After a bit of a hiatus, Ten Questions returns.
First of the new stable of horses ready to be released from the Ten Questions block, is the thoroughbred that is Walter Conley. With one of his shorts appearing in the new Near to the Knuckle anthology, if you've not already read Walter's writing then it's time to do so before the horse has bolted, so to speak.
What are you currently working on?
I’m writing a novella about a woman who must commit a terrible act of violence to save her own life. She kills two men in the process and is hunted by a surviving family member.
Last year, an agent requested that I submit a novel. I’m preparing to send it now. A fringe character from my Wellesport stories orchestrates a hit that goes wrong, flees cross-country and winds up in an even more dire situation.
I’ve also been working on a TV series—based on the true account of a little-known female serial killer—which was just pitched to a studio.
Nothing too pleasant. I think the last upbeat thing I wrote was a coloring book in 2001.
Why did you start writing?
To get laid. No, wait—that was Somerset Maugham.
I have given plenty of thought to the craft and my choice of subject matter, but not to why I started. I’ve been doing it since I learned to put a sentence together. I’m a born recluse and spent most of my childhood immersed in books, so it was only natural that I attempt it myself. Discovering Poe caused me take writing seriously. Other key influences in my early development were Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby is so believeable you forget you’re reading a novel on the first page), Harold Pinter (silences and smokescreen-banter often reveal more than they conceal) and George V. Higgins (pacing, economy and, well, everything—it’s Higgins).
Where do you write?
On a PC at a desk that belonged to my wife’s late grandmother, in a room that’s kind of an office/madhouse with toys and a piano; walk in and you’ll be greeted by a four foot antique doll in a Mercedes SUV. Recently, though, my wife bought a laptop and I’ve been trying that out in the music room, in front of the TV. I don’t write in public. When I go to a coffee shop, it’s to drink coffee. Black coffee. Small, medium or large.
“Short, you said?”
Is your writing inspired by real events?
Not current events. I have adapted incidents from my past, but the bulk of what I write is invented. The creation of new material supercedes every other aspect of this for me—to the point that I often jump from first draft to first draft without revising things. Usually I’ll have a single line of dialogue or description pop into my head and off I go.
Do you have enough time to write?
I have quite a bit. I work three long nights a week, over the weekend, then write on weekdays. I tend to edit in shorter sessions after lunch. If possible, I also bang out a little on weekend mornings.
Have you got a favourite author/genre?
Patricia Highsmith, since I read The Cry of the Owl as a teenager. I re-read her books all the time.
I don’t have a favorite genre. My latest stack contains a biography, classics, YA fantasy, a nonfic book on the U.S. black market...
Physical book or e-book?
I prefer physical, although I read a lot of e-books. I have print books scattered from one end of my house to the other. I miss brick-and-mortar bookstores, which have all but vanished where I live.
Who should we look out for?
JD Phillips has impressed the hell out of me. I know she’s busy and can’t wait to see what comes out next.
What question would you ask yourself?
I already know too much.
Where can we find you?
I am notoriously unreliable with social media. Best bet is probably facebook, /wconley2. I have a blog called Katharine Hepcat, at katharinehepcat.wordpress.com. I’m on twitter as @pitchbrite and can be contacted via email@example.com. Forthcoming is a short entitled “Doctor Bitch” in Near to the Knuckle’s Rogue anthology.