Breakfast Interview No. 1 – Kevin Machin (Writer)
After a few months of chatting on Sunday mornings, a group of us met up in person in London, the first of many very enjoyable outings. Some of us have also been to Caerleon in Wales on the Writers’ Holiday.
I am honoured that Kevin has agreed to be the very first of my guests to be interviewed on The Write Eye in a series of monthly breakfast interviews.
Annie: You say you took up writing in 2007. What was your first writing project and what gave you the idea for writing the story?
Kevin: It was a novella called “Fugue in D Minus“. The story was inspired by a very drunken social evening of ten-pin bowling with some friends and colleagues. At the end of the evening, I fell asleep sitting on a wall just hundreds of metres short of my home. Later I got to thinking about all the things that could have happened.
Annie: Your projects cover a variety of genres? Which is your favourite genre and why?
Kevin: I’d have to say science fiction, which I consider to be something of a super-genre. It’s fascinating and so much less restrictive than other genres.
Annie: Do you think a writer needs an agent?
Kevin: This is a big and complicated subject, but here’s the short version. If you’re good at marketing yourself and your books, then perhaps not. However, despite the current turmoil of the publishing industry, I think agents provide valuable services for authors who don’t have the skills, the time or the inclination to do their own marketing and representation.
Annie: I notice that on your blog, Cloud Line, there are an impressive number of links to writers’ resource websites on your sidebar. I have bookmarked many of your excellent links myself. What else do you have in your writers’ toolbox to help you in your writing?
Kevin: The usual array such as English dictionaries, “how-to” books and, of course, the internet. I’m both a planner and a pantser *. When I have my planning hat on, I make use of many software tools, including: mind-mapping, spreadsheets for time lines and project management, graphics tools for designing things such as locations and future technology. Sometimes I use home-made software, if I can’t find what I want on the web.
* Writing “by the seat of the pants”.
Annie: Every writer has their favourite time of day to write. I know I produce my best work during the early hours of the morning, for instance. When is your best time to write?
Kevin: I don’t really have a best time. I write when time allows and I’m in the right frame of mind.
Annie: I think that’s enough about writing! I hope you don’t mind, but the next five questions will be about you. Once, when I was on a training course, we were asked to write down on a piece of paper something that no-one else in the room knew about us. We then put them in an empty box and the group had to guess which ‘secret’ belonged to which person. Mine was that, when I was fifteen, I went joy-riding in a stolen car (please stop laughing, Kevin). What is your ‘secret’ that no one reading this blog will know about you.
Kevin: I secretly love the girl band “Hepburn”, in spite of my answer to Q10.
Annie: What is your first childhood memory?
Kevin: That’s a hard one, especially as I can’t even remember yesterday.
(Annie laughs out loud)
Annie: What was your first job?
Kevin: Apart from having a newspaper round when I was a boy; selling ice creams on Brighton Pier.
Annie: I know you are a ‘techie’ kind of person. If you had to give up all but one of the following items, what would be the item you keep and why?
A mobile phone
Kevin: I would keep the computer, due to its versatility. It can do the functions of all of the other devices, with the exception of the car.
(Annie: Ah, yes, but I forgot to mention that there is no internet connection …looks like you would just have to stop prevaricating and get on with the writing in blissful solitude, then!)
Annie: Finally, what would you say is your best, and worst, personality trait?
Kevin: Best: Patience and an analytical mind. Worst: Intolerance for most ‘manufactured’ popular music, coupled with an elitism for progressive rock.
(Annie: Hmmm … so why ‘Hepburn’, then? Guilty pleasure or what?)
Thank you, Kevin, for agreeing to be my first interviewee and for your interesting answers to my quetions.I have read, and very much enjoyed, reading your work and I wish you all the very best for your future success as a writer. Now, who wants to be my next
victim guest? Please do contact me if you would like to volunteer. You don’t have to be a writer – just a ‘creative type’.