Author Q&A with Simon Elson

I’m delighted to welcome the author Simon Elson to my blog today.

I first came across Simon when I was privileged to read the opening chapter of his brand new book to offer my opinion and advice on his story. It was a great little preview. Even in the opening chapter, I was hooked and had many questions for him (being nosy, not any issues with the story!).

So, let’s jump in with the Q&A.

What is your genre of creative writing?

Dystopia (fiction). My book is called ‘Hades Forest’.

Hades Forest by Simon Elson

Why do you write?

I enjoy exploring experiences and situations that I will never be exposed to in my life.

For example (in the case of my novel, ‘Hades Forest’): I will never find myself on an island in the South Pacific ocean, fighting for my life against four other murderous tribes. But it is fun to explore how that might feel, and how it influences a person’s decisions, psyche, emotions and so on.

Being in such an outlandish context results in a very specific set of emotions that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

You’re an author, but do you have another full time occupation? And if so,
how do you find the time to write?

I work full-time for a marketing company in the village where I live. Fortunately, the office is only a 5-minute walk down my road. Therefore, I have a lot of free time for writing.

If I wake up at 6am, I can write for 3 hours before I leave for work. Then, when I get home, I can write for another 6 hours before I go to bed. Obviously, I don’t always have the energy to work at such intensity – but if I ever want to write, I always have a lot of free time to do so.

What is your writing process? Do you even have a format for when you
write?

I always plan out the book, in full, before writing the opening chapter. I also decide whether this book will fit into a wider series – and if it does, then I will plan the plot for the entire series.

Personally, I always make the first chapter significantly shorter in length than the rest. It is important to hook your reader in quickly with a dramatic piece of action; so, a lot more time goes into Chapter 1 than the rest of the chapters, even though it is considerably shorter.

What comes first; fictional world, character, plot, or something else?

Fictional world comes first (the rules of the society, the setting, so on). Next comes plot (what takes place within this society). The characters come last – but are by no means unimportant! I spend a lot of time on character.

How do you create your characters?

I take inspiration from the people I know in real-life. I don’t copy my real-life friends in every way; I just take quirky traits that interest me, and then apply them to a new character.

After that, I go into the backstory. It is important that my character is quirky and interesting, but it is also important that they are 3D and layered. I try not to create caricatures, so I take a lot of time trying to add depth to their character.

How do you plot your plot?

In a word document! Whenever any questions or inconsistencies come up in the plot I’m creating, I highlight them. Then, once the entire plot is finished, I return to all the highlights and see how I can fix them in a way consistent with the rest of the story.

I also make sure that there is ‘light’ and ‘shade’ in my books. I write predominantly action-based stories, but I know that endless chapters of this can be overwhelming, so I also throw in chapters that focus on character development.

Do you have a book trailer? If so, show us!

What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?

When you finish writing the first draft, you’re only 25% done. Mentally prepare yourself for that!

What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?

You need to effectively create time, every day, to write. Only writing for 30 minutes every few days is going to make it really difficult to maintain motivation and get in to a flow.

Instead, be creative about how you can make at least 1 hour every day to write.

Which authors inspire you?

Daniel Handler. When I read ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’, I realised how much power the author has, and how the success of an entire story can depend on how the author chooses to tell it.

Can you name three of your favourite self-published/indie authors?

David Pearce, Mollie Grace and Daniel Clausen.

Do you have any top book marketing tips to offer to other authors?

Research the app called ‘Discord’. There are several writing communities on that platform, filled with thousands of writers and readers. It’s a great place to build new connections, receive great advice, and market your book.


Simon Elson’s first novel, Hades Forest, is available right now on Amazon check it out.

Did you enjoy that?

If you have any questions for Simon then please do drop them over to me and I can happily hold another session with Simon.

Thank you for reading, another author Q&A coming soon!

There are more author Q&A sessions to come, so do subscribe to my blog below to keep in the loop.

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