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Author Interview: Jon Wheatley

Tell us about yourself?

I am a 34-year-old father of three. A copywriter by day, at night time I lose myself in TV, movies and books.

Tell us about your first novel? My first novel is a horror thriller anthology of interlinked stories based in the beautiful, ancient town of Stamford, UK.

What made you decide to start writing? I have always been an avid reader and since becoming a father I have wanted to instil a love of stories and writing into my children. I have lost count of the number of books I have read and am shocked at how little the new generation seem to read. I want to write exciting contemporary stories that will find a new audience and allow a new generation to get into reading.

What is your writing environment like? People around? Alone? Music? Silence? Pen? Computer?

I like to be alone listening to dark country music, classical music or Metallica, however that isn't always possible. In my dream writer experience, I will be in an olde worlde English pub, with a notebook, a pen and a MacBook. I used to write using Scrivener, however, have recently switched to Google docs as I can switch between devices easily.

What are you going to school for? I am doing a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Do I believe you need a degree to become a writer? No. However, it does give you some valuable tools for your writer's toolbox and having a degree on your CV is a massive benefit.

How has your schooling helped your writing? It has helped me with some of the basics, as well as learning how some of the greatest writers ever got to the top of their games. It also teaches you how to format and submit manuscripts professionally.

What are the struggles you’ve come across with leaving your job to write? I have combined the two - by day I earn a living as a copywriter, writing magazine articles and voice-over scripts, and by night I concentrate on my novels. Writing magazine articles actually helps my creative writing by simplifying my writing.

Do you plot out your story in advance or do you let the characters decide what happens next? I tried planning, but I lost interest in my own novel. I felt like I was mechanically leading my characters to places they didn't want to go. I am 100% pantser nowadays. I create a situation and then put a character in the mix and let the story evolve naturally. My characters are more important than the plot, however, they always surprise me with what they do next!

Have you read any books that have helped during your journey? On Writing by Stephen King, was the first book that made me realize I could write. I have been a constant reader of Stephen King for twenty plus years and he is a great role model for writers! Individual novels that helped me are A Simple Plan, by Scott Smith, The Terror, by Dan Simmons and The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

What do you love most about the writing process? Not knowing where or what my characters are going to do/go next. I love the unexpected turns writing can take when you just let it flow. I love free writing and it's a great way to start a story. I'm constantly watching what's going on around me and love putting down what I see on paper.

What do you hate the most about the writing process? Not being able to get everything down quick enough, and when I can't fully get the image from my mind down onto the paper.

What advice (good or bad) have you gotten as you’ve started out? Good advice: Read, read and read some more. The best advice ever. If you're a constant reader your writing will naturally improve. Leave your first draft for at least six weeks after you've finished it. Bad advice: Edit as you go - terrible advice your first draft should be messy and full of typos because you're putting your story down. Worry about typos and grammar when it comes to the edit.

What does the future hold for your writing career? The release of my first novel, followed by getting signed by a traditional publisher and being able to leave the 9-5 world for good!

Where can we go to find updates and more about you? My Facebook Page​

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