Name Owen Baillie
Where are you from
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I finished high school, got a job at the lowest level of a consumer goods company, and still work there. A little more responsibility now though than when I began! My wife and I have been married for almost nine years. We have three daughters, between the ages of 3 and 7.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve just released a novel, called Aftermath, which is book 1 in the Invasion of the Dead series. Two weeks in, and I’m really pleased with the feedback. It’s set in Australia, and follows five, twenty-something friends, returning from a long camping trip to find a virus has devastated their township and surrounding areas.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In my early twenties … I had always enjoyed making up stories… just ask my mother!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The day someone paid to read my work.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The Green Mile, by Stephen King. I finished that, and thought how amazing it would be to have people feel such emotion for a story and characters. I had to try.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My prose is fairly basic, and I just try to be clear with what I’m saying, keep it simple.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I tried to capture the point in the storyline where we joined the characters. They return from a long camping trip to find the world has changed in a bad way. They weren’t present while things were falling apart, but arrived afterwards …
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Don’t give up, no matter how tough life gets, keep fighting. You might surprise yourself.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Bits here and there; the relationships, character traits, etc
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not really. That’s why fiction is so much fun, you get to make it all up!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
It’s more so writers: Stephen King, Richard Matheson, Robert McCammon, and Jean Auel. They all write a great story, and that is what I have always wanted to replicate.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Indirectly, Hugh Howey. Although I’ve never had contact, his commentary and advice on writing helped get me to this point. Before I wrote Aftermath, I had written a few shorter stories without specific genres. I read a post on Hugh’s blog that he had written to a guy who had asked what he had to do to write good stories. It was magic. I copied it, printed it out and still read it several times a week. I follow his advice weekly.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
About five of them!!! I’m closest to finishing First Activation, by Darren and Marcus Wearmouth. Great first up novel by these guys. Like most people, I have a huge TBR list, and wish for more time to read.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are so many, and I admire them all. Just getting a book finished is more than most achieve. I feel privileged to be ‘hanging around’ some excellent authors of the genre on Facebook.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Book two of the Invasion of the Dead series. I’m well into that. I’m also working on a sci-fi piece called Murder Inc., set thirty years into the future about a global organization that controls much of the world, although most people are oblivious to them
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Monique Happy at MHES, has been amazing. I resisted Facebook, but Mo was my first friend, and along with Tracey Fitzgerald Rose, edited Aftermath.
Aside from her editing abilities (amazing), she provides brilliant advice all the time, knows the industry backwards, and is lovely to work with. Without her… let’s not think about that!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’m working on it!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so, it’s the best I could do at the time of publication.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always loved stories, and reading from an early age. I feel sorry for those who can’t appreciate a good book. In the end, wanted recreate the connections I had made with stories, for others, through my own work.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I recently published a short story – it’s free at Smashwords:
I’ve written part two and hopefully will have the entire story published in the New Year. I’m pleased with how it’s turning out.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Concentrating. I get distracted easily. Everything I write feels like a slog, as though I’m crawling through thick mud!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Stephen King. He’s written some amazing stories, and is an outstanding writer. He has great use of language. As much as he is loved and admired, I can’t help but think his skill is still underestimated.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet, but I’m hopeful!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Clarissa Yeo at www.bookcoversale.com – she’s based in Singapore, and I’ve probably driven her mad with some of my requests. I was really happy with the way Aftermath turned out. She’s great.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time. The plot and such came easily. Converting all the ideas into something readable takes so much time, and I spend as much time editing as I do on the first draft.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
It takes a huge amount of hard work.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Raise your expectations of yourself. Then write obsessively. It must consume you, and understand you will fight a daily battle, but it’s worth it. If you want it bad enough, you’ll get there.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my work, for your kind and generous feedback, and I hope I continue to meet your expectations of a good story.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies
Exercising, playing sports, listening to music, and reading.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching
The Walking Dead (of course), Game of Thrones, Revenge, Homeland. Any movie with a good plot and characters, really. I’m lining up for the new Star Wars movie now.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?
A policeman maybe…
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
Either of two facebook pages:
Nik Morton said:
Good interview, thanks, Fiona and Owen. (Fiona – missed the ‘t’ out of interview in the heading… And it’s etc, not ect for etcetera – the editor in me 🙂 )