PHOEF SUTTON author of Fifteen Minutes to Live published by Brash books on May 5th 2015.
- Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? I’ve always been interested in brain trauma and diseases, ever since I read Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. Once I read about Korsakoff’s Syndrome I knew there was a book in it.
- Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique? Most stories of amnesia deal with who can’t remember who they are. This is different; Jesse remembers who she is, she just can’t remember the last eighteen years of her life. And she never will. She’s lost the ability to form new memories. The makes much more involving, much more tragic story.
- How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time? I think about topics for a long time before I start to even plot the story. An idea needs to gestate for a while. If I remember it and keep thinking about it for years, it might be interesting enough to make a book.
- How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book? I do tons of research before I start a book. And I do tons of research WHILE I’m writing a book. You never know what you have to research ‘til you get to it.
- What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote? I did a lot research in medical text books. I also talked to people who had various brain disorders.
- How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience? I find that most people are happy and willing to talk to writers about their work. I just ask.
- How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted? It’s a double-edged sword. My first novel was accepted by a major publisher. Unfortunately, they insisted on a lot of changes, which made it much worse. By the time it came out, it was neither here nor there.
- Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up? Years later, when self-publishing had taken off, I got the rights back and reprinted the book, in its original form, under a new title. It felt so good to get it out there, as I had intended it to be seen.
- Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist? I can’t really speak for anyone else. For me, it gave me an opportunity to get my work out there, which led to other publishers and authors taking interest in my work. I didn’t make much money in self-publishing at all. But it did lead to bigger and better things.
- Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened? I have written for television and movies for years. I have made a living as a writer for almost three decades. I have made a living as a writer of published fiction only for about a year or so. We’ll see if it keeps up!
- What is the best piece of advice you were given that you could pass on to aspiring writers? Write, write and write!