Scots-born author Owen Mullen had a career as a rock musician before turning to writing. So what motivated him to try something new?
Thinking back to when you started writing, what was it that inspired you to write crime fiction?
The simple answer is: I wanted to see if I could do it. Crime fiction differs from other fiction in that it demands a level of attention to detail in the plotting that isn’t quite as important in other genres. I wanted to know if I could satisfy the unique disciplines involved. It also happens to be the genre I enjoy reading most.
Your Charlie Cameron series is set in Glasgow – was that a deliberate decision (given your own Scottish heritage)?
Absolutely. Having worked in Glasgow most of my life I know the city well. Setting those stories there gave me the opportunity to highlight the unique and wonderful West of Scotland humour. Patrick Logue – the type of loveable wide-boy everybody knows is the perfect character to deliver this.
Like many authors you’ve tried both the traditional route of agent/publisher as well as the indie author path. What are your thoughts about the differences and/or benefits of each discipline?
Both routes have their merits but one main advantage stands out for me down the traditionally published route: marketing. A publisher will have a well-established mailing list and social media presence. But for me one of their greatest assets is the ability to link your book with other authors in their stable at point of sale, which helps visibility in such a huge market. The downside is that a writer has to sacrifice a large measure of independence.
Do you write to please your readers or to please yourself?
Both. My maxim is very clear: I want to write something I would want to read. However, when a reader picks up a book they have certain expectations and I aim to meet them.
What do you think about the many social media groups (such as Facebook), and do you think it’s important for writers to subscribe to them?
This was a new experience for me: I had everything to learn. I would definitely advise an author to become involved. Apart from the obvious opportunities to showcase your work, you will meet many, many helpful and supportive people from both the writing/blogging communities and that all-important group…readers. It takes a great deal of your time but is incredibly rewarding.
How have you dealt with the technical aspects of being an author?
This for me is another clear benefit of being a published author. My creativity does not stretch to the world of technology.
Has your previous career as a musician helped in the creation of characters or events in your books?
Yes, music features strongly in my work. It’s a world which throws up boatloads of interesting characters and situations.
How is your latest book (Out of the Silence) different from the others?
Writing this book was a singular experience, the idea came to me almost whole – I ate drank and dreamt it – every hour was filled with these characters and their harrowing situations. It’s location sets it apart in the first instance: Pakistan allowed me to write in a lyrical style that would not sit well in the streets of Glasgow. But probably the major difference is how multi-layered it is: so much so that it doesn’t sit neatly in a genre. A fact that made it’s route to publication long and difficult: although publishers loved it, they couldn’t see how to market it.
Do you have many unpublished novels/stories?
Several, one I’m working on at the moment and really enjoying – it’s set in London, one of my favourite cities and is full of great characters and plenty of drama. One of those books that almost writes itself.
How many hours a day do you write, and do you stick to a set schedule?
Schedule varies, but It is usually 5/6 hours a day 5 days a week. Of course after that there is time spent plotting/marketing/social media – being a writer is a full-time job.
What is the best investment you ever made in your writing?
Without a doubt, involving my wife Christine in the process. It turned out she is a fantastic developmental editor and she has heavily influenced all of my books.
You can get hold of all Owen’s books on Amazon.