Everyone’s journey to publication is different and unique. In Behind The Scenes, I interview writers who tell us how they started and got to where they are today. With the knowledge that comes from experience, they share their words of wisdom with us. If you’re a writer, I’d love to hear about your journey! Please contact me here if you’re interested in being interviewed. New interviews featured every second and last Monday of the month.
1. Tell us a bit about your writing journey. How did you get started, and how did you get to where you are now?
I first started out professionally a few years ago. I volunteered my time at a local magazine, gaining experience in various forms of research and writing, as well as undertaking a short photo-journalism course. With this training on my CV, I started to work on a freelance basis, allowing me the perfect balance of time to also work on my own creative writing.
2. Anything you would’ve done differently if you could do it all over again?
Probably not, to be honest. Things have gone fairly well thus far and I’m happy to keep working away at my craft, hopefully learning and improving as I go.
3. What advice would you give to new and aspiring writers?
The most obvious yet crucial piece of advice is simply to write. It’s surprising how many people want to but never actually get around to it, constantly coming up with excuses or reasons why we think it will never happen. As they say, you can edit a load of rubbish but you can’t edit a blank page: Just write, write, and write some more.
Other than that, I’d say it’s just as important to read. The more you surround yourself with literature, the more your own style and voice can develop.
4. Is there any book you’ve written that is particularly special to you? Which one and why?
They’re all special to me in their own way and I suppose they always will be. I would say that my most recent release, Seeking Solace, feels particularly precious right now. Being my first poetry collection, it was a real tick on the bucket list and something I’d have scarcely believed possible a few years ago.
5. Who would you say is your favorite character(s) from your books, and why? What is it about this character that makes him/her tick?
Like with the books themselves, it’s tough to single out any one character. My two protagonists, Eva and Abi – from The Vessel and False Awakening respectively – are very special to me because they carry their particular stories, and though their circumstances are very different, they are both ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations and simply strive to do the best they can.
6. Tell us about your latest project. What are you working on at the moment, and what can we expect from it?
I’ve been enjoying the release of Seeking Solace recently but as for current works in progress, I’m writing poetry as ever and have a new piece of fiction in the planning stages. It’s something totally different from what I’ve done before that I’m getting very excited about delving into.
7. Are you self-pubbed or traditionally published? What made you go for this model? What advice/tips can you share with writers working towards the same goal?
I’m self-published thus far. It’s not to say I don’t see the merits and drawbacks in both routes, it’s just been what I believed was right for me and my books up until this point, which is the approach I will always take. I was attracted to the notion of taking things at my own pace and keeping control of my own work, which felt right particularly when entering the industry for the first time.
To anyone looking to follow a similar path, I’d say set clear goals to keep yourself motivated, as being your own boss can be both a blessing and a curse, but also don’t be afraid to change your mind if need be (that is, after all, the beauty of self-publishing). Aside from that I think the most important thing is to surround yourself with good people. Be they online or offline, feeling part of a like-minded community will pay dividends when it comes to the big release day. It can be all too easy to write away for months without so much as breathing a word of your intentions to publish, but you’ll be thankful for the helping hand and moral support later down the line.
Author Bio: Born and raised in the Scottish countryside, Callum McLaughlin works as a freelance content writer and in November 2013, published his first book. He has since followed this with a second novel and outside of fiction, he is also a keen poet and a lover of all things literature, music and nature, taking his biggest inspiration from the world around us.