Today i bring to you an interview with author Keith Nixon who kindly offered to answer some of my questions. I hope you find this as insightful as i did myself.
Q1 – How long have you been a writer and what influenced you to first put pen to paper?
Since I was about nine but I really started writing properly about 25 years ago in my early 20’s. It was a historical fiction novel – my wife’s grandfather stole a train in WW2 Italy to escape from the Germans. I initially wrote historical fiction as I felt I could only write something around a central event. I started my Roman books because of a visit to Maiden Castle. It’s a massive structure and I wondered how the Romans had managed to take it. Otherwise the drive to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) is just something inside. I’ve no idea what produces it.
Q2 – I’ve read 3 of your books so far and they cover quite different subjects. Do you have a particular favourite genre?
My preference is crime. However, I can’t help but add a humorous edge (usually based on sarcasm) at least somewhere in a novel. I might try and outright humour novel next…
Q3 – Where do you get your ideas from and does it take long to see them come to full fruition
That’s a very difficult question to answer. It’s usually from a single spark. It might be an event, big or small that either happens to me, I hear about or read a newspaper article on. Or it might be a person and their behaviour or a couple of words that just makes me want to tell a story around it.
I’m a fast writer, but a slow congealer of a story. I take quite a bit of time pulling all the threads together and reworking story arcs. A 60-70,000 crime novel will take me six months. Considering I can write 1,000 – 2,000 words in a day if I’ve a clear run, that’s quite a stretch. Historical fiction is more like nine months, just because of all the layers of research that need to go in. Mind you, The Eagle’s shadow took nearly two years and nine redrafts.
Q4 – I’d be interested to know out of the novels you’ve wrote do you have a favourite?And if so why?
I’m up to seven published novels now and two more currently being beta read. They’re all a bit different. I’d probably choose The Fix, primarily because I’ll likely never produce anything like it again. I just had a lot of fun pulling it together and I never intended to have it published. Putting it out opened up so many things for me – a whole world of friends and experiences that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.
Q5 – Who have been your biggest influences/support within the writing community?
My biggest influence initially was Ian Rankin. His was the first crime novel I read (the seminal Black and Blue).
In terms of people I know and have worked with the list goes on. The crime genre is very supportive. There are lots of writers, bloggers and reviewers so willing to give of their free time.
Quite remarkable. So I couldn’t really name a single name for fear of leaving someone out. I’m very lucky…
Q6 – Are there any books/authors you’re looking forward to reading this year?
I read a lot less than I used to. A mixture of less time and a struggle to find novels that really do it for me. Tony Black is one author I always read, there’s a rumour he has a new Gus Dury novel out. Can’t wait for that…
Q7 – I note on your website you’ve done a few reviews yourself. Is this something you enjoy and plan to do more of?
Same issue of reading less really. I do enjoy reviewing, it’s a great way of connecting with other authors. I tend to cover crime (unsurprisingly), debuts and Scottish authors, but not exclusively.
I’d like to do more, but time is limited – writing a lot, busy job and family!
Q8 – How important is feedback from your readers?
Extremely important. Reviews are very hard to come by. I’ve sold about 15,000 copies of The Eagle’s Shadow, yet (at time of writing) reviews on Amazon UK are at 92. That’s a tiny level of respondents. I’ve learned a lot from feedback, primarily because as the author it’s a wood for the trees thing. I can see and hear all the behaviours and speech of my characters, but the reader is in a different place. If I’ve badly communicated the plot, they’ll soon tell me. It helps me grow as an author. I’ve been fortunate enough to have far more positive responses than negative.
Q9 – I particularly enjoyed The Eagles Blood & The Eagles Shadow, any plans to revisit Caradoc any time soon?
Caradoc was the one that properly started it for me so absolutely, yes. They’re my best sellers, but the longest to write. I’m just planning my as yet unnamed third Caradoc novel (it’ll have Eagle in the title, for sure). Ironically it’s my 10th novel. Once Caradoc sails away then I expect Fionn will take up the mantle with his own series.
Q10 – Plans for 2016? I’m sure we’d all like to know what you plan to bring us this year
Lots! The two crime books I have in beta (the fourth Konstantin novel and a police procedural) will come out at some point, depending on the publisher, and Caradoc 3 at least. I’d expect to have one further novel well underway by the end of 2016. I just wish I had more hours in the day…
Thank you Keith 🙂 I truly appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and help myself and other readers have a little insight to your life
If you haven’t already take a look at my Author Spotlight post for Keith to see why i enjoy his books so much.