I am delighted that JOHN MARRS is joining me on my blog today. John's latest book - Welcome to Wherever You Are - is sold by Amazon and was published on 1 May 2015.
So John, what inspired you to write books in the first place?
I work as a journalist, so I get paid to put pen to paper (well, finger to keyboard). My job is to interview celebrities, be they from TV, music and film. So writing my own words and not somebody else’s comes as a welcome break and the chance to be a little creative.
Where do your ideas come from?
My first book, The Wronged Sons, was inspired by a piece I read in The Guardian … a letter written by a woman to the father of her five children who walked out on them and was never seen again. (Click here for the original article.) The second, Welcome To Wherever You Are, is based on some of the many backpacking jaunts I’ve embarked upon in America. Staying in a hostel is the most amazing away to meet people of all ages, from all walks of life that you’d never meet poolside in a luxury hotel.
Have your personal experiences influenced your writing? And if so, how?
I like to take small traits from people I have met or people I know and store them in my head, only to bring them out when I am forming a character. So be warned if you meet me; I’m going to plagiarise your life.
Commercial, unpredictable, dark and with a few plot curveballs.
I can’t write fiction in the mornings; I’m a much better writer in the afternoon and evenings. I’m also better when I set myself tight deadlines because I always stick to them. And I’m often more productive during an hour-long train journey back from work than I am sat at home in front of my laptop for an afternoon. Also I never write methodically; I can’t do a beginning, a middle and an end; instead, I’m all over the place. Once I know roughly where everything is going to go, I’ll start off with a middle chapter, then leap backwards and forwards depending on what interests me the most that moment.
Do you plot out the whole book before you start or just start writing and see where it leads you?
I’ll plot my characters in my head first until I know them off by heart. The best time for me to do this is when I turn the lights off to go to sleep. Once I have a character in mind and my brain is winding down, I find it easier to erase everything else and focus on what I’m going to do with him or her without any distractions.
What do you consider to be the hardest part of your writing?
The very beginning. The thought of staring at a blank screen knowing I have to come up with about 100,000 words is horrible.
Has your life changed since publishing your books? If so, how?
Only in small ways. I’ve learned how to self-promote more, which was a bit of an alien concept to me as in my journalistic career it’s been my job to promote the people I’m interviewing and not myself. Plus I now spend much more time on Facebook interacting with readers and responding to emails and Tweets which is something I didn’t anticipate would happen. That’s one part of this writing malarkey I’ve thoroughly enjoyed – interaction.
Do you read? If so, who are your favourite authors?
Not as much as I should and I don’t have loyalty to any authors actually; I’ll judge each book on its individual merits. My current reading list includes The Girl On The Train, John Lydon’s Anger Is An Energy and The Miniaturist. Three totally different genres.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would be the title?
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Come up with an original idea or a great twist on a popular genre and don’t give up due to apathy. If you are self-publishing, hire a good proof reader (I’ve learned that lesson the hard way!) and invest in a cover that doesn’t look home-made and then find innovative ways to promote yourself. Once your book is written the hardest part is trying to make people aware it exists. 97% of self-published eBooks sell less than 100 copies in their lifetime – make sure yours is in that 3%.
And lastly, why should people read your latest book?
Welcome To Wherever You Are is a twisty, turny thriller of sorts with eight main characters I hope readers will invest in emotionally. Failing that, I’m a cheap read so what have you got to lose?!
About John MarrsJohn Marrs is a freelance journalist based in London, England, who has spent the last 20 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines. He has written for publications including The Guardian's Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World's Sunday Magazine. His debut novel The Wronged Sons was released in 2013 and in May 2015, he released his second book, Welcome To Wherever You Are.
He lives with his partner, also called John, and their dog Oscar in Northamptonshire.
Find John Marrs on his official Facebook page and follow John on Twitter - @johnmarrs1
Welcome to Wherever You Are
Sold by Amazon (Published 1 May 2015)
How far would you run to escape your past?
For eight strangers in a Los Angeles backpacking hostel, even the other side of the world isn't far enough.
The craving for a new identity and the chance to start again is something they have in common. But the search for a fresh start isn't as easy as they'd imagined.
And they soon discover that it doesn't matter where you are or who you are - if you can't lay the past to rest, coincidence, fate and deception have a way of catching up with you when you least expect it.
Click here to read my review.
Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Welcome-Wherever-You-John-Marrs-ebook/dp/B00WXS4ACG/?tag=18327433-21