Elliot Stanton Interview
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 51 years of age and have, so far, written seven books – four novels, a book of short stories and two books of poetry. I wrote my first novel when I was 44. I am married with 17-year-old twins and live on the outskirts of London.
How many hours a day do you write?
I am not very disciplined. Some days, I write for 4 or 5 hours when time allows, but I also find myself neglecting my writing for days or even weeks on end.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I am currently finishing off another book of poetry and I am partway through another novel.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I wrote my first book in about three months. My third book, however, took over a year, but there were long periods of inertia within that period! With my poetry, I had enough poems for three books within about six weeks.
Where did you get the idea for your recent book?
The novel I am writing now comes with a bit of a backstory. Normally, I write a book and find myself agonising for ages over the title. With this one, the title came first. I was cooking one day and I had the TV on in the background. On the quiz show ‘Pointless’, the host, Alexander Armstrong received two contestants’ answers and said, ‘So that’s Ultravox versus the Ottoman Empire’. I didn’t pick up what could have possibly been the question, but I loved the line, so my next book will be titled, ‘Ultravox Versus The Ottoman Empire’.
How did you develop your plots?
Usually, I write lists featuring a series of events I’d like to include in the story and possible outcomes to those events. Then I attempt to weave the characters within. Some, in fact, many don’t initially work, but the ones that do, I will expand on. Sometimes though, they literally come to me in a dream or when my mind should be on something else entirely.
How do you select the names of your characters?
In my first book, The Not So Secret Diary of a Pawnbroker, the characters were all based on real people, so I had to change their names to protect the guilty… Otherwise, I pick the first names I like from thin air, and unless, I find a reason to change them, I keep them.
How did you get inspired to write your recent book?
My recent poetry books are based on nostalgia and observations of modern life. They are mainly humorous in content, as are my novels. I am quite a nostalgic persona and have a good long-term memory, and people love remembering fond memories of the past, so I thought it an ideal subject for me to write about in Presents From The Past. With the other book, Can It Be Just Me? I have been inspired by everything that goes on around me – the silly and annoying things about everyday life, that I’ve put a comical spin on.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I was not (and am still not) a big reader of fiction, but I always remember To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee with great fondness.
Elliot Stanton, What are you currently working on?
Ultravox Versus The Ottoman Empire. It’s about a middle-aged history teacher, working in a comprehensive school in England, He likes his job, but has always regretted not dedicating himself to his first love – music. His frustrations with that decision and the people around him, in general, cause him a lot of angst and can sometimes make him a bit of a laughing stock amongst his peers and the children he teaches.
I am a member of a local writer’s group featuring writers of all sorts of content, from fiction including romance, sci-fi, fantasy, children’s literature, to self-help books, poetry and modern history. I find it interesting and helpful to find out about the journeys of my fellow authors and their successes and failures and how they have become better writers because of them.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Write, write, write. Even if you think you’re going nowhere, you never know where your mind may take you. Even if you can just write a couple of hundred words a day, you’ll be happy you did and it will encourage you to continue.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Grammarly and a scriptwriting program called Final Draft. Did I mention that I also write comedy scripts?
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
The freedom to imagine and create. And then having the joy of eventually seeing the fruits of your imagination in print for yourself and for others to enjoy too.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I have just released Presents From The Past and in the summer, I will be releasing a sequel to my first book of poetry, which will be titled – Can It Still Just Be Me?
Elliot Stanton Website – https://www.elliotstanton.com/
Elliot Stanton Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1561342593910186
Elliot Stanton Twitter – @elboy44
What you want to say about our website?
Prachesta is well laid out and easy to read. The features, including tips to motivate you at work and morning routines, I found helpful and interesting.