Welcome back to my blog. I have another author interview for you today. I had the fabulous opportunity to sit down with author, Steve Jenkins and ask him of few questions that I knew his readers would want to know. So go get that cup of coffee (or glass of wine, depending on the time of day you're visiting with us) and get to know our new friend, Steve.
J.P.: So, Steve, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Steve: I've always been a writer. As a kid I made up stories in my head all the time, although I rarely wrote them down. Creating stories and characters was something I just did. I started thinking about publication as a teenager and started a book in my long summer holiday. Unfortunately, school and exams etc. took over and I never got round to completing it.
J.P.: Well I'm sure glad that changed. Tell me, what inspires your writing?
Steve: Life in general. People are fascinating. Life itself, nature, the world around us; everything is amazing if you just take the time to look and appreciate. Get your imagination into gear, open your eyes and ears and prepare to be enthralled.
J.P.: What other jobs have you done or are still doing besides writing?
Steve: I trained as a biochemist, and worked in cancer research for several years. I've also done stints in a pizza shop and a printers' engineer's.
J.P.: Wow, that's one diversified list. What genres do you enjoy writing, and why?
Steve: I love thrillers. I suppose because that's what I like to read. I also like crime. I find writing for the YA market really satisfying as well.
J.P.: What’s been the hardest thing on your journey as a writer?
Steve: I think it's learning to trust myself and have the courage to get the stories down on paper.
J.P.: What’s the most enjoyable thing on the journey?
Steve: When I get into the zone and the story just flows. It's a fantastic feeling. Time seems to stand still. And when I read back something I've written and think, “Hey, that's actually good!” it's one of the best feelings in the world.
J.P.: How much support do you receive from your family?
Steve: Enormous support. I can't thank my wife enough for enabling me to live my dream.
J.P.: How do you manage your schedule to balance writing with other responsibilities?
Steve: Not as well as I should. I need a bigger fence round my writing time to prevent other things breaking through!
J.P.: Don't we all! Okay, what aspects of your life (such as hobbies or places you’ve traveled) have you included in your writing?
Steve: Quite a few. Places I lived as a child, or where my grandparents lived crop up as settings, either named or fictionalized. I use karate in my books too, again either as a sport a character does or just when describing what happened in a fight. Most of my characters like football (soccer) as I do.
J.P.: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Steve: Writing is a skill like any other, so take the time to learn and to practice. You wouldn't expect to win the formula 1 world championship without even bothering to have driving lessons, but many people hope to make millions as an author without giving a thought to the actual craft of writing. Read as much and as widely as you can. Write the story that burns inside you, not the one you think you ought to write or the one you think will sell. Then write, and keep writing until the story is finished. When it's finished, go through and edit, polish it until it shines, until it is the absolute best you are capable of. And enjoy the whole process.
J.P.: Wow, that is awesome advice, Steve. And, so,so true. Okay, here's another question your readers might want to know. Are you a plotter or pantster?
J.P.: Describe your ideal “writing room” -- and your real one.
Steve: My ideal writing room would have a huge window overlooking the sea, a desk and very comfortable chair, a state-of-the-art computer and walls lined with neatly-indexed books. There would also be a comfortable couch to lounge on whilst reading or plotting.
My real writing room is the smallest spare bedroom, overflowing with books and equipment. Incredibly untidy. No chance of a couch.
J.P.: Too funny. Okay, what, to you, is the value of networking
Steve: I'm not sure words can express the value of networking. It is essential.
J.P.: Steve, do you ever get writer's block? If you do, how do you overcome and do you have any tricks to stimulate your writing?
Steve: If I'm really stuck I take one of my characters, usually the main character, and just write anything. For instance, for my WIP, I began, “Hunter was so pig sick of not knowing what to do that he went to visit his sister...” Then I just wrote a stream of consciousness piece on the interaction between Hunter and his sister. None of this has actually gone into the book (yet!) but it got me moving again.
J.P.: What is your favorite genre to read?
J.P.: Do you have a favorite author?
Steve: Not one author in particular, there are so many brilliant writers out there.
J.P.: Do you prefer reading or watching television?
Steve: It depends on the mood I'm in.
J.P.: What is your favorite television show?
Steve: I watch a lot of sport. Formula 1 is my favourite, but I'll watch most sports.
J.P.: Do you have a favorite car?
Steve: The Aston Martin one-seven-seven brings a smile to my
J.P.: What were your inspirations behind your stories?
I can't pinpoint any one thing in particular. I'm not one of those writers who are bombarded with so many ideas they are distracted by them, I have to go and hew them out of the ideas mine by hand, often with a blunt toothpick!
J.P.: Who is your favorite character from the books you've written, and why?
Steve: I like my main characters. In PAYBACK it's Skids; he decides what needs to be done and he does it, failure is not an option. In BLIND SPOT it's Jon.
J.P.: How do you choose your titles?
Steve: I wanted something short and snappy that also fitted in with the story.
J.P.: What research was involved?
Steve: I had to find out some things about police procedure, but for the rest of it I used stuff I knew about already.
J.P.: So, what do you hope readers will get from your novel?
Steve: I'd like to think they'll be caught up in the lives of the characters and go through everything with them. I want them to get to know them and care about what happens to them so that they feel angry or indignant when other characters treat them badly, root for them to come through, and share their emotions page by page. At the end of the books I hope they feel satisfied and glad they invested the time in reading them.
J.P.: Where can readers connect with you online?
Follow me on twitter @SMJauthor
Well, Steve. Thank you so much for joining us today. It was nice to get to know a little bit more about you. I wish you the best of luck and much, much success in your writing career.
Readers, besides twitter, you can click on the images at the top of the page to read a bit more about Steve Jenkins' books...you can buy them on Amazon.
As always, thank you for visiting my blog. Keep reading. Keep smiling.