Solomon Strange, I know is a pseudonym, but I know him as Solomon as do his fans. We have been on each others Facebook pages for several years but only recently connected and got to be friends. He is the first author to do ninety-nine percent of my layout for this posting. I should not be surprised at his meticulousness because of his thorough research for the book I am presently reading, The Haunting of Gospall.
I am not into horror, but the story line intrigued me. My review will be connected to this site next week. Please keep in mind, any errors you find in spelling are not; but rather are British English – as the Brits would say – the correct English.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed books and stories. When I was a kid my dad would sit with the family around the fire and tell us ghost stories. It was a wonderful experience and fuel for my imagination.
But life takes us on very different paths from what we expect. After leaving school at sixteen to work as an apprentice hairdresser, and qualify, I progressed on to part time teaching. I graduated through Manchester University and attained a BA in Education which later helped me pen my novels.
How long does it take you to write a book?
The Haunting of Gospall took a couple of years because of research into naval history, exorcisms and voodoo folklore. Normally I could write a novel within 6-9 months. But it all depends on the type of novel and most importantly the deadline.
How do books get published?
That’s an interesting question. I would say through persistence, determination and a fair bit of luck and reaching out to other authors. I’m fortunate enough to have a number of friends and acquaintances who are best selling authors. I have gained a lot of knowledge from their expertise. Always be willing to listen and learn and never think that you are the finished article.
Remember every author experiences rejection but the key is keep trying and never give up!
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Anywhere and everywhere. It could be watching a movie, reading a story or real life event. In fact I had to drop a chapter from my latest novel The Haunting of Gospall because it came very close to a real terrorist attack. Fiction can sometimes mirror reality in the strangest of ways.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to read. Supernatural and horror are my favourite.
A healthy body is a healthy mind, so I like to exercise at the gym a couple of times a week.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
To become an astronaut but that didn’t work out.
I’ve always had a vivid imagination inspired in no small way because of my love of horror and supernatural movies. I used to sit watching all of the old black and white Universal Pictures, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, Dracula etc. I think in reality I would have enjoyed working in movies, not acting though, more on the creative side of things. I find it amazing how the mind can come up with an idea, a thought that can become a great story or blockbuster movie.
One of the most surprising things in creating my book?
It was published through Telos Publishing. They are a fabulous group of people and have published a wide variety of works, including an acclaimed range of original novellas based on Doctor Who and many cult TV and film subjects. They are perhaps the UK’s best-known independent publishers of Doctor Who books.
Despite its title The Haunting of Gospall is not a ghost story in the traditional sense but it does merge real life events such as historic naval battles, accounts of exorcisms and demonic possession. Regarding personal experience, I based the character of Maria Kokoschka on an acquaintance who is indeed a psychic medium.
I was thrilled to be endorsed by best-selling authors Tim Lebbon (Relics), Paul Finch (best-selling DS Heckenburg series), Sam Stone (Award winning Vampire Gene Series), Steven Savile (Glass Town and Parallel Lines), Paul Lewis (Small Ghosts) and have an introduction by the fabulous Steve Lockley.
I also have some exciting news that I can’t share at the moment.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me a really good horror story relies on terrific suspense. There have been a few occasions when I have gotten into a novel that has that compelling feel, you know what I mean, wanting to turn over one page after another but then it fizzles out towards the end. I find that soul destroying. It’s also important to have a connection with the characters and fear for them when the time is right. If you can genuinely feel fear or pain for someone in the book then you cannot help but be sucked in. The challenge of the horror genre is to successfully stretch the readers feelings of safety and sanity by pushing the boundaries of fear, dread and helplessness whilst making it believable. It is not just about blood, guts, gore and gratuitous violence. It is a combination of elements that hooks them.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
It is important to work through the writing process in a sequence of steps, prewriting, drafting, revising, editing. Professional editing is essential. It not only ensures that the work is polished, it is one of the things that will have a massive impact on reader comfort and book sales.
Here are some links:
Unfortunately, my website is down at present. I’m having it redesigned.
Amazon.co.uk: Solomon Strange: Books, Biography, Blogs …
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