Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hello. My name is Ross Baxter. I’m….oh, go on then…54
Fiona: Where are you from?
Sheffield, in the north of England.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Married to a Norwegian and with two Anglo-Viking kids, I live in Derby, England. I work for a large pharmaceutical company, where I look after transport projects (trucks and the like). I spent 30 years in the Royal Naval Reserve, where I went all over the world, including the Arabian Gulf and South America. I even got a medal presented personally by Princess Anne.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Its been another good year for writing, and in December 2018 I’ve stories coming out in two cool anthologies – a horror anthology from Hell Bound Books called ‘Made in Britain’, and a horror/action anthology from Ulthar Press called ‘Hells’s Empire’
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Twenty years ago, whilst on a long night watch with the Royal Navy. I was unhappy with the novel I was reading, and felt I could do better. It took me a long time to produce anything actually worth reading, but I suppose writing is like learning any new trade; you really have to put the hours in.
Finally, after countless rejections, it started to come together. Actually, having two kids helped – taking them to all the classes and events they wanted to do meant a lot of time hanging around in the car for me, which was great for writing. The car is my favourite writing place!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got my first payment really, although I know I’ll never make enough at it to stop working. That was about ten years ago. But I’m still learning, and still improving hopefully.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was that time away with the Navy, when I wasn’t enjoying the novel I was reading and (naively) felt I could do better. It took me a long time, during which I discovered I liked writing short stories much more than novels.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It had about 5 working titles before the final one – ‘Corporate Alien’. The title describes the plot of the book really – untamed corporate greed in a dystopian future.
My second novel is called ‘The Spratley Crisis’, although that title may change. This book is complete, but I’m waiting for real life trouble in the South China Sea to start before I try and approach publishers with it (…it’s a present-day thriller set in the South China Sea, based on a scenario which is not too far-fetched. It could happen!)
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I try and write like a couple of my writing heroes – Larry McMurtry and Pete Dexter. Both have styles which are honest and pull no punches, which is what I want my work to be.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Spending time in a military organisation is a great way to choose characters and help with character development. For my sci-fi work, I image being in a spacecraft is not much different than being out at sea in a warship.
I do think that personally I would not have been able to write the stories I do twenty-years ago; I’m a great fan of life-experience.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
It is always useful to see a place and experience it for real. However, the internet is a very useful tool! I’m writing a submission at the moment for a book based around H.G.Well’s War of the Worlds. The story is based in Norway in 1896, regarding the Norwegian response to the Martian invasion. Although I know the area where it is based well, and I’ve spent hours getting every historical detail right about the place, what it looked like at the time, the technology, etc. Research is so much easier now with Google.
That said – Google also means that there is no excuse now for poor or incomplete research, and when I do read an author who obviously has not done her or his homework, I do get quite annoyed. Not researching properly is just plain lazy!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
On my novel – me! I spend hours with some photo-editing software till I got something I was happy with. There are some great software packages out there, and they just keep getting better.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No, not really. I just want it to entertain.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I’ve already mentioned my favourite authors: Pete Dexter and Larry McMurtry. If you’ve never read any of their works, you’ll probably know them through the television series Deadwood (Pete Dexter), or Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurtry). I like them are they are both essentially dark/noir writers, gritty, with a very direct style.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I’m afraid I can’t; there was no one. However, from time to time a rejection letter from a publisher would contain some encouragement, or highlight a positive, and that kept me going.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I wish I could, but being realistic, no. I enjoy getting 4 or 5 stories included in published anthologies per year, and that is satisfaction enough. I also very much enjoy writing a story, which is why I do it really.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
For Corporate Alien – yes. Quite a lot really, but that is because I think I’ve improved since it came out.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
As I always research thoroughly, I learn plenty! For instance, from what I’m writing at the moment, there is very little I don’t know about Norway in the 1890’s (which is rather dull I admit), or the torture techniques of the Viet Cong (very unpleasant, but much less dull).
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Most of my leads now are female. For the horror story included in the forthcoming ‘Made in Britain’ anthology, it would be Kelita Smith.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
For new writers: just keep going, you will get there.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Please feel free to feed back to me via twitter or my web page.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Passage, by Justin Cronin. Post-apocalyptic staff….
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I wish I could, but no.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Mainly my kids….
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Fellow Yorkshireman, Captain James Cook 1729-1779, a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. He ‘discovered’ Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. He was killed by Hawaiians in 1779, and died a hero. You couldn’t invent a cooler character.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Writing – which is all I have time for really.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Z Nation and Penny Dreadful are my favourites at the moment.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food – anything unhealthy. Music – Electric Six to The Smiths.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
…I don’t want to even think about it!
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Probably not writing…I only usually manage about 250 words an hour!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I’m going to be cremated, as I don’t want to come back as a zombie.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Special offer – for anyone who buys my novel or any anthology that I’m in, if they send me a picture of them with it on Twitter I’ll create them a personal gif.
Amazon Authors page UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ross-Baxter/e/B0041/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Armen Pogharian said:
I think we all owe a debt to books that were poorly written – without them many new authors would never have taken the plunge. Best of luck to you with your anthologies.