Sunday

Kindle Author Interview: Scott Hunter

Scott Hunter, author of The Trespass, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Trespass?

SCOTT HUNTER: OK. The Trespass is a tense, fast-paced, archaeological, metaphysical action thriller in the Da Vinci Code mould, but with hopefully a little more impact in the sense that it leads to a revelation that actually means something in terms of our place in the Universe. (Gosh, that just came out without rehearsal. . .)

The idea for the plot popped into my head while I was working out at the local swimming pool (I don’t work out that often, so don’t get the impression I’m some kind of fitness freak…I’m the total opposite! J ). I was thinking about writing a novel in this genre and the subject matter just came to me in one of those ‘what if…’ moments writers have now and again. You guys know what I mean, right? The book took around three years to write and I submitted the early drafts to a critique service. I followed the great advice I received from the reviewer and revised the draft, then revised it again, and again... . until I was happy.

And I have to say that I’m still happy with the book. And I’m even happier that people are reading and enjoying it!

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

SCOTT HUNTER: I start with the main character, and once I have a clear idea who he/she is, and once I know what their problems are and where their conflict areas might be lurking, I start thinking about who their adversaries might be. I do enjoy creating the ‘bad guys’. (I hope that’s not a character defect!) 

Supporting characters turn up unexpectedly, often in a form I’m not expecting. For instance, Bek, the African boy the protagonist of The Trespass hooks up with in Lalibela (a wonderfully strange village in Ethiopia), just appeared in my head in an instant, fully formed and ready to go.

The main characters tend to develop as they face and overcome their trials, which sounds a bit stereotypical, but it’s true. I have to say that I would be a changed man if I’d had to go through what Simon Dracup went through in The Trespass. And then some!

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

SCOTT HUNTER: Hmmmm. That’s an interesting one. Let’s see, well, someone who has a taste for action and adventure. Someone who wants to be taken out of themselves as they chug up to London for another day at the office, or someone who likes a page-turning read as they relax on the beach or veg out on the sofa. In short, anyone who likes a ‘cracking read’ (that’s a quote from one of the Amazon reviews!)

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

SCOTT HUNTER: I was the maths dunce at school—the boy with a wild imagination and no head for figures. It took a while to get going but after trying my hand at committing to paper the fairy stories I’d made up for my daughter, Claire, I entered a short story competition run by The Sunday Express newspaper and won. I was totally gobsmacked. The editor at the time, Kate Saunders, asked me if I’d considered writing a novel. That was the catalyst. That was three novels and several years ago. . .

Btw, you can read the Sunday Express short story win on my website at www.scott-hunter.net

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

SCOTT HUNTER: I begin with an idea, then gradually the idea develops. This process happens over quite a few weeks or months. Then, one day, I have enough to begin. I tend not to plan too much, but leave room for unexpected developments and – sometimes - massive changes of direction (if appropriate and if better than the original premise!). When finished I try to forget all about it for a few weeks, and after this recovery period the process of revision starts, which I quite enjoy. I read a great quote recently from an author who likened the process of completing a novel to recovering from a long illness. I love that! It sums the whole thing up beautifully. It is hard, and there are discouragements, but the satisfaction of getting there in the end more than makes up for the pain. Also, with the revision process, you haven’t got that terrible uphill climb ahead, but instead the satisfaction of knowing that you have, at the very least, a beginning, middle and an end, of a sort.

I write when I can, where I can. Usually in hotel rooms, trains, station platforms, coffee shops. I’m very fortunate that I can filter out background noise and concentrate pretty much anywhere. I just need coffee and a laptop. Sorted.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

SCOTT HUNTER: Sebastian Faulks—Birdsong is the most amazing book I’ve ever read. Rohinton Mistry, Arthur Conan Doyle, Susan Hill, Jerome K Jerome.

Quite a mixed bunch!

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

SCOTT HUNTER: Three Men in a Boat, without a doubt. It’s hilarious, and wonderfully gentle, almost poetic in its take on life, love and friendship.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

SCOTT HUNTER: I have a website, I’ve self published (in print) via Lulu. I’ve done book signings at Waterstones, in shopping centres, talked to local media, sent off review copies, tweeted till my fingers are dropping off, facebooked in a similar manner, happily been interviewed (like this—thanks, David!) and so on and so on…

At the moment I’m trying to think of some outrageous publicity stunt to promote The Trespass. Watch this space!

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

SCOTT HUNTER: Ah, because I love the simplicity of it, I love the fact that it’s an emerging trend and I love the fact that it’s a free service. I also think that it’s a great way to get your writing read by as many people as possible as quickly as possible. The traditional publishing world is incredibly slow moving. I like to think of the Kindle as the equivalent of the punk revolution of the late seventies. The big publishers don’t know how to cope with it at the moment—it’s liberating and a real buzz to be part of it.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

SCOTT HUNTER: Go for it, but don’t be too hasty. Your work must compete on a quality level with the best that’s out there—and there are countless excellent books out there, self published or otherwise. If you want to be successful, be as professional as you can possibly be. Revise and revise again. Polish your work. Make sure the title is top notch. Make sure the cover looks great. And make sure you’re prepared for the marketing side as well. It’s hard but if you’re determined and you have a great book, you will succeed!

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scott was born in Romford, Essex in 1956. His writing career was kick-started after he won first prize in the Sunday Express Short Story Competition. Scott divides his time between writing, IT contract work and drumming. He has recorded with internationally renowned rock band Jethro Tull and appeared in concert with 70's popsters Mungo Jerry. He has recently completed a three year stint with UK blues rock supremo Larry Miller.

Scott is currently working on his third novel, an adult crime thriller entitled Silent Order. Scott lives in Berkshire with his wife Katherine, his two youngest children (Tom, 13 and Emily, 12) and a Cocker Spaniel pup named Archie. He is a committed Christian and is actively involved in his local church in Reading.

Scott was recently long listed for the Times/Chicken House Children's Novel Competition for The Ley Lines of Lushbury and won the Sunday Express Short Story Competition a few years back for his historical entry set in the English Civil War.

Visit his website.

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