Welcome to Travis Casey
Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born and raised in Midwest America, but moved to the UK in 1992. But I’m in the process now of moving back to Minnesota to look after my ailing parents. Then I hope to be back in the UK within the next year to 18 months.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.
So far I’ve written Tyler’s Trouble Trilogy. Trouble Triangle, which is a romantic comedy. Oceans of Trouble which is suspense. And the finale is Forbidden Trouble, is a romance containing explicit scenes. They are written as stand alones, however it is interesting to see how Tyler grows as a person throughout the trilogy.
All my novels revolve around humor and are character driven. The plots just evolve as the characters develop. The way I see it; if I don’t know what’s going to happen next, how can the reader? So there are always plenty of surprises and unexpected twists.
Who or what are your inspirations/influences? I never read much before I started writing, but I love creating characters. That is the driving force behind my writing. I think of two-to three interesting characters, let them resonate in my mind for a week or two, come up with a setting, then just start writing and see where it goes.
Are your characters based on real people? They start out based on a person I’ve probably known, but as I write them, they take on their own personality.
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? Being character driven, I tend to keep them in reality. I do a lot of research to make sure things are fairly accurate, but I don’t require a fantasy type imagination or research. I’m more likely to write about Mary and Joe in Tennessee than inter-galactic aliens.
My current WIP takes place in Kentucky and the male MC dates the governor’s daughter. So I had to look up the governor’s mansion in Kentucky. I was mesmerized. I spent an hour, slack-jawed, staring at all the different photos — then probably used only 10% of what I saw. I do enjoy the research and like using the internet for that as the results are instant.
Is there a message conveyed within your writing? I hope not. I just want people to laugh and are amused for how ever long it takes them to read it. I think authors can come across as preachy if they try to put messages in their writing. My only aim in my writing is to entertain. I write non-fiction sometimes – that’s when I will try to convey a message, but not in fiction.
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these? E-book and print.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I think books suffer dramatically if not properly and professionally edited. The writer will miss a lot of their own mistakes. When I read my work, I know what I meant to say, so I read it that way whether it’s there or not.
My books go through 10-15 drafts before I publish. I usually write it using alpha readers. They question everything making sure I don’t have plotholes, tearing the first and second drafts apart. After about 7-8 drafts, I send it to a professional editor. When I get it back from him, I’ll do another 2-3 drafts incorporating his suggestions. Then I send it to beta readers to catch the mistakes I created fixing the editor’s suggestions. A few more run throughs and I hit the publish button. (Then still find the odd typo.) GRRR…
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? A book forces the audience to use their own imagination , which I think is good. It’s easier for the reader to connect with the characters when they’ve had to visualize them for themselves.
What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?
1) Learn the craft. Punctuation IS important as is grammar, proper construction and character points of view. Joining a critiquing group is the best way to learn.
2) Accept criticism as learning, not a personal attack.
3) The most powerful tool a writer has is the scissors. Not everything you write will be pure gold, so be prepared to cut. I throw away at least 10% of everything I write. So for every 100,000 words I write, 10k winds up in the bin, never to be seen.
Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? Before I began to write, I read biographies. I find true life adventures fascinating. I do a lot of beta reads for writing partners, and that is mostly romance, which I do enjoy.
Do you have a favourite movie? All my favorites are comedies. Stripes, Plane, Trains & Automobiles, My Cousin Vinny… I have a lot. If it makes me laugh, I like it.
Do you have any pets? Two Shih Tzu dogs – Shauna and Sasha
Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing? I did some maintenance work in Hastings, East Sussex where drug usage is rampant. It was working for slumlords and I went into houses you wouldn’t want your dogs to walk in to. I went into some very rough areas with even rougher tenants. I didn’t shave all week so I would look as bad as them. And yes, it helps me personify writing bad guys.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I lived in eight cities in five different states in Midwest America by the time I was eighteen – then joined the Navy and started on world travels.
Book links, website/blog and author links:
Read about Travis’s experience at the London Author Fair here. https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/guest-post-london-author-fair-experience-by-travis-casey/