Author Interview – Richard Easter
My Eleventh Author Interview is with the irrepressible Richard Easter, who in his book Cover Stories has taken eight classic songs, and given them an excellent backstory. He talks here about The General Theory of Haunting, part of a spooky trilogy. He spends the bulk of his time, when writing, in bed, which is kind of spooky in itself!
Book: Cover Stories
Published: October 04, 2018
Published: February 01, 2018
AND NOW MY FAVOURITE PART!!!!
Please, give us a little more about the person behind the book:
Why did you begin writing?
Seriously, I became obsessed with that film in the ’70’s and so took my Mum’s old manual typewriter to the kitchen table and wrote my own book. Which was two sides of A4 cut in smaller pieces and stapled. Self publishing, huh? I was an innovator!
How do you form the ideas for your book?
The book “Haunting” is part of a trilogy, as you know, but that wasn’t the original plan. The first novel I wrote, “The Gentle Art Of Forgetting” was set in snow and after that, I thought; hold on… Then I wrote another and then finally “Haunting” It was only then I realised they were more than just a trilogy of books about snow, they were a trilogy that fitted together. So when it came to “Haunting” it made perfect sense to do an old fashioned ghost story, which, I hope, isn’t as old fashioned as it first appears… But again, the very first glimmer of the idea came back in the ’70’s. Honest. I was at school and it started snowing. Instead of looking forward at the snow, I looked up as it fell and it seemed to go on for infinity. So that’s where the whole thing started, one snowy afternoon in 1978.
Is there a particular genre you like writing in, or do you see yourself writing in several genres?
Well, “Haunting”is a ghost story, “The Littel* Tale Of Delivering” is a children’s story and “The Gentle Art Of Forgetting” is, well, it’s magical realism, I suppose. But my latest Cover Stories is a short fiction collection that does humour, sci-fi, love, alternative history, so yes, I do genres.
*Yes, it’s spelled “littel”
What authors inspired you to write?
Stephen King must be the big one. I devoured his stuff up as a teenager and I find myself thinking “what would King do?” often. Other than him, Orwell’s 1984 was a big influence. I like a bit of Neil Gaiman, too.
Describe your writing space.
Ha! It’s in bed. Seriously. The books were probably 60% written in bed, with the other 40% spread between train journeys and anywhere I found myself. I’ve always written in bed. Odd, but there you go. So when you read a particularly spooky bit of “Haunting”, be aware I was probably just in my pants. Actually, don’t be aware of that. It might spoil things.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with them?
I do, and to be honest, the best ones are exactly what they should be; reviews, critiques. I have genuinely changed parts of “Haunting” after some very reasoned and properly critical reviews that pointed out flaws in the plot and characterisation. I’ll accept any criticism but I do cringe when people just open up with a load of invective. I don’t get that at all. For example, there are plenty of films, shows and books I haven’t enjoyed, but I don’t feel the insane need to effectively go and shout abuse down the maker’s letterbox. Some people are just weird and their parents never gave them enough attention growing up, I guess.
What is it like, to have your book published and out there?
The most satisfying thing is knowing that right now, someone is reacting to words and characters I have created. It’s nice to know I’m effectively reading a story to them. That’s great. Of course, the flip-side are the vicious reviewers, as mentioned above, but here’s a great way to deal with them. Just send a message back saying “a mad person has hacked your account and is using it to send badly-written, stream-of-consciousness insults. Please change your password.” That drives them INSANE.
What did you learn when writing the book, that was surprising to you?
I’m going to sound pretentious here, but I do enjoy not quite knowing where things are going to go, who characters are. I always used to think authors were being dreadfully pompous when they spoke about characters behaving and thinking for themselves, but it’s true. Sometimes, someone will just say or do something and you’ll think, “well, I didn’t expect that…” I like that feeling.
What do you read to relax?
Anything. I read a lot off my phone as it’s easier than carting a library about. So over the last month I’ve read Black Klansman (the book of the film) Denial (the Deborah Lipstadt libel case) Luke Goss’ autobiography, The Massacre Of Mankind (War Of The Worlds sequel) and my own stuff. I’m in a constant state of editing.
What words of advice would you give aspiring authors?
Just write. Sounds obvious, but there it is. When I finished my first book, “The Gentle Art Of Forgetting” I thought it was the best thing ever. Oh, I was convinced of its 140,000 word, time flipping, perspective flipping genius. But then I realised it was over-written, confusing and a mess. You have to be brutal. Same thing with “Haunting” as I just said, I’m in a constant state of edit mode. But unless you sit down at the screen and start, you’ll never develop the skills. Even if you write one page a day (and one page takes a lot longer than you’d think) you still have a 365 page book by the end of the year. And one last thing; take your time. When you first start writing, you think you’ve written shedloads, then you read it back and think “that scene was very quick”. Let things breathe.
In “The General Theory of Haunting”, what would you like readers to get the most from?
I hope that characters will stay with them. I set out to write a different kind of ghost story, so when people pick up on that, it’s very satisfying.
What are your upcoming projects (if you can talk about them!!)?
Just published my first collection of short stories, Cover Stories in which I take classic songs and “remix them” as short stories. Who was Bowie’s Major Tom and how did he get lost in space? Why did Hendrix’s “Joe” shoot his woman down? How do you join Ed Sheeran’s “A Team” you get the idea. That’s out now, the perfect gift or self gift for all music fans. Plug over.
What are you currently reading?
Any last thoughts?
How about this; now, right this second, is the moment we should all be looking out at the state of the world, our climate, our so called “leaders”, our fractured societies and doing something about it. But instead of looking up and out, most of us are looking down and in to our phone screens, checking we’ve been “liked”. Time to get some perspective, don’t you think?
Tell us how we can discover more about you and your books:
OK, here’s the plugs.
The General Theory Of Haunting can be found here;
Cover Stories is here;
and the various websites are all here;
mail us!: email@example.com
Thank you Richard for being so generous with your time!! Looking forward to your next book already!!