I have become a great fan of this author, Ian David Noakes. He is an amazing writer. I have read Hourglass Heights and The Ancient Lawman and loved them both. Please check out both of these books, you will not be disappointed.
Thank you, Ian, for taking the time to answer my questions.
Let’s start with getting the formalities out of the way- Tell me a little about yourself, age, location, family, etc.
I turned 40 last year and I live in the West Midlands (UK) with my wife and five children. I’m not going to tell you where I live, as I want to personally vet my first official stalker!
I’m a former projectionist and qualified CBT therapist who enjoys writing stories for fortune and fame. I’m still waiting on the latter to unfold, but I’m quietly confident. Kinda. A bit. Well, it looks good, but we’ll see. Fortune and fame isn’t everything anyhow – stopping judging me!!! And that brings me swiftly on to my next little nugget of info:
What is something you’d like to share that most people don’t know about you?
I struggle with a horrible (sometimes scary) anxiety disorder, but it isn’t something I’m ashamed of or afraid to share with people. It is what it is, I’m managing it and I’m determined to overcome it.
… And Breath!
I also have this weird obsession with changing font styles and colours when I’m seeking inspiration (Sorry, Lisa).
What books have you published and/or had your works featured in?
I’ve never had work included in an anthology, but it’s something I’d like to do one day. I’ve witnessed the delight other authors have had collaborating on a story collection, and me wants some of it too.
As far as what books I’ve had published. I’ve completed two novels to date (Hourglass Heights & The Ancient Lawman), and they’ve both been published (digital and paperback) – but by two different publishing houses.
I’ve nearly completed my next book (Partners In Crime), and my publisher has first refusal on it. I also have some very exciting news on this project that I’ll be able to share soon.
I have also self-published a short story called Tables Turned, and this is being made into a short film later this year.
What has been your favorite story or novel to write and what inspired you to write it?
You said ‘story’ or novel, so I’m going to go for ‘The Ancient Lawman.’ The first draft of this story was written in screenplay format albeit; the story has changed significantly since that version was created. However, I vividly remember the process of writing it! I was as a sick as a pig: burning up, runny nose, cough, banging-head – you get the idea. I sat down at my computer and put some headphones on – loud – and wrote the story in five days. As I said, it has had tons of rewrites since that draft, plus the transformation from script to novel turned it into a completely different animal.
I’m also going to cheat a bit with this question, because I’m going to provide a special mention for two more stories :0) Hourglass Heights will always be special as it was my debut novel and plunked ‘novelist’ onto my list of job titles. Partners In Crime was my first comedy, and it was nice to write something that made me laugh as I rapped my fingertips on my keyboard in and every day.
I am honored to have a signed copy of Hourglass Heights and loved it. Tell me more about how you came up with the idea for this story and how you came up with the characters.
I’m honoured that you took the time to read and review something that I created, Lisa. Thank you. We’re all part of the process!
I’ve been asked this question a few times, and I always try my best to answer it as correctly as possible. I’m not saying that I would make things up, but the truth is ideas can sometimes be hard to nail down and explain. In this instance, Hourglass Heights was originally just a genre desire (if an ‘whodunnit’ is an official genre) that had been inspired by watching a movie called Snake Eyes. I wanted to tell a story that was very contained and kept you guessing. Anybody who has read my book will know the story ended up bursting out of the building and covered more miles. I originally wanted to keep the entire story set in Hourglass Heights, but it soon became obvious that it would slam the brakes on to the story that needed to be told.
I also knew that I wanted to have a supernatural edge to the story, and it grew from that very vague starting point. I must say though, the original idea was more of a supernatural horror story with a very limited erotic element to it. When I started to write the book, Marcia blossomed on the page and became something else. Her problems reached a depth I couldn’t have imagined before setting out to write it, and what was originally a horror story soon become an erotic murder-mystery with a dusting of the supernatural.
I also had the privilege of reading The Ancient Lawman before it’s release and loved it as well. What inspired you to write it?
I’m a big fan of Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween (and Jeepers Creepers!) – see the connection yet? Big scary unearthly motherfuckers who like to mutilate people and refuse to allow modern day artillery to take them down!! Then throw in a tongue-in-cheek tone, a touch of comedy, dysfunctional characters, and some ‘wow, fuck me’ moments … and there is my inspiration.
