Author Interview with Neary-Williams

Author Interview with Neary-Williams

interviewed on Dec 18, 2018 East Midlands,United Kingdom
Q. How would you describe yourself?
What makes us unique is the fact that we co-write novels.Drew Neary became interested in history, science fiction/fantasy and conspiracy theories in his teenage years. This prompted him to write short stories over the years. He is also a fan of tabletop gaming.
Ceri Williams has always loved language, and after a 5 year stint in advertising and journalism, now writes supernatural horror and fantasy. The Clockmaker is their first book and forms part of an upcoming series.
We met in a writers’ forum and quickly realised that our interests and approaches to writing were very similar. As we live close to each other we met for a coffee and began discussing a photograph that we had seen online. Before we knew it several hours had passed and we had outlined an exciting epic storyline that we knew had to be written.

“This is the first time we are co-writing and we are really excited about how dynamic our partnership is .It was evident from our initial meetings and the snowballing of ideas which evolved into the journey, that we absolutely had to write this novel, and which subsequently forms the basis for the books that will follow.”
Q. Tell us something about the books that you have written and the story behind them.
We have published one novel so far-this is The Clockmaker;the first in an upcoming series.The story is about a little child, Duncan and his mother, Annette, who are moving to his father's ancestral place in Scotland. Here they plan to start a lodging service to escape the devastation of the London blitz and heal the scars left by the death of
Duncan's father in WW2.
On their train journey to Scotland they briefly meet a man whom they later find in their own village as a guest in their lodge. This man known only as The Clockmaker who escaped from Hilter’s bunker is much more than meets the eye. Who is this mystery man and does he have any role in the many strange things that begin to happen in this little Scottish village?
The idea for The Clockmaker originated within the novel OPTICS (which will shortly be going to publication).Drew took a break from writing ,went into his garden and was looking at a tree deciding whether or not he was going to prune it,the children were buzzing around the garden ,and that's when out of the blue,the idea for the Clockmaker and his menacing constructs,popped into his head !And 2 years later,The Clockmaker has his own novel and Drew still hasn't pruned the tree.
Q. What place does writing hold in your life, how has been your writing journey so far?
It is a massive part of our lives especially now the first book has been published and received amazing reviews.But Drew states"Whilst it is important,my children and my family will always come first.So it's a balanced approach."But the writing process is never really far away .Drew makes notes constantly ,because inspiration be it an image,or a sound etc can strike wherever one is.
Our writing journey started at different points in our lives.Ceri has had non fiction published previously,but our conjoined writing journey started with a short fiction story that Drew wrote entitled The Assassin.From this, ideas and thoughts began to flow and culminated in our novel The Clockmaker.
What is overwhelming though is the response we get from readers,at our book signings and reviews.It's amazing that people want to meet us and to talk to us about our journey and the novel.The fact that our readers want to discuss the plot and the characters with us in depth is a very privileged and humbling experience for us both.
Q. What is your writing process, a typical writing day routine?
It's a gradual process .From the spark of an idea and the decision to write a novel to the point when it all starts to come together. We’re a little different as we co-write. We do write separately on occasion, but the most important aspects and content of the writing come from us blending what we have written, discussions around ideas and next steps, and what we come up with when writing together. We have been asked whether it is difficult to write together, and our response has been not at all- in fact just the opposite.

When we are co-writing we are putting into words a dialogue we have with each other. Then we blend it in the editing process. So it reads as though one person has written it. Readers of our book cannot tell which parts have been written by either of us. Editing together is vital, it allows us to discuss what needs to be changed and or developed.
Once Drew has dropped his children off at their school,he will get home,make some coffee,stick on some rock music,walk around the house for about half an hour playing over scenes in his mind.then he sits down and starts writing.He lets it flow,until he has to go and pick his kids up! Ceri has to wait for the "muse" to hit because sitting down and expecting to write x amount daily,doesn't work for her.
Q. What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
It's difficult to actually know which technique has influenced someone to buy our book in another country for example.But in terms of marketing and promotion we obviously try and get promoted everywhere in the UK and abroad and we have done quite well.For example we have books on shelves in Europe for example,and libraries as far away as New Zealand. We find social media is an invaluable tool to promote and market our work and a wonderful way to meet new readers and other authors.We have been on local radio and tv ,and national radio.We have been featured in newspapers and magazines. We also have done a lot of leafletting,visited independent bookstores, to promote our book,visit book clubs,contacted libraries,schools etc. However we found a great deal of support from our communities and the first Waterstones' to stock our books were actually Northern branches where Drew hails from.

