Interview with the author of the novel Killing John, John, and John

Liz, tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Penrith (that is in England) to Scottish parents, we soon moved however back to Scotland, where I spent all my childhood until I left to go to University. I studied sociology at Wolverhampton University (also in England) and then went on to do a Masters degree in research Methodology at the University of Central England, Birmingham (yes, that’s in England also)

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

The greatest joy is creating characters and bringing them to life.  And being able to use my imagination to its fullest capacity.  Being allowed to create a world from a blank piece of paper, there is nothing for me as powerful as that.

What do your fans mean to you?

I’ve only got one fan at the moment and that’s my mother, and even she complains about all the swearing in my writing!  So I am looking around for some more fans!

What are you working on next?

I’m working on my second novel called ‘A Broken Shell of a man’ It’s about another dysfunctional family. Domestic violence, heavy drinking and cigarettes are the staples of everyday life with this family but the twist is that the domestic violence is perpetrated by the wife. It’s very dark, depressing and full of black humour just like my first book.

Who are your favorite authors?

My favourite authors are Neil Griffiths, J.M.Coetzee, Alex Breck, M.J.Hyland and Patricia Gitt.

What inspires you to write?

Everyday things inspire me to write, if I see something heartbreaking, funny, violent I will keep it in a couple of my brain cells and then when I write I remember that funny or sad thing that I witnessed, and put it down on paper.   
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

When I’m not writing I read extensively, write book reviews and chill out in front of the telly watching interesting documentaries and eating my favourite Indian takeaways.

How do you discover books you read?

I find books from review magazines, my book loving friends, newspapers and websites like Goodreads.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

The first story I ever wrote was in my mother’s womb, so nobody has read it and it’s not been published yet, but you never know with all this new technology around it could end up a bestseller!

Elizabeth O'Neill

What is your writing process?

I don’t really have a writing process as such, if I get an idea or see something interesting I just write it down on little scraps of paper, these scraps of paper end up all over the house until I get the basic idea of the book, later I’ll put all the little scraps together and it becomes a book.

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?

The first story I ever read was also in the womb a small book called ‘War and Peace’ and it took me nine months to read it.  It must have had an impact on me because I decided to leave that nice wee cosy place and I entered into this mad mad world.

How do  you approach cover design?

I like to choose original black and white photograph book covers, but they have to match the story in some unique way.

What are your five favorite books, and why?

My five favourite books are M.J.Hyland: How The Light gets in, Alex Breck: Devil You Know  J.P.Wilson: Through the mind’s eye,  TM Raskin:  Pink Tootsie, Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights.

What do you read for pleasure?

I like to read interesting biographies for pleasure.

Do you have ebook reader and what is your e-reading device of choice?

I have Kindle Fire.

What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?

The book marketing techniques that I use are the different reading sites online.  I also, however go out and sell my books in Glasgow town centre.  This gives me a chance to sell my work and meet the readers, and the readers get a signed copy in return.

Where do you write? Describe your desk.

I mostly write in bed, with my laptop on my knees and a coffee and KitKat by my side, in case I get the munches.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in the Scottish countryside, which was beautiful and wild, like my spirit. As I was mostly alone for long periods of time I think this may have helped me to use my imagination rather than relying on friends to play with. So, in other words I was just a sad loner as a kid, I think that helps to make you a good writer or a perhaps a bad serial killer.