This interview with Jack Dixon, author of The Pict, was first published in September 2007.
What was it that first got you into writing and when did you start writing?
Reading is the thing that first got me into writing. I read voraciously as a child, and I was amazed by many authors’ ability to transport me to distant times and places, and to make me see things as if they were in front of me, using only words on paper – no body language or facial expressions to emphasize points or accent drama. I found that I wanted very much to develop that amazing skill within myself.
Blessed and cursed with a fairly dramatic life of my own from the start, I was moved to begin writing in my early teens. I wrote with pencil and paper, and I usually struggled until I hated what I was writing and moved on to something else. I’ve probably had more than a hundred false starts since then, with years lost to unfortunate lapses of interest.
In 2005 I began to pull together everything I had committed to paper and Word documents, and to try to boil out of the mess at least one cohesive story. I ended up with twelve. I chose the one that captured me most and turned my total focus upon it. In 2007 I published The Pict, my first historical novel, and the first of many more to come. I’m well into my second and third, and each is battling the other for the Number Two slot.
Michael Crichton, James Michener, Isaac Asimov, Dan Brown
Historical novels, specifically from the point of view of characters who were not necessarily among the dominant forces of history, but who were shaped and transformed by their sometimes reluctant, but always thorough determination to confront and surmount unsought challenges. My focus, framed in historical fiction, is the characters’ personal and spiritual evolution as a result of their struggles with crushing adversity.
My second historical novel, set in thirteenth century Europe.
It depends on the day. I try to average an hour a day, even if it ends up being seven hours in one day of the week. I divide my writing time as necessary between writing, editing, and research. In addition to that ‘writing’ time, I read as much as I can (two to three hours a week) of other authors’ work, and about improving my own fiction writing skills.
Doing what my favourite authors have done – transporting readers to another place and time skilfully enough that it seems real to them while they’re there, and causing the reader to feel something about what I write.
What’s the most frustrating thing about writing for you?
The futile struggle for perfection.
What’s the best piece of feedback that you’ve had from your audience?
That my first novel was too short.
Do you write for a particular audience, or is your first priority to satisfy your own creativity?
I write about things for which I feel passion. Readers quickly recognize the presence or absence of passion. I can’t write seriously about anything for which I don’t have passion.
Do you have a homepage? Do you have any short stories or poems published online? (If so, please provide the URLs):
My web site: www.jdixon.net
Articles and poems: http://www.authorsden.com/jackdixon