Friday, December 16, 2011

Dishing it up with VH Folland

Today, I have the pleasure of dishing it up with VH Folland. VH Folland is a British author with a lifelong interest in aviation and engineering. On a school trip to Kew Gardens most of the class were looking at the plants, and one small child was staring up at the planes on Heathrow approach. A career spanning IT, media, and engineering gave this interest plenty of time to grow. Along the way, an extra hour was found in the day for writing books.

JET: Can you tell us about Conflict of Interest?

VH: Conflict of Interest is a sequel to The Docks, continuing Harry's story. I'm hoping to complete a series of novellas and novellettes charting Harry's moral progress from a hardened crook to a vaguely grubby grey. The difficult part was making sure it works even if readers haven't read the first book, without giving continuing characters long introductions that slowed the story.

JET: What drew you to adventure fiction?

VH: I’ve always enjoyed it, from sci-fi as a child moving on to thrillers by authors like Alastair MacLean and Gavin Lyall as I grew up. I prefer the everyman heroes – normal people in extraordinary situations.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

VH: Confidence. Having the belief that your book is good enough to submit (and that you should stop making revisions and actually submit it) is a stumbling block for a lot of authors, and I'm no exception.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

VH: The first time I got a publication offer from a publisher. I was absolutely over the moon, because it was the first time it was confirmed that actually my books were good enough to be published. The close second was walking into Waterstones and seeing my books on the shelf. I did take a photo of the books, but luckily the staff are used to enthusiastic authors and didn't think me too strange.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

VH: Gavin Lyall, who I always enjoyed for the detail in his work and his rather unique gift of giving inanimate objects, notably aircraft, their own distinct characters. Also, Alastair Maclean for his mastery of the first person narrative (and the unreliable narrator)

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

VH: I started writing rather young, when I was still at school, and have a range of articles and non-fiction out under various pennames. I don't think I ever really stopped writing.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

VH: That would have been for Fire Season. Delving around the cockpit of a live nuclear bomber/maritime patrol aircraft definitely counts as the craziest. The most interesting fact would be how to rig a stationary unpowered aircraft up as a transmitter and radio station, although I had to omit most of the detail and set up for the sake of story pacing.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

VH: Difficult to say. Usually it is whichever one I'm working on right now, since I tend to get enthusiastic about my projects.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?

VH: Don’t quit. It is very easy to get discouraged, and there are a lot of rejections along the way, but if you quit you'll never get published. The second most important thing is not to be afraid to ask for help. There are a lot of people out there who can provide advice, assistance, and help if you ask.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten…starting with…Paper or Plastic?

VH: Paper – if you get an idea, it's harder to write on plastic.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

VH: Steak

JET: Beach or Mountains?

VH: Mountains, there are fewer tourists.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

VH: Rock (ok, metal)

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

VH: Back Shelf Find.

JET: Sword wielding ninja or Gun toting momma?

VH: Gun-toting momma – never mess with a mama bear with cubs.

JET: Paper or Digital?

VH: Paper. I know, I’m a luddite.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

VH: Cheesy Horror

JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?

VH: I believe their calendar reaches the end of a cycle, rolls over, and carries on, much as ours did in 2000 (although hopefully without the Y2K issues...).

JET: Coffee or Tea?

VH: Tea

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

VH: Two stand-alone novels. I am working on two more novellas in The Docks series to finish the story, one in note form, one mostly finished. I also have some short stories to follow Fire Season, which are in editing for a possible collection.

JET: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about V.H. Folland and his work at the following places:

Thanks for joining us today! Next week we have Caddy Rowland and Todd Russell on tap, so swing by while you’re drinking that eggnog!

Until then,

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