Here is our first introductory interview with Karl Holton the first time author of the upcoming book, The Weight of Shadows.
Tell us a little bit about you?
I am a qualified accountant who has spent over thirty years working in financial markets and getting to know how these work, not only in London, but across the globe. There is no type of financial institution that I have not been involved with at some point during this time. Yes this means that I could bore you with a long presentation on how this weird world count their beans; but slightly more interestingly I could tell you how they grow, share and invest their beans!
I have a long suffering wife who is significantly smarter than me. We have two kids who have made it very clear that they are also smarter than me. We have three tropical fish who have not yet said anything but they seem to have me beat as they never feed me.
I have wanted to do this since I was very young but it has been hidden away inside me. I am at a point where I really want to see if the stories that I have been carrying around in my head are worthy of putting on paper. Just one person letting me know that they enjoyed something I write will mean it was worth doing.
Describe how you plan out a story?
Well I think in the thriller genre you need to be a detailed planner to some degree. For me, I need to have an overview of how the major plots are working from the start to end. This helps to make sure the flow and tempo works so I have to plan these out. Initially I keep this plan relatively high level so that I can deal with the subplots and any new ideas as they come to me while I am writing.
How many words do you write per day?
Like everyone I have days where I struggle to make a sentence work; I average around 1,800 words per day when I am focused on writing. However, the variation can be huge and, if I am in the flow, I can double that figure.
Which single author has had the most influence on you and describe how?
If I can only pick one it must be Agatha Christie but to try and describe her influence is difficult in just a few words. Put simply, she is the master of plots and sub-plots and I love to embed twists and layers within my narrative. I aim to create, build and reveal where things are going at a variable pace and in unexpected ways and times. Understanding this from the master is critical for a beginner like me.
If you could only have one book that you own today for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?
Given that I have collected books for most of my life that is a really hard question to answer. But I have a complete collection of Shakespeare in one book which would have to come with me. The reason is because like most people I have not spent nearly enough time enjoying it.
Please write a six word story.
I am; you are; we are.
What is the most important item you have when it comes to writing?
Coffee! I like the easy questions.