A Quick Note: So when the lovely Leo (and then the equally lovely Jessica, who took over half way through!) at Templar asked me if I wanted to be part of the UK blog tour for Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer, I jumped at the chance.
I asked Mr Bauer if he would write a guest post about a typical day in his life- mostly because I’m nosey but also because I thought it would be really interesting to gain an insight on what goes on behind-the-scenes for writers. My review for Don’t Call Me Ishmael can be found here.
Over to you, Michael!
Do you do anything before you start writing? Any pre-writing rituals to get in the right frame of mind?
I don’t really perform any strange or unusual rituals before I write; unless you count slaughtering a chicken and howling at the moon, but everyone does that don’t they?
My usual pattern though is to wake up fairly early, go for an hour’s walk, get home, have a shower, have breakfast and then sit down with a cup of coffee to write. Walking is great for writing. I find a lot of storyline ideas come to me and I can work out plot problems more easily if I think about them while I walk.
Strangely enough the same applies to when I vacuum! I think there’s a scientific explanation for this involving something to do with the left and right brain functions, but personally, I think it’s because vacuuming is so mind-numbingly dull that you have to come up with interesting thoughts while you’re doing it otherwise you run the very real risk of self-combusting from boredom.
The main thing for me is that before I type the first word of any novel on the computer I have to have a substantial amount of the story already worked out in my head and I DEFINITELY have to know the ending. Knowing the ending, even though there may be huge gaps along the way, gives me the confidence to start.
I tend to edit and rewrite a lot as I go along. By the time I finish the first draft I want it to be fairly close to the final version even though I will usually write three drafts altogether. I write mainly from early morning to late afternoon with little writing at night. This could be because I watch far too much bad TV at night. Just ask my wife. No wait, don’t.
Do you have a special place where you find it easiest to write?
At our present house there is a study upstairs that I share with my wife and a small computer nook downstairs. I write in both these places. There’s nothing special about them really. The main thing I need for writing besides a PC or a laptop and a desk, is just a bit of solitude.
I can’t write with too many distractions or with people around me. I need to be alone so I can lose myself in the world I’m imagining and so I can read passages and say dialogue out loud, and even talk to myself occasionally. (Don’t worry I never talk back, that would be crazy wouldn’t it? Sure would Michael. Yeah, that’s what I thought.)
|Mr Bauer’s desk.
When you started writing Ishmael did you find the character came to you first or was it a particular scene/conversation?
|Any excuse for a Peck pic….
What came first were just the four words of the title ‘Don’t call me Ishmael’ and the character grew from them.
In our previous house there was a big notice board beside where I wrote. On it along with many other things was a picture I’d torn from a magazine. The picture was of the actor Gregory Peck playing the role of Captain Ahab in the old film of Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick. One day when I was day dreaming and staring at the picture the novel’s famous opening line ‘Call me Ishmael’ came into my mind.
Then for some reason I imagined the voice of a young boy saying the opposite, ‘Don’t call me Ishmael’. I began wondering who this boy was and why he didn’t like his name. Three novels grew from my curiosity to find the answers to those questions and the many others that followed.
It’s amazing what a small thing can start a story. It’s a bit like finding one curious piece of a jigsaw puzzle and wondering what might connect to it and what the final picture might look like.I often think that if I didn’t have that picture of Gregory Peck on my notice board, Don’t Call Me Ishmael and the sequels might never have been written.
What songs would be on your “Essential Writing Playlist”?
Marcel Marceau’s Greatest Hits? The Sounds of Silence? Sorry, I can’t write with music playing. And I love music! In fact when I was young I dreamed of being a singer-songwriter like Bob Dylan. That’s one of the reasons why in the second Ishmael book Ishmael’s dad reforms his old rock and roll band – so I could write their songs!
Once a writer friend of mine told me that he always wrote with music playing so I thought I’d try it. I got a bunch of my favourite songs together, hit play and sat myself down at the computer. I couldn’t write a single word. I just kept listening to the music!
Music does inspire me though. I’ve always wanted to write a novel that makes me feel they way some particular songs do.
What five things are always on your writing desk?
1. PC or laptop – depending which room I’m in.
2. Coffee cup – either empty or full … or something in between.
3. Assorted pens, pencils and stationery – Who doesn’t love stationery!
4. Glasses – for seeing not drinking.
5. Unidentified rubbish – hopefully nothing that’s alive.
Thanks to Wear The Old Coat for having me over for a visit and for the great questions! I hope your readers get a few laughs from Don’t Call Me Ishmael if they’re kind enough to read it. In fact my advice to them is to buy multiple copies just in case they like it so much they want to read it a number of times. J
I would like to, once again, say a huge thank you to Mr Bauer for answering my questions and giving a great insight on what it’s like in a day in the life of a published author!
If you want to find more about Michael and his books, including Don’t Call Me Ishmael and its sequels, please visit his website and his Facebook page!
Catch up with Michael on the other stops on his tour!
I Want To Read That.
Nayu’s Reading Corner.
The Book Babblers.
Mel’s Random Reviews.
And the next stop will be hosted by the wonderful Carly at Writing From the Tub and the last stop of the tour will be at Mostly Reading YA. Make sure you check them all out!