Welsh Poet, Author and Playwright
To kick things off, would you like to introduce yourself to our readers? Who is M. L. Farr ?
I would describe myself as a middle-aged Welshman who likes playing about with words. Having failed at many things in my early years I decided to concentrate on something that I enjoyed. If I was going to put my time and effort into anything it should be something that brought me joy. The creative process gave me that happiness.
You are a very prolific writer, spanning across a variety of genres. What is the secret behind your creativity?
I’m not sure that there is a secret to one’s creativity. If there is, I haven’t found it. I think that creativity is in us all. As children we think nothing of playing games and creating characters. As adults we often forget how to pretend, how to use our imaginations. Authors I believe are the ones that haven’t forgotten how to be someone else every now and then.
Personally, I like to write everything down. I don’t trust my brain to remember all of, if any, of my ideas. No matter how strange or seemingly unimportant it may be, I make sure I write it down. Be that in a notebook, a scrap of paper or on my phone. Old notes can always be returned to. You never know when you may feel the need for a little change of direction, a plot twist, an extra character or an interesting location for your work in progress to take place.
I have found that a good way not to get bogged down or stuck within the story (Writers block if you will) is to go and write something else. Something that is nothing at all like what I had been working on. The change in style, format or tone usually serves to fool my little brain into not concentrating on the hurdle that I could not find a way past. Often, as soon as I am no longer thinking about it, the solution will present itself when I am not even looking.
Of all the books you have written what is your favourite and why?
Asking me to choose a favourite book is a little like trying to pick a favourite family member. We shouldn’t do it but it really depends on the situation and what mood I am in at the time.
The Forgotten Town series is my best seller so that will always be up there. As I can be as shallow as the next man and we all rather like getting paid. If I did have to pick one, I would probably say Blood Island though. It took a long time to write with much research before I even put pen to paper. (Yes, I do still write everything long hand before I type anything, old school).
Can you tell us something about your writing habits?
The way I approach each project is as individual as the work itself. Again, it depends on my frame of mind. I don’t like to force myself to do anything. Sometimes I like to spend time creating the plot beforehand. Other times I prefer to create the characters first and once I know them well enough, let them guide the story.
Which ever way I start I will always have a collection of notes and ideas. Many of which I will not use until a later book, but I will still take a look at them as I write. I find that they help push the chaotic side of my brain into something like the right direction. I have been known to jot down ideas at the dinner table, in the pub, in the bath, pretty much anywhere. If left alone I can sometimes write all day and night. Finishing a book before I have a chance to stop and think about it. Some days I will procrastinate, drinking tea and making excuses why I can’t finish a single page. Those days are fine by me too. One word is better than none.
What were the most challenging and most rewarding moments in your career?
Any time I finish a page I feel that is an accomplishment but my ego does love it when people comment on a book. I recently overheard a conversation about one of my books and when I tried to give a little input considering the characters I was corrected. Apparently the two readers had worked out exactly what was going to happen in the next book and where it would be set. They were wrong by the way but it did make me smile as they had no idea I was the author. Does nobody look at the back cover?
As with many authors I find advertising the most challenging. That and realising that I cannot draw after finishing a children’s series that required illustration.
What can we expect from M. L. Farr in the future?
There will be at least another two instalments to the Forgotten Town series. One if which I have already started. Also, I have a WIP that is currently entitled Shouting at Shadows, (although that may well change as the story evolves) that is threatening to be unlike anything I have ever written before.
When you are not writing what do you like to read?
I would recommend reading anything and everything that you can. I try to. From Agatha Christie to Isaac Asimov, Arthur Conan Doyle to Terry Pratchett, William Shakespeare to Oscar Wilde. Graphic novels, magazines and newspapers can all provide information and inspiration as much as a novel big enough to prop a door open with.
I would like to add that if you read something you like please pass on that information. Maybe even leave a review if that is possible. Too many people are ready to knock authors without realising that not every book is for everyone. If a book is not for you that does not mean it was a bad book. Only badly chosen by you. Be kind to each other and fellow authors. A lot of time and emotion will have been put into whatever it is you read.
All books by M.L. Farr are available for purchase at: https://amzn.to/3m7Eopg