Bestselling, and multi-award-winning British author, Ken Fry, holds a university Master’s Degree in Literature and has extensively traveled around the world. He has extensive knowledge of the Art world.
He is now retired and devotes his full time to writing. He lives in the UK and shares his home with ‘Dickens’ his Shetland Sheepdog.
Time to chat with Ken!
What is your latest book?
My latest book is The Chronicles of Aveline. It’s a historical novel set during the 3rd Crusade and involves the predicament Aveline finds herself in after being banished to a convent and her subsequent adventures as she begins to search and for her lover who has been exiled to fight in the Holy Land. It’s the first time I’ve written a novel with a female protagonist.
I hear you have some exciting news! Can you share it with us?
Of course! I have just sent off to Eeva Lancaster, my editor, and book manager, my final edit for The Lazarus Continuum. It should be published in August, and is a sequel to the multi award winning and very successful, The Lazarus Succession.
What part of writing a novel do you enjoy writing the most? The least?
I always enjoy the start or epilogue. I find they can set my perspective of how I may shape the narrative.
The part I like least… maybe before the dénouement when there is an attempt to bring all the elements into focus.
Some authors always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?
I was once tempted to purchase the ‘Scrivener’ software. A truly remarkable writer’s tool it is too, and ideal for the non-linear approach. However, I resisted. My memory is pretty cool, and I write strictly in a linear fashion. Plus, technology and me struggle at times.
Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?
Not at all. For me, nothing is written in stone. Plots and ideas change frequently, and as I progress. I have listed over a dozen titles and have chosen each one several times before reaching a decision, and that may not even have appeared on the list!
Some writers edit excessively as they write, others wait until a novel is finished. What do you do?
I have my own way of handling this issue. Each morning, before I commence writing, I read through what I wrote the day before and make what edits I think are required. When the book is finished I read slowly through it twice over and making the inevitable alterations etc. I then send it to Eeva Lancaster, my editor, who then goes through it several more times and keeps in contact with me about how it’s shaping up. It works well for me.
Are you easily distracted while writing? If so what do you do help yourself focus?
When focussed, I’m blind and deaf to all around me, even the phone ringing. A lack of ideas may cause distraction but that never lasts long enough to worry about.
How important is the choosing of character names important to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?
Absolutely! No point giving a hard-boiled thug type, a name like Timothy. It doesn’t sound right. All my principal characters have had name changes halfway through the narrative even. It’s a very important consideration, and the name can be quite meaningful when viewed in context to the story.
Do you have any advice for first time authors?
There’s a lot to learn and unless you are a God-given genius, or have a fantastic stroke of luck, you are not going to get it right straight away.
You need a solid platform of writing and to develop a distinct profile. If you are on the Indie route, you need social media and you need to know how to use it. Seek professional help. I did, and for me it has worked well, although it’s taken two years to get to this point.
How much research was involved in writing your books. How do you go about it?
There can be lots. I have an extensive library of learned and literary books from all my university work. When I read anything that could have a bearing on my story, it gets researched via Google, public libraries and any other source. I’ve been known to spend over a day or more researching on one facet alone. For example, I’m halfway through a book where there is a lot of underwater activity occurring. I’ve contacted diving clubs and divers etc. Now I know something about the subject and I can discuss it in my book without making a big mistake.
Having your work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips for handling negative reviews?
If we are talking about Amazon, you need to look at who the reviewer might be. Have they a subjective and touchy belief system? Is what they say relevant? If it is, take it on board. If it’s the former, shrug it off. Don’t dwell on it. All writers experience the odd bad review. It’s part of our lives!
Are you an early bird writer or night owl? Do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?
Definitely ‘early bird.’ I use music intensely. It heightens my mood and emotions… Hans Zimmer, Yuja Wang’s piano playing, Buddhist chants and mantras, Vangelis, Lisa Gerrard, Ennio Morricone, to name but a few.
We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?
That saying may be true, but a cover goes a long way in telling the reader what they might expect from the book. Can you imagine a zombie tale with a spaceship on the cover? Well, you might if it was Zombies from Outer Space. I’m sure you know what I mean.
I use The Book Khaleesi, who produces first class and imaginative covers that reflect my content. I had thought of using covers from a stock, but two authors can end up with the same cover. I’ve seen it. Ouch! None of that is worth it to save a few pence. It’s not worth it. I’ve changed my covers a couple of times when sales are low, and it has worked every time.
Always ask to see what ideas your cover designer has in mind and then make a choice. But let them design it.
Many authors do giveaways; Have you found them a successful way to promote your book?
Not so much. Unless the book involved is FREE.
Do you feel your latest book is your personal favorite or one of your previous novels?
In terms of writing, I feel that my best book is The Brodsky Affair. You could call it my favorite.
Do you miss spending time with your characters when you finish writing them?
Finishing a book makes me feel sad every time. I get very emotional.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so how do get around it?
Yes, I have. I shut down and go for a long walk with my dog, and then end up in my local pub to partake of a bottle of wine and bowls of tapas. Works wonders! I take a notebook with me, and also when I go to bed. I often then wake up, and the ideas begin to flow once more.
A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are? What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?
A writer lives for your reviews. To know that someone is reading what we wrote. A simple one-line comment is more than enough. It not only validates our work, it also helps other readers figure out if they should read it. If you’re reading an Indie, then the review becomes more important.
Where do you live now? If you had to move another city/ state/country, where might that be.
I live in a small village in the county of Surrey in the UK. It suits me well, but my ideal would be to live close to Florence in Italy. I adore that place, and been there over seven times. For me, it has everything I would ever want. It has passion, culture and an ambience, which has captured my soul.
If you could duplicate the knowledge from any single person’s head and have it put magically put into your own brain, whose knowledge would it be, and why.
Professor Stephen Hawking. Wow, he understood Einstein and expanded our knowledge of how the universe works. His theories are mind-boggling and withstand scientific investigations.
If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would that be?
That would be to be able to play musical instruments.
What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place.
1) abandon religions
2) abandon nationalities
3) abandon ethnic differences.
Ken Fry… May 2018.
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