Goodmorning and welcome to my biweekly interview series. Today I have the honor of sharing with you the writing and blog ofIan Kelly. He’s a talented guy who has recently published a book of short stories. You can find Ian’s blog here: Ian Kelly Writing.
1. Hi Ian, Please Tell Us About Yourself?
Hi. My name is Iain Kelly and I’m from Glasgow in Scotland. I have lived here all my life and it’s where I write my blog from. My blog is called: Iain Kelly Writing.
Telling about yourself is always the most difficult question to answer, so I’ll keep it simple! I work as an editor of television programs for BBC Scotland. I’m married with two-year-old twins who take up most of my time. After work and family if I have any time left I like to write.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
I first started my blog six years ago and spent a year doing film and book reviews. I neglected it for a couple of years and then took a fiction writing course online.When I had finished that I had a few short pieces that I liked and decided to share them on my blog. From there I have kept writing new short stories and flash fiction.
“After work and family if I have any time left I like to write.” – Ian Kelly
3. What Does Writing Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
When I was much younger I wrote stories. I have always enjoyed coming up with characters, letting my imagination wander with them and see what stories resulted.I used to play football (soccer) and would write stories about fictional football teams and players. As often happens, life gets in the way of dreams.
I went to university and studied English Literature, Film, and Television. My career took me down the path of television. Eventually, I’ve found the writing bug again. Writing is a chance to escape everyday life and I love being able to imagine the lives of many different people in places around the world. I enjoy thinking of the stories that could happen there.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
I tend to write fiction based on real life, or perhaps a fictional future world rooted in reality. I don’t tend to write fantasy or science-fiction specifically. My inspiration comes from the world around us. It could be something happening in the news, events, politics, but also from looking at everyday people, the struggles and/or laughter they share with each other. My motivation may come from wanting to try and comment on events that are occuring. Writing is a way to turn frustration into something creative or to attempt to cope with a situation in life.
“Writing is a chance to escape everyday life and I love being able to imagine the lives of many different people in places around the world. I enjoy thinking of the stories that could happen there.” – Ian Kelly
5. Is There a Time of Day You Prefer to Write?
My time available to write depends on my work schedule and my children. When the kids have gone to bed in the evening I try to fit some time writing in. Or if the twins go for a nap during the day sometimes I have a chance to write. The main thing is that I have to find the opportunities to write when I can!
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing/Blogging Projects? Any Hopeful Projects for the Future?
At the moment I am working on my first novel-length story. I would say I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft.I have the characters and the main story figured out, so the next couple of months will be dedicated to getting my head down and finishing the story.
After the first draft is finished I will re-write and edit. I’m aiming to have a finished novel by the end of the year and then decide what I want to do with it –- if it’s worth sending to a publishing company or self-publishing the novel.
Alongside that, I will continue writing short pieces for my blog. It helps to take a break from a long novel and focus the mind on something different every so often, before going back to the main project.
“At the moment I am working on my first novel length story. I would say I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft. I have the characters and the main story figured out, so the next couple of months will be dedicated to getting my head down and finishing the story.” – Ian Kelly
7. Can You Tell Us About Your Recently Published Book?
At the start of this year, I self-published a collection of my short stories from my blog in a book calledCollected Sketches. I decided to do this at the end of 2016. I realized I had a lot of stories, some with similar themes and dealing with similar issues, that I thought were quite good and worth collecting together as a compendium.
The other benefit of publishing theses stories was that it gave me a chance to try self-publishing out for myself which I hadn’t done or considered doing before. I’m pleased with how my book turned out. It’s available to a global audience through on Amazon: HERE, which is an amazing thing to happen to my writing. You can find out about Collected Sketches by Ian Kelly on my blog or through Kindle on Amazon.com
8. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process that You Went Through To Publish?
I used Createspaceonline to self-publish. After looking around at a few online resources I went for this one mainly because it was free to do, and also it allowed me to do everything myself. Other sites offered help in editing and formatting and design, but at a cost.
If you’re confident to do these things yourself then Createspaceis excellent.With the novel I am currently writing, I plan to try the traditional route of sending it to agents and publishers. But it is good to know that if all else fails I can self-publish and still have my novel out there into the world. Here is the link to CreatespaceHERE.
9. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
I think I’m still figuring my writing process out as I go through this novel. Most writers advise that the best thing to do is write the first draft as it comes to you.Whatever happens, keep writing! So I’m following that advice.
I already know there is a lot of it I will return to and completely rewrite but this way allows the story, plot, and characters to spill out and take form, freely. I will go back and finesse that raw material. I enjoy the editing part of writing probably more than the initial writing.Doing flash fiction short stories is great practice for that.