I’m also a bit of a revenge nut and love to see people get their own back on those that have wronged them. So what would be better than having a ruthless executioner sniffing out the guilty and taking them down in style? But that would have been too easy – so I have tried to poke the debate over guilt, judgment and capital punishment. The only answer I can tell you with certainty regarding this debate is: The Ancient Lawman doesn’t give a fuck!
What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
Professional or personal? I think raising five children with my amazing wife would need to be up there under ‘personal accomplishment. And I’d like to take half of the credit for making these great kids too ☺
My greatest professional accomplishment would have to be garnering a publishing contract for my debut novel, Hourglass Heights. It was a fantastic feeling when the contract hit my doormat, and then to hold one of those books in my hand – wow. And I will never (EVER) forget typing THE END on the first draft of the manuscript. I can still remember the time and place: 11:30 in my local Starbucks. My wife had just walked in to have a drink with me. Great stuff … thank you for asking the question, Lisa – it was nice to think back.
I’ve had some great news recently, as hinted above, so maybe I will be able to update this question in the near future. Fingers crossed.
Have you had any disappointments that just really got to you? If so, would you care to share what it was and why?
I’ve had my fair share of disappointments along the way. Some of them go back to my screenwriting days. I’ve been so close to having a movie go into production, only to have it pulled at the last minute due to funding problems.
My anxiety issues have been a major pain in the ass at times too, but that has been more frustration than disappointment.
Hmm.. tough question, Lisa. I’ve been conned and used along the way, but I’ve put those ‘events’ behind me. Once upon a time, I would have held on to those disappointments. But regrets and bitterness only fester and stop you moving forward. This is one of the best life choices I’ve made since I started writing!
Who does the covers for your books and do you help in designing them?
I always have a good idea of how I want my covers to look before I send it over to my designer. To date my covers have been a snapshot from my story… Anybody reading my book ‘should’ instantly spot the snapshot the minute they read it.
I’ve only worked with two designers for my four books, and I’ve included their names below. You will find them both on my friend list on Facebook! They’re both very talented and professional artists. I met Rod first, and he designed my first three books. He was busy on a contract when I needed him on Partners In Crime, so he recommended Jared Pullen to me – and wow, what a recommendation.
Rod Wong (Tables Turned, The Ancient Lawman, Hourglass Heights)
Jared Pullen (Partners In Crime)
What author(s) inspired you the most to become a writer and at what age? What was it about them that inspired you? What would be your favorite book(s) by that author?
I’m going to throw Stephen King and James Patterson straight into the pot because they’re the first names that jump into my head when I think of writers that have both entertained (and thrilled!) me since I first discovered the world of books.
But if I’m going to answer your question perfectly, then I’m going to have to say Stephenie Meyer – The Twilight Trilogy. When I was reading SK and JP books, writing books wasn’t an ambition of mine. One, I never thought in a million years I’d be able to write a book. Two, I was writing screenplays. I was often complimented on how well my screenplays had been written, and it was around this time that the notion of writing a book was tempting me. And it was reading the Twilight series that did the trick⎯In particular, New Moon. Not only did it captivate me, it inspired me to sit down at my computer and take that giant novel writing step. I know that New Moon wasn’t a favourite for many, but there was just something about that instalment that sucked me into another world. I was exhausted when I finished reading it, but ready to embark on that new challenge.
I’d also read that this amazing author had written the novel with a young family to look after. She would write it with a child on both knees as she penned her story at her kitchen table. Wow!
Are there any new authors that have become favorites of yours?
Yes, but I haven’t finished reading them all. I’m currently reading a book called White Bones by Graham Masterton. I’m just over half way through it, and it’s remarkable. I know he has been around for a while, but his writing is new to me … and I’m now officially a big fan!
I’m also eager to get back into reading ‘Corpses Say the Darndest Things’ by Doug Lamoureax. I’ve known Doug for a long time, so I already knew how talented he was from our screenwriting days. I’m also reading Carnage, which is a series of extreme horror stories. I’ve read a couple of the stories so far, and I’m very impressed.
You write mostly horror/thriller books. What characteristic of that genre do you feel is most important when writing? Or the most fun for you to write?
I believe every horror story requires a real life core to it. Heart even. Rounded characters with real problems. I also like to build strong relationships. If you read any of my books, you will (I hope) see I will have paid attention to their personal lives as well as the journey they are going to embark on.
You may also notice that I like to implement humour in my stories too. Which brings me swiftly onto your next question:
Would you ever consider writing in a different genre? If so, what would it be and why?
I’ve already written a short drama called Tables Turned, and I am working on comedy/drama now called Partners In Crime.
Even though I like writing horror and thriller stories, I always work in humour. Even my horror stories have to have funny moments in them, but the comedy has an additional job to do when I put into the horror and thriller genre. I like the reader to relax and become complacent before I shock them with another twist, turn or shock.
It’s a great feeling when you’re laughing along when you’re writing. Providing your laughing for the right reasons!! ☺
When writing, how much research goes into your work? What has been the most interesting thing you have had to research? What has been the most fun thing in your research?
I’ve answered a question similar to this before, and it’s a really good one. I have never had to research a subject in advance when writing a screenplay for book, but I have completed a story and done some research to polish a story. This would usually be for things like police and medical procedure, or something in a specialized field.
I also believe we’re researching all the time in life. It can be from books, television, movies, the news, conversation etc.. and then we use this ‘knowledge’ to get the best out of our imagination.
I realize I haven’t answered this question very well. The most interesting thing I’ve had to research would be a medical procedure AND a male beauty treatment in my upcoming novel, Partners In Crime. I can’t tell you much about it at this point, but it was very interesting!!!
How do you come up with or what inspires you to come up with the ideas for your novels, novellas and short stories?
I find great books and movies inspire to get on my laptop and aspire to create something as good – or better. There are so many amazing artists out in the world, and I would like to think that one day in the future my work could inspire somebody to do the exact same thing.
I also love to watch author and actor interviews/commentaries. I think if you want to be the best you can be, you have to listen to the best of the crop.
What are you currently working on and what else do you have planned for 2015?
I’m currently working on my third novel, Partners In Crime. I’ve nearly completed it now.
I am also working on a handful of television projects that I am looking forward to announcing when I’m given permission!!
What do you like best about living in the UK? What do you dislike about it?
Dislikes: Long horrible winters and very short summers.
Likes: I’m a massive football fan, and England is home to the Barclays Premier League. Saying that, you can watch this from any armchair in the world, so I may need to come back to this question ☺
Name a favorite and least favorite memory from your childhood and from your adult life.
Favourite childhood memory: Winning tickets to watch Michael Jackson live at Wembley on his BAD tour with my brother.
Least favourite childhood memory: Quite a few shitty memories, so I will share one that compliments the ‘favourite’ memory above: Doing the Mexican wave at the Michael Jackson concert and smashing my stepdad’s binoculars. I accidentally caught them during the ‘wave’ and knocked them off a ledge in front of me, sending them crashing 50ft onto concrete steps below. I guess it was a good thing nobody was walking up or down them at the time ☺
Favourite adult memory: In no particular order: Getting married. The birth of my first son. Birth of my second son. Birth of my third son. Birth of my fourth son. Birth of my daughter!
Least favourite adult memory: My breakdown six years ago.
If you could change anything about your life, past or present, or both, what would it be, if anything?
This is by far the easiest question in the interview. I would have done everything in my power when I was a young man to make sure I didn’t allow worry to take over my life. I would have found ways to relax, remain positive, and stop being bitter when things didn’t go my way in life. If I’d done this, maybe I would have been able to cope better when life tested me.
What is the best thing a fan has said to you? The most funny thing? The worst thing?
Due to the explicit nature of Hourglass Heights, I get the odd wry smile and question over where I got the inspiration for the sex scenes in the book. This answer could fall under both funny and worst thing…
Any compliment on my writing is very rewarding, but the ‘best thing’ said to me came a few months ago from a literary agent after reading my Partners In Crime novella. He’d read many books over the years, but said the last time he’d cried at a book was Watership Down. He said he read PIC and cried in laughter – these were the only times he’d ever cried after reading a piece of literary fiction. He also went on to say if I turned it into a full novel, it would be a bestseller in the UK.
The full novel is now close to completion ☺
Where can fans find and contact you on the web? Blogs, websites, etc.
I’m also on Instagram – iandavidnoakes