- What is your genre?
I write m/m crime fiction. I guess you’d call them cozy mysteries. The protagonist in my current series is a Forensic Psychologist and body language expert who aids his partner, the local Police Chief, with crime scene analysis and suspect interviews. I’ve always had a fascination with what makes people tick and after obtaining a Bsc (Hons) degree in Psychology, I wanted to use what I had learned in my writing.
2. When did you know you had a story to tell?
I’ve been writing all my life. As a 9-year-old at school I wrote short stories about talking animals. My teacher paid me a chocolate coin for each one so I guess you could say that was my first contract. Later, in my teens, as an avid gamer, I wrote scenarios for RPGs (Role Playing Games) one of which I continued for over two years as a rolling storyline. It was only in my 30s I decided to get serious and write novels for publication. Something I had been putting off for years.
3. Where do you find writing inspiration?
My first novel was one I had been planning in my head for about two years before putting pen to paper. It was meant to be stand alone but I fell in love with my characters and brought them back in a series. Whilst writing each book, ideas come to me for future plots and so by the time I’ve finished the book I’ve working on, I already have a working scenario for the next one.
Also, I’m one of those nosey types who listen in on other people’s conversations in pubs and restaurants, much to the annoyance of those I’m out socialising with at the time. Some of those people and what I overhear are intriging enough to start my mind sparking ideas for future characters and plots. I try to carry a notebook with me when I’m out and about so I can jot down any ideas that come to me.
4. What’s your ideal writing setting?
I have a writing room with a computer desk and bookshelves full of writing craft books but I tend to use it only when I’m struggling with my current work and have to force myself to write. Otherwise, I use my iPad and am happy to write wherever I might be, curled up on the couch or sitting in the pub with a glass of beer.
5. What do you hope readers take away from your work?
One of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed reading in this particular genre is that I enjoy puzzles and the opportunity to follow along with the protagonist in trying to solve the crime. I hope my readers get the same pleasure from my work.
6. What makes you pick up a book?
I’m in a local book club which meets once a month to discuss a book chosen at random from a list of members’ recommendations so I don’t always get to choose what I read. However, it means I often read books I would never have chosen myself and yet have been thoroughly enjoyable. Other than that, I read books in my own genre but tend to read them with an eye to learning more about my craft rather than just for pleasure. I also read a lot of books on the craft of writing. I don’t think writers ever stop learning and we should always be looking for ways to improve.
7. Where do you feel you succeed with the writing process?
Quite honestly, I think just getting a book finished and published is success enough. It takes me about a year from first to final draft and as much as I enjoy writing, there are times it can be painful and frustrating. I just feel a sense of relief when the task is finished.
8. What advice would you give to people wanting to start writing?
Just sit down, pick up a pen or turn on your computer, and start writing. It won’t be easy and your first attempts are going to be rubbish but you’ll never learn if you don’t make the effort. You should also read books on the craft of writing and read fiction by established writers in your particular genre with the intention of learning from them.
9. Where do you want to be in your writing journey five years from now?
I’m happy where I am right now so I’ll just carry on as before. I write because I enjoy it, not because I have any desire for fame or fortune. My life is good and right where I want it to be.
10. Where can readers go to learn more about you?
I have a website, https://grantatherton.co.uk. I also have a Facebook page and can be found on Twitter as @MrGrantAtherton but I tend to be more of a browser than a contributor. Social media can be far too distracting and takes me away from what I should be doing, which is working on my current book.
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