Interviewing Writers

Michael Jecks is a UK-based Author and Novelist.

Greg Whittle works as a Copy Writer at Futureglass in the United Kingdom.

  1. What have you published? What kind of job do you have, and what got you into writing?

Michael Jecks: I have published some 41 novels of my own and collaborated on another 10 with mainstream publishers such as Headline, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins and Severn House. I’ve also written a load of short stories. My main job was that of computer salesman, but I stopped that in 1994 and took up writing full time. My incentive? I’d had 13 jobs in 13 years because every company I worked for went bust. I was fed up of job hunting, and knew I loved reading, so writing seemed something worth trying.

Greg Whittle: My career has only just started though I have written professionally for about 3 years now. I work as a copywriter for a furniture company and have had a lot of professional work published. I have also had multiple scripts and stories looked at by people but thus far nothing published.

  1. What do you like/dislike most about your career field? What are some perks, or some disadvantages?

Michael Jecks: I love the fact that I can daydream and entertain people, both on the page and at festivals and talks. I love being able to research the things that interest me. I really, really like working from home, because it means I can own dogs. However, it’s damn hard work. I will routinely work 10–13 hours a day, and because I’m self-employed, I will keep on working over weekends. The disadvantage of being a novelist is that your success is almost entirely dependent on other people. If you don’t have someone good at marketing or publicity, your career will suffer.

Greg Whittle: My favorite thing about my job and about being a writer is the variety. Professionally I am given a brief and as long as I work within it all is good. No two briefs are the same. My creative writing work offers me the ability explore people, and because I write scripts once I give a script to a director I then get to see how he interprets what I write which is awesome.

  1. What is a typical day like for you?

Michael Jecks: Up at 06.30, walk the dogs with the mobile phone to organize emails and tweets while walking; be at my desk for 09.00. Write until 11.30-12.00 when I have an early, quick lunch; back to the desk and write until 16.00, start preparing supper for the family. Back at the desk from 18.00 or so, and work to 22.00 minimum.

Greg Whittle: A typical day for me involves me sitting in front of a computer and watching cartoons on TV.

  1. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Michael Jecks: Write. Don’t think that going on a creative writing course will automatically bring results. The only way to learn to write is to sit down and do it. You have to turn off your phone, TV and any notifications for FaceBook, Twitter, Quora or any other social media you enjoy. They are all destroyers of thoughts. You need peace and quiet, probably, so find a quiet space, and then sit down and write. If you don’t write, you don’t deserve to call yourself even an aspiring writer!

Greg Whittle: I have a few tips for writers.

  1. Don’t wait for permission to call yourself a writer. If you write things then you are a writer. you do not need to be published to own the title.
  2. Don’t be a pretender. Too many people carry a notebook and a pen with nothing written in and call themselves a writer. Don’t be those ass holes.
  3. Read. Your work will be informed by what you consume, so read. and watch shows and listen to music. Art cannot be created in a vacuum.
  4. This is perhaps the most important one of all. Be honest. Write about things that are real to you. I’m not saying you can only write about real events that have happened to you but if you are going to write about pain then you better have been hurt. Otherwise the reader will know. Write honestly, let your work be an accurate representation of who you are. Your work will outlive you, make sure it holds you honestly.

 

  1. Anything you want to add?

Michael Jecks: Read lots, think about how the authors put words down, and try to develop your own voice. Write the best you can, and then go back and edit your work. Let other people who can read and write well have a look at your work. Perhaps join a writing group, where you can get objective feedback. BUT: the main thing still is, to sit down and WRITE!

Greg Whittle: Be kind to people, there is a lot of shittyness in this world. don’t add to it.


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