Author name: Biff Mitchell
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Books: Fiction: Heavy Load (a laundromance), Team Player, The War Bug, Boston Jonson in Murder by Burger, Boston Jonson in Murder by Art, Boston Jonson in Murder by Coffee, The Reality Wars, The Weekly Man
Non-fiction: eMarketing Tools for Writers, Writing Hurts Like Hell: How to Write a Novel When You Don’t Have Time to Write a Short Story.
What’s your story and how did you become a writer? I’m a writer and a photographer. Writing is my obsession. Photography is my passion. If I don’t write, I go crazy, whether or not the writing is driving me crazy. This is why I call my writing workshop Writing Hurts Like Hell.
How do you balance your work with other demands? I schedule my writing just as though it’s work that I have to do, or I’ll be fired. It means sitting in front of a laptop when my friends are all out partying and it means saying no to people who think that writing is just a hobby when you have a fulltime job doing something else.
Name one of the happiest moments in your life: As a parent, I’d have to say the moment my daughter was born; as a writer I’d have to say the day my first novel was accepted for publication by Jacobyte Books in Australia.
What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner? I start off with a story dump…a hardback notebook that I can carry everywhere. I jot down the idea and then, over a period of several months, I develop the idea until I’m ready to build a story board from the first to the last scene. Generally, about 40 or 50 pages in, the characters take over the story and the story board goes out the window. I do it anyway because the story board structures my writing so that, even when the characters take over, I have a good idea where the story is going.
Could you write in a café with people around? Since my first novel, every one of my novels has been written in a coffee shop. There’s something about the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop that inspires me to get the work done.
Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it? Nope.
What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now? My favorite book is In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan. It’s a hippie novel, so I’ll leave it at that. I’m currently reading a Tim Dorsey novel on my Kindle and a Carl Hiaasen novel in print format. I read print books an hour or so before bed because the blue light from screens suppresses melatonin production and inhibits sleep.
What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader? Paperback and eReader, with my Kindle being the preferred between the two. I like the portability of paperbacks and eReaders over hardcover books because I’m on the move a lot. However, if I want to read something and it’s available only in hardcover format, I’ll get the hardcover. No matter what the format, it’s the content that matters.
Do you think print books will always be around? Dynamics such as quick access, production and distribution costs and availability of materials will eventually drive print books out of production, especially as new technologies take literature into new directions (such as books that allow reader participation in the story.) I’m not sure how this will eventually play but, but I’m guessing it will happen as books and video games are merged into a single medium.
Would you ever read a book on your phone? No, but I’m working on three short stories on my iPhone. I work on them when I’m sitting in waiting rooms or otherwise have a few spare moments.
What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else? I use my iPhone for writing and photography…maybe not as much as I should, but I’m learning.
How long could you go without checking your phone? I only pay attention to it when I need it or someone calls me. I call myself a lot and leave messages for ideas on my home phone. I never take my phone with me when I travel.
Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening? Never. Well…once. I almost drove into a police car. When I get into a good story, it gets all my concentration.
Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform? Starting September 8, I’m going to serialize a novel (The Weekly Man) as a daily coffee break novel for two and a half months. I’m well into a social media campaign to promote it. I just set up a Pinterest business account for it because I think this particular novel will attract more female readers than male. I’ve used Facebook in the past, but I’ve never been impressed with the results.
Website and social media links:
Website and photography: biffmitchell.com
Facebook writer’s page: @BiffMitchellWriter
Weekly Man blog: theweeklyman.com
Weekly Man Facebook page: The Weekly Man – a free serialized novel
Personal blog: biffmitchell.wordpress.com
Awards/special recognition: New Brunswick Artist of the Week (NB Film Coop). I’ve had over a dozen short stories published in the award-winning Twisted Tails anthologies. Atlantic Canada Radio Awards (ACRA) first place award in PSA division.
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