Tuesday, December 10, 2019

# 20 Questions

20 Questions with Simon Dillon Author of 'Phantom Audition' @uncleflynn #20questions

Today's guest is Simon Dillon, author of the psychological thriller, Phantom Audition. Simon is here today to answer 20 questions about his life, writing and goals.

1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer?
I’m a whenever-I-have-a-spare-minute writer, morning or night.

2. Do you outline or are you a pantster?
I’m a control freak and outline everything. I won’t start a novel unless I have an ending I think is amazing. Then I work backwards from that point, working on character profiles, chapter outlines, research, and everything else. Sometimes chapters do throw out unexpected branches here and there, but I always end up at the finale I originally got so excited by.

3. Which comes first – plot or character?
This is a hoary old argument, and one that I think confuses people because they often say character when they mean characterisation. The latter refers to all observable information about an individual: age, intelligence, sexuality, education, occupation, personality, and so on. But to me character refers to the choices made by said individual within the narrative, because of who they are. For example, Frankenstein’s choice to create the Monster is a choice of true character. Because of who he is, he cannot possibly do otherwise. Therefore, to me character and plot are inseparable. They are essentially the same thing.

4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript?
I can’t have distraction whilst writing. Silence please.

5. Favorite TV show?
Doctor Who. A national institution in the UK, this is the longest running sci-fi programme in history (1963 to the present, with a sixteen-year hiatus between 1989 and 2005). It has been my favourite programme since childhood, and still is, because essentially it has an infinite premise. It can be anything, at any time in history, on any planet, and in any dimension. It is quintessentially British, scary (famous for causing children to hide behind the sofa), surreal, quirky, exciting, and occasionally very moving.

6. Favorite type of music?
A hideously open-ended question. I love pop music from all eras (although I’m not that keen on the 1950s) but I have a special love for Pet Shop Boys (aka Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe). Sophisticated electronic pop par excellence, with lyrics that range from the satirical and scathingly sarcastic, to the profoundly melancholic. Their heyday was in the 1980s and 1990s, and like Doctor Who they are another UK national institution, but they still make excellent music today as well.
I also love classical (particularly Beethoven) and film scores (particularly John Williams).

7. Favorite craft besides writing?
Directing. I used to want to be a film director, and trained in that medium, but ended up working in television instead. Despite having a few short films under my belt, I decided writing was more my thing, and focused for a while on feature screenplays (none of which have been produced to date). That eventually bought be me back to my first love of writing prose.

8. Do you play a musical instrument?
No. During my childhood, my parents made me take piano lessons for a while. I bitterly resented having them after school, when I’d rather be watching cartoons. My parents told me I’d regret giving up the piano, but they were wrong. I’ve not once regretted it. I simply knew where my talents lay, and they weren’t in performing music. My brother on the other hand, he is musically gifted. He plays violin and piano and has had jobs in several prestigious orchestras.

9. Single or married?

10. Children or no?
Two children.

11. Pets?
No. I’m not really a pets person, but not because I don’t like animals. I simply don’t want to have to look after them. Too many people get pets and then don’t look after them properly. I hate that. If you’re going to have pets, you need to take proper responsibility for them.

12. Favorite place to write?
At home, in quiet surroundings. I’m not one of these writers that likes to hang out in cafes whilst they write. Too distracting. And too many cakes.

13. Favorite restaurant?
I have a penchant for out-of-the-way hidden gem pubs that serve amazing roast lunches, such as the Rose and Crown in Yealmpton (a village that appears in Phantom Audition, incidentally). Also, for the best fish and chips in the known universe, check out the Magpie in Whitby. (These are both in the UK.)

14. Do you work outside the home?
Yes, but only until my batteries run down. Then I need recharging. 😉

15. What was the name of the last movie you saw?
The Aeronauts (on a nice big IMAX screen). Pretty good on the whole, with a plethora of high-altitude thrills. Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne are fast becoming an unlikely odd couple, and they have plenty of chemistry. Also, the balloon sequences are vertiginous and agreeably anxiety inducing.

16. Favorite outdoor activity?
I love going walking on Dartmoor, which I live very near. Bleak, beautiful, and sinister all at the same time, it’s no wonder Dartmoor has proved such an inspiration for writers (including most obviously Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with The Hound of the Baskervilles). There are also plenty of beautiful beaches and rugged coastlines worth exploring in south-west England. When you get good weather, this place is amazing.

17. Pet peeve?
People who chatter or use phones in cinemas. Those annoying little screens creating light pollution give me Incredible Hulk style rage. I cannot understand why people are so inconsiderate.

18. Your goal in life?
To entertain people, and to make a living from my writing.

19. Your most exciting moment?
Too personal to be shared here… But career wise, getting published by a traditional publisher (Dragon Soul Press) was a very exciting moment. So far, I’ve had three of my gothic mysteries published by them: Spectre of Springwell Forest, The Irresistible Summons, and Phantom Audition.

20. The love of your life?
My wife (the moment too personal to be shared referred to in the previous question pertains to her).

The spirit of Simon Dillon took human form in 1975, in accordance with The Prophecy. He kept a low profile during his formative years, living the first twenty or so of them in Oxford, before attending University in Southampton, and shortly afterwards hiding undercover in a television job. In the intervening years, he honed his writing skills and has now been unleashed on the world, deploying various short stories and novels to deliberately and ruthlessly entertain his readers. He presently lives in the South-West of England with his wife and two children, busily brainwashing the latter with the books he loved growing up.

website & Social links


Title: Phantom Audition
Author: Simon Dillon
Publisher: Dragon Soul Press
Pages: 300
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Small-time actress Mia Yardley, recently widowed wife of renowned actor Steven Yardley, discovers her late husband’s secret acting diary. The diary details appointments made with a psychic medium, who advised Steven on which roles to take. It also raises questions about his mysterious and inexplicable suicide. Seeking answers, Mia speaks to the medium, but in doing so is drawn into an ever- deepening mystery about what happened to her husband during the final days of his life. Eventually, she is forced to ask the terrible question: was Steven Yardley murdered by a vengeful evil from beyond the grave?


Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1689624302/

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