a combination of things. The old Tarzan movies, Jason Vorhees and the need to escape the life I was living at the time.
2. Can you tell me about the book?
Answer: Yea. Its about a young boy who goes camping with his parents to a national park. While there he is brutally savaged and his parents are butchered by an escaped tiger. 20 years later 2 groups if people go to the park, 1 wants to buy land the other tries to stop them. 10 people go not all leave.
3. What is your writing process like?
Answer: I try to write when I can but I prefer to write at night. The peace and quiet helps the words to flow easier.
4. What did you learn when writing the book?
Answer: Learnt that I have a very scary imagination. I also learned I'm good at description and making the reader feel they're in the story.
5. What surprised you the most?
Answer: I think the most surprising thing I've found is once i get started the words tend to flow out easily. I've also found that thinking of titles is especially easy. Since writing properly I have ideas for 27 stories.
6. What does the title mean?
Answer: The title 'Survival Of The Fittest' means the fitter you are the longer you'll survive.
7. Was the character inspired by a real person? If so, who?
Answer: No he's not inspired by a real person. Hes inspired by a combination of other characters Tarzan and Jason Vorhees.
8. What do you think happened to the characters after the book ended?
Answer: Although the books ended I'm hoping to do a sequel. As for what happened to the characters I'd like to think they got home and continued on with their lives. But with one of my heroines shes not one to let what happened to them lie.
9. What advice do you have for writers?
Answer: Write whatever is in your head. It doesn't have to be entirely original but if it goes from deep within you it'll be your story. Get a thick skin as well. Not everyone will like your work but if you persevere you'll do it. Just remember write what you what to read not everyone else.
10. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Answer: It energises me without a doubt. Its a form of therapy for me to get my frustrations onto paper.
11. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Answer: I've found one of the common traps is the rule of show don't tell. That's where you don't tell the reader the character is scared you show them in the form of description. I still struggle with that sometimes but I'll beat it and become a great horror writer.
12. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Answer: My particular kryptonite is punctuation. I'm unsure where to put it but I'll get there and if not that's what editors are for.
13. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Answer: To be honest yes I have but my overall goal is be world renowned as a horror writer on par with the greats like Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Edgar Allen Poe so I don't think I'll use one.
14. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Answer: I do try to be original yea. Unfortunately with so many stories out there its hard to be completely original but I've found you can put your own spin on the story and make it fairly original. Plus no-one is you so no-one can tell your story like you can.
15. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Answer: I did want each book to stand on their own but I have also been considering building a connection between my horror stories.
16. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Answer: I have 1 unpublished novella, 1 unpublished superhero short and 4 unpublished short horror stories. I'm in the middle of doing the sequel for my novella as well as doing another short horror story.
17. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Answer: I mostly research different killing methods. I want my killers to be as brutal as possible. I want each if my killers to be known by millions of readers. I spend maybe a month researching my work.
18. How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Answer: I spent the first year or two part time writing but now I write full time whenever I can.
19. How many hours a day do you write?
Answer: I try to squeeze in an hour or two but having 4 kids it makes it hard to be consistent. At night its easier so I write about 3 hours.
20. What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
Answer: Young adult mostly but I have written about middle aged as well.
21. What did you edit out of this book?
Answer: I haven't as yet edited my story. I have rewritten it three times but instead of taking stuff out I added parts to it.
22. How do you select the names of your characters?
Answer: I just pick names out randomly. However if they don't feel right I don't use them.
23. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
Answer: At the moment I don't work but I'm hoping to start a new job soon as a tram conductor.
24. What was your hardest scene to write?
Answer: I think my hardest scene was the fight scene at the end. I wanted it to be dramatic and explosive. I wanted the reader to root for the heroines but see that the killer is a tough s.o.b. to kill.
25. What is your favorite childhood book?
Answer: My favourite childhood book was a story called The Paperhouse.
26. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Answer: I can write a short story in a few days, maybe a week but I wrote my novella in a year and a half. I took so long cause I wanted to get it as right first time as I could.
27. Do you believe in writer’s block?
Answer: Yea I do believe in it. I've had it before. Sometimes I leave writing for a few days then go back to it. It normally works.
28. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
Answer: I wrote my novella on pen and paper but I've started writing on a tablet and in my opinion its better than paper.
29. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
Answer: When I first began to write 15 years ago it was just a form of escape for me but as I got further into my novella I knew that was what i wanted to do.
30. How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
Answer: For me it was fairly easy because it was a way for me to be someone else.
31. Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
Answer: For me its just about getting the words down. I don't like the thought of setting goals because if I don't reach the goals because I have other commitments then it tends to cause me to lose confidence in myself.
32. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
Answer: I set myself a rough idea on plot but when I get started I let it go where it whats to. I don't want to set restrictions on where my ideas go.
33. Do you read much and, if so, who are your favorite authors?
Answer: Yea I do read a lot. I think if you want to be the best you have to read the best. I'm an avid fan of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Charlie Higson and James Herbert.
34. What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?
Answer: For me its the first page. I want it to draw me into the story. After that it needs to be engrossing to keep me reading it. I've read some stories whereby I read a few pages and stopped because it didn't peak my interest.
35. How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?
Answer: I'd be incredibly disappointed. Any writers job is create works that people not only want to read but enjoy reading. For me I want people to be scared reading my work but also to be scared not to read it.
36. Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?
Answer: I think the first book I ever read was a series called The Hardy Boys. It was about a pair of young sleuths who solved crimes much like Nancy Drew.
37. How much of yourself do you put into your books?
Answer: I put my heart and soul into my work. That way if I love it others will too. I wrote a short superhero story about a shapeshifter. I used to fantasize what it would be like if that were me. Whether I'd be a good guy or bad.
38. Who are your books mostly dedicated to?
Answer: My books are definitely dedicated to adults. My work is too scary, gory and brutal for kids.
39. Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?
Answer: My partner is the most supportive. I bounce ideas off her and see what she thinks to them.
40. Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?
Answer: I believe that is true. I personally believe that because my ideas and story titles come so easily to me everything is my muse. You just have to listen and see.
41. Another misconception is that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that?
Answer: That's really not true. Most writers may sell a few books here and there. The truly great ones are lucky to be wealthy but for the most part no they're not rich.
42. Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?
Answer: God no. Everyone I've spoken to and all the stories I've beta read have had multiple mistakes. Even published stories I've read have had the odd mistake.
43. Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
Answer: I sent 2 short horror stories to a publisher and unfortunately they did get rejected. It was disheartening but even celebrated authors like J K Rowling got rejected plenty of times.
44. What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?
Answer: I like the idea of co-authoring a book. In fact I was speaking to a guy on twitter about my work and he asked if any of my work could be adapted to fit his shared world. Sadly they couldn't but within 7 days of that conversation I'd written a completely new short horror story that fit. I've even sent it to his publisher and am just waiting to hear back from him.
45. Is writing book series more challenging?
Answer: Honestly yea I think it is especially if you use events and characters from previous books. If the don't correlate or there are loose ends it ruins the story and plot going forward.
46. Does it get frustrating if you are unable to recall an idea you had in your mind some time earlier?
Answer: Yea it is very frustrating. More so if the idea you had was as brilliant and original as it was.
47. Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?
Answer: Yea. When I rewrote my novella I destroyed the first ever draft of it. I didn't want anyone seeing my idea till I was ready for people to beta read it.
48. Can you tell us about your current projects?
Answer: Well I'm 9 chapters into my novella sequel. Its going to be bloodier, more scary with I'm hoping a lot more action sequences in it. There will definitely be more of a body count if my killer has his way.
49. Had any of your literary teachers ever tell you growing up that you were going to become a published writer one day?
Answer: I wrote a short horror story when I was at school. It centred on vampires and my English teacher was impressed with my excellent use of description in it. She said she was easily able to visualize it.
50. Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?
Answer: My dads never really been a fan of reading but my mum reads a lot, mostly autobiographies. Unfortunately I stopped seeing them around 4 years ago and they don't really know I'm a writer.
51. Do you enjoy discussing upcoming ideas with your partner? If yes, how much do you value their inputs?
Answer: I do discuss my ideas with my partner but that's mostly to grade if she thinks they're good ideas. If she likes them they I explore the idea more.
52. Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?
Answer: I don't really remember my dreams that well but I did write a short horror story about a guy being stalked by an ex that is based loosely on events from my own past. The stories called Alice.
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