Batten down the hatches and get ready to meet author S. P. Mount. After today’s author interview, you will feel like you’ve made a new friend. He’s a beautiful person who writes equally beautiful prose.
Giveaway: Three randomly drawn commenters on this post will receive a free copy of Prickly Scots Pt. I and II from SmashWords.
1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.
The Prickly Scots series was my first book, but one that I’ve worked on to improve constantly even as recently as this year; “nothing quite like it” readers have said; “an intelligent story, as quirky as its cover art.” It remains a personal favorite, and there may be more in the series to come.
Caught up in the events of a time-travel adventure, the everyday life journeys of a motley crew of main characters unfold in an erratic butterfly effect. Blending seamlessly with a sense of everydayness, a fantastical element is served up via the inimitable and candid humour of the Scots and other anomalous species. Told with a tongue-in-cheek delight, Prickly Scots is designed to whisk you from reality into a world of outrageousness; an epic unlike any before. Pt. I – Pt. II or Pts I & II
2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.
There are so many answers to the question as to why I write that in a way it’s difficult to answer. First and foremost though, I do write for myself, but take great pleasure too when others enjoy my unusual style. Perhaps it suffices to say it’s a requisite of my disposition; the machinations of an omniscient mind’s eye unable to retain everything that goes on in there, and, as I’ll probably never have the luxury of going mad, writing acts as its external hard drive; offering respite from the strange way I see the world; an incessant creativity that ostracizes who I am from the normality of the real one.
3. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?
I don’t have a favorite anything; everything with individual merit; e.g. no comparison with Italy and Australia, Ronald MacDonald and Gordon Ramsay. These days I tend not to read novels; preferring biographies and true stories – in line perhaps with what I consider to be my strongest skill-set; composing character-driven pieces, mainly. I enjoy historical novels though, Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George is quintessential of my taste; always in awe of any author with the ability to create an authentic life story for such historical figures based only on a chronological outline. Such an undertaking!
When setting out on my writer’s journey, I didn’t read anything for fear of being overly influenced by it, discarding my love of reading by the wayside; only recently realizing the invaluable stimulus to be had from other writers in terms of technical aspects, and now feel embarrassed that was my mind-set.
4. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
The title of my blog, !t a!n’t me… !t’s all y’all, is something I love to say as a Scotsman, but there’s truth to it in terms of self-preservation, not I who’s the anomaly, but everyone else and the upside down ‘i’s’ not without relevance.
Apparently, I’m au contraire, against the grain, unusual, unique, multifaceted, a bit of a “Sybil,” but the good thing about that is, I often collaborate with my inner-selves to bring unpredictable elements to my writing. What you’ll find here is humor, diatribe, sentiment and introspective. Whatever takes “our” fancy.
In general, I don’t feel qualified to pontificate about anything much on my blog other than my own life experience, again, largely writing for my own pleasure; blogging a relaxing pastime in much the same way I love to ‘free-fall’ write too – vignettes that evolve on-the-go and where all rules of society have gone “up the lum.”
5. Are you traditionally published or self-published?
I’ve never tried to get a publisher. Not really. Lazy that way; need someone to do it for me; hate the business side of anything. I do however strive to bring the highest quality; obsessive compulsive about presentation since professional formatting presented itself as shockingly as a flasher in Central Park. These days I format before typing and I never work without the show/hide function on Word.
I love to create cover art and have become disgracefully intimate with Photoshop, but it’s my hope that I can concentrate more on my photography as well as get back into painting, to use more personal images for my book covers. Unfortunately, lest I be considered master of none, I’ve chosen to concentrate solely on writing, but hard to do when the very fibre of your being is a fine-edged paintbrush and nude models are everywhere (and by that, I mean the rawness of the surrounding world; get your mind out the gutter, please.)
6. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
Absolutely not, the Internet teems infinite advice on that matter.
