Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Spotlight on Author Douglas McLeod

we are so happy to have you here today for this wonderful interview.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve had an interest in creative writing since I was a child in Grade 6, so when I was about 11. I was mostly doing it for laughs, but it wasn’t until I started doing NaNoWriMo that I started to pursue it more vigilantly.

How long does it take you to write a book?

That depends nowadays. In NaNoWriMo, the objective is to write a 50,000 word novel within the 30 days of November; however, they have since established two sister sessions during the summer. Nowadays, it depends on the length of the book, and what free time I can get to sit down and write.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

It’s pretty hectic. I hold three positions with the organization I work for, so trying to write can be a challenge. For one of my short poetry collections, I can do that in a couple of weeks, if even that long. Novels will take me a few months to hammer out.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

That’s a toss-up. I like to say I’m a frenzy writer; trying to write a novel in a short period of time. I think the idea of a set deadline and word limit motivates me to be creative. I’m also known to have a few pots on the stove, so if one project is giving me problems, another one will creep into my consciousness, and I’ll start working on that. It can be a detriment, though. I have one first draft that has been sitting on my hard drive for over a year that’s half-finished. I need to get back to it.

How do your books get published?

I confess, I’m a self-published author. I use Createspace for my paperbacks, and currently use Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for my eBooks. I used to have my books on other sites (i.e. Kobo and Barnes & Noble’s Nook service), but the allure of bigger royalties (and being paid more promptly) by KDP took me away from them.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Most of my ideas come from things I’m a fan of with a spattering of current events mixed in. My first detective novel was an homage to my favourite television series, set at the show’s fan convention. Then, the third book in the detective genre was set during a pro sporting event/festival. For that, I delved into the history of the event, and sprinkled in little factoids about its’ past. For my romance books, I sought inspiration from other books I’ve read from the genre, and try to put my own spin on them.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

This is funny, the first detective novel I attempted to write was an 18/19-year old guy in high school. But, I admit, it was rather corny, so it never saw the light of day. Fast forward to NaNoWriMo in 2009, and I decided to resurrect the idea, but with an updated storyline where the main character was 20 years older, but still fighting crime. The book was flawed, so I went back to the drawing board for re-tinkering. Two years later, I re-launched the series by adding a new partner for the MC who became his girlfriend, and an additional supporting character, and “Scarlet Siege” was born. The 2009 NaNo project was re-written, and released as “Barbadian Backlash”; both are available together in the mini-anthology, “Gary Celdom Case Journals: Volume One”.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing, or working, I like to relax at home while watching TV, or listening to music. I am a huge sports fan, so I try to make it out to the odd game. Canadian football and lacrosse are my primary sports of choice, but I have been known to attend the odd ice hockey or baseball game.

What does your family think of your writing?

My family has been very supportive in my writing endeavors. In fact, one of my alter egos, C. D. Melley, was created as an homage to my late great aunt, Pat, who passed away in 2013 after a lengthy battle with lung cancer.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I think the most surprising thing for me is learning that I had the ability to write different genres. I always thought my detective series would be my “go to” genre, but as I’ve branched out into romance – both contemporary, and slightly erotic – I’ve realized that I could write a likable story in the genre, at least I hope it’s likable.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Over my three personas, I’ve written seven books: three in my detective series, two poetry collections, a contemporary romance, and a steamy romance serial. My favorite of them all has to be my detective books because the MC has been in my psyche since my school days, and I feel he’s grown up with me; even if he’s been dormant for two decades.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

My suggestions are two-fold. First, try to write every day, if even just a few words. These will help keep the creative juices flowing, and not silence your muse. Second, don’t forget to read other books in the genres you’re interested in. It might give you some story ideas you could play with for your own works.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Alas, the reviews I have received have been few and far between. That being said, the ones I have received have been favorable; the majority in the 4/5 range, and citing that they enjoy my story ideas, and are eager to see what I will come up with next.

Do you like to create books for adults?

I find it an interesting foray. Normally, I geared my detective books for a young adult genre; however, when I ventured into the romance-genre waters, I saw it as an opportunity to sauce things up a bit. While it can be a challenge to write a sex scene without resorting to typical “guy language”, or the abomination in writing that “Fifty Shades” is, I do the best that I can that help add to the storyline, and drives the plot.

What do you think makes a good story?

In my opinion, a good story has to have compelling characters you want to be invested in, and offer a plot that gives you something to consider as a possibility. I believe that even in romantic fantasies, there has to be an inkling of the plausible in it.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Funny you should ask that. In my Grade 7 yearbook, they suggested I would become a sports broadcaster. I never thought of myself of having a face for television, so probably a radio broadcaster.

Books by Douglas J. McLeod

Books by C. D. Melley

Books by Crimson Nuage

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