“I grew up with reading and writing all around me. My mother loved books and I had 2 aunts who taught English. There was no escape. I just put it all on hold from school because of my music and work, until I wrote my book of memories from my life in bands in 2008; it was eventually published in 2011. At the end of 2012, I wondered if I could write fiction! Those are the when’s. I’m beginning to wonder why!”- which kind of speaks for itself as to why we brought Ted Tayler on board to tell us about making “being a writer” Bucket Lists item into a reality, this is what he said:
- Where do you find the ideas for your book, how hard are they to find?
I wrote the first book in The Phoenix Series in late 2014. ‘The Olympus Project’ allowed the vigilante killer Colin Bailey from my first two novels to join up with people with a common goal. In his new guise, as Phoenix, he seeks to right wrongs, to bring closure to victims, and deliver justice where the system fails.
I chose these phrases from early reviews to advertise the series on social media. They sum up where my book themes originate: –
“Stories that ring true to every headline & news report you read or watch.”
“Exciting and timely fiction.”
The ideas are easy to find. The essence of every storyline has featured in a media report in the past decade. I give each one a twist to suit my characters. At first, I imagined the series might be a trilogy. My reason for expanding it to twelve is the same crimes, the same failures keep re-occurring today. In my small way, I hope my books can highlight that things need to change.
Will I run out of ideas? I wish I could say yes, but I don’t think so, do you?
- What’s the first stage to making a story? Do you dive straight in, or plan the whole thing?
As a series develops, although you might confine a particular theme to a single title, you have a raft of characters with ongoing stories. This means you have threads to pick up and pursue.
I begin by selecting several themes per title and decide which subject will involve which characters. So, the first stage is to select the themes, then to research them, and when everything’s ready I write.
I’ll sit on the fence with the second part of the question. I prepare a rough outline for each chapter. These serve as signposts. I set off on the journey between Point A and B, but I let the characters take me wherever they wish to go. I end up in situations I never dreamed of, but I make sure I get back to Point B before travelling on to Point C.
That’s what works for me. I do a rough plan, and after that, it’s seat of the pants time.
- What are the challenges in making a book, and how long does the average process take?
Writing a book is easy. What you need to recognise is that when you finish writing you’re only ten percent of the way through. Marketing, promotion and expanding your social media presence makes up the other ninety percent.
As for a book’s content, one challenge is consistency. It’s vital your characters are exactly as you described them when they first appear. A key challenge is to maintain the level of excitement and anticipation. If my books are to sell I must find a range of different themes and methods of investigating them. Variety is the spice of death for thriller writers.
How long does it take? My books average sixty-five thousand words. I can complete that part in six weeks. Research could take two weeks ahead of that, editing and polishing two weeks at the end. So, my average is ten weeks. In 2017 I plan to produce Books Seven to Nine in the series, and then finish the whole saga with Ten to Twelve next year.
- How do you struggle with writer’s block? Do you have anyone championing you through the process?
I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. If a paragraph or a chapter proves difficult, stop writing. Do something different. Go walking, gardening, listen to music. That’s my method.
I’m even prepared to go shopping with my wife when she’s hunting for shoes. Anything to break the cycle. You never stop puzzling over the problem, but an enforced gap has worked for me every time. The best times are when it’s late in the day because pad and pen on the bedside table are invaluable! I’ve solved dozens of problems when I’m suddenly wide awake at four in the morning, with the answer.
My wife is my champion. Without her help and support, none of this brief writing career would have happened. We’ve been a team for forty-six years.
- When does writing a book become enjoyable for you, is it once it’s published, writing it, or getting it finished?
I enjoy the act of writing. I’ve invested four years in the main characters in my books. They are a huge part of my life. As I write each story, I can’t wait to learn where they take me.
When a book is finished, the enjoyment is on hold, and the business head takes over.
As an indie writer, the publication is a simple process these days, but on its own it’s meaningless. I need a good cover, a distinctive blurb, good reviews, a video or slideshow, exposure on a dozen social media sites, and sales. If not, then your title page on Amazon sits there with nobody aware it exists.
When sales mount, and readers post great comments online, the exercise becomes enjoyable again. That’s what keeps me writing.
- How has your opinion of writing changed from when you first became a writer?
My answers to the earlier questions give you a hint. In my eyes, I’m not a writer, I’m a storyteller. I wrote nothing between leaving school and reaching sixty-four. A friend persuaded me to write my book of memories as a singer in rock bands in the Sixties and early Seventies. I didn’t know where to start.
That book took me eight months to finish. I had professional help over the next two years turning a long list of anecdotes into a book. After publication, the light dawned. The real work started here. Eighteen months later I tried my hand at writing fiction.
So, yes, my opinion of writing has changed since that first effort. Since the Spring of 2013 and that first novel, I’ve published ten titles. Despite the imbalance between writing and marketing, I’ve embraced it and don’t see why it should stand in my way.
There are more stories to tell. If readers enjoy those stories, then I shall carry on writing.
- What’s next on your Bucket List?
My wife and I are off to Ireland in September. I’ll be between books, and re-charging my batteries ready for tackling the third title this year. We have travelled abroad over the last twenty years, but many treasures closer to home are on the list we plan to visit.
In September, it will be the Giant’s Causeway and County Donegal. The first of many trips around Britain. If the end of the series in 2018 signals the end of the writing, then places will get ticked off the list much quicker. Who knows?
And that’s it, that’s a wrap. Ted gave us some awesome insights and we always appreciate somebody who takes their time to give us good answers, but then again, he is a writer! If you want to see any more from Ted you can find him on Twitter: @ted_tayler and we hope this has put learning to write on your Bucket List folks.
That’s all folks, FLUX NEWS