Hi Paul Chaplin, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? I’m a 49 (nearly) old teenager, who still gets goosebumps at the fanfare introduction at the start of Star Wars. I enjoy a variety of sports; watching only. I like a drink in my local , and love cars. As a kid I liked to write stories but never showed anyone! My working life was far removed from literature. I worked for Stockbrokers and a variety of merchant banks all of which I hated. When my Wife and I escaped the rat race I took the opportunity to work a lot less which gave me time to write.
Discuss your newest book.
My latest book A Clone Sacrifice is a follow up to my first book, A Clone Legacy. I never intended to write a trilogy but that appears to be where I’m going. I like to think of this as gentle Sci-Fi, based more on the characters development and struggles rather than warfare and bloodshed. Although I have the occasional battle and a few deaths, but doesn’t real life!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? My interest was created over 20 years ago when watching an episode of Blakes’ 7. Star Wars created a love of Science Fiction for me, but Blakes 7 was all about great stories and script with appalling sets and special effects. A Blakes 7 plot gave me an idea, and I never forgot it until I had a chance to try and write it.
What are your current projects? I’m just finishing off my plot notes and have a little research to complete before I start writing my next book, A Clone Evolution. I recently had a great idea for the end so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.
What books have influenced your life most? Several. When I was a kid, Of Mice and Men had a profound impact on me. Later I became totally in awe of Agatha Christie, I just can’t understand how someone writes Murder on the Orient Express for example.
What inspired you to write your first book? I think the real inspiration was the reaction of friends and family who didn’t believe I could do it. I was fairly determined after that and upped the ante by stating I was going to write three books!. I’m just about to start writing number four.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Torb, a very lonely middle aged man has the awful task of learning a lot of life’s lessons very late, and having to come to terms with realising that he isn’t who he thought he was.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? We spend our whole lives learning to live
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Simon Pegg. He would need to be off the wall and I think that he could pull it off.
When did you decide to become a writer? In between jobs in late 2012. It was a now or never moment.
Why do you write? Simply because I enjoy it and if someone enjoys what you have written, that’s brilliant
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I wanted to find out if I could actually do it. It takes a bit of discipline.
Do you write full-time or part-time? Definitely only part time, I have a part time job that I like so I’m lucky.
What is the hardest thing about writing? That’s easy! The editing is very difficult and time consuming.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Talking about family. I don’t have any children so had to ask some friends for some of their experiences.
What is the easiest thing about writing? The story developing – I can see it all in my mind, it’s just getting it all down and recorded.
What book are you reading now? Save Me by Sarah Beth James
What is one random thing about you? I have a tattoo of the Rebel Alliance motif from Star Wars Awesome!
What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? I only use a computer
What does your writing process look like? A mess usually, plot lines and notes strewn around everywhere. I’m terrified my cats will move something.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? Nope, none. Just lots of coffee. Personally never saw the appeal…unless it’s Starbucks.
How important are names to you in your books? They have to feel right, but my wife Helen is a great help there.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Any topic that I don’t know much about, and writing from a female point of view.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? Not enough market research and the cardinal sin of rushing to get the book out there. I make a point now of taking my time.
What is your favorite motivational phrase? There is no try, either do or do not.
What is your favorite book and why? Murder on the Orient Express, because of the complexities of the plot.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Definitely give it a try, but make sure you have people who will read it lined up otherwise it is difficult to get the message out
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I do a fair bit of reading and I like to gamble on the horses
From where do you gain your inspiration? 1970’s & 1980’s Science Fiction on the TV. Doctor Who maybe….
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? For me, because I came to writing late in life I decided I couldn’t wait for the small chance of being published, but with self publishing it is available quickly and then you get feedback, which helped me improve and develop as a writer.
How do you market your books? Social media only
Why did you choose this route? It keeps the cost down
Would you or do you use a PR agency? No
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Build a social media presence before you publish your book
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? Not nearly enough, about an hour a day but it’s very difficult
What do you do to get book reviews? I offer to read other Authors books in return for a review. I have been delighted with nearly all the books I have read, and got to know some of the Authors
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? Not too bad but you always want more
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? Not really. I go on instinct. If that Author has written something interesting or different I will give it a try.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? It’s the best thing in the world to get a good review. I’d rather have a bad review than no review.
Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? I probably took over two years to work out what people meant by ‘build your audience’
What’s your views on social media for marketing? It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, but sometimes worthwhile.
Which social network worked best for you? Definitely Twitter, it has far more reach
Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Try and enjoy it and take your time. Don’t talk to your friends and family about it constantly. I think I came close to losing some!
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? No, I did a cover reveal on Social Media as well as a countdown to publish but that’s it.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Agatha Christie, I want to know how to write like that!
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, it’s so whacky I love it
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Have a go and don’t give up.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon page amazon.co.uk/Paul-Chaplin/e…
E Mail firstname.lastname@example.org