Monday, May 21, 2012

Interview with author Martin Pond

1.) You have one collection of short stories available, Dark Steps, and you are working on a novel, Drawn to the Deep End. Can you tell us about your writing, especially about your upcoming novel?

I wrote a lot as a younger man but stopped when the pressures of life and work got in the way. I started again in 2007, after some prompting from my partner, and initially wrote a lot of short stories and what I'd call fragments of stories. The novel has grown out of having an idea for an opening scene -- I didn't know where it was going to lead but the story has evolved almost by itself. I'm two thirds of the way through the first draft now, and can see a clear path right through to the story's end ... and even the epilogue!

2.) You have taken to publishing your work-in-progress, Drawn to the Deep End, one section at a time online at a blog. Why did you decide to publish first through a blog?

I've had a lot of good feedback from the critique group I belong to, but that is quite a small group. My intention in publishing Drawn to the Deep End in online instalments was to achieve the same but on a bigger scale -- I hoped to get feedback and comments from a much wider audience. That hasn't really happened -- I have a core readership who tend not to comment too much. However, the other positive side-effect of this exercise is that it motivates me to write when I have readers complaining if I miss a week's episode!

3.) You are also taking the uncommon step of not utilizing quotation marks in your novel. Only one other novel I've read comes to mind using this technique, and that was Cormac McCarthy's The Road, though I'm sure other writers probably have done this. What prompted you to go this stylistic route?

My reason was simply that I hoped to blur the boundary between what our narrator thinks and says, and do this more and more and more as the novel (and the narrator's unravelling) progresses. This wasn't a decision I took lightly, not least because it requires me to be very careful with my writing - I have to make the attribution for speech very clear and yet implicit. After 55,000 words I can tell you this becomes quite hard. But you're right in that The Road is an object model in how to do this.

4.) Books or e-books? Do you have a preference?

To read, I still prefer a real book, though I admit to having a Kindle and it is brilliant, not least because it allows me to carry so many books around with me. To publish, I have to say that e-books are easier to format than the paperback equivalents that I've published with Lulu, probably because there are more constraints in place. Once you accept (and adapt to) that, formatting an e-book is a piece of cake.

5.) You have recently begun experimenting with Twitter. What has been your impression so far?

You're right in that I've recently begun a serious push to gain Twitter followers -- a month-long experiment to make social media work for me. In one respect it's working -- I've increased my followers by 700% in less than two weeks. However, I'm not sure about the benefit of this: it certainly hasn't translated into a glut of new book sales, at least not yet.

6.) Earlier this year you were one of five winners in a flash fiction competition through Twitter in which the writers had to come up with a tale in 10 words or less. What was this experience like? And did you have difficulty in coming up with your winning piece?

Well, it was quite exciting on the closing day, watching all the hash-tagged entries pouring through my timeline. I thought my entry - She pretended to be asleep when he came to bed - was okay. I'd tried to give enough of a story to let the reader draw their own conclusions, obviously, but my main aim was to generate some pathos, following Hemingway's example with his famous six-word story. I hope I succeeded.

To find out more about Martin Pond, check out his ...
Blog: Martin Writes ...
Amazon page for Dark Steps
Amazon (UK) page for Dark Steps
Lulu page for Dark Steps
Barnes & Noble page for Dark Steps
WHSmith page for Dark Steps
Smashwords page

2 comments:

Martin said...

I really enjoyed this interview Ty, thanks!

Ty Johnston said...

Any time, Martin. Thank YOU for answering all my questions!