I had the pleasure of interviewing an author I have discovered this past year. Darren is an author I really enjoy and he was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions. For those not familiar with Darren Wearmouth, he writes post-apocalyptic and science fiction. Darren Wearmouth spent six years in the army before pursuing a career in corporate technology. After fifteen years working for large telecommunications firm and a start-up, he decided to follow his passion for writing. He currently lives in Manchester, England. Here is what he had to tell me in our interview.
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from? What propelled you to start writing?
I spent six years in the army before pursuing a career in corporate technology. After fifteen years working for large telecommunications firm and a start-up, I decided to follow his passion for writing after tinkering for a few years. My first book, First Activation, was bought by 47North after spending a few months at #1 in the Post Apocalyptic chart, with a follow-up slated for publication in April. I also co-author with Colin Barnes and we have two books out in our Critical series, the third is due out in March. I currently live in Manchester, England, with my lovely fiance, Dawn.
Who much research is required for your books?
Quite a lot in the technical areas, not so much in the speculative element. I always include some grounding information in my writing, descriptions of the scenes and sensory information, depending on the action or view. Through experience and learning, Ive managed to overcome my weaknesses, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying to improve. My love of reading also helps, especially when armed with the tools to view good novels with more of a critical eye and see how other people do things.
What is your daily creative routine like?
I start the day by cooking breakfast for my fiance and driving her to work. After that, I make a coffee and sort through my emails and any other outstanding admin tasks. I hate having organizational stuff lurking in the background so I clear the decks before I begin my creative routine. I like to outline ten chapters ahead, and spend two hours writing in the morning. I usually have a quick-lunch and write for four more hours during the afternoon. If I have a deadline to hit, I’ll go into the evening, but I don’t think it’s fair on Dawn and try to avoid it. Being a night owl, sometimes it’s impossible to leave work alone, and I’ll often work into the early hours of the morning. Five hours sleep is my standard requirement. On average I’d say I worked 60-70 hour weeks. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t do it.
What were some of your biggest weaknesses when you first started writing and how have you overcome them?
I didn’t study craft as thoroughly as I should have. I was keen to write and get started, and found the whole thing very exciting. In hindsight, I should have taken a step back and spent a couple more months researching how to make my first book a lot stronger. I don’t think I’m alone in trying to run before I could walk. Since writing First Activation, I’ve spent a lot of time concentrating on how to make myself a better writer. Ive read some great books like About Writing by Sam Delany and Self Editing for Fiction writers by Browne and King. I realized that I lacked some grounding information in my writing, wasn’t descriptive enough with scenes and used too much passive voice. Through experience and learning, I’ve managed to overcome my weaknesses, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying to improve. My love of reading also helps, especially when armed with the tools to view good novels with more of a critical eye and see how other people do things.
What does your writing space look like? What are some of the must-have devices and apps that make up your writer’s toolbox?
I write at my dining room table on my laptop and have a notebook and pen next to it. I keep my outline open in a word document, research notes by my side and a couple of browsers open with helpful pages. I love being outdoors and try to keep the back door open as often as possible to let fresh air flow in. Living in Manchester, this isn’t always possible, unless I wore a sheepskin jacket.
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
I love to read science fiction and action thrillers, watch most sports played with a ball and enjoy socializing with friends. Writing takes us a lot of my time, and I’ve had to scale back on a few activities. Being a hybrid author, I have to look after all elements of the business from creating, marketing and cover design, to editing and interaction with other authors and readers on social media.
Who are you favorite authors? Which author(s) had a significant impact on you growing up?
Before I could afford books, I stole them from my older brother’s bookcase. He was a big fan of Stephen King and James Herbert, so my early influences were IT and The Rats. In my late teenage years, I liked reading John Wyndham and Richard Matheson and got into the whole post apocalypse thing. I eventually developed a love for Michael Critchton’s novels and would say he’s my strongest influence. I wouldn’t attempt to copy any of the styles of the authors mentioned as they’re all dated in terms of modern fiction writing, but they all told a great story.
What’s coming next and where people can buy your stuff?
The final part of the Critical Trilogy, Critical Strike is due out in early March. Second Activation is out in early April, and I have planned out my next year. Colin and I will be completing a new trilogy which we’re both excited about, and I’m writing the final part of the Activation series. You can find all of the books on Amazon. Thank you for having me on your site :)