Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I used to be a voracious reader, but that was in the “Before” days when I wasn’t sinking twenty hours a week into writing my own material.
These days, when I am between chapters, I am known for taking a weekend and reading a few books (I read really fast). My tastes can vary depending on the seasons. For example, I am more likely to read some YA fantasy in the winter when I can’t be outside because of the weather. I can usually read either a series or a couple of different books before I get bored with it, but that depends solely on recurring themes between different authors.
I used to read a lot of sci-fi, but I don’t have the mental capacity these days for some of the heavier stuff (think interstellar politics and tremendous levels of world building), so unless the story is light and fluffy, I won’t dig in unless it captures my attention right away. Blakely Crouch is the last science fiction author I’ve read at the suggestion of a friend, and I really enjoyed Dark Matter shortly after it came out.
My go-to tales these days are ghost stories, particularly haunted house ones done by indie authors. Most of these tales are typically one-shot stories, and whenever I am on vacation, I will subscribe to Kindle Unlimited and burn through about ten of them (or more). I will occasionally find some real gems in there that stick with me, but most of them are good enough that I mark the author as someone to watch.
As for horror novels themselves, I am a long-time King fan (though some of his recent works haven’t landed well with me). His son Joe Hill is a great writer as well, I just recently finished his vampire tale NOS4A2.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
When I sit down at the computer with my muse, I have to avoid the first potential pitfall of writing. You might think that I am referring to plot development, an outline, or even in-depth character development.
I am, of course, referring to my potential playlist.
I love to listen to music when I write, but it has to fall into one of a couple categories. It either has to be without lyrics or in another language. I typically look up a mood and add the word ‘epic’ to it on Youtube (my music player of choice), or even listen to video game soundtracks as a safeguard to prevent me from blowing thirty minutes trying to find a song that’s “just right.”
I discovered a long time ago that a song with lyrics will actually distract me, especially if it is one of the first songs that pops up on the playlist. I compare it to falling asleep. We are blissfully unaware of that step between consciousness and dreaming where we simply cease to exist, that place where time has no meaning. While I will occasionally try to tailor a playlist to a certain mood within my story (most of my characters have music that I associate with them), I definitely require my music to act as a lullaby and guide me to that lucid state of writing.
Once I am in the zone, the noise in the room vanishes and I am now entirely inside of my own head. It isn’t uncommon for me to realize that the music has stopped long ago, and my spouse has definitely caught me wearing headphones when the music is definitely no longer playing.
While it isn’t necessary that I listen to music, it certainly helps me find my stride by chasing away the outside world just long enough to allow me to slip into the visions I am trying to create on paper.