Welcome to David Wardale.
Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m a 40-something journalist, ghostwriter and author from England with three children, one wife and a dog.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My first published book is called PsiCo, a YA thriller with paranormal leanings and more than a hint of genocide about it. It’s primarily aimed at boys, but I’m pleased to say that the teenage girls who’ve read it have been very positive – despite universally disliking the paperback cover (also designed with boys in mind). The Kindle cover has been rather more positively received mainly because it’s so much better.
Where can readers find your book? The usual places – Amazon, Waterstone’s, Barnes & Noble. Here’s a link (to the UK Amazon Kindle version): http://www.amazon.co.uk/PsiCo-David-Wardale-ebook/dp/B00EYDKMBQ/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1363444412&sr=8-1
It’s published by FeedaRead – an Arts Council-backed UK website – and if you buy it there, I get double the royalties. Money, however, is not the issue for me. I crave sales to raise my profile and would, if allowed, sell the book for a lot less than the publisher is demanding. They do, however, have to make a living…
How long have you been writing and what, if anything, made you choose the genre in which you write? I have been writing so long it hurts. I knocked out a twee little children’s book as a 21-year-old, stopped for a while and then started taking the whole thing rather more seriously in my thirties. Writing a book is a long game which, as a journalist, has proved particularly frustrating as I’ve always been used to writing a story and seeing it in print within the hour. If only fiction writing was so prompt…
I write across various genres, mainly influenced by my children, who are always my target market. My eldest likes thrillers, hence PsiCo was born.
Who or what are your inspirations/influences? Again, my children. Authors? Iain Banks, Ira Levin, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, the list is long and ever growing.
Can you name both a positive and negative experience from your writing? Both PsiCo and another book, Get Santa, won Book of the Year awards on the peer review website You Write On (also Arts Council-funded). These ‘victories’ convinced me that I wasn’t a charlatan and I wasn’t fooling myself that I could actually write. They gave me the confidence and belief to realise that I might really have some talent, however well hidden. This was backed up by a glowing review of PsiCo from an Orion editor.
Negative experiences? Writing a book is a wildly up and down affair. One day you think you’re Shakespeare, the next you’re the worst thing since gastroenteritis. Publishing and promoting a book is, in many ways, even worse. Why doesn’t everybody immediately love it and tell everyone about it? Why has my Amazon sales rank disappeared up its own backside? Why am I so bloody impatient?
It is, as I said, a long game.
With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why? PsiCo is available in Kindle format, but started out purely as a paperback. The medium will always be important until everyone, everywhere, buys their books digitally and that’s not going to happen anytime soon. And there’s still something magical and intimate about a book that, I believe, cannot be replicated on screen.
Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? I might occasionally listen to music if it fits with the mood of a scene I’m trying to create but, generally, I write in a silence only punctuated by the dog barking and me groaning and swearing. I have never written while watching TV. Is it even possible? Writing fiction, as far as I’m concerned anyway, requires that you drift into a semi-conscious state where you live a life through someone else’s eyes. To do this, I need peace and quiet. I guess it’s a lot like meditating – impossible if there are distractions to, well, distract you.
Books are important, why is this the case? What can a book provide that say a video game cannot? Books are implicit, video games (which I love) explicit. Video games, like films, grab you by the hand and haul you through the route, even if you often have choices about the route you wish to take. Books allow you to wander freely and observe and feel what’s written on your own terms and in your own time. They’re far more personal, far more intimate.
I deliberately leave most character descriptions to a bare minimum to allow the reader to fill in the blanks and imagine a person’s look and feel. You can’t do that with a video game. It’s all – ‘bang, here’s your hero, now accept it and move on’. The most vivid and memorable feelings often lurk at the edge of your vision or consciousness – books can take you to that edge where you then have the freedom to explore as far as you’re willing to go.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I am the founder and captain of one of the worst cricket teams ever created. We’re called The Old Contemptibles and we are both old and contemptible – especially the latter. And we are not to be confused with the Scottish club of the same name who seem to be actually rather good. We play for fun and for the love of a game that, based on our woeful results, clearly does not love us.