|(Editor's Note: Since this interview has been displayed, Free the Writer has become a "membership" site. The change was due to bandwidth allocation, and the fact that the webmaster, Dave McMillan, was no longer able to pay out of his own pocket to keep the site going. It was either close Free the Writer, or ask for membership fees. I fully support Dave and his efforts, and I hope you will, too. I paid my fees, and I'm proud to be a member of the community at Free the Writer!). Debby Alviso, June 2002.
The e-Interview is a new page to this site, and we have the distinct honor and privilege to have Dave McMillan as our first guest. Dave is a writer, editor and the webmaster of Free the Writer. This is a wonderful site, and as the name implies, offers writers a chance to upload and display their work at no charge (although donations are appreciated). The motto at Free the Writer is: Get Writing. Get Read. Get Recognised.
|Dave McMillan from FREE THE WRITER.
|Dave began working on a consumer website some time ago, but he realized this was a limited field. He decided to start Free the Writer, and the site now has more than ninety-two writers who publish across all genres. Dave's vision for his site is to offer authors the opportunity to publish their creative work online, and to provide this service without incurring publishing fees. Additionally, he wants to allow readers to choose a variety of reading material freely, without membership conditions, and to permit authors the chance to receive feedback from these readers.
Dave doesn't get to write as much as he'd like to these days, but when he does get the chance, he thoroughly enjoys it. He is the author of several stories. In the fiction genre, he has written The Irish Logo; in the Science Fiction field he has penned Senses; his Non-Fiction work includes Braveheart; and his Fantasy stories consist of Rewards, Christmas Tree, Flight of Fire and Handsome.
Dave lives in Scotland with his wife, Donna and their two young daughters.
This interview was conducted via e-mail, and I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Dave McMillan. Not only is he an excellent webmaster, editor and writer, he is an all-around good person as well. He was very gracious to allow me to invade his privacy like this. Besides, I love his sense of humor!
**In the interview, DA denotes interviewer Debby Alviso, and DM signifies interviewee Dave McMillan.**
DA: Growing up, were you exposed to a lot of books and reading?
DM: I started reading books, novels, plays in earnest when I started my English Literature Course. Since then, I blew hot and cold as I do with most things. As a child, I initially read lots and lots of comic books, and as many Famous Fives as I could get my hands on. Then I joined a library so money did not matter, and off I went. When I was about the same age as my eldest daughter, I started writing children detective stories. I suppose the Enid Blyton Famous Five Series had something to do with that. I was also very good at telling stories to friends and neighbouring children.
DA: What prompted you to start Free the Writer?
DM: The whole thing started about eighteen months ago. I was writing on a web site called http://www.uk.ciao.com writing opinions on all sorts of consumer goods from wine to washing machines, and I enjoyed it. I realised however that my opinions were more vernacular than others and I needed another outlet. As I suspected so did others, so one Saturday morning with a hangover the idea hit me and I started thinking about domain names. I checked out Free the Writer, and there you have it. The site now has ninety-two authors publishing, and I am pleased with it's growth.
DA: What is your ultimate goal with Free the Writer?
DM: I want a major publisher to sponsor Free the Writer, and publish the authors on the site. Ultimately, I would like to sell the site for a huge amount of cash, retire and write full-time. Sounds terrible I know, but that's the aim.
DA: You have written several stories yourself. Do you still find time to write for the sheer pleasure of it?
DM: Frankly, the stories I have written are fairly poor. I could do better. I am having a problem finding the time to put my thoughts down on paper. Working full time, being a father to a seven and a three-year-old, and Free the Writer, and my garden and my love of Internet gaming seem to run away with my time. I wonder why he asks?
DA: What would be your advice to an author trying to get published?
DM: Gain confidence by publishing on free sites like Free the Writer then get on print in a magazine, e-zine, get noticed, make a little cash. Create a portfolio and then bug the pants off several large publishers until years later they take you on simple really.
DA: Do you think author's on the net have more opportunities than trying to get published in the traditional way?
DM: Of course they do, and with more and more readers online, who knows time will tell. My own personal feeling is that publisher's instead of waiting for you to knock on their door should be out looking around sites like ours and doing what the football coaches do be talent spotters. Grab the writers and nurture them, and publish them.
DA: Do you ever plan to publish a novel?
DM: It has been said to me many times, Dave write that novel. If it's in me I am yet to find it.
DA: What do you do when you have free time?
DM: Sleep! No, I relax with my family, drink good wine, and sit in the garden and have a good laugh.
DA: Besides Free the Writer (and this site, of course!), what site in particular on the web do you think has the most resources for author's trying to get published?
DM: Frankly, I do not know - there are so many. I think that the problem is that some sites are just too large. Authors Den is too big, as is East of the Web, and Shortstories.Com. I think small is easily read if you catch my drift.
I suppose sites that offer the old-fashioned type of publication on paper. It's still the best way of proving your worth by hand sales. Pity, really, but that may change.
DA: Do you think self-publishing is a waste of time for an author?
DM: No, its nice to see your work online anywhere and getting reads. Getting feedback is also good, but that is one area that I fail consistently to promote.
DA: What computer software would you recommend for a writer?
DM: Oh, Microsoft Word really, I write using that but keep it simple. No fancy paragraph format makes it easy on the readers eye's.
DA: What is your favorite book of all time?
DM: Oh, wow! Talk about a hard question, strange but what always sticks in my mind, and I have read it three times, is Sunbird by Wilbur Smith.