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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Interview: PT Dawkin

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I enjoyed writing as far back as high school.  I am not sure I fit the standard definition of wanting to “be a writer” because it has never been a career.  For me, writing has always been a means to an end. I used it extensively in my career in the investment industry. Having left that over four years ago, I have a wonderful opportunity to fulfill a dream – to write and publish fiction novels.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I try to write every morning, even if it is just for 30 minutes. I try not to get too hung up if the words don’t want to come. Given the number of times that whatever you write is going to be edited, don’t worry if you think what you’re writing is garbage. But, having said that, there are times to get up and walk away. I guess everyone has to find their own way.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am methodical. I learned in my writing courses at the U of Toronto that every scene and chapter needs to have seven elements (the “hook, inciting incident etc.”) Before I write the first word, I do an outline of all of my chapters, which includes specific details of each of the seven points. That is my road map and I follow it as I write (and sometimes change it as I go along.) So, in the novel I am working on now, outlined to have 70 chapters, there are 490 one or two sentence paragraphs describing each part of the scene.  Building that map is part of the creative process for me.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
Maybe not learned but reminded. Never give up. Keep trying different things and ways to reach your objective.

What do you think makes a good story?
If the author can get the reader to start to form their own opinions about the story and the characters, then they’ve done a good job.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I published my first book and people started giving me positive feedback.

How did you come up with the title?
            I used to be an analyst at one point in my career.

How much of the book is realistic?
Quite a bit. I spent a fair amount of time on that. I have a problem reading a book when I get to the point and say “That could never happen!”

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I like to say that all of my characters are like Frankenstein’s monster, made up of parts from many people.  David Heart is probably closest to me (but not exactly the same). I tend to be a quieter person until you force me to fight back and then I do!

What book are you reading now?
1Q84. A bit different for me but that’s good.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The writing was just the beginning of the challenges although I really, really didn’t want the book to be an embarrassment so I went through it over and over. I also took 120 hours of courses in creative writing before I started The Analyst. Then there was the whole query letter, trying to find an agent process – that took a year and I finally gave up and decided to self-publish. That was another journey and all I can say is I will do things differently with book #2. Then, one has to learn about marketing. At the time, I didn’t know that things like Nurture Book Tours existed – if all goes well I will “launch” book #2 this way. Next fall maybe?

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
After David Heart’s father’s estate is squandered by bad advice, his mother faces eviction and his grandfather needs life-saving surgery. A seemingly-helpful family friend finds David a seat at a bucket-shop off-Wall Street firm with the promise that money flows like wine.

Naive and quickly recognized as an easy mark, David is plunged into the eat-what-you-kill world of a trading desk, where the analysts, salesmen and traders sit like pigs at a two-sided trough. Bullied by the cruel, abusive head trader known only as Blackie, David is relieved when Sandy Allen, a strikingly provocative street-smart saleswoman, comes to his aid. But, what David doesn’t realize is that hidden agendas are everywhere, and no one can be trusted.

Now the target of extortion, David must make an impossible choice: facilitate an insider-trading felony in exchange for the money his family desperately needs, or face the cruelty of his mentor-turned-predator who has framed David and promises that he alone will be found guilty and suffer the consequences of the crime he refused to commit.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not what I have written but how I went about getting published – and I will change that with book #2. I learned a lot in the process.

What are your current projects?
I am about 90% of the way through the first draft of my next novel, again, a thriller about white collar crime. I plan to write three novels and create a trilogy. One of the characters in my first novel, The Analyst, lives on and is part of the second book (although the reader doesn’t see that until close to the end.)

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never give up. Keep trying different things and ways to reach your objective.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy my stories

My website address is
My novel, The Analyst is available in POD or e-book format and links to the major vendors (Amazon etc.) are listed in the tab “BUY The Analyst.”

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