Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Interview with author Lee Mather
Today, my guest is author Lee Mather who is here to discuss his supernatural-themed book, The Green Man.
1) Tell me a little about your book.
The Green Man is a short story with a supernatural theme. It centers on a man struggling to come to terms with a horrific event in his past. He survives a plane crash; a crash that his mother warned him about after a visit from her guardian angel. The story tackles grief, faith and the unique bond between families.
2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I have a fear of flying and I wanted to write something that featured a plane crash. My mother always used to tell a story about how she saw a ‘little green man’ when she was younger. I decided to merge both ideas together, but I adapted her tall-tale to bring in the aspect of a premonition so that the story could focus on faith and the afterlife.
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I’m currently part time. My partner works shifts, so I organize my writing time around when our regular work patterns clash. As we conduct this interview she is working a night shift on the local Emergency Department.
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I enjoyed reading a lot as a child, and still do. During my teens I began to take an interest in writing stories of my own. I didn’t write anything for years even though it was always something I wanted to do some day. I woke up in my late twenties when I realized that life is too short. If I want to write something worthwhile I need to sit there and do it, not just think about doing it tomorrow, or the day after.
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I hope that people enjoy what I write. Reading shouldn’t be a chore.
6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I write horror and the weird. I will write some science fiction and fantasy at some point as I enjoy both these genres too. I enjoy horror because I think, if done well, it can really leave an impression on a reader. Good writing makes me think long after I’ve put the book down. Even though the genres I pursue are fantastical I want my writing to have one foot in the real world.
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
I enjoy writing. I enjoy piecing together a puzzle and gradually shaping prose into something meaningful. What I don’t enjoy is giving my writing to the world. Maybe this will ease with experience, but currently I find it hard letting people read my work – I appreciate this might sound strange! Perhaps it’s a fear of rejection?
8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Only the reference to The Green Man himself, and even this has been changed dramatically as a plot mechanism. There are little bits of me in everything I write, like I prefer sitting in the aisle seat in a plane so that I can stretch out one of my long legs during the flight, as does the protagonist in The Green Man.
9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
He loves his family very much. He has a fear of flying. I’m a bit more tolerant than the guy on those pages though.
10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I researched the type of plane, and I read up on a couple of plane crashes that left survivors. The backstory is based in my home town so I didn’t need to do much research of a place I already know well.
11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Violent, no. Sexual, yes. Again, maybe this is down to the fact that I’ve only been writing for a couple of years and this might ease with experience. I think Freud might have something to say about the fact that I can describe someone getting their brains bashed in in great detail without flinching, whereas scripting a graphic sex scene will make me feel seedy and uncomfortable! In general, I feel society is more comfortable with images of violence than they are of images of sex, so I’m probably not on my own in feeling this way.
12) What about your book makes it special?
Personally, it’s special for the pieces of me that are in it. Generally, I think for a short story it has a good heart.
13) What is your marketing plan?
I’m learning all the time from more established authors. For example, I’ve recently set up Google Alerts for my stories. I’ve invested time in a website and I’m targeting sites where I can promote the book and raise my profile as an author. I’m sending the story off to lots of webs reviewers and I’ve also sent it off to a couple of English literary magazines. Within the next month my aim is to post a free story on my website to encourage traffic as well as to continue to look for promotion opportunities.
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
The best place is my website – www.leemather.org.uk.
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Yes, buy a copy of my book for some tips! Just kidding! I think the best advice it to be persistent in everything you do. Make sure that you’re happy with everything you write and don’t cut corners, even if that means a lot of re-writes – if you can spot an issue with what you write then so will someone else. When it comes to rejected submissions, keep going. If someone gives you advice then it doesn’t hurt to listen to it. It might just improve what you’re doing.