1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember – one of my earliest memories is writing away at primary school on a story about a spy on an aeroplane who has a pet dragon in his pocket. If I remember correctly, he had to flush the dragon out the toilet so it could go and fix the engine, but the dragon didn’t want to play. One day, I’ll finish that story…
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
Although I’ve been writing for years I’ve only recently taken the step up to trying to get my work published, so I don’t want to be presumptuous! However, I will say that I wish I’d taken that step a lot earlier – instead, I wasted a lot of time writing novels that will never see the light of day. Short stories are a great way of developing your writing and getting immediate feedback.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
Other books, of all types, critically read with half an eye on how the writer is keeping your interest. The joy of writing is that the masters are still available to us, and we can learn from them whenever we choose.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
I like all sorts but I tend to be drawn to anything dark or edgy, probably a product of consuming all my mother’s Stephen King novels at a far-too-early age (in fact, our birds-and-bees conversation was prompted by me wanting to read The Tommyknockers. The whole thing sounded so odd to my young self that I never bothered reading it!). JG Ballard, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, China Mieville, Joe Abercrombie, Richard (K) Morgan… I could go on, but I won’t, lest you wander off.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
If you want it enough, you’ll find the time.
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I like to know where I’m going – I’ve lost whole days of my life chasing stories up dead ends. As long as I’ve got a clear ending in mind I’m happy filling the blanks in as I go.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
Tears. Big, manly tears.
Actually, all I do is send the story out again, straight away, and move on. It also helps to always be writing the next thing. Fire and forget!
I’ve been lucky so far in that I’ve never needed more than a half-dozen submissions to get an acceptance. I’m sure it’ll be different when someone turns down 100,000 words of my finely crafted prose with a form note, but I’ll deal with that when it comes.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
I want to publish enough stories with small presses and anthologies for a collection, while working away on a new novel. Enough professional sales for HWA or SFWA membership would be a bonus.
9. For the next five years?
I’d love to have a couple published novels under my belt, but I know publishing is slow and unpredictable so I’d settle for one and a truckload of short stories. The idea of being big and famous genuinely scares me, so a small underground following would be nice, but not necessary, as long as I’m enjoying myself.
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
I’ve nothing big to plug, but you can follow me on Twitter: @TheBrianEnnis
If you liked this you might like my first fiction publication, which was for speculative fiction magazine The Colored Lens. You can buy it on Amazon. As my first it’s my favourite, and bullies the other stories when I’m not looking.
Thanks for having me!