An Interview with James Tingle, author of Mervano
I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?
Well, I enjoyed writing one called Symmachia that is quite long and unusual and has an odd structure which was challenging to complete but still somehow fun to do. I also enjoyed writing this one, Mervano, as it was light hearted and not too serious and so it was fairly pleasurable to write.
Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?
My first one was Head of an Apostle which I did a few years ago. It is out there to read now but I may change it a little at some stage to make it easier to read as it has long paragraphs which some people seem to dislike- have to see!
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
I think my writing has gotten a little bit more natural maybe and i think I can now write quite a variety of different things and so I’m not restricted to one genre or one specific voice which is good as that would get tedious both for me and readers.
Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?
I seem to write quite a few but the one mentioned at the start of the interview did take a while, maybe a year and so different books take different amounts of time. I wouldn’t want to take years over a book as it would become too much of a burden and would become a real pain to have to finish.
I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?
I always write in my bedroom, on a comfortable armchair as it is a bit quieter than being downstairs with people wandering about and making a load of racket! I do it all on my laptop as that seems the quickest way but have taken notes in notebooks before in the past before writing it onto a computer, but only occasionally.
Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?
Sometimes I get a family member to read a novel I’ve done just to see what they think and other times not…I don’t use an editor and instead do it all myself. Some people will use editors but I like the end product to be exactly as I want it…each to their own!
I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?
I used to live in Manchester and had a few good bookshops there but never get the chance to go nowadays. There was a few good places locally but one closed down a while back and so I’m just trying to read the books I have at home now and save money- I bought a lot of books online years ago and still have many left to read!
I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and have your tastes changed over time?
My favourite genre is perhaps modern classics as I like books by Kerouac, Salinger, Fante, Hemingway and Isherwood and the likes but I did read fantasy a while ago and do still like some of that kind of thing now as well as odd, hard to categorize novels by Mark Leyner and people like that who push boundaries in fiction…anything a bit novel!
Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What do you do?
I don’t do that much social media really but do post about my books in the Facebook groups every day, trying to post different books on different days so as not to annoy people too much! I message the odd person on Goodreads about new releases to see if they want a free book sending and sometimes do an interview like this which is promotion if not strictly social media.
Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?
I try to write different things all the time and don’t do many interviews but a little bit of repetition is hard to avoid. As long as there is always a good chunk of fresh detail, then that’s fine and is as well as you can do I suppose!