I'd like to welcome you to my interview with writer, Mike Wilson. Enjoy.
Hi Mike, can you introduce yourself?
I'm Mike Wilson, based in Bridlington.
How long have you been writing?
Since the 1970s.
What first got you interested in writing?
I attended an evening class for 'A' Level English and the tutor praised my work.
Do you attend a writing group?
I no longer attend a writing group, after being asked to leave as a disturbing influence.
Ooh, sounds ominous. Before being asked to leave, why did you decide to join a writing group?
I hoped to discover whether I had writing skills. I found I had. I also found a new wife.
Well that's a bonus! Did you manage to take anything valuable away from your writing group?
Myself and my wife. We have been more successful doing that, while the writing group members seem not to have progressed (hence my being a disturbing influence).
What genre(s) do you write?
Journalism appeals to me. I wish I had been a journalist.
What types of things do you write?
I have written and self-published a book of poetry, had a novel published, several articles on local history published, ten self-published local history books and a website.
You've been busy! Have you sent your writing to agents or publishers?
I have sent articles and had them accepted. I've received one rejection that I remember.
Have you ever entered any writing competitions?
Entered many, won a few but there were the NAWG [National Association of Writers' Groups] competitions for members only.
Who/what influences your writing? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I'd love to write like Lee Child, whose character Jack Reacher fascinates me. I'm afraid I lack the motivation to write another novel, although it's planned.
How do you come up with your characters' names and personalities?
I make it up as I go along.
What is your writing routine?
I write when I like, or when I have to.
Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
My novel was structured before writing. I knew the title, the character, and what happened to him. I designed the book cover first. After that I needed only to write the story.
Do you have an editing process?
I edit my own stuff but have asked others to read my work. Poetry I read out loud.
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
The Jack Reacher novels, the Star Wars films, a two-page article in The Oldie, anything for Private Eye. I suppose the list is endless.
Have you ever attended an open mic event for spoken word performers?
Yes. Loved it. Would do more.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
I ignore my own advice and write what I like. If others like it, fine. But most people want their material to be read so they have to write what others want.
What is the best piece of writing advice you've ever been given?
Write what someone else wants to read.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Read the type of writing you want to write.
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Photography, local history, reading, the internet.
What types of things do you read? Do you think your writing reflects your book tastes?
My writing is completely different to the books I read.
What are you working on at the moment?
An eleventh local history book, an update to a previously published book, The Great War Heroes of Bridlington, and I'm always commenting on newspapers online. I might get around to creating a blog, but who on Earth wants to read my ramblings?
Do you have a website/Twitter/Facebook dedicated to your writing?
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for the opportunity to talk about myself. Whether it's of interest to another, I don't know.
Would you be able to provide a short piece of your work?
Passage from Full Fathom Five, a novel of courage in the face of disaster at sea.
Alf Stephenson and the Captain peered into the expressionless face of the body.
“It’s Kit,” said the Captain, gulping back the taste of bile.
Alf turned to the group and asked: “Who found him?”
“Young Johnny Slater, sir. A fisherman’s lad digging for bait early on,” a man in the crowd volunteered. “He’s about here somewhere!”
A boy of about eleven ran up to the group and shouted: “I found him, sir. I found him. He was waving to me from the waves so I waded out to help him.”
Alf Stephenson and Captain Atkin turned to the boy: “Waving?”
“Aye, sir, waving. Like this.” The boy flung an arm from one side of his body to the other.
“Sorry, lad, but that was the sea. He were past waving.” Alf put his hand on the boy’s shoulder to comfort him.
“Oh,” said the boy, lowering his head as sorrow filled his eyes.
“But, young man, there is a reward for the discovery of this body. Did you know? Ten guineas has been offered by the folk at Bridlington for the recovery of Kit Brown. If you found him I reckon you should get the reward. What do you think, Captain?”
“Agreed,” and the Captain gave a slight nod.
“So, lad, ten guineas. What do you think of that?” Alf smiled and the boy’s face beamed.
“Well, sir, I’ll be rich, won’t I? Ten guineas!”
“Aye, that’s a grand start for a young lad like you. And what do you want to be when you’re grown up?”
The lad thrust out his chest and his spindly frame reached its full four feet three inches. Pride shone in his eyes as the gazed up at the Captain. “A lifeboatman, sir. A lifeboatman.”
© Mike Wilson
Thank you Mike.