“I already know there is a lot of it I will return to and completely rewrite but this way allows the story, plot, and characters to spill out and take form freely. I will go back and finesse that raw material. I enjoy the editing part of writing probably more than the initial writing.” – Ian Kelly
10. Do You Have Certain Genres You Prefer to Write or To Read Books In?
I tend to stick to everyday drama or real world stories. But I also love to read and write spy stories, war fiction, and crime fiction. I might occasionally try other things too.
I spend a lot of time reading. Favorite authors would be John Le Carre, Martin Cruz Smith, Agatha Christie, James Ellroy, Ian McEwan, William Boyd, Ian Fleming, and Terry Pratchett –- to name a few. I also like to try and go back and read the classics every so often such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and I love Alexandre Dumas and The Three Musketeer novels. I think that comes from my days as a student of English Literature.
11. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers? Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like To Follow?
Just keep writing and getting your work out there into the world for people to read. Ninty-Nine Percent of people will be kind to you and give constructive criticism and feedback. If you love doing it, keep doing it. And read lots too.
I follow loads of great fiction writers out there so rather than trying to pick from them I will pick three alternatives:
One for writing prompts is a relatively new flash fiction challenge called‘What Pegman Saw’ which uses Google Maps as a prompt each week to give a location to inspire stories. It’s a great idea and means I learn a lot about various places around the world, as well as writing stories.
I don’t really do film reviews anymore, but one of the best blogs that I follow for all things film-related, including reviews isThe Snooty Ushers at which one of my friends from University days contributes to. Great reviews and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Finally, Joanne Kelly Art and Design. I am biased but my wife Joanne has her own blog. She is a graphic designer and artist and has started creating works both by hand and on computer software.Some great stuff, so I hope people will check it out.
14. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Links From Your Blog?
Flash Fiction, I have always liked this one, to sum up being a writer:
“The Writer’s Spiral”
By Ian Kelly
Mark met Bob from Accounting at the bottom of the stairs.
‘Another Monday morning,’ said Bob, as they began the trudge up to the office. Mark grunted in reply. Bob began every Monday with the same conversation.
‘Don’t you ever feel like we’re hamsters in a wheel, going round and round and getting nowhere?’ Bob continued. ‘There must be something more exciting in life than this.’
As Mark prepared to answer, the lights went out. Out of the window, they saw bright orange beams cut through the air. Aircraft buzzed around them, firing at one another. Buildings exploded as aircraft and missiles crashed into them. The sky darkened as a large spaceship loomed over the city. Mark ducked as a piece of debris crashed through the glass next to them. It caught Bob and sent him plummeting to the ground below.
The writer paused and read back what he had just typed. It all spiraled out of control too quickly. He sighed and pressed Ctrl+A and Delete. The cursor on the blank screen blinked at him. He started again.
Mark arrived at work at the same time as Bob from Accounting…
Here Are Some Of Ian’s Longer Pieces he wrote and favorited:
Thank you so much, Ian, for wanting to be interviewed I enjoyed your answers and you seem to have a solid idea of what you’re doing as a writer and how to achieve your set goals. Best of luck with the novel and future endeavours.
If you would like to be interviewed please reach out to me on my contact page. I would love to tell your story as a writer or if you blog for a cause, I can also interview on that as well. See you in two weeks!
” What is your great novel/novella/collection of short/flash fiction/poetry/ pulp paperback/graphic novel? Of course, you don’t have to write it, just write about it.
Weave any sort of tale; in the abstract or concrete; as you or a character of yours; being accepted for publication; editing process; book tours – remember you ‘just wanna be a paperback writer.'”
I’m still working on a novel called: How Was Last Night For You? I’m editing it in second draft. Still a lot of work to do and haven’t had the time to work on it lately. This Octelle poem illustrates the story line roughly:
Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on things you remember. Try to focus on specific details, and don’t worry about whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. You could start by adopting Brainard’s uniform habit of starting every line with “I remember,” and then you could either cut out all the instances of “I remember,” or leave them all in, or leave just a few in. At any rate, hopefully you’ll wind up with a poem that is heavy on concrete detail, and which uses that detail as its connective tissue. Happy writing!
There are memories and memories inbetween memories, things you shouldn’t know. But I write and I say, what naturally comes to flow. Spending a day building raw story into characters who have flaws and appeal. Characters who are relatable and show affection, lust, a special connection with each other.
I am building story from the ground level, thanks to a friend, who tore my story down line by line so I am able to build. I’m grateful for everything he sees that I do not. How the story doesn’t flow and how the characters actually appear.
What’s believable in real life? I think an interesting situation because the story involves magic and in real life we don’t believe in curses and the power of magic. We write of it extensively wishing for such power, such talents, such super-human abilities. Probably because we’re human, and sometimes being human makes a person feel mighty small.
