Interview with Neal Doran
Tell me a bit about your new book.
Not What They Were Expecting is just out, and it’s the story of Rebecca and James, a young couple who have just found out they’re having a baby. The excitement of that gets derailed, though, when Rebecca’s dad Howard gets himself involved in a gay sex scandal, and asks her to lie for him, then James’s parents get involved in a media campaign supporting Howard. And then James loses his job, and things get really difficult… So life throws a lot at this couple all at once, and they have to battle through everything life is throwing them with a sense of humour intact.
Where do you like to write?
At our kitchen table. I get up an hour or two before the rest of the house does so I can write in peace and before there are many things happening on social networks to distract me. Also, at that time of day nobody else can see if I’m stealing all the biscuits.
What book project are you working on next?
Details are still a bit vague, but I’m hoping to write something funny with a big cast of characters all at different stages of life trying to work out if life is working out quite how they planned it. That’s not much to go on is it? I have a working title, but can’t even mention that yet for fear of jinxing it…
Describe a day in your life.
Crumbs. OK, here’s an average day, even though I was tempted to make out that I was actually an international jet setter.
First there’s the early start for my writing, then I wake up my wife with a cup of tea (this certainly helps increase the support for my writing in the house…), then we get the kids ready for school. I work from home in the morning, writing about the telecoms industry as a day job, then I head out to get the boys from school, help with homework, sort out dinner, clear up while Jo gets the kids get ready for bed, then collapse with a glass of wine or a beer. Or a martini if it’s been a particularly tough day…Bed, repeat.
I can only apologise if that’s sent all your readers to sleep.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I wouldn’t say always, but probably from when I was a teenager. Getting up the nerve to say it was what I wanted to do, and to actually take the steps needed to do it, took a couple of decades more though. Those procrastination skills have stood me in good stead for the writing life.
It does seem crazy to me now that I couldn’t really admit to wanting to be a writer because I was scared I wouldn’t be good enough. I’m glad I finally realised the only way to find out was to really give it a go and try and do it, and also that I decided it didn’t matter if I wasn’t any good. So what if I wasn’t? Bad writing is not, as far as I know, a criminal offence…
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Aside from writing that’d involve sleeping, reading, and catching up on the ever-growing pile of box sets. If I get a lot of time, a game of poker doesn’t go amiss…
What are you currently reading?
The Shining by Stephen King. It’s fantastic, but freaking me out on a page by page basis and I can only read it in little bursts or I get too traumatised.
If you were only allowed to keep one book which would it be?
I don’t suppose I could get around this by keeping a Kindle with everything I love sneakily stored on it could I? Failing that an impossibly large collection of PG Wodehouse, that should keep me happy and busy for a long time….
Not What They Were Expecting is available at Amazon and other e-book retailers. Buy it here: http://amzn.to/PsHM8H
My first novel, Dan Taylor Is Giving Up On Women is also available here: http://amzn.to/1pbcbpl
I’m also on Twitter: @nealdoran, and sometimes on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nealdoranwriter
I would like to thank Neal Doran for taking the time to answer my questions.