Thursday 28 February 2013

Writer - Martin Owton

I'd like to welcome you to my interview with writer, Martin Owton.  Enjoy.

Martin Owton

Hello Martin, can you please introduce yourself?
I'm Martin Owton, from Camberley, Surrey.
How long have you been writing?
Since 1994 when I picked it up again after messing around in bands.
What first got you interested in writing?
Always was from the age of 9 or 10
Do you attend a writing group?
I attend Rushmoor writers and The T-Party. Started with both of them in 1997.
Why do you attend a writing group?
For support, critique and networking and now to pay it forward to newer writers.
What is the most valuable thing you have taken away from your writing group?
Their support, that I’m not crazy trying to get my work professionally published. Secondly that by learning to analyse why other people’s stories don’t work and what they need to change to make them work makes one a better writer.
What genre(s) do you write?  What drew you to this/these genre(s)?
SF/F – This is primarily what I read and know how the genre works.
Are there any genres that you don’t enjoy writing?  Why?
Lit fiction, inspirational.  I am a plot-driven writer and prefer books to have a complete story arc.
What types of things do you write?
I did my learning with short stories before becoming mainly preoccupied with novel length fiction. I used to write song lyrics when I was in bands.
Have you ever had anything published?  
25 short stories, mostly paid, some in pro-level US magazines.
Have you sent your writing to agents/publishers?  Have you received any rejections?
Represented by Shiel Land Associates.  First novel did not get picked up by publishers, second novel about to go out to them.
Would you consider self-publishing/e-publishing?  
I would consider it, but the major difficulty is making your work stand out from the endless sea of self-published works, most of which are not very good. 

Do you have a writing routine?
I write mostly in the late evening after I’ve had all day to chew over what happens next.

Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
I like to have about half to story before I start and then expect the rest of it to grow.

Do you have an editing process?  
I have several people who read my early drafts before the 2nd draft goes to my writing groups.

How do you come up with your characters’ names and personalities?
Misheard names, people I’ve known across the years.
Who/what influences your writing?  Where do you get your inspiration from?
Many influences from Alister MacClean/Hammond Innes type thriller to David Gemmell and Glen Cook. 
How important is it for you to share your writing?
Have you ever attended an open mic night for spoken word performers, and either an observer or a performer?
Not as yet.
Have you ever entered any writing competitions?  Have you ever won?
Yes, a few nothing significant.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Fix it in the rewrite.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Just do it. 
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
Getting a new idea.   Struggling through that period about half way through a story when it feels like it isn’t turning out right.
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Used to play a lot of sports, run pub quizzes.
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
‘The Devil You Know’ by Mike Carey.
What types of things do you read?  Do you think your writing reflects your book tastes?
Mostly I read the opposition, plus historical non-fiction.
What are you working on at the moment?
Sequel to my first novel (that failed to sell) while I wait to see if my second novel is going to get picked up. 
Do you have a website/blog/twitter/facebook dedicated to your writing?  
Would you be able to provide a short piece of your work? 
Hardcastle's Dragon
Squire Hardcastle tethered his horse to the post beside the horsetrough at the corner of the marketplace and paused to brush the dust off his coat. 
“Mind him for us lad.” He tossed a farthing to a cross-eyed boy who sat nearby   and set off up a side street of handsome stone houses. He stopped at a doorway and peered suspiciously at the small brass plate on the wall; it read Office of the College of Wizards. He tugged on the bellpull beside the plate and waited.  Presently the door opened and an elderly woman conducted him inside. 
The interior smelt pleasantly of lavender and the beeswax polish that had evidently been lavished on the wall-panelling and floorboards of the corridor. Squire Hardcastle could feel the maid’s disapproval boring into the back of his head as his hobnailed boots scuffed across the floor. The corridor ended at a door which was equally as well polished. He  knocked gently on it just below the plate that read J. Hoskins, Clerk to the Wizards
© Martin Owton 
Thank you Martin. 

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