About Stu Lloyd:
My life story goes something like this: conceived in California, born in Zimbabwe, schooled in South Africa, emigrated to Australia, worked in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and now living in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
With a background in psychology — and a career as a copywriter and creative director in the Mad Man world of multinational ad agencies — people watching and understanding the human spirit have always come naturally to me.
The 10 books I’ve published to date have sold over 100,000, thanks to a very engaged readership (if that includes you, thanks so much).
I write military history (WW 2 books), business behaviour (especially involving creativity and cognitive skills and the science and art of persuasion), Asia expat books, and travel.
This eclectic mix of genres makes me slightly unusual as a writer, where authors tend to specialize in one category. But I’ve checked the rule books and nothing says I can’t do this!
My bucket list is mostly comprised of two-wheeled motorcycle adventures in remote parts of the world. Riding and writing – two of my favourite things in life.
What inspires you to write?
The need to purge a story. After all the infatuation with a new topic, the joy of stumbling across elusive but valuable nuggets in the research phase, and the unfettered dreaming of global domination of the best-seller charts and 7-figure Hollywood film rights, finally finishing a book is probably best likened to child birth.
It's great to finally get the bloody thing out!
I love the detective work and the fact that I get to fully satisfy my curiosity on any given subject. But that itch still needs scratching till the whole thing is complete and purged
Tell us about your writing process.
For me, writing starts with the feint sniff of a story angle. A topic I'd love to know more about, and love to share with my readers. Regardless of whether it's something historical, or something that I'm going to create from zero.
At any one time I've probably got 10 books on my long-list to tackle. Of those probably 4 are in various stages of writing progress at any one time. I'm quite methodical in mapping things out, ie chapter orders etc, less so in organizing all my research papers and shoeboxes, but the real storytelling doesn't start until I know what the first line and first few paragraphs are going to be. That gives me a ‘true north’ to work towards and it flows from there. Openings and closings are very important to us psychologically.
Mostly, I'll start with the most emotional event within a story to get us off to the races with a bang … then work backwards to explain how we got there.
Sometimes when working on a longer book I might feel I need some instant creative gratification, so I'll set it aside and write a shorter book (or a magazine feature article) quickly just to get the creative fix.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Having vowed I'd never write fiction, I did start writing one a few years ago. (Sayonara Syonanto is a historical fiction set in WW2 Singapore, so not a big stretch for me)
The characters did start talking, and taking on definite characteristics, until they got louder and louder so I had to start purging them. I fell in love with the heroine, Libby, and the storyline and characters are still busy in my head, even though I've set that script aside for now. But they will come to life one day. And I can't wait to meet her.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just. Start. Writing. The best advice i heard recently (sorry, I forgot who to credit this gem to) was: "Just write 200 lousy words a day!" This makes it seem like a tiny task to accomplish. But of course you then get carried away — like I did on a recent Sunday — and suddenly found I'd cranked out 3000 words.
Oh, and read a lot.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
At first self-publishing was to challenge myself and see what was involved in publishing. Turns out the skill sets were what I'd learned in advertising: photography, design, typesetting, and print production, and marketing (read: sell, sell, sell). The only really new things were bar codes and library catalogs and distribution. So it was a fun learning curve.
Since then I've mostly self-published but some titles such as Gone Troppo (travel) and The Missing Years (military history) I went with specialist publishers.
I had a fascinating conversation with the super-successful Australian artist Ken Done a little while back. Like me, he was a reformed advertising man. The gem of wisdom he imparted over some fine red wine was this: “In advertising, I used to sell baked beans. As an artist, I am the baked beans.” A writer is a product, a brand, a commodity. So I need to give myself the Andy Warhol treatment!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
No media has ever replaced another media, so it's here to stay if that's what you're asking. I've uploaded more ebooks than I've downloaded because I love the smell and feel of a paper book (sorry, environment!). The good news is that it's easier than ever for a writer to get published. The bad news is that it's easier than ever for a writer to get published.
But amid the saturation, there's always room for original and engaging voices.
What genres do you write?: war books, military history, non-fiction, travel, expat, business, psychology
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.