Philip Cavaney began his career writing thrillers for grownups but since 2007 has been writing for children with a decent dose of fantasy woven in. He is best known for his Sebastian Darke series and the Alec Devlin mysteries. As he explains, he goes under the name Danny Weston for his darker works and his latest, written under his Weston author name, is called The Witching Stone and inspired by a piece of Lancashire’s witchcraft history.
1.What’s your name and where do you come from?
I actually have two names. Philip Caveney is my birth name and the one under which I have published over 40 works of fiction. Danny Weston is the evil twin I invented to write my darker stories and he’s written He’s done 6 books so far.. I was born in North Wales, but have lived all over the place (my father was in the RAF) and I now live in the city of Edinburgh.
2. Do you write fact or fiction and in what genre?
I write fiction and I’ve covered most genres across the years. I guess most of what I write has some kind of fantasy element – and often with supernatural themes.
3. Are you traditionally or self published and which route do you consider best?
I’m traditionally published and have worked with several publishers. I’ve never really gone down the self-publishing route.
4. What’s your work schedule like when you are writing?
Once I commit to a new novel I’m pretty relentless. In normal times I go to the National Library of Scotland where they have reading rooms. In there, you can work completely undisturbed. I generally write the first draft of a whole chapter in one visit, but of course, it will go through several drafts.
5. What advice would you give to budding writers?
If you truly believe it’s what you were born to do then don’t give up. If somebody turns down what you’ve written then rewrite it and try again. If that fails, try a new idea. Always read your work aloud – the bits that don’t work will jump out at you. And always remember that no writer gets it perfect on the first attempt. Every time you rewrite something it will get better. Fact.
6. Who/what are YOUR favourite authors/ books?
My favourite book will always be Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. It’s the book that made me decide I wanted to be a writer and, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest books ever written. I’m also a fan of Elmore Leonard, Kate Atkinson and Maggie O Farrell.
7. Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I used to be a plotter but over the years I’ve increasingly become the latter. These days I like to create some characters and see where they take me. It’s often not where I expected to go but it seems to work.
8. What helps you focus?
A quiet place with no distractions. Hard to find these days. And an idea that excites my imagination.
9. How long did it take you to write your books?
These days, I would expect to have the first draft of a book in around two or three months. Then the work really begins. I generally publish two books a year, one as ‘me’, one as Danny.
10. Where can we find your books?
In all good bookshops and quite a few of the less good ones! And, of course, on Amazon.
Check out Philip Cavaney’s website right here
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