PODCAST SHOW NOTES
Join hosts Veronica and Darren for another jam packed episode as they chat about a naughty bird that turns into a heavy metal book, the spritiual insights that can be garnered from ice cold waters, why books are possibly the greatest passports of all, a Reader's Café featuring great new book releases, a Writer's Lounge with special guest Naomi Shippen and, best of all, a spectacular interview with the wonderfully thought provoking author S.S. Turner! From castles to finance and finding one's self in a cold river on the other side of the world, we know you're going to love his chat about his latest release Secrets Of A River Swimmer...
When did you first admit that you were a writer?
Way back when I was at school, my English teacher advised me I was a natural writer. And all my life I’ve written stories, novellas, screen plays, and children’s stories. However, I always viewed writing as a deeply personal journey so I never described myself as a writer through all those years. It was only when Secrets of a River Swimmer was about to be published and others started referring to me as a writer that I realised that what was deep inside my heart was now front and centre in my life. So I’ve only been referring to myself as a writer for the past year or two. It feels great.
What inspired you to write this book?
I lived in Scotland for many years at a time when I was a bit lost in my life. One of my closest friends was in the same boat so we decided to meet up for an adventure to spice things up. We looked at a map and the mid-way point between us was the River Tweed, a famous salmon fishing river. So we decided to meet at the Tweed for a swim. When we jumped in, we were shocked by how cold the water was and how large the white water rapids were. But we kept going and it turned into an uplifting and glorious experience. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to meet at the Tweed once a month for the next 7 years. And we had the most amazing adventures throughout that period. Every time we entered the river we were inspired, uplifted, and joyful. We met fascinating characters alongside the river including gillies (fish coaches) and members of the aristocracy. All up, it was a life-changing experience which provided me with the inspiration for a story grounded in the river’s vibrant world, along with a world of deeper meaning to explore beneath the water’s surface.
Do you write for yourself or for a particular audience?
I write for myself and edit for my audience who are generally intelligent, progressive, and open-minded. I find this balance works well because every time I’ve started writing a story for others from the get go, the story lacks something important. Writing for yourself allows you to connect with the stories residing deep in your soul, the good stuff.
What’s the best response you’ve ever had to your writing?
I was privileged to have the great Heather Morris read Secrets of a River Swimmer ahead of writing the blurb for the novel’s front cover. Her email to me at the time was beautiful. She said the novel was one of the best she’d read in recent years, and she felt uplifted for having read it. It was a lovely moment in my writing journey.
As a writer, are you a plotter or a pantser or somewhere in between?
By nature, I’m a pantser. But I’ve learnt that some planning is needed to make a story arc work effectively, particularly in the way a novel begins. Having said that, I generally find my story plan goes out the window within about twenty pages as the story comes alive and guides me in the direction it needs to go.
What’s the most useful writing advice you’ve been given?
One of the most useful pieces of advice for me is Stephen King’s advice that once you’ve written your first draft and given it some space, it’s prudent to delete around 10% of the words when you edit it. As a writer, it’s easy to fall in love with your own words on the page, but the truth is great writing is cleansed of fluff. That means it’s worthwhile having a somewhat brutal fluff cleansing strategy at the ready. I’ve found this advice to be a game-changer as a writer.
What’s your writing goal for the next twelve months?
I’m launching my second novel The Connection Game on February 22nd 2023, so I’m preparing for the launch. The Connection Game is a unique psychological thriller about a genius called Benny Basilworth who falls on hard times, and then starts noticing concerning patterns in the feet walking past his window. It’s been described as surprising, humorous, and Hitchockian. My goal is to ensure The Connection Game reaches its full potential in the market which will hopefully help my writing career and allow me more writing time in the future.
What words of advice would you give an aspiring author?
My best advice is to figure out exactly why you’re writing. This is important. If you’re writing for a deeply personal reason such as getting to know yourself, understanding the world better, or finding truth, you’re on the right path. Being aware of your inspiration will help you use it to bring out the stories living deep within you. However, if you are writing to make money or become famous, your writing is unlikely to connect with a wider audience as your soul won’t be shining through your words. Ensuring you know why you are writing will enable you to grow as a writer, and most importantly, to keep going longer term.
Any final words for potential readers or writers?
Writing is a beautiful art form which feeds your soul, and reading is a beautiful past time which does the same thing.