In terms of radio and TV interviews you have to be prepared to travel as you do for book signings and literary festivals etc. We were interviewed in Bournemouth recently for example but we love doing it and consider it a healthy part of the job. We are still quite new to this but
Q. What do you think makes a book sell, or makes a reader buy it?
We have a third member of our team and that is the graphic artist Priscila. Her cover art has been admired and praised and this certainly has been a reason for readers to pick it up off the shelf. A good description of the story in the blurb .Good solid positive reviews from a range of readers and ages,and of course word of mouth from friends.
In addition being featured on respected sites such as Qwerty,Good reads,Netgalley and Amazon etc, reassures readers that a book on there is a quality product and gives potential readers information about the genre and plot and the team behind the book.
Q. What's the most moving or affecting thing a reader has said to you?
Drew :We've had many fabulous reviews and we are so grateful for them,but it was the very first review that really moved us.Here it is-
"Wow.Words cannot begin to describe just how good this book is.I was grabbed within the first couple of pages and was not let go until I'd finished the whole book.I found the book to be extremely well written and the beginning of a fantastic trilogy .I can't wait for the next instalment."
This was so important to us because it was the first review of the first book we had written together,and you can see it's an amazing review but what makes the difference to us is that is said it is extremely well written.This confirmed to us that we could indeed,write.
Q. What are your favourite three books, and why?
Can we have 'cos there's two of us !!!
Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake for the sheer unique quality of the writing and characters and the darkness hidden with the novels.Ceri
Legend by David Gemmel(one of the first books I read as a teenager) because of the sheer scale and the conflicts of the book and it opened my eyes to fantasy literature.Drew
The Iliad by Homer which I read as a child and I thought wow ! Drew
Something wicked this way comes by Ray Bradbury because I had never read such word combinations before- or since.Ceri
Q. Who are your favourite three authors and what do you like the most about them?
Drew: Michael Moorcock because of his fantastic imagination.His ideas are reflected in so many books,games and films.I consider him a pioneer .
Tolkien because of his ability to build a world and write fantastic tales that are still being made into films now.
Ceri: Dylan Thomas- because no-one has come anywhere near the genius of imagery within words in my opinion.
Q. Tell us about the books that you are currently writing and their progress.
We are currently writing two books, as The Clockmaker is part of an upcoming series. Optics is the prequel and The Perfect Child is the sequel.
Optics:
Is a semi dystopian novel set in the future but jumps backwards and forwards through time, and this is where The Clockmaker first appears. Many of the genres evident in The Clockmaker are within the novel, although there is a strong sci -fi element throughout.
Through the sins of mankind The Beast grew in power and was thus able to slay God. Mankind is spread through the stars but a sentient artifact from the past is discovered by the heroes- Judd and Walden who are escapees from the shackles of The Great machine. This artifact leads the heroes down on a fraught and mysterious journey to restore the balance between good and evil and attempt the impossible -and bring God back.

The Perfect Child:
Continues the journey started by Annette and Duncan in The Clockmaker. Spanning 3 centuries, the protagonists are brought together for one final time. Set in Nottingham primarily, it is a gothic thriller with elements of the supernatural and horror.
Q. What challenges do you think are faced by writers, what's the worst thing about the book industry according to you?
The primary challenge is for new authors to break into the public view. It is therefore up to the writers themselves to show the public how good their book is (amongst the multitude of books out there),and this is where social media has certainly helped this challenge.
Another challenge is income.Very few new authors will make a living from the royalties to begin with and so a secondary income is vital.This of course impacts on the amount of writing time one thus has.
Q. Apart from writing, what goals do you want to achieve in life?
Drew: to live life to the full ,to see and experience as much as I can with laughter,love and fulfilment. And for my children to be secure,confident ,happy and successful people in whatever walk of life they choose.
Ceri:that my children are happy and loved and live in a peaceful world
Q. What message do you want to share with budding writers?
If you feel you have a story in you, go ahead and write. Don’t worry about punctuation, grammar, spelling or any thing that strangles your creative flow.
Never ever give up. Have a good group of people around you who will read what you have written and give you honest constructive feedback. We had a range of people (of all ages) who gave us sound critical advice that we could follow if we thought it appropriate. And be prepared to “murder your darlings” and be ruthless with your editing.

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About the author
Drew Neary became interested in history, science fiction/fantasy and conspiracy theories in his teenage years. This prompted him to write short stories over the years. He is also a fan of tabletop gaming. Ceri Williams has always loved language, and after a 5 year stint in advertising and journalism, now writes supernatural horror and fantasy. The Clockmaker is their first book and forms part of an upcoming series....more