Featured Author – Ardie Collins September 16, 2011Posted by Jaidis in Books, Featured Authors.
Tags: Authors, Books, Featured
Today I’d like to welcome author Ardie Collins to Juniper Grove! Ardie is here to promote his book Cult Fiction!
Check out his interview below:
Without giving too much away, can you tell us what Cult Fiction is about?
Cult Fiction is a darkly comic novel about a man who, inadvertently and through very little fault of his own, sets up a cult. It is told by a narrator who sometimes gets a little bit distracted.
How long did it take you to write this book?
In total it took around three years, but for most of those three years I wasn’t writing, it was something I would return to in spurts, mostly when I had other things I should’ve been doing. I write best as a productive distraction. I’m some kind of a dreadful rebel.
What was your inspiration to write this book?
I can’t think of a ‘eureka’ moment as such, it was just an idea that occurred to me and I thought it might be fun to try and create a story out of it. I had been doing a lot of writing based on prompts during a Creative Writing module that I was taking in my second year of University and so I think it was a culmination of a few ideas. I also had a few other scrawls dotted around the place that ended up becoming a big part of the finished book. In a way I started writing it before I’d started writing it, if that makes sense. Which, of course, it doesn’t.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
You might end up enjoying it.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Fairly recently. Probably just after I’d written this book and started looking towards getting it published. I’ve written lots of bits and pieces here and there over my time in this strange little place, but I’d never considered them in terms of allowing me to become a writer, they were just things I’d written.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I carve the chapters into fruit first.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I play my guitar an excessive amount. I have a 365 project that I’m undertaking to release an original song online for every day of the year throughout 2011. It’s still going strong.
(The Cooper365 project: http://cooper365.tumblr.com/)
I’m a comedy junkie and love sit-coms and stand-up, I listen to a lot of music, I read and, most importantly, I make time to hang around and do nothing much whatsoever for an afternoon with friends.
What does your family think of your writing?
I tend to keep my stuff to myself, it was a bit of an anomaly that I put this novel out there, and so getting it published was a real surprise. My mum and dad helped with the editing side of things and were really supportive and seemed to enjoy getting a chance to read something I’d written finally. I used to be really secretive with anything I wrote but I’m gradually getting a bit more open about it, and I think I’m going to have to be now that anyone can read my book!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?
Don’t tell people you’re thinking of writing a novel – write a novel. Keep it a secret and work on it in your spare time. I have a law that states that the more people you tell you’re writing a novel the less of your novel you will end up writing. It’s called ‘Ardie’s Law’. I made a graph. Also, understand that it won’t be fully-formed within two days and that you will have to work on it. Don’t dismiss yourself as rubbish if a sentence comes out wrong – revise it, edit it, delete anything you’re not proud of and make sure the reason that you’re doing it is to create something you will be pleased with. Don’t even think about the publishing process until it’s done and you feel it’s ready.
Do you hear from your readers much?
It’s my first book and it’s only just been released as an ebook, so I wouldn’t call the correspondence an influx of fan-mail. I have had some feedback, though, from people that have stumbled across the book and they’ve always been very complimentary. I’m still figuring out how to react to that.
What do you think makes a good story?
A grand, sweeping idea brought down to a human level which we can relate to.
What genre do you find the most difficult to write in and why?
Anything that takes itself too seriously. My writing process tends to be an outpouring of words followed by some afterthoughts that are constantly cleaning up the end of the sentence with a sprinkling of whimsy and silliness.
Do you ever experience writer’s block and if so, how do you overcome it?
Sometimes, but it’s normally more to do with either the original ideas or with the way the actual plot ties together. Once I have an idea of a scene in my head I tend to be able to finish at least a draft of how I think it should be written without too much trouble. I think I’ve overcome writer’s block a little by realising that part of it is a worry that what you’re about to write won’t be any good, but no one will ever see the first thing you write because it will be rewritten and changed, so it doesn’t matter if the first thing you write isn’t any good. As long as you’re able to be critical of your writing after you’ve given it an attempt rather than before you even start then I think writer’s block becomes a little easier to handle.
What is the last book you read?
Things The Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett. He is otherwise known as the singer-songwriter ‘E’ or ‘Mr. E’ and the man behind the band ‘Eels’. It’s an autobiography which he was reluctant to write, but was constantly encouraged to do so. He has had such an interesting, yet harrowing life that went on to inform his career as a musician. It was beautifully written and made me appreciate his wonderful music and lyrics even more than I already did.
If you could take any book and rewrite it, putting your own twist on it, which book would it be and why?
The Bible. Bit wordy.
Do you have any writing projects you are currently working on?
I’d prefer to keep the details of this a secret (see ‘Ardie’s Law’).
If you could have dinner with 1 person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Douglas Adams. He is my favourite author. He wrote smart, witty and silly books that managed to incorporate the bizarre vastness of the Universe and peculiar nuances of human existence in one swoop. As well as writing incredible books he was also a really clever man that later went on to become an environmentalist, drawing the world’s attention to animals that are frighteningly close to extinction in Last Chance To See. He was an ambassador for science and critical thinking (something that I think to be hugely important and something that still, strangely, seems to need people to back it up), and, from the snippets of information I have picked up about him, he seemed like a thoroughly lovely human.
If you could travel into the past or future, where would you go and why?
If Back To The Future has taught us anything it’s that travelling through time can have serious repercussions for the space-time continuum and I’m just not sure I could live with the guilt of breaking the Universe.
What does the word success mean to you?
Doing what you enjoy all of the time.
If you had to compare yourself to an animal, which one would it be and why?
If you had to have one word or phrase written on your forehead for an entire week, what would it be?
‘Someone made me do this.’
If you had to trade lives with someone for an entire week, who would you trade with? Keep in mind that they would be living your life as well.
Bob Dylan. Mainly so I could look around his house at all of the memorabilia and perhaps play on his guitar.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given to you?
Never, under any circumstances, repeat this to anyone.
Thank you Ardie for that thought-provoking, giggle-inducing interview! You’re welcome back on my blog any time just because of your humor :)
Get your copy of Cult Fiction on Kindle!!
Some people read stories because they offer an escapism that cannot be found elsewhere. Some people read stories because there’s been a power cut. You should read this story because it is very important. It is the story of Stephen Moore. It is also the story of a bench and a fire called Malcolm. Above all, it is the story of the birth of that great religion called Mooranity.
Stephen Moore was a good Christian. He read a small bit of the Bible every evening and went to church every Sunday. He prayed every night that the man in the sky would aid him through his troubles. Then a fire burnt down his house. This did not seem at all fair. As the smoke from the fire drifted away, so did his faith.
To replace the hole left in his life, Stephen formed a support group for those who have lost their beliefs. However, not being a natural leader type, the group began to grow and evolve in ways he had not entirely intended. In fact, it could be argued that it grew in ways exactly opposite to what he had intended. Stephen should have stopped it while there was still time.
Places you can find and follow Ardie: