Damian Magnay is a marine engineer and author of action/adventure novels. Originally from regional South Australia, he spent many years working in various parts of Australia as a Diesel mechanic before switching to marine and heading to sea. The long nights away were spent studying creative writing and novel writing. ‘King of the Mekong’ was started during one of these courses.
His spare time is spent either completing further studies in writing or penning another story.
What inspires you to write?
I like to write a believable story that could actually happen. ‘King of the Mekong’ was born after a trip to Vietnam, coupled with years of researching the Vietnam War. My current project came to me during a plane trip. I was staring out of the window and an idea just popped up. What if this happened? How would I react? From there I get completely lost in the story until it’s finished. Then the rewrites begin…
Tell us about your writing process.
‘King of the Mekong’ was definitely not outlined. I completed the entire manuscript and then looked back over it. It took a lot of rewrites before it was even close to ready. Once confident it was finished, I sent it off for a professional appraisal and it was not ready at all. Another round of rewrites followed, an extra character was born but eventually it was completed. If I had outlined it first, it may well of been published a lot sooner. I’ve tried outlining my current project but keep getting off the track with new ideas as I’m writing. I’m obviously not the outlining type.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to them as such, but I do put them in random situations to see how they will react. Usually only when I’m at a crossroad. It may not even have anything to do with the story and will probably be edited out by the end but it is interesting to see how each of them behave.
What advice would you give other writers?
Keep writing. Even after you’ve finished and sent it off to the publishers. There is usually a decent wait to hear back anyway so you may as well be working on your next project. I give this advice purely because I had it given to me and didn’t take it. I had a long break from writing and then found it harder to get back into. If I had kept writing as suggested, I may already have another complete manuscript. Also, a professional manuscript appraisal, if you can afford it. It is well worth the fee. My appraisal highlighted a few holes in the plot I had overlooked. It is also a professional opinion. I changed by manuscript substantially after my appraisal and it was picked up not long after.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I looked at self publishing at one stage. It looked like it would be fun and exciting but I decided I would try with a publisher first. I wanted to go through the submission process. Being my first novel, I think I just liked the idea of a professional reassuring me that it was actually good enough to publish. Also, even though I had done some research, I doubt I would’ve been able to release the book with such professionalism, without any guidance. I didn’t have to worry about cover design, formatting, they even wrote the blurb for me. Once I had signed with them, they basically said leave it to us. I had the final say in everything but at no stage did I have to change anything. The cover was perfect. They sent it for approval and I was amazed. It was exactly what I wanted, even though I didn’t really know what I wanted.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It definitely looks to be a digital future. Kindle seems to be the market of choice. As much as I like to hold and read a real book, you can’t really compete with a Kindle. I work away so I can’t take a heap of paperbacks with me every time. Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed more and more people using E-readers. And an E-book is also a lot cheaper. It makes sense to have one if your an avid reader. You don’t see new bookstores opening up too often anymore either. That says it all really.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print