Last week, I visited Paris. This week, I pick up my featured author and she wants to go to Paris.
“No,” I said. “I was just there. Pick someplace else. Tahiti, Mexico. Heck, I’d even go to Iceland.”
“I want to go to Paris,” she says.
That caught my attention. Hmm, might be a nice combination. French wine and Mickey Mouse. Escargot and Space Mountain.
“I like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride,” she says.
So, soon, we’re lounging amongst the crowd, she with her cocktail, me with my wine. Goofy is dancing down the street and the boats are passing in front of us. It’s a lovely day. Cool breeze, the wine…oh yeah, I have an interview to conduct.
Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I’m Fiona Dodwell, a paranormal and horror author based in the UK. If there is one thing that makes me stand out, it is my obsession with the paranormal. I’ve attended ghost investigations, attended haunted properties with the Most Haunted TV crew – and even been called in to help with hauntings.
Probably that I’ve studied Demonology, Exorcism and Theology. These subjects fascinate me and I have always felt a pull towards spiritual matters. I find the knowledge that I have gained influence my novels greatly, and give them a depth I would otherwise lack.
What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rock star?
I’ve never felt it was a choice, to be honest. I was simply born with a passion for books and storytelling. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved reading and going to bookstores and libraries. There is just something so beautiful about the escapism of the written word. This passion in turn led me to want to create my own stories, and I started writing poems, short stories and entering contests.
Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
I would absolutely love to share dinner with Susan Hill (The Woman in Black), Adam Nevill (No One Gets out Alive) and of course, Stephen King (IT, Salem’s Lot). Those are my three favourite authors, although of course I love many more. I would love to know there attitudes, inspirations and approach to writing.
I believe my books would make great company because I’ve been told they are addictive! I’ve had so many kind emails from readers telling me that my books are really easy to get hooked into. I’ve been told people just keep reading and reading, because they can’t wait to find out what happens next. This is lovely to hear as a writer, and if it is true (the reader has to be the judge, not me) then I would safely assume this would make my books great to enjoy on a long journey.
Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
I don’t have a very strict or rigid approach to writing. I usually spend some time thinking of the general outline/plot, but I don’t plan in any detail because for me, this takes the fun out of the writing. I loved to be surprised by my own characters and stories! I start with a very general outline, then spend a couple of hours a day getting chapters down on paper. Then, of course, comes the re-writes and editing. Every story is different, though. Some of my books have taken many months to get through a first draft, whereas there have been times I’ve completed a story within a month. My approach is very fluid – I go to wherever the inspiration takes me.
“I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
Everyone works differently. There is no specific rule. You simply have to work in a way that suits you. Some people write through a rough draft and only do a couple of pages a day – some writers sit at the desk for four hours a day and get thousands of words down. Some authors do chapter plotting, some avoid them. It’s hard to give advice for a creative field that is so diverse. I would recommend experimenting and finding what works for you. The most important thing is that you actually write! Don’t avoid it, or put it off, or be frightened of it. Just give it a go. See where it takes you.
I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
I think the most significant thing I try to live by is not to worry. Worrying is a waste of time and energy- and changes absolutely nothing. You can spend days or weeks in a state of anxiety about something – but will this change the outcome? No. All it does is create misery. I try my best to live by this and remember this, although I’m only human, I fail often at actually taking my own advice!
Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
Not at all. I am not going to stop writing. I have had four novels published so far (all horrors/thrillers) with some very supportive publishers, and I am now represented by a literary agent, too. The future looks bright. I have a new novel coming out next year, and some short stories that will hopefully feature in anthologies. I am also planning on attending some author conventions in the UK in 2016. There are some very exciting projects ahead, although I can’t confirm them yet.
Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
I am on Facebook, Twitter and I also run a paranormal website. Here are my links:
My novella, NAILS, has just been released and is available on AMAZON.