© 2013 Clive Eaton
I live in the north of England with my husband. My writing CV? I don’t think of myself as someone who has ‘always written, ever since I was a child’ – but when I think back, now, there were always short stories floating about. I expect they were pretty grim! I wrote my first novel in 1993, after which I wrote about 9 more. I only ever sent the last couple off to agents; one really liked the way I wrote but wanted me to change the plot of my last one before she would take it on. I didn’t want to. On reflection, that was probably a bad idea – I can see what was wrong with it, now! Silly me….
After that I didn’t write anything much for 10 years – busy social/work/love life got in the way! Then, in 2009, I moved up here to live with and marry the best man in the world, and my life grew calm once more! I wrote the first one of the current batch, You Wish, in 2010. Again, an agent was impressed by it but was unsure about the whole plot. I liked the story far too much to change it – then someone told me about Kindle. The rest, as they say….! I now have four novels on Amazon, the most recent of which is…..
Book title: Dream On
Dave Bentley has big rock ‘n’ roll dreams, and forms his own band, Thor. The story revolves around the band and its members, and also Janice, who is the mother of Dave’s son. Janice still loves Dave – but Dave is in love with beautiful singer-songwriter Ariel; she has dreams of her own. Thor, Ariel, and Ariel’s somewhat ditzy friend Melodie (who is desperate to see herself on the front of the ‘celebrity’ gossip magazines) enter a TV talent show…..
What do you do to relax when you are not writing?
I binge-watch selected TV series in bed. Currently favourite is US prison drama Oz – I like most crime & law stuff, and decent psychological drama/thriller films. I read, too…!
What, or who, inspired you to become a writer?
I don’t think there was one specific person or event, but reading CS Lewis saying that no-one was writing the books he wanted to read, so he wrote them himself, has always stuck in my mind. Oh - plenty of people are writing the books I want to read, I hasten to add!
What or who inspired you to write your current novel?
I have told this tale in other interviews, so I apologise to anyone who has read it before. In 1995 I was sitting in a pub with my sister, and we started weaving a tale around two chaps who were standing at the bar. I went home and turned it into a novel called Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams – rubbish title! This summer, I re-wrote it – those two chaps are Dave and Shane in Dream On. By coincidence, four years later I got to know them, and married the ‘Shane’ character; the ‘Dave’ one was our best man.
Tell us three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) It features the subject of Alzheimer’s sufferers and their carers – I write this from experience as my mother has this disease. I hope I have portrayed this accurately; those who have mentioned it say I have.
2) Dave’s local pub, The Romany, is taken from a pub I frequented when I lived in Northampton – The King Billy.
3) The chap walking down the road on the front cover is a friend of mine.
What research did you need to do for this book? Are any elements/characters of your book based on real life experiences or people you’ve met/known?
I’ve known lots of ‘musos’ in my time, so yes. Some of the material within the book comes from from observation and memory, some from people being kind enough to help me with my research – not least of all my former stepson, who auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent, and my sister, who used to work for a satellite TV station. I have no children, so I find the children-orientated bits in any novel difficult – I need to draw on my experience of being a step-mother and an aunt, as well as my observation of friends. Then there are those two wonderful helping hands – imagination and common sense!
Tell us a little about your current work-in-progress.
At the moment I’m writing a sequel to Dream On – although the ending was a satisfactory one, I felt there was more to be said…
What process did you adopt from inception through to the finished book?
Um… I wrote it, re-wrote it a few times which took the form of multiple edits, then I got other people to proof read, design the cover, and format for Kindle.
What do you need (or not need) around you whilst writing?
Must have quiet. Apart from that, coffee and nicotine gum, as I like smoking and would like to do so a lot more than I do but have managed to cut down to only about 3 or 4 a day; I don’t smoke these in the house, anyway.
What prompted you to self-publish your current book?
Well, if I hadn’t I don’t suppose many people would have read it!! I haven’t sent either Dream On or its two predecessors, Nobody’s Fault and The Other Side, to agents. I might have a stab at it again one day!
What were the three biggest challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Having to make it a priority and neglecting other areas of my life.
2) Finding the time, whilst also keeping up sufficient online promotion for the other three.
3) Back ache, because I don’t sit properly when I’m typing.
Every author seems to suffer with writer’s block at some point. How do you overcome it?
I don’t suffer from it. I have the opposite problem; I wish I had two heads and sets of hands so I could get the ideas out faster. Sometimes I am not in the mood and it is more difficult to write well, and I have to force myself, but that is a different thing entirely.
