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Author Interview: Billy McLaughlin

Let’s kick things off with a rundown of you and your books. In other words, tell us about yourself and what you write!

Hi, thanks for allowing me to take part.  My name is Billy McLaughlin, 37 years old and from Glasgow.  My books are mystery thrillers mainly set in the heart of Glasgow.  I did publish a novelette called Invisible in March 2016 and from there I published the first two books in my Phil Morris series.  It didn’t start out as a series, but I realized that I still had something to say about Phil and Kate, who both made their debut as the main characters of Lost Girl.  Phil is integral in In The Wake Of Death, whilst Kate takes a bit of a backseat.  I couldn’t have one without the other though.


How long have you been writing? And how long have you been publishing?

I’ve been writing for approximately twenty years. I previously took part in a community project which resulted in the release of a short film called Dangerous Sacrifice. It was played in a cinema in the west end as part of a festival in 1997. I co-wrote the script and also had a bit part in it. I also had published two pieces of poetry; one for a religious magazine and one during the amnesty against knives in a Glasgow publication. I took the decision to self-publish this year because I finally felt confident in something I had written. It was great to get the response that I got, not only from friends and family, but from other people who discovered the book through the various fantastic groups I have become part of.


What “kind” of writer would you describe yourself as? (Traditional, Self-Published, Hybrid, Something else entirely?)

I am loudly and proudly a self-publishing author. I believe in myself enough, although it has taken a long time to get to that point, to be able to take the plunge. I think it is as valuable a way of publishing as any other and I also enjoy that I have control over what I’m putting out.


How did you decide what publishing route to take for your books?

I discovered the self-publishing route just by searching for it. I’ve always been nagged by self-doubt so I didn’t feel confident sending to a traditional publishing house. Now, I feel that I could do that, and I wouldn’t be fearing rejection. I think I have good stories to tell. I think the audience I’ve reached so far have largely agreed with that. So I’m glad that my decision to take this route didn’t disappoint.


What one piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to do the same?

Do it, and keep writing. Don’t wait for your first book to become a best seller. That rarely happens, if ever. Finish your book. Find ways of getting it seen beyond your friends and family and take risks. You’ll never know if you don’t try. This way of publishing is available to you for a reason. Join groups and help fellow authors. Offer to review for other people. Help them promote. Nobody will be interested in you if you’re not interested in anybody else. And write more. One book won’t sell itself. Also the one thing I found very useful was using your free and countdown days on amazon. It exposed my work to people who wouldn’t have seen it otherwise. I’m not selling a massive amount, but my current KDP read pages have multiplied by ten over previous months as a result.


If you could make one decision differently in your publishing career so far, what would it be?

To hire an editor. Unfortunately I know how difficult that is if you’re new and your books aren’t making any money yet. How do you justify an editor who’ll possibly cost hundreds of pounds when you’re selling no copies. I now realise, going forward, how important it is.


In terms of writing and publishing, what’s something new thing you’d like to try in the future?

I would like to get to the point where I feel confident to send something to a publishing house. I can only imagine how much rejection there is out there. Hence why so many people are taking this route, but it would be nice to try that and have something accepted.


What’s next for you?

I am currently writing the third Phil Morris book called The Daughter. I’m about halfway through the process. I really like the story but, like everything, it takes on new forms all the time. I also have a few short stories in the pipeline. Whether they’ll see the light of day is anybody’s guess, but I do hope to have one for some sort of giveaway at some point in the near future. It would be nice to give something to those many people who have already started asking about the next book even though they only turned the last page of the current release.


Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.

I don’t read as much as I used to which is frustrating. Although I am discovering new authors all the time. I can’t keep up with the amount of books I’m adding to my TBR list. I just finished Betrayal by Sharon Brownlie a couple of week ago – fantastic! Dixie Howell’s The Killer Wore Cashmere Socks – lovely! I’m also looking forward to the new Lisa Gardner and I wish Minette Walters would rediscover her love of writing.


What is your favorite quote?

“The only thing to fear is fear itself!” is the one that rings true most, because I live in constant fear. Did I leave the iron on? Is my sister okay when she’s on a night out? Is my partner okay? Will I get that book finished for the deadline I set myself? I’m such a worrier. I juggle a million worries at a time. Yet, I’m not a particularly stressed out person or anxious person. All these things just nag at me and then I remind myself of this quote and it’s just the kick up the backside I need.


Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Freddie Mercury. He’s such a mystery I think. He existed before celebrities exposed everything to sell records. To have a conversation with him would be amazing and to ask him about the inspiration behind his music. What a legend and taken way too soon.

Billy McLaughlin is a 37 year old author who published his first novelette in March 2016.  He went on to release the first two books in his Phil Morris series which began with Lost Girl in May 2016.  Most recently he has released In The Wake Of Death which tells the story of a young man who wakes from an accident with no clue as to what has happened and has to piece together his current predicament.  All three books have killer twists that will leave readers thrilled and shocked.

Follow him on Twitter

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