Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Q&A with Aaron J. Booth


For my second Q&A session, I would like to introduce Aaron J. Booth (, whose debut novel Life Eternal should be available next month! Aaron and I happened to run across each other on a very popular writer's forum that I would highly recommend for all writers new or experienced: As Fate would have it, I met Aaron only shortly before his book was accepted for publishing, so I've been able to follow along with all the updates as they went, which was a very neat experience.

Along with this personal webpage posted above, Aaron also has a Facebook fanpage you should check out:

So, enough with the introductions right? A big thanks to Aaron for answering all my questions and best of luck to you!

About you:

1) Imagine a hardcopy of your newly published novel is sitting in hands. What would the author bio in the back of the book say? And anything else you want to add, of course.

The author bio that I used on my facebook fan page would have to go on there. I'm terrible at that sort of thing and that's the only bio I have written that I thought was ok.

Questions about the Writing Process:

2) When did you know that writing was it for you? You have a job, loads of other hobbies, but what is it about writing that made you go: there's nothing else I want to do?

That's easy. When I was younger I just wanted my name to be on a book. That was literally ALL the motivation that made me want to do it. After that I just read and read and read until I started writing better.

3) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is your favourite author, this I know, but why is that? What is it about the pipe-smoking detective that makes you go back to the Holmes stories so often? Has his writing style influenced yours?

Sir Arthur is my favourite purely because he is one of those people that, if he were not to have existed, the world would have been a worse place for it. The Chinese and Egyptians use Sherlock Holmes as a textbook of learning for their police force, The F.B.I fully incorporate his methods and the French named their criminal Laboratory after him. It isn't just Holmes that makes me love Conan Doyle, the first thing I read by him was 'The Lost World' and it was breath-taking.

I tend to adopt his victorian style of writing when writing short historical fiction stories. So he has influenced me in that respect.

Outside of writing Sir Arthur introduced Switzerland to skiing, he invented the naval life-jacket and persuaded the army to adopt steel helmets. He did so many other wonderful things but they are too vast to write down :(

4) You're sitting down to write your quota for the day - describe the scene. Do you have a favourite chair? Coffee shop? What gets you thinking like a writer?

I write best at night. I don't know why but I can always write more and better quality when it's dark. I 'm starting to force myself to write during the day though as writing my daily quota at night means no social life whatsoever. I tend to write in my bedroom but the actual place doesn't matter. I need silence though, can't write if the tv is on or if music is playing.

5) From where I stood, it didn't seem to take long to get yourself recognized by publishers. Tell us a little about that process.

I wrote the novel 'Life Eternal' in the space of 6 months in 2009 and had it refused about four times before Three Ravens accepted it in late 2010/early 2011. The reason I kept pushing was the positive feedback I received from my refusals. The majority of which was 'we would accept it under normal circumstances if it wasn't about vampires.' A lot of people thought that vampires were too common so they wanted something different. I am just thankful that Three Ravens wanted to run with my vampires!

6) On a more technical note, is there any advice you can give on formatting? I've had people ask me about how their manuscript should look before they send it off to an agent or a publisher. Any thoughts or advice on this point?

My advice would be 'format it however you want'. No matter how you format it, you will do it wrong. I say this because every agent, every publisher and every magazine all have different guidelines. Just alter your line-spacing or your margin sizes to fit each place you submit to. Don't get hung up on what font to use or what size line-spacing to employ before you have finished your manuscript. That stuff is all unimportant and easily changed to fit a publisher/agent/editor's needs.

7) You've already had a number of publicity opportunities, on your local radio station and in the newspaper. Do you enjoy getting out there to talk to people? What is your most or least favourite part about the public relations aspect of writing?

I love doing things to get myself out there. Anything to do with publicity is something I find enjoyable and, to date, I can't say that there is an unenjoyable part about seeking publicity. Except for, maybe, waiting for the day to arrive.

Book-Directed Questions:

8) Tell us about your new book. In a sentence, what is it about this book that would make people want to read it?

My book is a dark fantasy novel featuring blood-thirsty vampires and strong-willed heroes who seek to hunt and destroy them.

PS. If you dislike the sparkly vampires from Twilight then you will enjoy my book.

PPS. It isn't as generic as I make it sound. Really!

9) What was your favourite part of writing the book? Was it the excitement of the formatting? The rush of the editing?

I can't say formatting is exciting and anyone who has edited a novel will tell you it isn't fun :( My favourite part about writing it was the thrill of not knowing what was happening next. I don't plan anything I write. I just write and let the characters evolve and tell the story at their own pace. If I know what's going to happen then I get bored and stop writing. This way the entire process of starting and finishing a novel is fresh and exciting to me.

10) Life Eternal is nearly on the shelves (care to give us an estimate as to when that might be?), so what are you up to these days? Any new projects being worked on?

Life Eternal is due to be published on August 1st 2011 and (hopefully) the kindle version MIGHT be out a little earlier. These days I am being far lazier than I should be. I finished a second novel (completely unrelated) whilst Life Eternal was still going through the sub process. That novel is set in post-apocalyptic England and I am very excited about it. I am just hoping the publisher is equally excited! I am currently working on the sequel to Life Eternal which is titled 'Eternity's End'. I put a stop to it to work on the post-apocalyptic novel and picking up where I left off was very difficult. I have to admit, I couldn't get my interest back with the piece, but that interest has just come back full force after a recent chapter I wrote. So I am hoping to have the sequel finished a short while after the first book goes on sale. Obviously, publication would be way off in the future, though.

One last question:

11) The usual, should-be-expected question: In one sentence, can you offer a piece of advice to any aspiring writers out there? Either about the writing itself, or the publishing, or what have you?

In one sentence I really can't, there is way too much stuff that needs to be covered to give anyone reading a fair account of all of the above. I can give two little nuggets of advice though: the first being a link to my website (it may sound like shameless advertising, but I have a blog post on there which gives insight into everything you asked in this question and I hope people find that information useful) (that is a direct link to the post I mentioned).

The other bit of advice would be to join up to My Writers Circle. It is, without a doubt, the greatest writing forum I have come across. It helped me a lot and it WILL help others. It's where I found my publisher so I can't speak highly enough of it.

I have actually had the honour of reading a snippet from Life Eternal and I can tell you that I am SUPER excited to read the rest of it. The cover art is also really gorgeous. 

You know, something fascinating I find about my two sets of Q&A is that, although many of my questions were the same, the answers were so different. I find it reassuring to know that each writer has his (or her) own system. Let this be a lesson to all aspirers (yes, I just made up this word) out there: never feel that your 
system is wrong. Whatever allows you to put words on a page, however often, is a system that works!

Aaron, I'm very proud to know and so excited for everything that's happened. I encourage everyone who reads this Q&A to definitely check out the websites and show your support! 

Also, I didn't know any of that stuff about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so that was eye-opening. Writers can change the world. Who knew? 

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