In this interview with octogenarian author, George Rolston, he shares his philosophy on writing and gives a bit of insight into who he is and how he became an author.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
As a boy in war time Britain, school bored me. I was a poor student. I spent my time out in the fields and woods, shooting rabbits , for our food.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My dad wrote histories of the local area where we lived. I enjoyed hearing his stories about local life.
Why did you want to be an author?
I longed to create something with my time. Just working as a lawyer did not satisfy me
Do you have any other writing experience?
All day long. My work involves writing long documents, and legal arguments. But it is all facts. It becomes mechanical, a formula, which I repeat over and over.
What inspired you to write your first book?
The Concorde SST and the crash of the Russian SST in Paris. It was a spy genre novel. The outline was accepted by MacMillans. But I never completed it.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Easy. Just read the newspapers. Truth is stranger than fiction. Just pick your news item and turn it into fiction.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I scribble very fast. The hardest part is trying to read my scribble and dictating the text.
Do you have a specific process when you write?
Lie under a palm tree, in the Caribbean. Close off the left side of the brain. Let the creative right side take over. Then just scribble down what comes out.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
How long does it take you to write a book?
Writing it takes about 6 months. The hard part is knowing when to finish it.
Your published works include:
Numerous legal papers. Published in Canada, US and Britain. But no fiction.
Is there a specific anecdote about the process of writing any of them? Did you encounter a writing problem that required you to change your plans for the book or learn a new process
Just had to learn to write dialogue. Listen to other people talking. Copy the phrases. It takes practice. Don’t be afraid to try something different. It sounds more creative.
Was there a personal reason for writing any of them or a special connection you have to any of them?
Vacation time on the beach. Did not want to sit and just read. I bought some school exercise books and pens and just wrote.
Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.
My first job came to me after a random meeting in a sailboat, in France. My University Prof thought I was not up to it. Too intellectual, he said. My marks had been poor. I declined his advice and took the job.
What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind—whatever comes to mind.
Interests. As a boy; shooting. I became a champion shot in Britain. Won numerous cups. As an adult, skiing. I became a professional ski instructor, in my spare time.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Try my book. If you can do better, go ahead. It’s fun.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Read good authors, and read bad authors. Compare. Then try it yourself.
Do you have any other advice for fellow writers?
Don’t discuss your plots with anyone else, ever. They will always discourage you.
What obstacles did you encounter in being published? Please know this will be edited to be generic in nature, I won’t be naming names or publishing complaints as such.
I sampled twelve publishers. I was actually surprised when only one of them accepted my Concorde book. I have never contacted an agent.
What methods have you used to get your book noticed?
Write a synopsis. Send it to several publishers. Keep on trying.
How do you feel now that you are a published author?
It feels great. But why has it taken me so long.
What are your current projects?
A techno-thriller. The plot will be revealed in my book, not before.
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