Today I'm throwing the spotlight on fellow Brit author, Zack Abrams. Here's a bit about on of his books:
1 What is your book about?
My book tells the story of Benjanin Short in his various incarnations. Benjamin is a very complex character and compartmentalises his life to an extreme. His life is split into five different characters, each living under a variation of his name and the people in each of these lives have little or no knowledge of the others. The one common thread weaving each of his lives together is his obsession for music. There is an inevitability the divisions can not be sustained and the story deals with the unforeseen events taking place causing the divisions to become blurred with catastrophic results.
Benjamin is an anti-hero. Although each of his characters has some redeeming features, they essentially are all different aspects of Benjamin's self obsession. He is a sociopath constantly using other people to serve his own ends.
2 How did you come up with the idea for your book?
That's the strange part. I didn't have an idea for a book. I was sitting thinking about writing something and I had the idea for the character. He developed in my mind and I thought I'd start trying to write about him. At first I though it would make an essay or a short story. The ideas expanded as I tried to explain about the different aspects of his character and the story seemed to write itself. At no time did I prepare or think through a plot and I didn't know where it was going. Afterwards, when I read it through for the first time it was like reading someone else's novel.
3 Does your main character resemble anyone in your family or circle of friends?
I certainly hope not. True there are aspects of myself and of people I know but Benjamin is not based on any one person. To survive in modern society, I, like most people have to compartmentalise. Benjamin takes this beyond the boundaries of what is normal or reasonable. Each of Benjamin's lives are reasonable normal if taken in isolation - it's only when they are combined under the same character and obsessively ring fenced that they become pathological
4 Who is your favorite writer? Why?
There are many writers I love depending on my mood. One that I particularly enjoy is the British author Michael Dobbs (to confuse matters there is a US author of the same name). I became addicted to his books after reading 'House of Cards' where I adored his depiction of Francis Urquhart. His own political experiences make his novels knowledgeable, insightful and amusing.
5 How long did it take you to write your book?
Once I started writing 'Ring Fenced,' I was consumed by it and wrote obsessively. I completed the first draft within five weeks the needed a rest to draw breath. The first edit took me about four months and it was over another year before I was sufficiently happy with it to allow anyone else, outside family, to read it. I waited a further year or more to embark on another novel and I have recently competed 'Made a Killing.' It was less obsessively written but not by much and I hope to have it published quite soon
6 What strange writing rituals do you have?
I don't know if I'd go as far as calling them rituals but I prefer to write into a word document while having a couple of windows open in the background. I have one open to a dictionary /thesaurus and the other open in Google search. This way I can often research or confirm small details I'm writing about while the thought is in my head. Only recently, I've added a separate word document to the combination so I can make notes on my time line and characters as I go along.
I've recently noticed that I'm not too distracted by background noise so I don't have a problem with a television or radio being on while I'm writing. It's maybe helped by my partial deafness but strangely enough I've found afterwards that I have a reasonable awareness of what the programme has been about and it hasn't significantly affected my writing - except maybe a few more typos to correct.
7 What are your hobbies?
Hobbies? Are you serious? Where's the time? Seriously though, I still have a lot of work commitments and try to write whenever I can. This involves the associated requirements to edit and publish and to try to mutually support other writers that I know. Outside of all of this I enjoy reading, music travel and sports.
8 What are you reading at the moment?
Currently I'm reading 'The Invention of the Big Bang' by Fred Schafer. It has a very unusual style and is a compelling read with the author telling you someone's retelling of the main characters life story. It took a bit of effort to get into it but it's proving very much worth the effort, absorbing. I love reading Indie books, you find real originality while the mainstream mainly keeps churning out variations of the same thing.
Benjamin enjoys sex, he likes money, he loves power and he’s addicted to control.
If you think your life’s complicated then spare a thought for him as he obsessively juggles and controls his five independent lives.
One man, five lives, ring-fenced and separated,
Bennie, loving husband and father,
Benjie, beloved youngest son,
Ben, successful corporate banker,
Benjamin, millionaire author and publisher of pornography
and Jamie, dynamic part-time lover of a beautiful musician.
Relying on his Blackberry to keep all his personae separate, his life is perfect.
But what if holes begin to appear in the divisions?
When a sequence of events throws his life into chaos, his separate words collide with explosive consequences.
After a successful career in business and finance, Zach Abrams recently started writing fiction.
His first novel 'Ring Fenced' was published in November 2011. This is a crime story with a difference, having an underlying theme of obsession, power and control.
This novel was followed by a collaboration with Elly Grant to produce 'Twists and Turns' a book of short stories and flash fiction.
Alike his central character in 'Ring Fenced,' (Benjamin Short), Zach Abrams completed his education in Scotland and went on to a career in business and finance. He is married with two children. He plays no instruments but has an eclectic taste in music, although not as obsessive as Benjamin.
Unlike Benjamin, he does not maintain mistresses, write pornography and (sadly) he does not have ownership of such a valuable company. He is not a sociopath (at least by his own reckoning) and all versions of his life are aware of and freely communicate with each other.
Zach has completed his second novel 'Made a Killing' which has recently been published. This is a fast moving, gripping novel set in the tough crime-ridden streets of Glasgow. More in keeping with ‘Made a Killing,’ Zach was raised in Glasgow and has spent many years working in Central Scotland.