A warm welcome to David Lyons, his Midday Novel will be published by Bloodhound Books on 22nd March 2018
1. When you were writing Midday, did you think of the twists first then the overall plot, or how did you conceive the story?
I actually start with the ending, the twist if you like. Then I begin to jot down the premise in note form that would lead up to that twist before I even begin to write one word. The notes I take aren’t very specific, they are mostly bullet points, but at least it gives me constant direction and keeps me on track as I work my way towards that ending. I’m currently three-quarters of the way through my second book and am using the exact same method. It makes the whole process enjoyable. I never sit down to stare at a blank page, I always have at least something to go on, even if it is just a bullet point note. But I take my hat off to authors who begin at the beginning of their novels and who let that novel unfold as they go along. I couldn’t work that way. That’s a different skill altogether, certainly one I don’t possess. Everything has to be planned out for me.
2. If you were not an author, what would your chosen career be?
Well, I was a journalist for 13-years. I had a healthy career as a freelance journalist and worked on a couple of exciting sports desks in national newspapers. The media game was changing dramatically thanks to the public preferring to consume their news online, so I left my media career behind to begin writing Midday. I also have a full teaching qualification and have lectured at some colleges and at Coventry University. I think, if I wasn’t an author, I’d somehow be marrying lecturing with journalism, lying heavier on the lecturing side, ideally.
3. Could you tell us a bit about your writing routine?
I find I am at my most patient early in the morning. At about 8am, maybe 9am, I begin to write the first draft of a chapter. This is always quite a rough draft, but it gives the whole chapter direction. By about 11am every morning, I have the first, rough draft of a chapter on paper. I’ll leave that for a while before coming back to it after lunch and I will refine and define that chapter until it’s clean. Once I have a first draft of my novel complete, using this method (which takes about 5-6 months), I then go back over each Point of View character-by-character. My books will always be from the point of view of multiple characters. I felt I had to get creative trying to nail a distinctive voice for each of them. So I concocted a Spotify playlist based on the personality of each character and played that for a couple of week while tried to nail their voice. I’m almost at that stage with my second book. It’s an interesting process. I really enjoy it.
4. Are there characters in your books based on people you know? If they've read it, did they recognise themselves?
None of the four guys in Midday are close to any one person I know. But there are parts of people know in each of them. There’s even a bit of me in a few of the characters. A lot of my books will involve inner monologues, inner feelings, so when I deem it necessary that a character would view the world similar to me, or similar to a friend of mine, then I will include it. But conceiving characters is most of the fun of being a writer. So I don’t think I’d have as much fun if I copied a person I know. Though having said that, I go close to the bone on that one in Midday’s follow up. It wasn’t meant to happen but the more that the character evolved, the more I thought, ‘sh*t this is [person I know’s name goes here] isn’t it?’
5. Can you tell us about your work in progress/next book idea?
My follow up book will follow a very similar narrative to Midday, though it is a totally different premise, much different to Midday. But – just like Midday – there will be a deadline to meet and each chapter will start with a time of the day and a different character whose head you are about to enter. There will be some links in each of my first three books that tie the three stories together, but they are all very subtle, and I have to admit I would be over the moon if I anybody ever noticed them and mentioned them to me.
6. Thank you David, for taking part in my questionnaire, can I please ask one final question?
I don’t want to give anything away about Midday before release day. So if it was turned in to a film, who would you want to play each of the main characters and why?
Funnily enough, in my very first draft of Midday, I had the great actor Michael Kelly (Doug in House of Cards) in my head as Vincent. But he was the only character who had an ‘actors’ face in my mind. I guess Jack is a handsome fifty-year-old, so an Alec Baldwin-type would be ideal to play him. Toby Maguire would make a very interesting Ryan while we’d have to hold auditions to find a suitable Darragh – a rough Corkonian who is only twenty years of age … I don’t think I know an actor who could play Darragh. We’ll have to hold auditions. I don’t know why I’ve gone with three American actors to play the three Dublin characters, though. Look at me, my first book hasn’t even come out yet and you’ve made me go all Hollywood.