It’s my pleasure to introduce Reb Macrath author of Nobility
Q. Who are your greatest support – who believes in you?
I’ve been blessed with a small but very strong inner circle: a brother who’s believed in me from the start…and a half-dozen writers and friends/fans.
Q. Where do you write from? e.g. Kitchen table? Study? Bedroom? Garden shed?
My first drafts are always written by hand–using index cards or notebooks, depending on the project. I prefer to write in cafes. From there on, I work on my laptop, dividing my time between the library and cafes.
Q. Do you write at set times e.g. morning, afternoon, evening, very early morning?
That method would be ideal, I suppose. But my dual job schedule doesn’t allow it, at least not every day. I work seven nights on, seven days off (from the night job). Still, most of the drafting is done at about the same time: early evening before work nights…early mornings on off days. This fall, when I move to Seattle, I’ll cut back to one job with a schedule that allows me to write in the morning each day.
Q. What motivates you to write?
In the beginning, as a poet, I wrote for self-expression. Over the years though, since switching to prose, I’ve been driven more and more by the hunger to connect with readers, sharing the stories that rock me.
Q. What are the biggest distractions to your writing time?
The need, for now, to work two jobs–and the work stress I take home with me. These have led me to conclude that success as a writer in large part depends on one’s ability to properly set up the rest of his/her life.
Q. What part of the world do you live in?
Q. Are you from the west coast originally?
Q. Have you ever suffered from writers’ block?
No, never in the dictionary sense. I have gotten stuck, from time to time, where I knew where I was going in a work in progress but needed time to plot my way. I’ve never been short on ideas for the next book to write.
Q. How do you overcome it?
For my short, minor blockages, I relax and refuse to allow myself to worry. The main thing, I think, is to keep working. So I’ll put in the time, even if I don’t write a usable line. A couple of times, I’ve jumped ahead to a section I knew I could do, which builds my confidence.
Q. Have you taken any writers’ courses and have they been worthwhile?
Never. But I did invent my own course when I got serious about getting published. I read several books a few times each and made a close study of a dozens of novels I liked: outlining every one of them, studying the pacing, etc.
Q. Have you ever belonged to a writers’ group? And what value did you gain from it?
About 10 years ago, I joined a forum called JustWrite, which is mostly geared toward helping writers find agents. I’d published four novels but had been out of the game for a while. There were some call people on the site, including a few published pros like myself. But most of the people I collided with were opinionated boors, spouting cliches that they’d read somewhere else: e.g., Avoid all back story. Always show, don’t tell. Etc.
Q. Is self-publishing satisfying enough for you or would you prefer to be traditionally published?
I wouldn’t mind at all publishing traditionally again. But I enjoy the freedom and independence of indie publishing. And I know what a crap shoot it is to publish with even a major league house. My first book, The Suiting, wasn’t even advertised in the publisher’s catalog–so book stores didn’t stock the book…though I, of course, had to shoulder the blame when the sales were low.
Q. Have you ever tried to find an agent?
I’ve had some good ones. But ‘midlist’ writers are pretty much finished if they failed to make their numbers after a couple of books. You only get so many chances. I blame the Situation, not the agents or the houses. Still, never say never. My door is always open.
Q. What would you expect an agent could do for you that you can’t do for yourself?
An agent can make the sort of deal that enables a writer to buy the time to write a novel–and to ensure that the house will advertise in order to earn back the advance. Agents have connections to the film industry grand poobahs.
Q. Do you think you can make a full-time career being an Indie writer?
The battle is bloody, but it can be won. It involves learning new footwork, not simply taking more of the steps already taken.
Q. How long have you been writing?
Since I was 18 years old.
Q. What drew you to want to write a book?
Many factors, I won’t deny fame and money, but I keep fighting to realize my goals: to astonish, move, thrill, entertain and inspire.
Q. From where did you get the idea for this current story?
My new book, Charlotte Kills, was inspired by actual event I couldn’t get out of my mind. Manslaughter or murder? A poor drunk either stumbled out of or was violently thrown from the door of a neighborhood pub. When I passed by the pub, I was stunned by how close the entrance was to the street. And the more I looked, the more clearly I saw a hit disguised and mishap.
Q. How did you go about developing it?
I began with a notebook, as always, wherein I ask questions: Why was he killed? Why was he killed like that? Why were there no witnesses, etc.? What if the Charlotte mob was somehow involved? Why would Boss MacTavin, my hero, be sent there? Etc.
Q. What is your next project?
I’ll write the fourth Boss MacTavin novel, which will take about a year. After that: one of my shorter romantic suspense tales (something in the vein of Nobility). In this way, though I’m not a fast writer, I can keep getting my books out at a respectable rate.