Today’s memories are about editing and refinement. Answering questions I wouldn’t know how to ask. I’m learning. Digging deeper, past the simple, into the complex. I don’t want a one-dimensional story. Though it has magic I want the characters to be real people and I want their flaws and likes/dislikes to show. I want what they’re good at, their occupations, their speech and actions, the people they have around them, to demonstrate their characters.
The minds of people are endlessly fascinating, especially the minds of those who say everything or say nothing. My Grandpa said little, his mind was complicated. He was a Pastor whose smoking habit ended his life at seventy-three -years-old. He would ask questions which made one think and consider alternate routes as he taught me the games of cribbage, chess, and when we attempted cryptograms and crossword puzzles. Grandpa’s questions always hinted at digging deeper, searching for another method, and missed details.
But my Godfather, he says everything. And what he says is thought-provoking. He is always thinking of other people, how to help. He is the bestfriend to his friends and he has many. He can listen but mostly he talks and he’s wise with his words.
I miss him and the second place I call home, his and my Godmothers charming house. His wisdom and continual thinking, his belief in God solving all problems, and finding answers from an omniscient God are well expressed; he gives me such peace after we’ve had a conversation or I’ve listened to him talk.
And I’m thinking about a paint night I’m doing with friends at the bar Sunday night. Painting, did you know I love it? I will need a couple drinks to merely do as the instructor says, but I know what my hands and mind will do.
I will mix the paint, either ruin or add to the design. I desire creativity. I’ve said it before, creativity cannot be boxed in its true form. But with a drink or two and two good friends, the evening will pass and I’ll come home, painting in hand.
Also, finding a good guy — one whom you enjoy being with and talking with is difficult. You need to be attracted to their looks and their intelligence. You hope they such as you, have plans to do ‘something’ with their life. Finding a guy with all these parameters, is it asking too much? I’m not sure. I’m not extensively experienced here.
But time after time I’m disappointed when a date becomes, “come over to my place,” usually at night but sometimes in the day. There is no dating involved. There is no understanding of, ” I’m not interested.” And certain men keep messaging or calling.
I’m not adverse to sleeping with the right guy. I haven’t found a right guy lately. I don’t know if I’m such as Alice’s friend at tea I’m, ‘mad as a hatter’ to believe there are good guys out there who want to have fun out of bed and when a woman trusts them, in bed too. Laying that foundation of trust is vital.
I don’t think this thought of mine is right accordingto God but I’m trying to find a happy middle. Maybe my happy middle won’t make me happy?
I’m tired of guys who only want a night here and there. That was university, I’m going to be thirty-one in July. I’m not twenty-one and even twenty-one year old me would have smacked a guy who kept after her after she repeatedly told him to back off.
Guys don’t get it, they scar women. This is stuff I cannot believe I’m writing but eighteen-year-old me was extremely naive at the bar. Her friend ditched her for some guy. She was all alone and trying to get away from this guy who followed her around the bar. She didn’t have the confidence a girl three or so years older had at the bar, batting away and shooting down idiots before they became stalkers for the night.
She was so stupid. It’s effected her sense of trust ever since. He didn’t stop for a long time; it only felt like eternity. The repeated “No” in his ears, he was deaf to it until she cried wet tears. There were different guys after that, few who she didn’t mind getting close to.
But always, I have this disgust for men who treat women as if a woman’s existence is for their pleasure, because she wants or needs sex too. Should she have to sleep with a man after she has deliberated and said, “no?” No she shouldn’t, it’s always a woman’s choice, it’s her body after all.
Guy’s scar with their repeated advances boardering on harassment. They scar bruising you badly where they should be gentle. You look to see how purple your bruises are. Not understanding how he didnt comprehend, “don’t be rough.”
Enough. To much info. But this poem is prose; it is memories past and to come — some awful and some exciting. Building memories writing and living in a world that can be cruel at times.
But I think if you’re building if you’re working towards a goal you can be proud you’re using your talents despite the cards life and your stupid self may have dealt you playing poker.
Cheesy analogy but ever since I learned to play poker — Texas Holdem — in the basement of my Pastor’s house with friends I’d grown up or met in church at that time, I always think back to poker seeing such a carry over for life.
Each day, place your bets and see what the ‘river’ holds, and how the cards in your hand can be played. Ask for another card if you dare, trading one in . . .
We’d drink beer and play poker. We’d watch NFL football and play video games. I never entirely got why some days my poker playing was terrific, while other days I could fold most hands and end up broke. We paid twenty dollars in a pot at the beginning of each game. At times my one brother and I would play with the other players until 3:00 am or 4:00 am in the morning.
I didn’t play much poker after those years ended. But I feel sometimes as if I’m placing my bet, and trying desperately to hold onto my poker face. Tomorrow, more building. It keeps me going.