What single piece of advice would you give to any aspiring writer?
Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t write what or how you want to write; Jack Kerouac, Jane Austen, GRR Martin, Deborah Moggach and anyone else you might care to name didn’t get where they are today by following the ‘rules’ or worrying that their work didn’t fit into a particular genre.
What genre does your book fall into?
Coming to this question next made me laugh, considering my answer to the last one! I don’t know. Contemporary fiction, how’s about that? Amazon has slotted them into all sorts, like ‘romantic suspense’, ‘psychological’… I thought up a new one for Dream On, which is ‘bloke lit’, as opposed to ‘chick lit’. They’ve been described by readers as ‘intelligent chick lit’, ‘kitchen sink dramas’, amongst other things. Oh - I have a single one star review for You Wish. It says it’s ‘a complete load of rubbish’. I quite like that!!
How did you get interested in this specific genre?
I never gave ‘genre’ a moment’s thought until I put my stuff on Amazon. I just write what I want to write.
You as a reader
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Jilly Cooper – because reading half a dozen marvellous short novels she wrote in the 1970s (I read them then, too) made me realise that you don’t have to write like anyone else, you can just write how you want (sorry, am I labouring this point a bit too much??!!).
2) Emily Barr – I wrote to her a few years ago to tell her how much I loved her books, and that I used to write myself but just stopped. She wrote me a lovely letter back, encouraging me to start again. I wrote You Wish.
3) Susan Howatch, because I love how she swaps POVs so that you see how two people can see one situation so differently. My plan for my next novel (after the current WIP) is a longer family type drama in just six long chapters – each time, the story will be taken up by the next character. I nicked this idea from Ms Howatch, as I ADORE the way she has done this in such marvels as Cashelmara and The Wheel Of Fortune.
What was your favourite book as a child?
What is the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?
Without a doubt, The Absolutist by John Boyne. It’s set in WW1, and deals with many of the social prejudices of the time.
What was the last book you recommended to a friend, and why did you think it was worthy of recommendation?
Rathbone Kydd by K J Bennett – I got talking to KJ on Twitter, and read his book after he’d read and reviewed Dream On – I was so glad I did! It’s about a 1970s rock musician who accidentally time travels into 2012. It’s perfectly observed, very funny and extremely well written. One of those gems that hasn’t got enough recognition – yet!
Kindle (or other e-reader) or paperback, and why?
Kindle. I love it! Took me a while to do so, but I love how you can flick back and forth between books, and, best of all, it fits so easily into one’s handbag, and is perfect for travelling!
Hollywood is calling
You’ve had the call from Hollywood and they want your opinion on who should play the leading roles in the film based upon your book. Who would you choose, and why?
Dave should be played by Charlie Hunnam, of Sons Of Anarchy fame, or a young Sean Bean. Dave is a bit rough and ready, very masculine, quite a looker, but with a certain kindness and intelligence – these two fit the bill perfectly. Ariel should be played by a young Debbie Harry – or English actress Myanna Burring, who looks much like Debbie did in her younger days. Ariel is very beautiful but her looks are ‘edgy’; she’s not a ‘girly’ girl.
The film of your book is now going to need a soundtrack. Which musician(s) would you want to write and play it?
Aerosmith – and the title track would be their wonderful ‘Dream On’, of course – dream until your dreams come true!
Drink – Coffee; has to be with freshly ground beans. I’m a coffee snob. Do you mean alcoholic? If so, Whisky Mac – whisky and ginger wine.
Meal – Salmon in some sort of amazing dill sauce, and loads of vegetables.
Holiday destination – Scottish highlands
TV programme – Breaking Bad – mild mannered chemistry teacher becomes a major drug baron. Bryan Cranston is marvellous in it. Gritty crime dramas; The Shield, Oz. And less gritty ones, like Inspector George Gently!
Film – Gritty crime, again - Harry Brown. Goodfellas. The Godfather. Clerks.
Also love all the Lord of the Rings films, and Still Crazy – about a 70s rock band who make a comeback… I’ve watched it about 12 times.
Method of travel – Preferably, being automatically beamed somewhere, like on Star Trek.
Sport – I’m not interested in any sport. Quite fancy geo-caching, though I don’t know if that can be classed as a sport.
Many thanks for inviting me to be on your blog, Clive – I hope you and your readers find something of interest in all I have written!
How can people connect with you?
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