Paul Moorcraft interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Jul 13, 2016 2:11:48 PM
Paul Moorcraft interview with David Alan Binder
Short Bio: Professor Moorcraft is the Director of the Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis in London and a visiting professor at Cardiff University's School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.
Center for Foreign Policy Analysis: www.cffpa.com;
Face Book: Paul Moorcraft author
1. How do you pronounce your name (only answer if appropriate)?
2. Where are you currently living?
Surrey Hills, near Guildford, just outside London
3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
That all writers are both arrogant and insecure. Arrogant to assume that people want to read their stuff, and yet insecure as to whether it is any good.
4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
I tend to sing the Welsh national anthem when people shoot at me – when I worked as a war correspondent.
5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
I have tried self-publishing with two novels – one I sold the rights very successfully. In the second case I have an attic full of the damn things. But generally I like to be pampered by traditional publishers.
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
I usually have three or four publishers on the go, depending in what books I am producing. I like Poisoned Pen Press in the US – they did a good job of my novel, Anchoress of Shere. And I like Pen and Sword in Yorkshire, England, whose production values are impressive. They have done six of my recent military history books.
6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing? My simple answer is to sell as many ebooks and hard copies as possible.
7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published? There are so many variables on whether fiction or non-fiction. The first thing is a damn good proposal, which is an art form in itself. I am writing ‘How to write a successful book’ which should be out next year and covers all this ground.
8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one? I have had five or six different agents. They can be useful to hold your hand, especially with contracts, in the beginning. They are usually bibulously good company but not always effective.
9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)? Keep writing, be determined, try to do a set number of hours/words per day.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating? That the old cliché of characters creating their own dialogue – sometimes – in novels is true. Quite frightening – and yet inspiring – when they speak spontaneously.
11. How many books have you written? About 50 – around 40 – in various editions – on Amazon in the UK and US now.
12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)? I advise feature writers (wearing my journalism professor hat) to write in a circle. When the feature’s first draft is done – go back and re-craft the intro – to make it look like you knew where you were going right from the start. This can apply to novels etc as well.
13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story? No. I wrote ten or twelve different endings for my Anchoress of Shere novel. Above all I tried to avoid killing off my villain. In case I could resurrect him in another book.
14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd? Design of the cover sadly, not the subject or content.
15. What are some ways in which you promote your work? TV. In South Africa I was a regular broadcaster – on the then single station - which sold my books. In the UK, I do a fair bit of TV and radio political punditry which helps – I think – to sell my non-fiction. I used to do a lot of signings in stores, but have given that up. Book festivals are good. And I sold a military book in paperback recently by joining lots of military groups on FB. The author has to be energetic on his own behalf and not rely on the marketing teams in publishing houses.
16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why? Writing for a living is hard. Very hard. I wouldn’t advise it except if you are crazy or addicted to scribbling. I plead guilty to both.
17. What saying or mantra do you live by? Develop my potential in all areas, not just writing, while trying to help others if possible and certainly do no harm. That piece of humanism is my only philosophical credo.