Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Simon Wood interview

Mr. Wood will be appearing at Maidu Library this Friday, June 22 at 7 pm. Please join us!

What influenced you to start writing? What types of writing do you do? Which do you enjoy most?

The INS influenced me to write. I don’t think anyone else can claim this but I can. I’d come to America and I was in the system and I wasn’t allowed to work. During this long down time period, I needed something to do. For some odd reason, I wanted to try writing. I’d never been good at it at school, but I was drawn to telling stories, so I gave it a whirl. Thank you, INS.

I write what I love. I grew up reading horror and crime stories. Naturally, I gravitate to writing in those genres, but I like to write in different genres, even non-fiction humor. I just have a desire to tell stories. I don’t worry too much about whether it sticks to the same genre.

Do you a great deal of research for your novels? What was the seed for Accidents Waiting to Happen?

I’m not a big fan of research. I don’t want my books to be research heavy, so I like to make it up without delving into specialist knowledge, but I do like to ‘walk the crime’ as it were. I like to visit the locations in my books and watch people, etc. I also tend to try things out. Can you strangle someone with handcuffs? Yes, you can. I’m suppose I like emperial evidence when it comes to research.

Accidents was totally influenced by a 5 minute news segment that discussed the decline of the viatical settlement insurance industry. Viatical settlements are a system where people can sell their life insurance to another person in exchange for a percentage of the face value and when they die, the buyer inherits. The industry was big during the early days of AIDS & HIV and when victims needed money for treatment. The setup was perfect for a crime-based story and I ran with it.

How are you able to keep the tension high for the entire plot?

I construct a spreadsheet detailing all the action scenes. I switch the order of scenes, add and delete and hopefully, it keeps the pace exciting. It’s a verbal form of storyboarding.

Are your characters drawn from friends?

Sort of and not really. I’ve used some things my friends have said or done, but all the characters are versions of me. I very much look into myself. I wouldn’t say it’s method acting (or writing) but I really do put myself into the character. If I was a good guy, how would I be? If I was a bad guy, how bad could I be?

The heart of Accidents seems to be the friendship between Bob and Josh, how did you keep this relationship so believable in such crazy situations?

If I’m honest my friends and I have gotten ourselves into troublesome situations that have stretched the limits of friendship. You can’t always agree with a friend’s action, but you can’t turn you back on a friend at the same time. Bob and Josh are believable friends because they act the way close friends do.

You seem to have the American idioms and characters down pat, how long have you lived in the U.S.?

I’ve lived in the US just under 9yrs. I think as an outsider I’m very attuned to picking up on Americanisms that Americans take for granted, so it’s been easy for me to write American.

Here is his biographical info:
Simon Wood is a California transplant from England. He was a competitive racecar driver and is a licensed pilot. He’s married to his American wife, Julie and a longhaired dachshund and four cats dominate their lives. In the last seven years, he’s had over 140 stories and articles published. His fiction has appeared in several “Best Of” anthologies and his non-fiction has appeared in Writer’s Digest. His previous titles include Working Stiffs and Dragged Into Darkness. His current book is the thriller Accidents Waiting to Happen, soon to be followed up by Paying The Piper in November. He's a weekly contributor to Readers are encouraged to visit his website at

Thanks very much to Mr. Wood for answering my questions, I hope to see lots of you on Friday.

1 comment:

Joan said...

I think your questions are quite good. I couldn't come up with any quite as insightful. Thanks for doing this. jg