Hi Iain, can you tell us about yourself and what inspired you to set up your business in Berwick?
Hello! I'm a freelance writer, and have been for 20 years this month (Jan. 2016). I write a lot of official Star Wars magazine stuff, and do a bit of work now and then in video games.
I set up in Berwick nine years ago because I had a job in Newcastle. Living in a nice house with a garden in Berwick seemed better than living in a shoe box under a bridge in Newcastle. The transport links mean I don't have any problems getting to London, Edinburgh, or anywhere else. Facilities are fab, people are great, scenery is beautiful, and there are lots of cafes. Perfect!
Great, so what does a typical workday look like for you?
Once the kids are off to school, I spend a little time on admin, household chores and things like that. Tend to settle down to serious procrastination around 10am. I get most of my constructive work done in the afternoons. Unless there's a deadline approaching. Then there's lots of screaming and Irn-Bru.
Which part of your job do you feel most passionate about?
Having fun with what I do and making sure that translates to what the audience sit down to read. And being as accurate as possible. Star Wars fans really know their stuff, and I don't want to disappoint them.
What tips would you give to someone starting out in your industry?
Read more than you write. You'll be a better writer that way. Oh, and don't work for free. The only thing exposure gets you is arrested. And frostbite.
What is the best feedback you have ever had from a client?
I've had great feedback over the years from the folks at Lucasfilm, which always means a lot. Now, name dropping alert! An editor I worked with years ago gave material I wrote about Count Dooku to Christopher Lee to read, as he'd never been told much about the character. Apparently he found it very helpful. I've never stopped smiling about that one.
Who do you admire most in the world and why?
I admire anyone who takes a chance on making their dreams come true. So long as they're nice dreams. For example, I admire Donald Trump. He had a dream of becoming the biggest gibbering, racist, sexist, red-faced, sweaty political joke in the history of US politics. Against stiff competition in the GOP, he completely nailed it. You have to admire that kind of dedication.
Do you have a favourite quote that you turn to for inspiration?
"Get off my lawn!" from the old man at the top of the street where I lived as a kid. Do you know, I got off that lawn and I've never looked back since. Wonderful.
He's dead now.
Oh, okay errr.... What are your future plans?
Lots more Star Wars writing. It's a hugely exciting time to be involved with the license, and I'm privileged to do what I do for a living. I'd like to do some more of my own stuff too, non-SW.
Why did you commission the headshots?
Now and then I get asked for a picture for a profile or author interview or other such thing. I figured it would be nice to be able to send something that didn't look like a hairy potato had somehow taken a selfie. Also, my lovely Mum really hates my beard and 'tache so, being the loving son I am, I had to get them immortalised in a picture I could give her for Christmas.
Thanks Iain, I hope your mum liked her Christmas present!