Who’s That Indie Author? Biff Mitchell

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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11 thoughts on “Who’s That Indie Author? Biff Mitchell

  1. how cool that he writes on his phone while in waiting rooms and other places – great idea –
    and interesting take on how books will be interactive – or how video games will be connected – hm – very interesting

    1. Hi, I thought that was also a very interesting insight. I’m not a gamer, but I know that story lines are very important in video games. It’s a valid market and perhaps books and games will all be connected one day – that would be a little scary to me, though! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  2. Thanks for the great interview, Barbara. Biff’s comment, ‘it means saying no to people who think that writing is just a hobby when you have a full-time job doing something else’ resonated with me. Oh gosh, I don’t think I could ever write on my phone…I’m terrible with texting. I do jot notes in Voxer.

    1. Hi Jill, I know exactly what you mean about the hobby thing. I think the same can be applied to blogging. No one outside the blogging world completely understands what it is and many laugh at how serious we are about our blogs. But for me, it’s a great way to practice my writing and express my thoughts. When I finally have more time, maybe I’ll put that to use and try to write something publishable! But of course many will think that’s a hobby 😉 As for using my phone for writing – no, I don’t like to even put things in Notes, even though I use my phone for a lot of other things. I get tired of texting though! What’s Voxer?

  3. I hope I’ve convinced the IRS that writing is not just a hobby for me, hoping to generate a little income with my book launch next month.

    My husband, an artist, thrives in a coffee shop atmosphere. I have to have peace and quiet. Thanks, Barbara, for featuring Biff today. I like his straightforward voice.

    1. Hi Marian – I could not write in a coffee shop – too many distractions – When I finally write the next Great American Novel, I will have to do it in complete silence! 😉 (haha) Thanks for stopping by to meet Biff – he is refreshingly direct!

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