Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My Guest: Seumas Gallacher

This week I'm very please to have a return Guest on the blog; the inimitable Scots Scribe hisself. He's joined the ranks of those of us who have written... Ay, but I'll have the man tell you about it hisself. Lasses and Laddies...



Seumas Gallacher

…writing a series is a serious business…


…one of the many things I’ve been learning over the last several years of immersion in this writing gig is that constant surprises are the order of 
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the day…I finished scribbling the first Jack Calder crime thriller, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY in mid-2008 and thought I was done… the reality took a while to sink in… I was only just beginning… the simplicity of continuing with the same generic crime/action theme flowed into VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK… plot lines screamed at me daily… the characters had plenty of things left they wanted to get up to… hence the third offering, SAVAGE PAYBACK , and lately, the fourth, KILLER CITY, tumbled from the laptop… the fifth novel, currently Work-In-Progress, DEADLY IMPASSE, is bubbling away nicely… it had never occurred to me at the beginning that a series would evolve, but when the third book was done, it was an unavoidable truth… Jack Calder and the rest of the players had dug in their collective heels… they were here to stay… the take-up from my readership has been enormously gratifying, but I’ve discovered also, that I 
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feel it comes with certain obligations… Lawd knows, I LUV the stories myself, else I wouldn’t be doing them, but I dread falling into the trap of ‘formula’ manuscripts and try to guard against it… the disease that all too often afflicts novelists I have read in the past… far be it from me to throw literary stones at some of the major recognised names in the industry, but there are far too many occasions when it’s apparent a successful author has simply produced ‘more of the same’ after a while… the ‘zip’ goes out of the story-telling… the freshness disappears… so, how to guard against the ‘repetition-depletion syndrome’?... here’s a few ideas from this ol’ Jurassic…

…understand the difference between a ‘serial’ and a ‘series’…

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…a ‘serial’ is the same story with continuing chapters or sequences or books, and difficult to hold readers’ attention over a lengthy period… fresh nuances and new plot flows for the same story are limited… sustaining these becomes less and less feasible…

…a ‘series’ is a group or collection of independent stories, with something in common… a much easier quill-scraping road to take…

…therein lies the key to it all for me… and why superb Authors like Ian Rankin can produce such attention-holding books ad inforeverum… each book starts over… new twists… unique facets for the players to deal with… but, and the great ‘but’, is this… readers come to know, to recognise, and to like the qualities of the main characters who continue to populate the series… the learning curve for them has already been established… I try to ensure that my books tell a new reader enough about the main people, without flogging the detail to death… that way the new reader is enlightened, but regular followers of the series are not bored reading it again… tell it a slightly different way… allusion sometimes is more effective than labouring the fine points… most readers like to visualise things for themselves about yer characters…

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character development continuity is important for loyal readers, and that need not conflict with bringing new readers into the game… in fact, if the on-going development of the characters is done well, the ‘newbies’ may go looking for the writer’s ‘back list’… crime fiction with danger and raw action should reflect real life to a degree… it becomes less and less credible if the characters constantly encounter life-threatening or injury-threatening situations without some casualties or even fatalities taking place… I’m not advocating the Game of Thrones approach where every player is at short odds of surviving to the next episode, but life is not always fair… sometimes as an Author you have to bite the bullet and let one or two of yer wee lovelies meet their Maker…

overall continuity through the series for this writer lies in keeping true to the basic tenets that drove the very first book… the concept being that ultimately the good guys win over the bad guys… I make it clear as early as possible in each novel who are the true ‘nasties’ and why it’s a good idea to pursue the hell out of them… that will not change… developing sane reasons for my ‘people’ to be involved is important… I want the reader to join with me in discovering how the team gets there in the end… and it’s not always a ‘slam-dunk’… therefore, I’m obliged to keep my own writing wits about me in unravelling the narrative… and often surprise even myself in the denouements…

…and lastly, but by no means least… I have to enjoy re-reading the stuff I write… that way I attempt to keep true to my mantra… ‘I write for me… the kind of books that I would choose to read’… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!...



BIO

SEUMAS GALLACHER escaped from the world of finance seven years ago, after a career spanning three continents and five decades.

As the self-professed 'oldest computer Jurassic on the planet’, his headlong immersion into the dizzy world of eBook publishing opened his eyes, mind, and pleasure to the joys of self-publishing. As a former businessman, he rapidly understood the concept of a writer's need to 'build the platform', and from a standing start began to develop a social networking outreach, which now tops 22,500 direct contacts.

His 'Jack Calder' crime thriller series, THE VIOLIN MAN'S LEGACY, VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK and SAVAGE PAYBACK have blown his mind with more than 80,000 e-link downloads to date. His fourth, KILLER CITY was launched in August 2015.

He started a humorous, informative, self-publishers blog three years ago, never having heard of a 'blog' prior to that, was voted 'Blogger of the Year 2013' and now has a loyal blog following on his networks. He says the novels contain his 'Author's Voice', while the blog carries his 'Author's Brand'. And he's LUVVIN IT!


When he's not scribbling away in his cramped garret...

Seumas can be found here:

Email: seumasgallacher@yahoo.com

Once again I stand elightened by the man in a skirt, er, kilt. May your sporran live long and your haggis be fruitful. Thank you, That Man, for a superb article and wishing you all the success in the world (Scotland) for your new thriller (I have already read it and it's his best yet, so don't miss out, folks).
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