This is the second part of our interview with Jamie Maltman.
I’ve always been a massive sports fan. I followed the Toronto Blue Jays growing up, and still do, but my main passion is the Toronto Raptors, and I’ve shared season tickets for 15 years now. Right now they’re better than they’ve ever been, after too many painful seasons, so it’s a lot of fun.
List your top ten memorable books.
Ever? Wow. They’re some of my favorite books, but memorable in the way they introduced me to a writer, a style of writing, or even a genre. In chronological order:
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
– the first novels I ever read, on my mother’s lap.
The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien
– started on The Hobbit when I was 5.
Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart
– first Asian fantasy I ever read, and wonderful
Shogun, by James Clavell
– first non-fantasy historical fiction
The First Man in Rome, by Colleen McCullough
– first book of my favorite historical fiction ever.
Foucault’s Pendulum, by Umberto Eco
– so much knowledge and plot packed into a single massive, gripping book
Outlaws of the Marsh, by Shi Nai’an
– my favorite of the four great Chinese classics
The Darkness That Comes Before, by R Scott Bakker
– gritty world-building and exploration of philosophical ideas, by a fellow Canadian breaking into fantasy more recently. He jolted me into wanting to seriously write again
1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
– more literary fantasy, really stuck with me
Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman
– the first of his books I read, and now I love them all
Who is your favorite character you have written?
I’m having a blast with Remeth. He shows up in Blood of the Water, Book II of the Arts Reborn series. He grew from just a minor character in an assistant to be the funniest, quirkiest character in the group, but with an interesting backstory and place in society. My readers have liked him a lot too.
Who is your least favorite character you have written?
I like writing all of my characters. But I wouldn’t want to spend any time with Persei Lokuta. He’s such an arrogant jerk.
What is your style of writing (free flowing, planned, mixture)?
I’m evolving. Initially I wrote by the seat of my pants, but as I started to study story structure and read about outlining and plotting by passionate proponents of doing the same, I tried some of those techniques on for size. They fit pretty well. So now I do several levels of outlining, but adapt and stray from it extensively as I write. Once I get going, my characters take charge, and I have to follow them where it makes sense for them to go, especially if I had other plans.
What music do you listen to when you write?
Soundtracks. Lots of movie and TV show soundtracks. I don’t like words while I’m writing words. Lord of the Rings (Howard Shore), Pirates of the Caribbean (Hans Zimmer), Alexander, Game of Thrones, Rome, Battlestar Galactica (Bear McCreary), with some Silk Road Project mixed in. I’ll often search Youtube for epic soundtrack mixes and get some great ones not just from movies and shows, but video games as well.
What is your routine when you write?
Writing = Ass in chair.
Routine! Bwahahaha! Theoretical, or actual? Let’s try the actual.
The night before I review my notes about the scenes I’ll be writing the next day, which can range from a bullet point to several sentences, depending on how detailed it came to me while I was outlining. I might even flesh that out with more ideas that come to me the night before, on my phone, just before I go to bed.
When it’s time to write, I grab a mug of green tea or oolong (in my TARDIS mug at home, or travel mug when I write in the car or somewhere else), sit down at the computer, and fight off all the things my mind tries to get me to do before I actually go into Scrivener and start writing the scene. If I’m smart, I do some focusing meditations. More often I waste time first. When I finally beat myself up enough to get started, I write for approximately 50 minute sprints, then give myself 5-10 minutes off, then go at it again, doing as many as I have time for in the given day.
Throughout the day I’ll get other little ideas and I note them in Google Keep, to transfer into Scrivener next time I’m at the computer. They could be notes for future scenes, or edit points, in which case I put them in my Editing Points file and deal with them only after I’ve completed the first draft. I don’t do any editing, and very little rereading until the first draft is done. If I need to look back to something from a previous chapter I just note is as <check hair color> and fix it during the first editing pass.
How do you combat distractions when writing?
Close the door, turn off my cellphone ringer, close my internet browser, and turn on a Pomodoro-style timer. That timer lets me know that I’ll get a chance for the monkey mind to mess around again after putting in at least 50 minutes of work. On my desktop that I use for some editing/proofing I actually have a Chrome plugin that blocks certain websites while the timer is going.
No, I’m not perfectly disciplined. The actual writing starts after I’ve wasted time getting started. The key to all of it is writing (or editing) every day. Back to the inertia point above. The amount of wasted time is directly proportional to how long it’s been since I last sat down to write.
Where can we find (book)?
E-Book and in print at Amazon
Print also at Barnes and Noble and more.
Where can we connect with you?
I’m active on: