Matt Gemmell: “Writing Is Difficult, but It Feels Like a Challenge Instead of a Hardship”

Action-thriller author Matt Gemmell is fascinated with how small choices can have a profound effect on our lives – a fascination also reflected in his debut novel “Changer”, published last year. In our interview, he talks about why he switched professions a couple of years ago, never looked back since, and still does not regret the time he spent in software engineering.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

Matt Gemmell

My name is Matt Gemmell, I’m a writer of action-thriller novels — amongst other things — and I live in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, with my wife Lauren and our eight-month-old labradoodle puppy, whose name is Whisky.

For a number of years, I was a consultant software engineer for various clients, including Apple, and I did a bit of tech journalism on the side. I also released a lot of open source code for iOS and the Mac, as strange as it is to think about that now.

I’m currently working on TOLL, the second novel in the KESTREL series of action-thrillers with a fringe science twist. The first book, CHANGER, came out last year.

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Pianist and Composer David Ianni: “Writing Is an Important Part of My Creative Process.”

David Ianni is a pianist and composer from Luxembourg, who wants to share his music with the world. In our interview, he talks about his latest project “My Urban Piano” and how writing plays a part in his creativity.

David Ianni
David Ianni, photo by Emile Hengen

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a pianist and composer from Luxembourg. My career began as a young piano prodigy in the mid-nineties, when I mainly performed the music of the great classical composers like Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt, although I had been composing since my childhood. But after several successful years on stage, it was absolutely clear to me that I had to pursue my path as a composer. There was such an abundance of music inside of me that had to get out. Since then, I have composed several hundreds of pieces, among them many works for piano, but also music for other instruments, for choir, for orchestra and even an opera for children. Whatever I write, my aim is always to touch people’s hearts with my music.

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Conductor and Writer Lev Parikian: “Crowdfunding Is Hard Work”

Lev Parikian
Lev Parikian
Lev Parikian earns his living as a conductor, but is also a dedicated writer. In our interview he reports what it is like to juggle between two professions, and talks about the pros and cons of crowdfunded publishing.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

I divide my time between conducting and writing. The conducting keeps me busy enough, working mostly with amateur orchestras in and around the London area, but I’ve increasingly made sure I find time for writing. My most recent project is Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear?, a tale of woeful ornithology, which will be published by Unbound in 2018.

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Vegan Blogger Patrick Bolk: “I Try to Help Make This World a Better Place”

He turned his passion into a career: The German blogger and book author Patrick Bolk successfully publishes about the vegan way of life. Read in our interview what led up to it — and have the chance to win a copy of Patrick’s book “Vegan im Job” (“Vegan at Work”).

Patrick Bolk
Patrick Bolk
Please tell us something about you and what you are working on. 

My name is Patrick Bolk, I’m 43 years old, live in Berlin and Mallorca, and I do a lot of different things. Currently I am working on a new vegan cookbook and on a ghostwriting project. I also constantly write articles for blogs. 

What is the share of writing in your working life?

I write all the time. In every project I work on, writing is my no. 1 task. Of course there are also some other things to do: research for books, taking and editing photos, or building a website. But in the end, writing is my main thing. 

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Contemporary Romance Author Lauren Layne: “Living in Manhattan Has Had a Huge Impact on My Writing Career”

Women in high heels, men in suits, sipping fancy cocktails — that’s the world of the protagonists of Lauren Layne’s “big city” romances. And it is also Lauren Layne’s world, since she’s left Seattle and her former job for pursuing a writing career in New York City. Albeit “real life” experience helps, it takes mostly hard work and perseverance to succeed in her business, as the author explains in our interview.

Lauren Layne
Lauren Layne

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

I’m a contemporary romance author — I tend to describe myself as writing “romantic comedies,” because my style of writing is more akin to a modern day rom-com you’d see in the theaters than it is an old-school Harlequin novel. Currently I’m working on the next book in my Stiletto & Oxford series, which is a bit like Sex & the City meets FRIENDS. It’s titled I Knew You Were Trouble, and will be available in June 2017.

In your previous life you have been working as a web marketing manager. How did you come up with the idea to become a writer?

Well, let’s just say I was one of those precocious bookworm kids who, whenever asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, proclaimed an author! Eventually, “real life,” or what I thought was real life kicked in, and I took a “real job,” first as a receptionist, then as a web marketing/e-commerce manager in my mid-twenties. I enjoyed it. I daresay I was even good at it. But I had this nagging feeling that there was more to life than dreading Monday mornings. I did a lot of soul-searching, asking myself, “If money were no object, what would you spend every day doing?” Writing was the answer every single time. And since money was a factor, I thought, “Well, I guess I better figure out how to make a living out of this!”

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“Having a Story With a Beginning, Middle, and End Will Help Give You Direction”

Bridgid Gallagher is a fiction writer, blogger, and repeated NaNoWriMo participant. In our interview she chats about her approach to writing a romance novel and shares three things that may help Wrimos through November.

Bridgid Gallagher
Bridgid Gallagher
Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

I am a fiction writer and blogger. On the fiction side, I write magic-filled stories for children and love stories for adults. I also share information about writing and marketing for writers on my website, and just this month released my Novel Writer’s Story Workbook, which you can get for free by signing up for my mailing list.

