Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Ray Daley – Ray Daley was born in Coventry & still lives there. He served 6 yrs in the RAF as a clerk & spent most of his time in a Hobbit hole in High Wycombe. He is a published poet & has been writing stories since he was 10. His current dream is to eventually finish the Hitch Hikers fanfic novel he’s been writing since 1986.
Thanks so much, Ray, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
Ray Daley: Hmm. Tough one. (Goes away to consult bibliography, due to terrible short term memory). Quite hard to answer as I self-published a lot through Smashwords, once a month, every month for six years. Until I finally got up the courage to send my work to someone else.
Okay. It wasn’t something I self-published through anywhere. It was called “Return From Red Zone”, on the site 365 Tomorrows, way back in 2013.
Link if you want to read it, like everything there, it’s free!
JSC: Do you use a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, why not?
RD: No, I don’t. I use my own name. If people like it, I want readers to know who to seek out more from. If they hate it, I want them to know exactly who to blame. (Raises hand to accept blame)
JSC: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
RD: You’ll sell stuff, just not for another forty-something years. Also, yes, you’re still alive when you’re fifty!
JSC: How did you deal with rejection letters?
RD: Start by expecting them, that way, anything else is a pleasant bonus!
JSC: What are your least favorite parts of publishing?
RD: Waiting to hear back from markets. I have zero patience. I just want them to tell me they hate it now, so I can move on!
JSC: Tell us something we don’t know about your heroes. What makes them tick?
RD: Lightening. Literally! (This joke is incredibly funny and well observed if you’ve read the story) http://robindunn.com/bairn93.html
JSC: Were you a voracious reader as a child?
RD: Incredibly. By the time I was 10, I had read every library book in my Junior school. My mum was a big reader, one of the things which always pushed me to read more. She was a great believer in the value of fiction. I miss her.
JSC: What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.
RD: Mostly call centres, but that wasn’t a bad thing. I worked for a large, Midlands based UK water company in debt recovery, not a brilliant job (sorry) but it led to me writing my first novel, so I’m happy about that.
I’d been scared about writing a novel for several decades, constantly putting it off. Then someone said something to me (I’ve since forgotten what it was, again, sorry), it was quite profound and made me think, ‘Why am I wasting my life being scared? I could just try, and maybe fail, or not.’
Then I just started writing this idea. 28 days later I had over 50,000 words. It’s bloody awful, but I wrote a damn novel! It led me to try again, and write a better, readable novel which I did a year later in 26 days.
Recently, I’ve been using aspects of my military career to write Military Science Fiction. I served for 6 years in the Royal Air Force, during two wars. As you can imagine, I saw all kinds of things (some of which I still can’t talk about) but the declassified stuff has given me all kinds of story ideas.
JSC: Would you visit the future or the past, and why?
RD: Another tough call. While I’m curious to learn more about the ghost which haunted my first house as a child, I am way more curious about what the heck Future Ray is doing with my life, and more importantly my money! Is he spending it all on chocolate? Because he’d better be!
JSC: What are you working on now?
RD: I just got finished doing Camp NaNoWriMo July, creating some new stories for submission.
Right now I’m getting things together for a story submission event I run a few times each year. It’ll take place during September 2020, and will be our 1st anniversary. The concept behind it is simple, to submit at least 1 story every day to a paying market for an entire month.
It’s a way to learn the discipline you need to be a jobbing writer sending out your work. All I ask of those taking part is to have their various stories ready to send out by the start of event and to sub as often as they are able.
There’s no pressure on anyone to sub every day. Even if they only sub one story, it’s one than they probably would have that month. It’s the irons in the fire theory. The more you’ve got out, the better chance of making a sale.
We’ve had success before, and I hope we will again. Of course, there are no guarentees but taking part means you are at least in the race. Here’s a link to our last event, to give you an idea of the type of markets I am using.
If it sounds like something anyone reading would like to do, hit me up on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/raymond.daley.10 or Twitter @RayDaleyWriter for more details or to join us in taking part. I always share all my market links on Twitter so I’m probably worth a follow to SF, Fantasy & horror writers who cover short form fiction.
And now for Rays newest story: The Scars Of War:
What do you think we were fighting for in WWII? Or who? Was it really who you think?