Today I am excited to be a part of Razorbill Canada's blog tour of Scot Gardner's "The Dead I Know" which was released this past Tuesday- August 7th, 2012!Scot was kind enough to allow me to pick his brain on wide array of topics from "The Dead I Know" itself to his writing process!
Describe THE DEAD I KNOW in five words or less.
Troubled Goth dude becomes mortician.
Who was your most favourite character to write in THE DEAD I KNOW?
My favourite character to write was John Barton’s teenage daughter, Skye. She’s feisty, not easily pleased and highly opinionated. She’s small enough and persistent enough to slip under Aaron’s defences.
Why unhappy families? If the situation called for it would you write a happy one?
I like living in a happy family, but there’s not much tension between the characters to write about. I’ve written about happy families before, but the story has revolved around them falling into dysfunction. I’ve set myself the writing challenge of crafting an interesting happy family but as yet don’t have the tools to pull it off.
Have you found that the saying of 'practice makes perfect' hold true? Do you find that you have an easier time writing a book now, when you already have a number under your belt, than you did when you first started out?
Half a million published words into my career, I can comfortably say that there are aspects of writing that have become easier with practice—like an eye for the right level of detail and an awareness of when something’s overwritten (and then choosing to ignore that sense, only to find an editor has picked it up and put a line through it anyway). Some things get harder. My ‘inner editor’ has a much bigger vocabulary than when I started and I argue with myself about plot and characterisation like I never did in the beginning. Every book ups the ante just a little more and I have to stop and shake off the self-consciousness from time to time and get back to writing bare bones. Writing is best when it’s honest, frugal and clean.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Australian author Andy Griffiths (master of classics like The Day My Bum Went Psycho and The Cat on the Mat is Flat) gave me some advice when I was starting out that I practice every day—read your work aloud. It’s a simple thing but it can turn your writing from words to prose or poetry.
What are you reading right now?
John Medina’s Brain Rules. It’s a cracking, accessible metastudy about the way the brain works.
If you weren't an author what do you think that you'd be doing now?
If I wasn’t a writer, I think I’d build houses. Unique, energy efficient, sustainably constructed dwellings. I’d like a job where you can stand back at the end of the day and see what you’ve achieved. Writing seems to be years of gestation between offspring. That can be dispiriting at times, but I love what I do.
About The Author: Scot Gardner wasn't born reading and writing; in fact, he left school in year eleven to undertake an apprenticeship in gardening with the local council. He has worked as a waiter, masseur, delivery truck driver, home dad, counselor, and musician.
These days he spends half the year writing and half the year on the road talking to people about his books and the craft of writing.