In the first of what I hope to be many interviews, I’m delighted to introduce the award-winning thriller author Simon Wood. An Englishman living in California, Simon also writes horror stories under the pen name Simon Janus.
What were you like at school?
Quiet. Not very outgoing. Not particularly good at school. I am dyslexic and that made me very self-conscious. I was more than happy to leave and never look back.
What made you decide to become a writer?
It's kind of hazy to be honest. I'd moved to the US and I had a lot of time on my hands after working seven days a week at my previous job. I just indulged myself for once. And, oh yeah, I couldn’t get a job in America to save my life.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I'm an outliner. I don’t outline heavily. I just make bullet points for each scene and it goes into a color coded spreadsheet. I'm not married to the outline but what it does do is make me think my story through.
How do you think your writing has evolved over the years?
I don’t know really. I think my attitude and focus has changed. I think I'm very aware of the kind of stories I write and I zero in on them.
Do you ever get writer’s Block? If you do, how do you battle through it?
Yes, it happens from time to time. I have two ways of dealing with it. Write utter crap until the good stuff starts flowing again or go and do something completely different. It's surprising that after a week or so, I get itchy about getting back to the keyboard.
Do you write full-time or part-time, and what is a typical day at the keyboard?
I write full time. I usually start around nine on my main book project. I work through to about three or four in the afternoon. In the evening, I'll spend a couple of hours working on a side project. At the weekends, I work on a pet project for a little bit.
Give us an insight into the main character in your latest book. What makes them special?
My current book is THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY and it features Zoë Sutton. She's survived an abduction and now she's dealing with survivor guilt. Essentially, this makes her impulsive, self-destructive, and a risk taker. She left a friend behind to die. She needs to find her soul again and a direction for her life, and she gets that when she tracks down the man who abducted her. She's a prickly character but you want to see her change her life around.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I'm dyslexic so I'm all about the audio books.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your latest book?
Oh, that’s tough. I don’t have a clue but some readers have said they'd like to see Jennifer Lawrence play Zoë. Brie Larson is another name mentioned. I think that would work.
You find yourself in a perilous situation. Which fictional character would you like to have come to your aid?
Crime boss, Mike Ballou, from Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder novels. I always think of him as a guardian Irishman…which everyone should have.
Where can we find your books?
My website http://www.simonwood.net is a good place to start. It has descriptions, excerpts, audio clips and links to all the bookstores.