Thursday, 12 March 2020

R J Gould #interview #writerslife

Today I am delighted to post an interview with R J Gould.

1.     What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
While I recognise for marketing purposes the importance of genre, I think many authors would see themselves as writing across genres, myself included. Loosely, since I write about relationships, Women’s Contemporary Fiction, Romance and Romantic Comedy are the best fits.

2.     What made you choose that genre?
They chose me, or more accurately, my first publisher chose them for me. There was even a suggestion that I write under a female pseudonym for my predominantly female readership. I strongly resisted this, but ‘R J Gould’ as opposed to ‘Richard’ has been my cowardly compromise. Romance fiction is such a struggle for males to come to terms with, both as authors and as readers – I’m one of only 1% of the members of the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association who are male.

When commissioned to address this theme for Writing Magazine, I reached the conclusion that it’s the word itself and often the book covers chosen that put men off. It’s a pity because the genre is diverse with plenty of novels providing thought-provoking insights and top-rate humour. For ‘Jack & Jill Went Downhill’ I opted for a minimalist cover and this will be my style from now on.

3.     How long does it take you to write a book?
A distinction is needed between how long did it take and how long does it now take. Until about a year ago, I was working full time and to complete a book was taking approaching three years. Now, I’m looking to release one a year and I love having the opportunity to write daily.

4.     What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
It’s hard to generalise; I certainly don’t have a time-driven schedule. With the release of my new novel this month (January 2020), I’m spending far more time on developing a promotion strategy than on writing. I decided to self-publish ‘Mid-life follies’ so there has been loads to do beyond writing the novel, mind you, even with (indie) publishers, the marketing is largely left to the author.

I’m back to writing now, taking a three-hour or so block during the day, splitting my time between editing a second draft of one novel and planning for a new one.

5.     Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.
The first novel I published was ‘A Street Café Named Desire.’ The male protagonist, David, has two aims in life, to start a relationship with Bridget and to open an arts café. I’ve slipped the café name into all the novels I’ve written since. Will I maintain this in-joke?

6.     When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Since childhood I’ve written short stories and poems. Writing a full novel is a massive commitment, sadly with a low chance of success. I greatly admire those with a calling to write irrespective of outcomes, but I put financial security first. So…I didn’t start writing novels until my late forties.

7.     What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m a trustee of Feeding Britain, a national charity tackling (the alarmingly high level of) food poverty. I play tennis, help my partner to develop her art business, watch films, and – not surprisingly – I read a lot.

8.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I don’t plan in detail before starting to write and I limit my characters’ profiles to the basics. I recognise this has pitfalls, but I love the sense that the protagonists are growing as the story develops – at times, it’s as if they are driving the plot.

9.     How many books have you written?
I have four published, A Street Café Named Desire, The Engagement Party, Jack & Jill Went Downhill, and Mid-life follies.

10.  Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?

11.  As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
It’s fair to say that I was clueless. I was on automatic pilot through school to university. My first job was a teacher, not at all on my radar when young.

12.  How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?
I have one novel very near to ready to publish. A second is complete and has been for quite some time, but I’m unsure what to do with it because the two sections have totally different genres. I have an idea for a third and have just started the planning.

Brief bio:
R J Gould is published by Endeavour Media and Headline Accent. He is a (rare male) member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Having been selected for the organisation’s New Writers Programme, his first novel was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award. ​​Ahead of writing full time, R J Gould led a national educational charity. He has published in a wide range of educational journals, national newspapers and magazines and is the co-author of a major work on educating able young people, all rewarding, but his passion is writing fiction. He lives in Cambridge, England.

Link to ‘Mid-life follies’:        

Link to ‘Jack & Jill went downhill’:

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