Geetanjali Mukherjee

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

How I Write: Authors on Their Writing Process - J. S. Strange

Today's author interview is with J. S. Strange, a young author of a YA thriller novel from UK.

1. When did you first start writing?

I first started writing since I can remember. As a kid, I was always writing and adapting existing stories. I used to write scripts, as well as short stories. At sixteen, I started writing my first proper novel, however I scrapped that. At seventeen I started writing Winter Smith: London's Burning. At 21, it's now finally published!

2. What are your books about? Are you self / traditionally published or hybrid?
I'm a self published author. I tried to get Winter Smith picked up but nobody was interested. But I knew the story was good and I was certain people would enjoy it so I went down the self publishing route. Winter Smith: London's Burning, is the first in a zombie apocalypse series. Winter has to escape her home town of Watford, London, and get to the Thames where evacuation boats are leaving. However, as she travels she learns that not everybody is to be trusted. 

3. What led to your love for literature? Any favorite books / teachers / writing mentors?
I always enjoyed English lessons, and I always read as a kid. I think my sister used to read and still does, so as I was growing up I saw her reading, my second sister reading, as well as my mum and dad and I picked up a book, too. My favourite books are the Harry Potter series, and I guess in some ways that made me want to write something like that. I remember being in an English class and a teacher telling us that a story structure has beginning, middle, middle and end, and I've always stuck with that. 

4. What's your writing process like? Do you outline? Do you write by hand / type / dictate?
I like to sit somewhere quiet with a view - right now I'm sat in a bay window looking out on to my road. I write on my laptop, and I prefer to be in silence and on my own. I tend to write for ten minutes, have a quick break by looking on my phone or something, where I can think of what comes next. I prefer outlining, however I'm writing a new book now and I haven't even wrote an outline. I'm experimenting to see which way works better. Regarding my Winter Smith series, though, I have wrote an outline. However, the outline I wrote sometimes changes. 

5. What's your editing process?
I'll give it one proof-read, looking over edits and making the changes. I might do some restructuring, edit out scenes and add others. Then, I'll take a break from that again once the edit has been done and proof-read it again. When I think it's done I send it off to somebody else who can also look over it. With Winter Smith: London's Burning, I then ordered a proof copy, reading through it in a physical book, and highlighting errors. Then I changed that until it was ready. There might still be a few errors that slip through, but not as many as there once were!

6. Where / how do you get your book ideas?
Sometimes I can be doing something completely different, when an idea comes to me. I got the idea for Winter Smith when I was sat on a plane going to California. I started writing out small details on a napkin. Other times I will watch something and think 'Oh that's an interesting concept, but I can flip that, adjust it and do it better.' Obviously not plagiarism, just inspiration. 

7. Where do you feel most inspired to write?
I feel most inspired to write when I'm sat somewhere quiet, with a cup of coffee and a good view. 

8. Describe your desk / writing corner / favorite writing spot
I sit on a small bay seat in a bay window, lined with pillows. I can see out on to my road, and if it is a grey day I can writing chilling scenes. It is in my office, where my desk sits unoccupied. 

9. Do you now, or did you ever have any day jobs? Did they add to or detract from your writing?
I do have a day job, and sometimes I wish I could just spend all day writing instead. 

10. How much research do you do? What kind?
I do research, but not too much unless completely necessary. For London's Burning, I researched the map of London. I needed to work out how Winter got from Watford to the Thames. I needed to find out what towns she would go through, what streets she could stay at, and where she could find some refuge. 

11. How much marketing do you do? Which platforms are you most active on?
I do a lot of marketing. I love PR, and I'm able to think of ways to get some promotion going. I'm most active on Twitter and Facebook, but I'm looking at other ways to expand my marketing now for my debut novel. My dream marketing campaign would be organising a false zombie attack, or have zombies walking around handing out some flyers. 

12. What project are you working on now?

I've just finished writing the second Winter Smith novel. The next step for that is to edit. However, I've taken a break from Winter and I'm not writing a thriller. Once this thriller has been written, I will go back to the edit of the second Winter Smith. Hopefully at some point this year I will have a second book out. I'm aiming for just after Halloween. 


J. S. Strange is an author from South Wales, UK. He is 21 years old. He writes horror, thrillers, action and adventure and comedy. His debut novel, 'Winter Smith: London's Burning' is a zombie apocalypse YA thriller out now. He is also the managing director of production company, Brother Hipster Productions. 

Winter Smith: London's Burning

A story of survival trust and fear. The first in the series, Winter Smith is ripped from a rich lifestyle and forced to survive... 

The zombie virus has torn through the world, and Winter and a group of survivors must get to the Thames 

Winter deals with the loss of her parents, the harsh reality of promised safety, and learns that not everyone can be trusted...

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