Right now I’m getting ready for the publication of my debut, the first in a series of small-town adult romances. Here’s the blurb:

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“Being an Author Means Being in Business”

Kevin Tumlinson is a busy book author, blogger and podcast host. In our interview he reveals some details about his process and shares his best writing advice (which he thinks you’ll hate – but see for yourself).

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

Kevin Tumlinson
Kevin Tumlinson

I’m a full-time author, currently transitioning from writing science fiction and fantasy to writing thrillers. The thriller genre just works better with my style and with the type of story I like to tell, so I’ve been keen to move into it. My most recent book, The Coelho Medallion, is my first thriller, and it has really set the stage for the rest of my writing career! It released on 31 May, and since then I’ve seen it outsell every other book in my catalog, and garner more praise than any book I’ve written to date. So I’m thinking that my new venture is already a success! This was also the first book I’ve written entirely in Ulysses. I’ve finished a couple of previous books in the software, transferring them from Scrivener or Word to Ulysses for completion. But I wanted to do something special for my first book, and the timing was perfect for ‘Coelho Medallion.’ I’m glad of it, too! This was a brilliant experience.
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“I’ve Always Been Most Passionate About Telling Stories”

30 years ago, the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl happened. On the occasion of the anniversary, Peter Zarko-Flynn published a photo essay on his personal blog, and gained considerable attention. In everyday life, Peter works as a communications consultant in London, from an office with a window onto nature. Here is our interview.

Peter Zarko-Flynn
Peter Zarko-Flynn

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

I’m a creative communications consultant, specialising in health and science. I set up my own business almost six years ago, but I have spent my entire career in media and communications. I started out as a News and Current Affairs producer with the BBC and worked with the organisation for five years, which prepared me well for my future work.

Right now, I’m working on a Public Engagement brochure for the Francis Crick Institute, a new biomedical research institute that opens soon in central London.

You’re working in a number of fields: communication consultancy, photography, media relations, training… What is your true passion?

I’ve always been most passionate about telling stories, from a very young age. I used to love writing classes at junior school. When I was ten years old, I wrote what – at the time – seemed quite an epic story about a group of children who discovered a gold mine. I was so engrossed in writing the story, I kept asking for more time to finish it. In the end my teacher put his foot down and insisted I hand it in as it was, because he needed to mark everyone’s work. I was so upset that it was not properly finished, although I think it taught me a valuable lesson on the importance of hitting a deadline! 

When I look at my career, telling compelling stories about people, or stories that affect people, is the thread that has run through it. Storytelling is why I went into journalism and it has informed a lot of the work I’ve been drawn to as a consultant.
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Ten Things You Should Know About Writing a Novel With Ulysses, by David Hewson

Prize Draw: Win a Hand-Signed Hardback of David’s Latest Mystery Novel

David Hewson’s latest novel set in Amsterdam, ”Little Sister”, appeared in the UK on May 5 and will be published in the Netherlands in September. It was written entirely in Ulysses. Here are David’s top ten tips to follow if you’re planning a Ulysses novel too.

David Hewson
David Hewson is a bestselling author of mystery novels. He has also published several guidebooks for aspiring authors, among them “Writing a Novel With Ulysses” (available with

Amazon and iBooks).

1. Don’t wander. It’s tempting to try to use other pieces of software — outliners, notes apps — to monitor your novel as it progresses. With other apps maybe you need that. With Ulysses you don’t. Simplify, simplify, simplify by putting everything into Ulysses and nowhere else.

2. To do that you’re going to need organise things. Have a main group for your novel project, a subsidiary group for your manuscript and a second for management. Use the latter for all the subterranean detail your novel requires — location, research, characters, a book diary.

3. Monitor your progress. At the end of every week I make a note of how many words I’ve written over the past five days and how I’m feeling about the project. When you’re wondering if it’s going anywhere you can go back to these entries and hopefully convince yourself you’re still on track.

4. Always, always, jot down brief scene synopses at the beginning of each sheet so you can see in brief what’s going to happen. Try to end the day by creating a new sheet synopsis. It will help drag you forward when you come back to the work.

5. Take your work with you. Now Ulysses is on the iPad and iPhone too you can keep an eye on your project anywhere. Remember: writing isn’t just about setting down words. It’s about editing and having ideas too. I can’t write seriously on an iPhone. But I can set down chunks of dialogue and possible narrative events very easily — and do.
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“Writing Requires a Huge Amount of Love for Things That Happen Far Away From the Keyboard”

Silvio Gulizia is an Italian journalist and communication consultant. He has published the books “iProduttivo”, a guide to productivity apps and methods for iPad and iPhone, and “Sognare per Vivere”, an ebook about finding the courage to startup a personal project. Silvio also owns a blog about intentional living on vivereintenzionalmente.com.

Please tell us a little bit about your work: How do you combine your professions?

I am completely focused on telling great stories. As a journalist, you are required to observe the world, to look for stories other people can’t view and to work on them to develop a product worth your readers’ time and money. It’s not a matter of coming up with the news anymore. Well, you need the news, but once it is published, you need a story to spread it. Today, every company is able to reach its own audience and tell its stories without going through the press. I bring to companies, in particular those in the startup and innovation field, my passion for telling stories. I help them to dig out stories from their own world and serve them directly to interested readers.

Silvio Gulizia
Silvio Gulizia

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