The next instalment of my Writer Wednesday series is an interview of Zane Owen Yates, writer of sci fi and detective stories.
Zane Owen Yates was born 1963, in Sydney Australia, and now resides on the spectacular Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, with his very tolerant wife, his many amazing kids, and two well behaved goldfish. He shares his time between writing fiction and developing software.
Named after Zane Grey, the famous author of westerns in the early 1900’s, it was ordained that he should write. Dabbling in poetry in his teens, and writing short stories from an over active imagination, he only started to develop his writing skills in his early forties.
Apart from the world of computers and writing, Zane, like his characters, has a passion for anything automotive, having owned over forty vehicles, from Australian and American Muscle cars to European, Japanese Sports cars and motorbikes.
*Note from Lily- I love watching motorbike racing too!
Welcome to my blog, Zane!
Please tell us more about yourself, anything you like- interests, background
I am fifty, married to very tolerant wife for 28 years, father of 5 great kids. I live on the Gold Coast in Queensland, the holiday capitol of Australia and back drop for my books.
I love writing and like my main characters I am interested in anything automotive, having owned over 40 vehicles. I have worked at many jobs over the years from Fish Monger in my teens to writing software for the last 22 years.
Please tell us more about the book or books you would like to feature today.
MIAMI P.I. starts to tell the story of down and out Private Investigator Roy Findley, an ex cop, ex husband, and non drinking alcoholic who is getting on with life one case at a time, he is a man of honor and has a big heart, plus some very stylish Hawaiian shirts.
What gave you the idea to write in this genre?
My main Genre is SciFi and I have another series coming soon called GUIDANCE. Roy is a minor character in that series, but was such a great character, I couldn’t get him out of my head. I finally gave in and wrote P.I. and enjoyed the experience so much, it has become its own series.
Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect with?
I think that no one should judge a book by its cover, people from all walks of life and situations can surprise us, if given a chance.
What research did you do, and how? Or does it all come from your own imagination?
Most of P.I. came from my imagination, I did research where necessary to get the facts right. I generally use the internet, but have approached live people for details such as members of the Police force and a real Private Investigator.
What’s the funniest/weirdest thing you’ve done when doing research for your book?
For some of the chase scenes I have actually driven the roads to get a feel for how to describe them. Roy’s baby (his Pontiac) was a real car I had owned and has been driven on the mountain roads in the story with the same gusto, though not with the same outcome.
Do you ever base your characters on people you know?
Most of my characters are their own entities, but some may have traces or names of friends and family just for fun. I can let you know Alice is a cross between my mother and mother in-law, but don’t tell them.
Do you make a plan for your novels, or do you just start writing and see where it goes?
I planned every detail with GUIDANCE over the last ten years and that didn’t work for me. I had character cards, location maps, everything and it’s not finished.
I sat down to write MIAMI with no real plan, just the character of Roy in my head and just wrote each word as it came to me. My wife came in to my office to see what I was laughing about one night. I told her that Roy had just done or said something, she looked at me like I was losing it, “Your writing it, don’t you know what’s going to happen?” she asked. I replied “No, I don’t know what’s coming till I write it.”
That the way I write now, I just write till I have a story.
I read a great line once “WRITE IT, THEN RIGHT IT”
Which of your own books/ characters is your favourite and why?
Hard to play favourites as the father of my books/characters, but I would hang out with Roy, he’s a good guy, but Al and Bang (Guidance) have some great toys.
What has been the most helpful piece of advice you’ve received as a writer?
When I was stuck with my GUIDANCE novel and questioning myself as a writer, they told me to put it in the bottom draw and walk away, sit down and write anything else that came to mind. Thats how the MIAMI series came about.
So to all the indie writers out there I say, “JUST WRITE WHAT YOUR HEART AND SOUL TELL YOU TO.”
What books or other projects do you have coming up in future?
I now have several coming,
MIAMI D.O.A. the second in the series is nearing the edit stage and will be out in August.
Mountain of Light #1 in the GUIDANCE Series will be out before the end of the year. This is a science fiction series based on my unpublished novel, following best friends Al Lewis and Steve ‘Bang’ Banwell. as they make a discovery that will change there view on life, and force them to offer the world a little Guidance.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
Just enjoy my stories as much as I do.
Thank you Zane, nice to meet you and thank you for visiting my blog today 🙂
—– Roy dealing with an intruder
“Morning Sunshine.” I chimed.
His eyes glared at me, as he grunted through the gag and pulled on the ties. Once he settled down, I explained that I would remove the gag, if he promised to be good boy and not yell, he nodded. The second I removed it, he went back on his word and started yelling at me, calling me some names I can’t repeat, and said bad things about my mother. I hate it when people break a trust, and talk about dear sweet old mum, so I stuck his pistol in his mouth and pulled back the hammer. The silence was instant, now we had an unspoken agreement, he would cooperate with me, and I wouldn’t blow his head off.
“How’s my friend, Kate?” I suddenly remembered to ask.
“Detective Jackson, is fine, about the same as you.” She assured me, before Kate spoke up from the next bed.
“You, are a walking shit magnet Roy.” She slurred, then went quiet.
MIAMI D.O.A. Due out August 2013
—– Checking on a suspect
The front door was open a little and the ripe smell of two day old rotting roadkill invaded my nostrils, making me take a step back. I regained my composure, held my breath and stepped up to the door again, pushing it fully open. Luckily, I didn’t need to enter to find the cause of the stench, it was obviously coming from the guy laying dead in the hall. I was fairly sure he was dead, the flies feasting on the exposed brain where the top of his head used to be, was a dead give-away.
After I found some fresh air I pulled my phone to ring Kate.
“Hi Kate, I up on Mt. Tamborine, you need to get your guys up here, on the double.”
“Why what have you found Roy?”
“You know that movie with Bruce Willis and that creepy kid that you like.”
“Yeah, Sixth Sense, what about it?”
“I see dead people.” I whispered. She wasn’t amused.
Mountain of Light – GUIDANCE Series #1
—– First line
He stood tall and strong at the entrance to the valley. His jaw dropped, and his dark frame began to tremble, as his dead son walked towards him.