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We're now up to Day 11 of Dean M. Drinkel's author interviews. Christmas, it seems will soon be over - but the book remains, so - give it a read, post a review; you won't be sorry. In the meantime, here's the penultimate interview:
Paul is a top bloke (sorry, terrible expression, I know, forgive me but the sentiment is true!) – we’ve worked together once or twice previously and I was lucky to spend a few hours in his company at Fantasycon a couple of months back. For our anthology “12 Dark Days: One Hell Of A Christmas” published by Alex Johnson’s Nocturnicorn Press (and supported by John Gilbert / FEAR) Paul drew Day 11. I asked all the contributors a number of questions either relating to them as a writer or their Christmas experiences…here are Paul’s answers…
Author Name: Paul M. Feeney
Story Title: Call of the Piper
Q: What inspired you to write this particular story? Did you do any research?
PF: This was actually my second idea for a 'Piper' story, following an attempt to write something set in the early 1900s in the epistolary style. It was a sort of panic idea, which came to me as I started to really feel the pressure of the deadline looming. Brainstorming ideas concerning pipers led me to think on the famous Hamelin story. And so I came up with something along those lines. And yes, there was a little bit of research around the Pied Piper, though mine differs significantly.
Q: Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
PF: I'm not sure if a big ego helps or hurts writers in their writing – though my thinking is that a healthy balance between confidence and insecurity about the work does help – but in relation to a public persona, any kind of overly cocky attitude comes across as ugly. In my opinion. Again, I think it's a balance; nothing wrong with feeling you've created good work, but I also think a small amount of humility goes a long way. As always, it's a balancing act, but no matter what you do, there will always be others who criticize for whatever reason, so perhaps just being yourself is the right way.
Q: Are you friends with other writers and do they help you become a better writer?
PF: I am friends with a fair few writers, and know many more through social media and various events. And I'd say they do help me be a better writer in a number of ways. But what helps even more is reading some fantastic stories with wonderful writing by many of them, which inspires me to try and improve my own work. I think any writer worth their salt should always be looking to do better with each piece, constantly refining and honing their craft; otherwise, what's the point?
Q: Do you want each story you write to stand on its own, or do you try to build a body of work with connections between each one?
PF: Personally, I try and make each story the very best it can be with whatever ability and talent I might have. Though there might be tiny connections between some stories, there isn't an overall connection. However, I do have thoughts around one or two series of stories, the first of which will be out in a magazine called OCCULT DETECTIVE QUARTERLY. Hopefully, readers will like my shape-shifting P.I. and want to read more. We shall see.
Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
PF: Listen more to others who know. And politely ignore those who clearly don't.
Q: Do you base your characters on real people and if so, have they noticed?
PF: Not consciously; my characters personality traits are usually bits and pieces taken from a variety of people and mixed together with some made up stuff.
Q: How did you select the names for your characters?
PF: With great difficulty. Seriously; this is one of the hardest things I find with writing. Sometimes I can't press on without knowing what the character's name is. And some are chosen for specific reasons whereas others are a little more random.
Q: What do you think is literary success?
PF: Difficult one. Success is such a personal thing. It could be as small as having your first story accepted / published, or it could be having a huge success with a novel or series of novels. For me, it's each little milestone along the way; first story, first longer work, acclaim from those you respect as writers. Ideally, I'd like to be able to support myself with writing; that would be my ultimate definition of success.
Q: Do you hide secrets in your stories that only those in the know will find?
PF: Not sure I hide secrets as such, but I have peppered the odd story with sly little references to films or books I know are popular amongst my peers and friends. Hopefully, they get them.
Q: What was your favourite book / film as a child?
PF: It was THE HOBBIT. I read and reread it a lot; every year for a long time until I felt a little of the magic fade. It's just a wonderful book, a fantastic example of storytelling.
To read Paul’s brilliant story please check it out here (UK LINK):
— with John Gilbert and Alex S. Johnson.
A writer - I think that says it all.