Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Louise E. Rule Interviews David Procter for The Review's Author Interview

From David Procter's Author Page on amazon.co.uk

Hello my name is David T. Procter, and I am the author of Dead Men Lie.

David Procter
So who am I? Well until recently I was a self-employed plumber. A trade I had been involved in since leaving school at the venerable age of 16. Circumstances made me leave without any qualifications, but that didn't hold me back; the school of life taught me all I needed to know. In fact my writing career began during this period. A customer looked at an estimate I had produced and said, "Are you a writer because this is a work of fiction", or words to that effect. That gave me the incentive to try my hand.

I went back to school to hone my long-forgotten skills and eventually produced my first book. Forgotten Souls, while being a good story, was printed at least three edits too early. My vanity took over and eventually I realised my error and took it out of production. It will return in another guise, but until then I went on to write The Ties That Bind and a short family history. Until eventually Dead Men Lie came along.

Product Detail of Dead Men Lie

["I] curse you once, twice, thric[e!"]

The malevolent spectre of death had been unleashed upon the unsuspecting souls of Stormouth. Those destined to become its disciples waited in fear to taste its foul breath. Reverent Bayles had been seduced by the devil, had tasted its vileness and had a victim of his own in mind. Who then would feel the dark angels touch next? Could anyone avoid its progress?

Stormouth hid many secrets, which men like Joseph Wood desired to keep hidden. Secrets though have a tendency of becoming common knowledge. Burdened by her own desperation Abigail Wood discovers the immoralities hidden beneath the aura of respectability. A story of myriad twists and turns sees Abigail discover, hidden in the depths of depravity, the truth behind the towns success.

Welcome to The Review's Author Interview, David, thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.

It is a pleasure.

You say in your biography, quoted above, that a customer's words had given you the incentive to write. Had you felt, like so many people do, that you had a book in you waiting to be written?

Oh yes definitely. Mine had been forming for more years than I care to remember. I jotted down scenarios and characters' names, plot lines and twists, until almost the entire book was simply waiting to be written.

It is always interesting to know what an author's inspiration is when it comes to the subject of a book. Could you tell the readers what your inspiration was for writing Dead Men Lie?

Family history, pure and simple. What you have to realise is that until I began my research I knew nothing of the family beyond my parents' generation. So what I uncovered, the people, their stories, opened up this untapped source of inspiration.

Could you tell us about your character, Abigail Wood, please? For example, what are her weaknesses and her strengths?

Dearest Abigail, she has become more like a sister to me rather than simply a character. Her strengths are pugnaciousness, a determination to be heard, the realisation that she has been wronged and the ability to see both good and bad in each of her new friends. She is fallible, perhaps a little naïve, certainly a woman of her time. Yet she is not one to be treated as a skivvy. She has intelligence, the ability to speak with both men and women from all social levels. She is inherently kind and considerate, has the ability to forgive almost anything except what others do to her family. Above all she is no one's fool.

Characterisation is key to a story. Could you tell our readers how you go about building your characters' personalities?

To be honest, I cannot have a character until I have their name. it perhaps seems strange, but I can stare at a page for hours simply deliberating about the title of the story. Until I have that my mind cannot begin to work. Even if that name changes, I have to have something that relates to what I desire to write, the same with the characters. I knew I needed a particularly nasty man, I could see him in my mind, but the name alluded me until Tom Gasson was born; it was as if once the name fell into place he came to life. I could see him, hear him, smell and touch him. I saw the way he walked and the way he twitched, like the rats he caught twitched. When he spoke it was as if we were in conversation, in my head we argued, I heard every word he uttered, his tone, the way his breath hissed through his teeth. I did the same with every character. Each one is the embodiment of how I saw them as they lived their lives in Stormouth.

Some authors have a storyline which they follow. Did you have a plan for your story already set out to follow, or did you just let it flow in an organic fashion?

Very organic. That said, Dead Men Lie started with a specific space in time; from there I developed and embellished the rest of the story around it. As each twist emerged I laid it down on paper so I could remember that if Tom Gasson was in the 'Butts' he couldn't be killing rats somewhere else at the same time. However, mistakes did occur and that is where my photographic-memory-editor in Canada came in. She, in fact, can tell you more about the story than I can, especially each character.

I know many authors prefer to write long hand, and then edit their work as they type it onto the computer. What is your preference David, writing long hand, or straight onto the computer?

Straight onto the computer. Those who witnessed my signature at the launch recently will testify my hand writing isn't perfect.

When it comes to the editing process, how do you approach this? Do you edit as you go, or do you find waiting until the manuscript is finished works for you?

I write until the story ends warts and all. Dead Men Lie opened with about 290,000 words, until eventually it ended up at about 200,000. Once it is complete I begin to edit it down chapter by chapter, then it goes to Canada where Lisa begins her magic. She checks initially for errors in time line and so forth, and suggests corrections. That done, we look at spelling, comprehension and grammar. Then we start all over and hone it still further, perhaps removing whole sections or adding new chapters as we see fit. It's a long process. Dead Men Lie underwent, I think, 38 different read-throughs before we ended up with what you see today. Some people will say that's long winded, but it works for us, and if it's not broke we won't fix it.

Trilogies are very popular. With that in mind, do you think that you will write sequels to Dead Men Lie, or do you have something else in mind?

I intend to rewrite Forgotten Souls, and complete a family history so that my granddaughter will know what a rich heritage she has. After that, then yes, I do intend to write a prequel to Dead Men Lie. I have made a start but failed to find the right vehicle in which to set it, so I am taking a short break. I will return and write, perhaps another two or three episodes to Dead Men Lie, simply to explain what happened to various characters and how they all end up.

I would like to thank you for talking with me today, David, it's been really interesting.

Thank you for being very kind with your questions, it's been a pleasure.

David Procter can be found at his Facebook Page.

Louise E. Rule is author of Future Confronted
Louise can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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