Monday, 29 October 2012
Author Interview: Paul J Turner
Paul J Turner was born in 1964 in Wombourne, Central England. After underachieving at school, something he apportions to 'messing around', he finally pulled his socks up and started training to be a psychiatric nurse at age 19. During almost 20 years working in the UK's National Health Service, he worked with people suffering from various disorders including the perpetrators and victims of sexual abuse and people with alcohol problems.
He has had a long-term ambition to write a novel and decided to draw upon his professional experience for his first book.
He now lives in Atherstone in Warwickshire, is married for the second time and has two grown-up children from his previous marriage.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
This is my first novel so I wasn't sure exactly where to start. I wrote a very basic plan, decided on character names for the story in my mind and started writing. I wasn't totally sure of where the book would go before I started, only an outline, and the story developed as ideas came into my head both as I wrote and, between writing sessions, when I was driving. I hadn't a clue how it would end before I got to the ending, but I was determined it would have a proper ending unlike books I have read when I have been left feeling that I wasted my time reading them when the book ends with a serious anti-climax.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
They tried :) I allowed them to where it fitted with my overall view but there were times I had to put my foot down with them.
What is your favourite food?
Probably something traditionally English like Bangers and Mash (Sausages and Mashed Potatoes) or Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely a night owl. I am not so keen on mornings, although there are times when I like the fresh morning air BEFORE I go to bed!
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I love Asia and have travelled there many times. My only trips across the Atlantic have been to Toronto and New York City, both of which I loved. I have travelled widely in Western Europe. I suppose, therefore, the remaining places I need to see are Australasia and Africa, both of which have to be on my 'to do' list.
Do distant places feature in your books?
Not so far, my debut novel is set in Central England where I grew up and still live. I would certainly not rule out writing a story based in a distant location.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Not deliberately, although there may be music on in the background. Certain types of music, those which I find repetitive and annoying do put me off, but normally I am not distracted too badly by background sounds.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
This is my first novel. It has been a long-term ambition of mine to write one. I decided to draw from my experience working as a psychiatric nurse for 20 years for this novel which I have called Lethal Guardian. It was a very risky subject to write about and I found very little fiction out there about the same subject.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
Actually, writing the book was less of a chore than I expected and I really enjoyed it. It convinced me that I would like to write as a full-time occupation. I won't pretend to know a great deal about publishing, I am still learning as I go. I have self-published and am still working on getting word out about the existence of my book which seems to be a lot bigger job than actually getting your book on sale.
Is there anything you would do differently?
I am not sure that there is. Certainly, the early reaction to my book from those who have read it tells me that I have probably done a good job of the writing itself. However, it is very early and I may get feedback which changes my mind on that. From the publishing and marketing point of view, I am sure that I will make many mistakes that I learn from so, if you ask me again in a few months time, I would probably have a long list of things I would have done differently.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
I love reading. There are things which I like when I read a book and things which I hate. I have tried to ensure that I avoided the things that I don't like when I am reading, myself. For example, I like a story to flow and I always want to know what happens next. If an author spends two pages describing a tree, I get irritated: 'I know what a tree looks like!!! Get on with the story!!!' I can understand that some people like to read for the creative aspect and I am not critical of that sort of writing, it just doesn't suit my impatient nature and my need to get back to the real action.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
I think the old saying that there is a book in everybody is true. However, I am not sure that everybody can do that book justice due to limits on their writing ability. I don't think you need to be a fantastic writer but, to get people to stay engaged with your book, you need to avoid the many grammatical errors that many people make, causing their writing to be difficult to follow which, in turn, makes readers give up on the book before the end. I was very very careful to avoid inconsistencies and I found a few during the editing of my book where I had put the wrong character name at one point in a scene. I have even read professionally published books with this error and ended up reading the same paragraph a few times trying to make sense of it before deciding that it must have been an error. Having said that, I have just published my first book so I don't believe that I am in a position to preach to others too much.
What are three words that describe you?
Caring, witty, logical.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
I really can't give one answer to this. I have loved many of the books I have read. At the moment, I am reading a lot of James Patterson and have just finished a book he co-wrote with Andrew Gross called The Jester which I really loved. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini was another big favourite of mine.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
Lethal Guardian by Paul J Turner
Nathan Grant is nine years old, his sister, Chloe, is six. They live in a large house in the English Midlands with their parents, Ian and Louise. Their father’s job as a successful lawyer provides an affluent lifestyle and all their emotional needs are met by devoted parents and the extended family. The two children are academically bright and popular at school with both teachers and other pupils and life couldn’t be better.
But all that changes on one terrible night, when Ian and Louise Grant go out to dinner and are killed in a car crash.
Nathan and Chloe go to live with their mother’s twin sister, a loving and caring woman who is determined to give the children the best life possible. Her husband, however, is a social misfit of a man who was raised single-handedly by a religiously-obsessed mother. To please her, he has had to marry a woman, despite being more attracted to men and, tragically for Nathan, young boys.
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.
http://www.lethalguardian.com is the book's website and this has a video interview with me and links to where people can either buy the book or download a free sample.
Thank you, Paul and good luck with your book :)
You can read an excerpt from the book below:
and also on Paul's website.
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