Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with non-fiction and short story author Dennis Wright. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Dennis. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Dennis: Hi Morgen, I live in Maryborough, Victoria in Australia and I became a writer because I developed a theory that explains the structure of the universe, in particular the nature of time. When you develop this type of hypothesis it is important to present the work before someone else reaches the same conclusion and publishes their version. In science there is an adage that one must publish or perish, only the first published concept is credited as a discovery.
Morgen: You write non-fiction, how do you decide what to write about?
Dennis: Being clairvoyant, I experience both precognitive and premonitory events and so I knew that our understanding of the nature of time could not be correct. I developed a paradigm in which we could understand how past, present and future all coexist and that was the basis of my books.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Dennis: I always write under my own name, if I was not prepared to sign my name to a work I would feel it not worth producing. My first book “The Time Illusion” was published in 1989, the same year that Professor Hawking published his best selling “A Brief History of Time”. The two books present opposing views on the structure of the time continuum, Professor Hawking spoke of “Arrows of Time” and a one way flow, whereas I presented time as a complete dimension in which all time past, present and future exist simultaneously. A view that Professor Hawking also now shares as explained in his most recent work.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Dennis: My first two books, The Time Illusion (1989) and The End of Time (1995) are now available as EBooks and other works will eventually be released in this format. I think electronic is the way to go, children today learn to use technology from a very early age and when I look at my old library with some books over a hundred years old and handed down from my great grandparents all taking an enormous amount of space but my great-grandchildren have electronic devices that hold far more books than my library could ever accommodate.
Morgen: That’s what I love about it. Did you have any say in the titles / covers of your books?
Dennis: I have always insisted on input into cover design, firstly because I know more about what the book is trying to present and secondly because a cover is critical, when your book is on a shelf in a bookstore you have about three seconds to catch a buyer’s attention and to stand out from the thousands of other titles.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Dennis: I am working on an autobiography which started when a grandchild had to do a project for school, it turns out that my life has been pretty interesting. I have been fortunate enough to live though an interesting period of history as well as to see some amazing changes in the world.
Morgen: I keep telling my mother she should write hers (she was a groom for racing driver Stirling Moss’ sister’s stables and met some interesting people). Do you manage to write every day, or ever suffer from writer’s block?
Dennis: I generally write everyday but not everything I write will be for publication in a book, I have written articles for magazines and various journals and research groups.
Morgen: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Dennis: I always edit, even if an article or chapter looks great straight off the mark, I leave it a day or two and then reread it. Sometimes it doesn’t need any changes but often a fresh look makes it easy to see improvements.
Morgen: It certainly does, a little detachment. Do you have to do much research?
Dennis: I research continually; my first book took twenty years of research but today much of the basic data is stored in my files and I keep up to date with various journals and newsletters so that as we make discoveries I can build them into new work.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Dennis: Probably a lot of my notes and drafts could be produced as a concept but only if my work was deemed significant would they be of serious interest.
Morgen: Do you pitch for submissions and / or are you commissioned to write?
Dennis: I always write what I want to present and then I chase around publishers and literary agents until I find someone who is prepared to take the chance.
Morgen: 🙂 Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Dennis: I have a folder somewhere full of rejection letters, I have always said that you become a writer when you get a rejection letter; because that means you have actually written and submitted something. You cannot call yourself a writer until you have done this; getting published is the bonus for perseverance.
Morgen: They do show you how far you’ve come. Do you enter any non-fiction competitions?
Dennis: The only competitions I enter are run by scientific research groups who issue research grants if they feel your hypothesis warrants additional funding. I generally receive invitations from some of these to submit papers that meet their criteria.
Morgen: Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Dennis: No I don’t have a regular agent but a good agent can be an asset, mainly because they have so many contacts and know what various publishers might be prepared to take, probably not as necessary in non-fiction where the surest means to success is to have your work nominated as required text for a course of study.
Morgen: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Dennis: Geographically it is difficult for me to do as much promotion as I would like, because I live 160km from the nearest large city; but I get out wherever I go and talk to people and promote as much as I can online. The real secret to success is getting out, any chance as a speaker at a function will generate sales. Take books with you at all times and always be ready to show your work, people love to meet authors and even if they never read your book will buy it if you are there to sign it.
Morgen: It does encourage them, doesn’t it. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Dennis: Everything surprises me and I enjoy everything I do. I enjoy it when someone recognises me as a writer, because it usually means they have read at least one of my books.
Morgen: I’ve not had that but hopefully one day, but then I don’t look too much like my caricature (much longer hair and glasses in real life). What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Dennis: Just do it, the main reason people don’t succeed is they don’t put their mind to it, you must want to write and want to do it enough to make it a priority. Putting it off until you “have time” is certain to ensure that you never have time.
Morgen: Several of my writing group are retired and they all wish they’d started earlier. If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Dennis: That’s easy, because of my interests it would be Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Max Planck gravity, time and quantum theory in one discussion and at a simple meal of fish with vegetables.
Morgen: If you had to choose a single day from your past to re-live over and over, what day would it be and why?
Dennis: Life is a journey and I would rather continue the journey to see what comes next than to stop at any single point.
Morgen: 🙂 Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Dennis: There is one quote from Albert Einstein which I feel we should all remember, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
Morgen: <laughs> A wise man. Do you write fiction? If so, are there any differences or similarities between writing non-fiction and fiction?
Dennis: I have written some fiction, in fact the first edition of my first book contained a short story which was a view of what the world might be like if some prophecies were to eventuate. It may not be the total destruction that many believe would occur.
Morgen: If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Dennis: If my work was made into a movie it would be a documentary and the universe itself would be the star.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Dennis: I have also uploaded information on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q02__sftSw also order books at http://www.universal-publishers.com/book.php?method=ISBN&book=1581129238. Thank you for the opportunity.
Morgen: You’re very welcome, Dennis. I’m delighted you could join me.