Friday, March 25, 2011

An interview with Fiona Dodwell

Welcome to my blog, writer Fiona Dodwell, author of The Banishing, released this month from Damnation Books here. 

Fiona's great answers to my questions about the creative process of writing follow. Be sure to check out her blog and website. 

You say on your blog that you starting writing at age 11, what was the impetus for starting at an early age?
It is true that I began writing at an early age. I think it's because I surrounded myself with books that I loved from the first moment I learned to read. Books were a passion of mine, and as a child it was my escapism, to get lost in a good book. Reading so much at an early age in turn inspired me to try writing myself, and even when I was still in primary school, I received some very positive and encouraging feedback about my creative writing - I think that is what spurred me on to create poems, short stories and novels over the years. As a teenager I entered fiction contests (some I won, others I wasn't so lucky) but it all gave me a good grounding in writing and helped me find my voice.

Has your preferred genre always been horror, and if so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, I fell in love with horror right from the start and my passion for it has simply grown over the years. I have read other styles and genres, but I always find myself returning to horror. I certainly only ever write horror because it's what I love the most, and, like anything in life, if you love something, you want to be a part of it.
I think I love horror so much because I love the element of suspense, mystery and fear. It's a dark cocktail and I am addicted to it. I read, watch, write and breathe horror!

Like many writers, you seem to be interested in a wide variety of different subjects. Did you pick psychology, theater and theology, or did they pick you and if so, how?
I am quite an inquisitive person by nature, I am always striving to learn, cultivate, experience. I have been interested in so many things over the years - from acting to studying sea life, so you see, it's just who I am to learn and explore these worlds. I don't think I consciously chose to study particular things, I just notice something that grabs my attention and see where it leads me. Often, it will help plant ideas for stories in my mind, which is always helpful.

Do you believe it is a necessity for a writer to study/experience far and wide in order to write? Or is it more an individual thing--a writer can find plenty within a simple life to write about?
I think it might help to experience and study different areas - the more we learn, the more we can explore these things in our writing - however I don't think it's always a necessity. I believe we each learn from everything in our every day life. It doesn't have to be a significant event, sometimes we can learn from watching people on the train next to us, or talking to a manager at work, or even chatting online to friends... learning comes in all shapes and sizes, it's not restricted to academic studies, in my opinion. A writer can learn something valuable even popping into town to shop... it's being part of everyday life that influences us, when all is said and done.

Please tell my readers something about how you work as a writer and creative person.
I try not to plan my novels rigidly. I like to find a tiny seed of an idea, have a very general outline of what I want to happen in my mind, and then write freely as the inspiration comes. Some writers cannot work this way, but our methods vary because we are individuals - what works well for one might be useless to another. I loosely plan plots, events and characters and then let the story come alive in its own way. That's where the magic truly happens as an author: when you see your story come alive and take off on its own journey.

And what's up next for you, Fiona, in your writing career?
I am writing my third novel at the moment, called The Shift. It's another dark horror story, but it's early days so I don't want to give anything away. I'm also working on a novella called The Governess. My second novel, Obsession, is currently being considered for publication.

Thank you, Fiona! Readers, any questions for our guest?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Film Cautionary Tale

Photos of Bruce and me at the recent shoot for my short film ENCORE. These were taken by Kathy McIntosh of Well Placed Words, thanks Kathy!

Recent shoot? On February 20?! And there lies the crux of this post. When I say "short film" I mean a page and a half of script, two characters, one location and silent--no dialog. A simple, easy, really short film. We even kept the cast and crew to a bare necessary minimum. So I kept a running tab of how long it will take start to finish for this film.

Around a 100 hours.

What?! How could that be possible? Why would it take that long? Simple. The process of making a film is long and complicated, with many different elements and myriad details. All of which take time and effort.

What's the cautionary part of this tale? My realization that this time sink is true of all creative projects, whether filming or art or writing or jewelry making or...And my realization that all creative people always underestimate the time it takes to create, start to finish. Why? Because it's so much fun! We're doing what we love to do!

The caution: remember it will take more time, effort and energy to create. Don't beat yourself up about it, just recognize it and try (try) to put a little wriggle room in your projects.

Do any of my readers not have this problem? Do any of my readers have some solutions to this problem?