Today I’m bringing you another author interview. Meet Guy Sigley. I found Guy when I was searching Youtube for videos about NaNoWriMo. From there I followed him on Twitter, no it’s not stalking, I promise. I noticed that he had a story collection on Wattpad called The Chronicle of Barnia (which won a 2015 Watty award). Once I read the first one I was hooked. I couldn’t stop reading about Barney Conroy. I wanted more. I got what I wished for when Guy recently released his book Barney: a novel (about a guy called Barney)
In the book, you get to follow Barney through his hilarious day to day life. Barney quickly becomes the underdog you want to root for. He is constantly finding himself in the most awkward siuations and it makes for great comedy. At times I felt like Barney represented a part of me. That’s what makes this book so great. You can connect with the main character and that is ultimately what makes for great reading. I really want to give specifics, but I’ll refrain because I want you to read this book for yourself. I warn you though, once you read it, you’ll want more Barney. Enough of me going on and on, let’s ge to the interview with Guy.
Where did you get the inspiration for Barney?
I wanted Barney to be relatable and I wanted people to like him because of his vulnerabilities. What I’ve tried to do is create a character that people can read and think “I know how he feels!”. A lot of Barney’s inner monologue is voicing the thoughts many have but few share. We’re all vulnerable or socially awkward or just a bit clueless at times and Barney brings all these elements together; perhaps more than most! So there’s a bit of me in Barney, for sure, and hopefully a bit of everybody else too.
How long have you been seriously writing and is Barney your first book?
I finished my first manuscript nearly twenty years ago. At the time, I thought it was going to shoot me to literary stardom. Now, I cringe to read it!
I wrote and published a novel called One Man’s Journey in 2005. It’s a fictional account of the expeditions of the Scottish/Australian explorer John McDouall Stuart. It’s completely different subject matter to Barney but I was very passionate about the story after traveling through the Australian outback and getting my hands on McDouall Stuart’s journals.
I’ve written other manuscripts as well but none were quite up to a standard that I was happy to put out into the world. And then Barney came along.
Are there plans for more Barney books?
Absolutely. I wrote the draft of the sequel during National Novel Writing Month 2014 and hope to release it in the second half of 2016.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
That moment when you have to step back and look with a bird’s eye view at your story…objectively! After pouring so much time and effort into a manuscript, I find it difficult to listen to that voice in my head telling me that some part of the story isn’t quite right. That’s why my beta readers and my editor are so important. They keep me honest.
What is your favorite book and/or author?
My favorite book, and the reason I decided to write comedy, is David Nicholls’ Starter for Ten. It was the first book I ever read that had me laughing out loud and it inspired me to want to give other readers the same experience.
Do you have a writing process?
I do most of my writing at night, although a lot of Barney was also thumb-typed on my iPad Mini while catching the train to work! I find that I work more effectively when everything else I have to take care of is out of the way and I can just focus on the story. If I can’t do that, I’ll set a goal of a certain number of hours a night and then take care of life after that.
Do you work from a plot or do you just sit down and write and see where it goes?
I used to plot loosely and then just see where the story took me. Unfortunately, it took me to quite a few plot holes and inconsistencies!
Now I work on a detailed plot until I can’t take it anymore and just have to start writing. There’s a lot of flexibility inside the planning but I do like to have an idea of what I’m trying to achieve and where the characters are going to end up.
Who edited your book?
Kiele Raymond. As I say in my acknowledgements section of Barney, she made it an immeasurably better novel. David Coen provided the expert copyediting that helped bring consistency and polish to the manuscript. I used New York Book Editors to find both Kiele and David.
Who designed the cover?
Kit Foster, who is a designer based in Scotland. I had a look at some of Kit’s work and thought he’d be the right man for the job. I was wrong; he was perfect for it.
Do you have any advice for other authors out there trying to write their first book?
The most important thing I’ve learned is that you need to understand readers’ expectations. If, like me, you’re writing commercial fiction, you need to know the elements that make up a story of this style. Same goes for whatever genre you’re writing. I guess it’s a combination of the art through your creative storytelling, and the business through understanding your customers.
One of my favorite questions to ask is, Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I eat the same lunch every day (when I can help it). And, unless you’re an Aussie, you’re not going to like this: it’s two Vegemite sandwiches, no butter 🙂
Last question, if Barney were a movie, who could you see playing his role?
Definitely Patrick J Adams. He was born for the role!
Now, for the most important part. This is where YOU can buy Barney: a novel (about a guy called Barney)
I will list the Amazon links by country.