I will say that I’ve spent the better part of 2012 studying social media, which I don’t enjoy one iota. I’ve only done so because they say it’s necessary to have on-line presence, but to be honest, I feel that kind of marketing is largely ineffective, meaningless and shallow and gobbles up time better spent. Sadly much of it seems automaton; affected, everyone following a blueprint. And yes, undoubtedly, something to be said for it when you’ve laid the foundations and it’s less time-consuming, and others might enjoy great success, but I’m far too honest, perhaps modest, too shy to utilize it in the way it demands of me. Or perhaps I’m just not very good at it; don’t fit into the digital world any better than I do the real fake one; the lack of honesty and sincerity even behind the relative anonymity of it all, mind-blowingly intolerable to me.
What I find advantageous though, is to present oneself in features like this; well-regarded blogs, or by writing intelligent articles for respected publications, it’s through these that some pretty important people have come to my own work, and despite my little rant above, I do think it’s important to create yourself as a package, but I hate when that’s contrived; wrapped up like a department store Christmas box; when opened, empty inside.
7. Describe your writing background.
Writing is a journey, and I’ve been hiking the Alps for seven years. That early childhood talent that had the nuns at my school orgasmic, together with the potential for scholarship were stolen by the errors of my parentage; lasted no longer than the bottles of whisky that saw me being brought up in a group home where I no longer had inclination to nurture wild imaginings amid what became a battered existence, mentally and physically.
But when I acclimatized to my sob story, and most have one, I entered into a career in worldwide tourism, determined to reclaim my sense of surrealism; travelling extensively, taking notes, for I always knew they’d arm me for when I returned to writing one day. And they have; initially testing the water with amateur writing sites with a degree of success before attending college in Vancouver, Canada to learn how to do it properly, for one might be able to tell a story, but to show it, another matter altogether. Dedicated, I continue to self-learn, especially from other authors, for when you think you’ve conquered the Alps, you’ve still got the Himalayas and a couple of condescending Sherpa to contend with.
8. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?
I feel the keyboard calling me constantly, am compelled by it; “spell-bound,” you could say, can’t wait to erase the f and every other letter from those keys, but when the story’s told, and it comes to editing, we-ll, that’s like going to the gym after months of your membership having expired; the keyboard smarmily telling me I’m not so smart now, “… are you?” But I do it, and I do it again and again for days, weeks, months, if I can afford the time, until I can no longer face reading even one more paragraph of a piece – which usually indicates I’ve gotten it tighter than a duck’s arse; a stickler for even a comma out of place, and like Oscar Wilde, can spend the morning putting one in and the rest of the day taking it out again.
I’ve belonged to critique groups, but personally I’d rather just get on with what I love to do on my own; writing, although I do have it proofread by a select group of writer friends, and I value input even though I’ve come to trust my own editing skill; can look at my work objectively – an invaluable capacity that I learned to embrace later in my writing journey – or perhaps one I picked up from my parents who also seemed to have no problem abandoning their babies (lol… didn’t I say I was over that?)
9. What future projects can we look forward to?
Something different for me, a self-anthology reflecting the darker side of humanity, each MC sorely depraved, sensitive subject matter even if elements of what’s been called my inimitable, trademark humor are rife. For the first time, each story will be told in first person; the narrator assuming the roles of all MC’s regardless of age or sex, and which I’ve had a lot of fun with. The Hairdresser, but don’t be fooled; not about hair by any means.
10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know?
You might be surprised to know, given the covers of some of my books especially, that my works are intended more for a discerning reader; not without clever nuance and some literary skill, and yes, the story line does reflect the quirkiness of the covers in spite of that. Hopefully, sophisticated enough, and engaging, my storytelling will make you think.
I’ve spent my life travelling and living within other cultures. This has had huge influence on what, and whom, I write, but I never forgot the difficulties of my youth either, and so most of my works contain undertones suggestive that one doesn’t need to be a product of environment, and hopefully other valuable sentiment for the reader to take away too – regardless of how fantastically it’s packaged.
I’m often asked with a rolled-eye expression, “Are you in the book?” The short and polite (and condescending) answer to that is, “Abso-bloody-lutely!” Oh… but did you mean as just one character; oh God no, you’d never understand such a person, but a part of me is contained in every one I create.
It’s been a pleasure, but now I must bid you “au revoir.”
You can connect with SP Mount and his social media sites via his blog.
Is there anything else you would like to know about S. P. Mount?
Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2013.