Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! He’s author of the month on Goodreads, so if you don’t have enough with these, go ask him questions on the Smashwords Authors group as well! He’s just completed NaNoWriMo! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Albert Yates!

Where do you live and write from?
I live and write from Fredericton in New Brunswick, Canada. It’s the part of Canada attached to Maine. Not the one to the north of Maine, that’s Quebec. We’re over to the east. I grew up in a little fishing community on almost the furthest point east in Nova Scotia. I think I got a lot of my creative energy growing up there, some of the more famous Celtic musicians all grew up in the same area I did.
Why do you write?
I love to read and I want to create a story or series that I would want people to read and get excited about. I’ve come across so many book series that once I start I have to finish immediately. Those are the types books that I want to write.
When did you start writing?
I have always written stories, growing up I would write little stories as part of my homework assignments. I did not write anything of substantial size until after I finished university when I wrote a few short stories.
What genre(s) do you write?
I write traditionally horror. I’ve done a couple of suspense short stories when I was in university but I enjoy finding ways to terrify myself when I’m writing.
What does your writing routine consist of?
My routine is something like this:
  • turn on computer open up current manuscript
  • open web browser and click through a few pages of reddit
  • find playlist or band that I think will want to listen to
  • re-read the last couple of paragraphs that I wrote
  • go back to reddit and see if there’s anything new
  • type away on the keyboard
When I really want to get some writing done I have to turn off the WiFI on my computer so that I just stay off the internet altogether.
What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
I would have to say that building the characters in my stories is one of my strengths, or finding creative ways for some one to meet their end.
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
I find inspiration in what scares or worries me. If I find something sending chills down my spine thinking about it then that’s going to have the same effect on someone else which is the ultimate goal.
I’ve never put myself in my stories, I might take something from my life and use that as the basis for something that I write, but I’ve never named a character after myself.
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
With my latest book, that I started the first of November to coincide with NaNoWriMo I tried to be an outliner. I had a grand plan that covered 31 chapters for my book. By the end of my 2nd week of writing I was so frustrated with writing that I couldn’t see past the next plot point that I had written down. I was constantly going back to the outline to see what I was supposed to be doing.  The last 3 days of November I abandonded my plan and managed to throw down 12,000 words with little problem.
When I’m in the mood to be writing I’m a fast writer. I take all of the thoughts in my head and splatter them all over my keyboard. I’m a programmer by trade so I’m a very skilled typist, which isn’t something you hear most programmers bragging about.
Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)
I have one book published currently about how one man’s life changes when the world starts to die around him. Everyone thinks that they’d be a survivor if something like this happened in real life, some would survive longer than others based on chance and circumstance more than anything.
The world has become a different place since Henry woke up this morning and decided to go for a run on his treadmill. His neighbour seems to be acting strange, no one is working at the radio station, and the 911 operator rushed him off the phone when he called. What happened to his town while he was sleeping and will Henry be able to survive the dangers that lie outside of his house?
It could use a little polish since I’ve learned so much from working on my current story.
I’m currently writing the sequel to this book, there will likely be a few more after this as well, which follows Henry and his small group of survivors as they deal with their greatest challenge: other survivors. I want the book to show the real struggle that would happen if the dead rose from their graves, how people interact and treat one another. I think the struggle to deal with the freedom from rules, lack of oversight and fear from police really will play a big part in how the world deals with such an event.
Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie publishing. I like the freedom of setting my own deadlines, writing about topics that I enjoy without having to worry if the publisher even will print what I come up with. That might not be the case any more, but that is what I have in my mind what dealing with a publisher is like. I also wanted to make my book available for free. As a new author I wanted as many people as possible to access my book, I feel the exposure for it is the greatest reward.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
I always have a few stories and ideas floating around in the back of my mind. Once I finish this series I plan on expanding some of the stories I wrote a couple of years ago. One is an homage to 80s slasher movies which is probably where everyone gets their start in scary movies.
I would love to create a collection of short stories. There is more freedom to do something small and satisfying with a smaller story than when you have to keep the pace going in a longer work like a novel. Writing a story based on a thought that you had while driving down the road will get the creative juices going sooner and might allow you to expand it into something bigger later. Those have been some of my favourite books, whenever Stephen King puts out a new book it always ends up on my To-Read list, but when that book is a collection of stories, it goes right to the top of the list.
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
My goal as a writer, right now, is to create a world that people can get lost in. A world that they’ll want to come back to again and tell all of their friends about it.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
I don’t know that I was ever given any advice about writing other than the notes and commendations that my professors in university gave me from my essays when I turned them in. As a computer science student I took a number of history and sociology courses that did not have tests but essays for grading, my professors were always impressed with my papers and it did mean a lot to me at the time.
For my final assignment in my Computer Science degree I did have to do a research paper and presentation, my advisor at the time was the Dean of the faculty who gave me a great grade on my report.
Where to find him:
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