The Difficult Task of Being a Writer: Interview with Alex Ford, from Cambridge
Alex Ford is a 39-years-old writer born in Cambridge, England. His ebook “Karl and the Prankster God” was chosen as the ebook of the week by the Widbook team. He shared tips, insights and cases with us. Read his interview below.
Widbook – How the publishing industry looks like in Cambridge, England?
Alex Ford - The publishing industry there is, I guess, similar to other countries – very difficult to crack. You need a good book and a lot of luck. One of our national newspapers took a best seller, changed the names, dates and other details while keeping the main premise the same and submitted the manuscript to all the main publishing houses, and guess what happened? Each one rejected it! The manuscript for the first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times. Rejection is part and parcel of the creative process (unfortunately). There’s this Japanese proverb ‘Fall seven times, get up eight.’
Tell us a little bit about the idea behind your ebook and your inspirations.
I was thinking one day about the subject of disappointment – I guess something had happened that didn’t turn out the way I’d expected. I wanted to take it through to its natural conclusion, as in, what would be the ultimate disappointment? In my mind that would be arriving in Heaven and being disappointed. So, then I started thinking what would lead someone to be disappointed with Heaven, and that gave birth to Karl, the rather unfortunate character who after committing a misguided act meets God and the Devil.
It’s a dark comedy – as is one of my other books ‘The Friend Request’, which is about Facebook – I really enjoy writing things that make people laugh… and think.
How would you describe your style?
I don’t think I have one exactly, I sit and sometimes words come to me. I say I don’t have a particular style, as although the first three books had a comedic bent to them, the one I’m currently writing is deeper and hopefully meaningful.
Why did you choose Widbook to publish it?
One of the difficulties anyone who writes faces is trying to get people to read their stuff, which is what we want – we write to be read – otherwise surely we’d be content keeping a diary, and Widbook provides a great platform for writers to share their work and importantly receive feedback.
What are your goals as a writer?
This is a simple question. My goal as a writer is to be read!
Can you share with us your best writing tips?
Personally I find writing quite paradoxical. I love writing and get so much satisfaction from doing it, yet find the most banal excuses to avoid doing it. I have set myself a new rule. When I write I have to remain in my chair for 2 hours and in that time I cannot email or go on Facebook or stare out of the window watching clouds. It works and bizarrely enough about 5 minutes before the 2 hours are up I really get into the swing of things – shame the inspiration couldn’t arrive a little earlier!
If you could change something in the publishing industry, what would that be?
For them to publish my books (please)!