(Dorothy) DJ McIntosh interview with David Alan Binder

posted Jul 29, 2018, 2:32 PM by David Alan Binder

(Dorothy) DJ McIntosh interview with David Alan Binder

 

Her bio from her website:  Since [teen] days books have been [my] friends, entertainers, and teachers and when the opportunity for some personal time finally arose, I wrote my own novel.

 

Short stories came first and I was gratified to have two published. By then I'd gotten to know a number of authors and the tales about their constant piles of rejections were enough to give a new writer nightmares. So instead of sending my novel out to an uncertain slush pile future, I entered it into the Crime Writers Association (U.K.) Debut Dagger. Opening the email announcing The Witch of Babylon had placed on the shortlist was a watershed moment, one I'll never forget. One year later the novel won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished Crime novel and my writing career was launched. "The Witch" went on to sell in twenty countries and received an Amazon Best Mystery and Thriller designation in 2011.

 

Her Website:         http://www.djmcintosh.com/

 

1.     How do you pronounce your name? 

My author name is: D.J. McIntosh (Mack-In-Tosh)

 

2.     Where are you currently living?

Canada

3.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

Rather than sticking to writing about ‘what you know’ as many advise, write what you feel passionate about.

 

4.     What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

My books all fall into a pattern and it’s one that came naturally, not planned. Very close to the beginning, I introduce a major twist. And nearing the end, just as a reader is used to novels beginning to wind down, there’s a secondary but major climax. Also, the ending arcs back to questions that were posed at the beginning, giving the book a feel of completion. Beginnings and ending are all important!

Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

I have only ever been traditionally published but I have friends who have self-published, very successfully. My publisher, one of the ‘big five’ gave many benefits: terrific editorial advice, extensive copy editing and proofing beautiful design and formatting, wide distribution and marketing, not to mention welcome royalty advances. Self-publishing can be a real winner too but it necessitates a lot of time and money spent on promotion and social           networking.

a.      Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located?

Penguin Random House in Canada. PRH and Tor in the U.S. I’ve had four novels published and the first was sold to other publishers in over twenty countries.

 

5.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

We’re now beginning to see that print books aren’t disappearing as predicted and e-books have firmly established their place in the world. Authors benefit most by having their work available in as many venues as possible: print, e-book, audio, film (if you are that lucky). So I don’t see a ‘vs’ here.

6.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

The stock answer to this is: ‘write the best book you can.” Well, of course that’s something we’d want to aim for no matter what but we’ve all seen many examples of poorly written books that have found publishers and turned into bestsellers. I don’t have a secret tip but my advice would be to understand your goals for your work before you put pen to paper. Do you want to write a bestselling thriller? Then you’ll probably need a major traditional publisher or you’ll need to be an absolute whiz at marketing. On the other hand, finding a ‘small’ publisher who provides great editorial assistance even though they don’t have a big marketing budget, may be even more satisfying. And having a ‘big’ publisher doesn’t guarantee sales.

7.     How did you or would you suggest acquiring an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

A good agent who is excited about your work is so valuable. There are many articles and blogs offering advice on how to get an agent that provide much better advice than I can. But I would say that I’ve benefited from fellow writers recommending me to someone.

8.     Do you have any suggestions or help for new writers (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)?

Slush piles are full of well written novels, so you need to distinguish yours from the rest if you can. That means developing a hook that is truly original.

9.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

How damn hard it is to crank out that first draft.

10.                        How many books have you written?

Five (four have been published.

11.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)?      

Read great authors, both classic and contemporary and take the time to learn how they manage to write so effectively.

12.                        Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

Probably one of the hardest things to pull off. Spend a lot of time thinking  about your twists but find a way for them to emerge organically. Set up, in some cases for the greater part of the book, is key here. Read Agatha Christie. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, the ABC Murders. She was the mistress of the great twist.

13.                        What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

Original subject matter is one. My first three novels, historical thrillers, featured Mesopotamian culture and history. Few others had written about       that.

14.                        What is one unusual way in which you promote your work?

I had themed launches for my historical thrillers. For the second novel, partly set in Italy and featuring lost fairy tales, I rented a local movie theatre and showed La Belle Et La Bete by Jean Renoir. Afterwards we had pizza and Italian wine. It was a really fun night.

 

 

15.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I would have sought out an accomplished author in the hopes they could mentor me. I’ve been very fortunate to have much support from other authors but didn’t realize how important it can be to have a well respected writer to take me under their wing.

16.                        What saying or mantra do you live by?

It’s not a mantra but, ‘care about what you’re writing about.’

17.                        else you would like to say?

David, I’d really appreciate mention of the current novel I’m working on, “The White Wolf” a departure from my earlier work. It’s about a rare white wolf being stalked through the Adirondacks by three trophy hunters. Having been raised in captivity, the wolf must learn to be wild again, to survive.

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