You know that we love writers here, and the way they choose to dress is quite frankly none of our business. Andrew Peters is the author of novels about Otis King, the Number One Welsh Blues Detective in Memphis, and other crime novels and short story collections – all available on Amazon, by the way – and he’s agreed to do The Intel for us.
When Andrew’s not writing — and spoiler alert, his last answer drops a bit of a bombshell! – he like guitars, Twitter, cats and bacon sandwiches.
What’s your writing process? What comes first – plot or character?
I really don’t have a system for shorter stories, with longer ones the main character comes first, then the plot and then the rest of the characters. The main character is particularly important, as he’s always the one telling the story. I find characters easier than plots, since I’m not blessed with a criminal mind.
If I have something to write, I tend to go at it pretty hard, maybe 10 hours, 5-6000 words a day. I like to get stuff finished. The first draft of anything is usually 98% of what finally emerges. Hemingway was wrong.
Who are the authors you love, and why?
Damon Runyon, PG Wodehouse, Henry Fielding, Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Georges Simenon, Robert B Parker, I suppose because they’re the best at what they do… also because their’s always a fair dose of humour and intelligence in their writing.
What’s the hardest lesson you ever had to learn about writing?
It hurts your back and neck.
How do you deal with feedback?
I now ignore it completely and refuse to read any reviews. I read enough early on to reassure me that my stuff didn’t stink too much, but even Shakespeare doesn’t please everybody. Bad-tempered negative reviews (“worst book ever, dreadful, I deleted it from my Kindle after 6 words”) generally mean that the reader bought the wrong book and wants to make the author suffer for it. I find positive reviewers prone to confuse the idea of reviewing a book with writing a synopsis of the entire plot, most of which I want the reader to find out as they go along, not have dumped on them before they get to page one.
No idea really… I suppose all of them are in there somewhere. I have murdered three wives and slept with over five thousand blondes.
Give me some advice about writing…
Find a different hobby, chances are you won’t be much good at it and won’t sell many. Those agents and publishers who turned you down were probably right. Everyone on Twitter now thinks they can write a novel, just like the whole of Britain seems to think it has the “X Factor”.
If you’re determined to do it, write great stories in really good English. If you’re not impressed with my advice, merely consult your Twitter feed, which will be full of links to “47 Essential Tips For Writers”… mostly from Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, Hemingway and a bunch of American women who have nearly finished writing their first paranormal romance. They all tell you to remove adverbs, avoid the passive mood and use “strong” verbs, whatever they are.
Amazon KDP is an excellent system for getting your book into the marketplace. Read their guidelines and buy a good cover. Getting it out of the marketplace into people’s bookshelves is a quite different matter. Can’t help you there.
What’s next for you?
No idea, I haven’t written a word in nearly six months, so maybe I’m done now. Obscurity beckons.