Geetanjali Mukherjee

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How I Write: Authors on Their Writing Process - Dane Cobain

Today's interview is with hybrid author Dane Cobain.



1.          When did you first start writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I used to write lyrics and melodies when I was a kid, and then I learned to play guitar and started writing the music to go with them. Then I moved into poetry and started to keep a journal, and after that I started work on my first novel.

2.          What are your books about? Are you self / traditionally published or hybrid?
I write in all sorts of genres! My first book, No Rest for the Wicked, is a supernatural thriller; that was followed by a poetry book called Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home and a literary fiction novel called Former.ly: The Rise and Fall of a Social Network. My first two books were published by a hybrid publisher called Booktrope, but when Booktrope ceased publication, the first one was picked up by Dragon Moon Press. The others are self-published, but I’m still seeking publication and I’m also putting into practice a lot of the stuff that I’ve learned along the way.

3.          What led to your love for literature? Any favorite books / teachers / writing mentors?
I’ve always been a keen reader – I suppose I have my parents to thank for that. I was particularly inspired by Terry Pratchett and Phillip Pullman when I was growing up, and Graham Greene influenced me a lot when I first started taking writing seriously.

4.          What's your writing process like? Do you outline? Do you write by hand / type / dictate?
It’s changed throughout the years. I hand wrote my first couple of novels, but I’ve recently switched to writing on a computer because I can get much more done. I still write poetry by hand though, usually during my cigarette breaks. And sometimes I take notes on my iPhone, if I’m out and about and I forgot to pick up my notebook.

5.          What's your editing process?
I work with a fantastic editor called Pam Harris. After I finish my first draft, I give the manuscript a couple of passes myself, and then I hand it over to Pam. She’ll then give it two or three rounds of editing, where she suggests ways that the manuscript could be improved and covers off copy editing and that sort of thing. Once we’re happy with where we’re at with things, it goes through final proofing and layout and then goes to press!

6.          Any favorite apps / software / websites for marketing and promotion?
I work in social media marketing, and so I use a lot of the same tools at work and at home. My favourites are:
-             TweetDeck: For setting up a Twitter dashboard to read and respond to tweets in real-time
-             ManageFlitter: I follow a lot of people on Twitter, and so this tool helps me to unfollow people who are no longer active
-             Google Analytics: For tracking the behavior of visitors to your website
-             Amazon Affiliate Links: These help me to make a little money back from my book blog, and they also allow me to track how many people have clicked my links to take a look at my books on Amazon
-             Bit.ly: A link-shortening tool that helps me to track when people click my links
-             Too many more to count!

7.          Who or what inspires you? Where / how do you get your book ideas?
Historically, a lot of my ideas have started out in the form of a dream or a nightmare that I had, which I then wrote down and followed up with. I don’t dream so much, these days, but I do get a lot of ideas when I’m lying in bed. The main exception to this is the detective novel series that I’ve just started work on – with that, I tend to have a rough idea of what’s going to happen, but it’s the interactions between the characters themselves that normally determines what actually happens.

8.          When in the day do you usually write? For how long?
I work from 9 - 5:30 during the week, and so I usually try to write in the evenings. I probably get around five hours of writing and marketing in most evenings, and at least twelve hours on the weekend, unless I have something else I need to do.

9.          Do you have a writing routine / schedule? Any specific rituals?
I have a very defined schedule that’s too complicated to go into here, but which is designed to help me to be as productive as possible. Loosely speaking, it involves circling through activities – from computer stuff, to tidying and cooking, to writing, and then back round again.

10.       Where do you feel most inspired to write?
Probably just when I’m at home – I have my little writing nook and I like to just sit back and relax whilst getting some work done.

11.       Describe your desk / writing corner / favorite writing spot.
My computer’s next to my television in my living room, and so I can sit on my sofa with my feet up on a foot stool, with Netflix on the television and my computer screen right next to it. It’s pretty comfy, so I could quite happily just sit there for hours on end.

12.       Do you listen to music while you write? What kind of music?
Sometimes, although it’s more likely that I’ll be sat there watching Netflix. When I do listen to music, I have quite an eclectic taste, ranging from pop punk to indie folk via dubstep and hip hop.

13.       Do you ever get writers' block? What are some ways you get around it?
I don’t really get writers’ block, because I always have so many projects on the go. There’s always something to work on, and so if I get stuck with one thing then I can just move onto something else.

14.       What project are you working on now?
My main project at the moment is my new Leipfold series of detective novels, which I started a couple of weeks ago. I have two books planned out and a lot of the groundwork done, and I’ve also written the first two chapters of the first book.

15.       What books do you like to read? What are you reading now?
I read all sorts! I tend to gravitate towards ‘classics’ where I can, and I’m a big fan of detective stories and authors like Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski. But I also get sent a lot of books by authors and publicists because I run a book blog, SocialBookshelves.com. That helps to make sure that I have a steady diet of different genres!


Bio:



Dane Cobain (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK) is an independent poet, musician and storyteller with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not in front of a screen writing stories and poetry, he can be found working on his book review blog or developing his website, www.danecobain.com. His debut novella, No Rest for the Wicked, was released in the summer of 2015.




Former.ly

When Dan Roberts starts his new job at Former.ly, he has no idea what he's getting into. The site deals in death - its users share their innermost thoughts, which are stored privately until they die. Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences. But something strange is going on, and the site's two erratic founders share a dark secret. A secret that people are willing to kill for.


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