On Wednesdays on social media, people use the hashtag #WriterWednesday to chat about all things author, book and writing, including authors promoting their own work. As we love to support self-published authors, we thought we’d join in and we will be featuring a UK self-published author every Wednesday on the website. This week, we met T.J. Blake to find out more…
Please tell us about yourself; when did you first become interested in writing?
I was very young when I first started writing – I don’t think I could really pin point a specific age. But I do have a very, very vague memory of writing in a class at primary school – most likely my first ever experience with creative writing. I was in the class ‘polar bears’, possibly year two at primary school; which would have made me about six years old.
After that though, I would regularly write stories. The layout would be me and my brother, sitting at the table; me writing various action stories, whilst he drew a variety of battle scenes – we may sound like we were violent children, but we weren’t all that bad, promise!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Well, there’s obviously my early memory in class, but I can’t really remember it. I want to say it was about myself, falling off a boat and wanting to climb back on (random I know). But, my first full story was written in my little navy blue notebook. It was a story about a kick-ass girl called Elizabeth – she had a sword, knew karate and was a real bad-ass. She used to fight various monsters; she always won!
What genre/genres do your books fall under?
My book series, The Endurance Series (which is currently made up of two books Endurance & Endurance: Apocalypse) falls under dystopian, mystery, horror and thriller. Whilst my second book, The Author, is a thriller. And my new book, Deception, is a thriller also – following the story of a prowler called Billy. I also wrote a short story called Alive, which is a dark fantasy.
What is your latest book called, what is it about and what was the inspiration behind the book?
My latest book is called Deception – a love of lies, which is about a lonely man, his dog, his love for his woodlands, and a lady that has caught his eye during his daily dog walks.
Billy and his dog, Ella, live in a bungalow on Lavingsham Close; a private estate in Surrey. Billy is someone who has lived in the Surrey area for all of his life; which means he has an undeniable love for the place, especially for the woodlands just behind his bungalow – where he walks Ella everyday. During his recent walks though, he has noticed an attractive woman walking her dog too in the woods. He likes the look of her, and really wants to get to know her.
Besides your current book, do you have any new projects coming up?
Fortunately, I have many books to come; but my next one will be the conclusion to The Endurance Series, Endurance: Recovery (Endurance 3). If you’re into the dystopian genre, and you especially love fast-paced, action and gore, you’ll love The Endurance Series.
Where can people find your books?
They’re available on Amazon (paperback & eBook), Barnes & Noble and Waterstones Marketplace (paperback) – I’m pretty sure they’re all over the Internet, but they’re the three main online stores you can be sure to find them.
What has been the greatest moment in your writing career?
I think there’s been many amazing moments during my early writing career – completing my first book, selling my first book, seeing a number of sales across the globe, interacting with fans and receiving many positive reviews.
Besides writing, what hobbies or interests do you enjoy in your spare time?
I enjoy reading books and watching films for inspiration. I also love to watch football (soccer), eat out and spend time with family and friends.
Which novelists do you admire?
There are many, but the first few that come to mind are Stephen King (of course!), Karin Slaughter and Linwood Barclay.
What has been the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
For a long time, I was struggling with the technique of ‘showing’ the reader and not just ‘telling’ them. But at university, I was lucky to speak to many successful writers, and they provided me with their knowledge. Which allowed me to improve my writing ability, especially when it came to ‘showing’ the reader a story.
One particular lecturer, Adam, literally went through my work and obliterated it with his red pen. He crossed out all the parts where I was telling the reader what to see, and basically wrote ‘rubbish’ next to those sections. After having a chat with him for five 15-minute sessions, I felt that I learnt more than I ever could have during those one to one sessions, than I could have in a lecture theatre for two hours. It was brilliant!
Do you have any tips or advice for other indie authors?
I would say that showing your reader everything is the best approach to story telling. Everyone has their own style of writing, and that’s great, embrace your style, and use it to the maximum.
I would also say not to try write a book by yourself; you simply cannot do it alone. Always ensure that you find a reliable, skilled and trusted editor; this is always a big step to forming a collaboration and writing a good book. I’d also recommend asking other people what they think about your ideas, or even get them to read sections of your story and ask for their opinion. Every section of your book is down to you, but getting the opinion of others is extremely important. More importantly, it needs to be the opinion of someone who won’t be biased, say your mother or father, they’ll more than likely say your work is wonderful; although mine seem to be brutally honest, which is a good thing!
Thanks for having me!🙂