1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I think that’s an important decision every author faces. And there are many valid reasons why one would prefer to go with a pen name, anonymity being one of them. However, I decided against using a pseudonym. I figured using my real name would somehow hold me more accountable for the quality of my work.
2. Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favourite?
Always. It’s an essential part of my process. The choice of music depends on what I’m writing, but I find music without words infinitely less distracting. My favourite artists to listen to are Max Richter, Ólafur Arnalds, and Ludovico Einaudi.
3. How many hours a day do you write?
On a good day, I’ll write for three to four hours. Sometimes in the day. Sometimes at night. These days, I tend to move with life’s weather vane. I’m pretty satisfied if I get a minimum of five hundred words a day.
4. What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?
For me, they’re as mythical as the Lernaean Hydra. It’s something I’ve never encountered. I suspect that some writers who suffer from it either put too much stock into what others might say or are too self-critical.
5. What’s your favourite writing snack or drink?
I tend to forgo food while I’m writing. However, if I get hungry and it becomes too distracting, I’ll always opt for something quick and easy. Often a chopped-up banana between two slices of buttered brown bread and a cup of earl grey tea does the job.
6. What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?
I like what Raymond Carver said: “Get in, get out. Don’t linger. Go on.”
7. What book are you currently reading?
At the moment, I’m about halfway through Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. I’m also dipping in and out of Wisława Szymborska’s Map. It’s a remarkable collection of poems.
8. Do you prefer ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks most of the time?
Personal choice dictates the printed book. I love visiting second-hand bookshops and breathing in the bibliosmia as I’m perusing the shelves.
9. Have you listened to any audiobooks? Which did you enjoy the most?
Yes. Quite a few. But one of the most enjoyable titles I remember is Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. To this day, whenever I read it in paperback form, I hear the actor’s voice. “When Gregor Samsa woke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous insect.” It’s one of my favourite short stories.
10. What books have you read more than once in your life?
I tend to reread books written on the craft, such as The Elements of Style by Strunk & White and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King. But for enjoyment, I always return to Don Quixote, Raymond Carver’s All of Us, The Essential Tales of Chekhov, and The Collected Stories of Ernest Hemingway.
Steven Bruce is a poet, writer, and award-winning author. His poetry and short stories have appeared in magazines, webzines, and anthologies worldwide. In 2018, he graduated from Teesside University with a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. He is the recipient of the Literary Titan Golden Book Award and the Indies Today Five-star Recommendation Badge. Born in the North of England, he now lives and writes full-time out of an apartment in Barcelona.