The Intel: Ian Ferri

We love writers here, and whatever their experience — if it’s their first novel or their umpteenth — we’re always interested on how they get words on the page. We can all learn from each other, which is tres bon. Ian Ferri is promoting his thriller The Final Refuge through Book Guild Publishing. Here’s how Ian puts in a shift.

Ian_PortraitWhat’s your writing process? What comes first, plot or character?

I write on issues I feel strong about, particularly political issues, for I’m very much a political animal. I invent situations that will allow me to express my views, frustrations or sense of justice or injustice. To explore both points of view, I invent a conflict situation between opposing factions and see how it plays out. The plot always comes first. Characters are the tools.

Take us through a typical writing day.

Once I have established an initial draft, and an outline of the story, I treat it as a screenplay and break it up into a series of scenes. I try to create a mental picture board, which allows me to see where best to distribute the action scenes. I may spend a day just working on characters making sure they’re distinguishable and that they have substance.

Who are the authors you love and why?

Alistair McLean, Brian Callison, Hammond Innes and Tom Clancy are some of my favourites. Alistair MacLean, for me, was the ultimate adventure story teller, and Hammond Innes is an unusual thriller writer as his protagonists were often not heroes in the typical sense, but ordinary men suddenly thrust into extreme situations by circumstance. This is more in line with my thinking about protagonists.

How do you deal with feedback?

Constructive feedback is always welcome and I ask my friends for their comments. Negative comments are generally more useful than compliments. Not that I don’t appreciate compliments.

How have your own experiences shaped your writing?9781846249679

I’m fortunate to have had a wealth of experience in many areas: I’ve travelled the world while in the Merchant Navy, experienced many different cultures, and studied a variety of different subjects extensively. This experience is where I draw most of my ideas from.

What’s the best advice for an author who wants to get his book on the market?

Don’t let the publishers grind you down. They’re naturally looking for the genre that’s selling best. Don’t give into what genre is currently popular. If you have a story to tell, tell it.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently rewriting a manuscript that I started some time ago.

Ian Ferri’s The Final Refuge is released in Hardback on the 30th January, 2014. You can buy it here: www.amazon.co.uk/The-Final-Refuge-Ian-Ferri/dp/1846249678

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