Interview: RG Rankine author My Father Loves

I downloaded My Father Loves by RG Rankine the other day as a freebie and was so impressed by it that I got The Silent Spaces as well. I thought this was an excellent short story - really well written and very thought provoking.  I was really pleased when contacted by RG Rankine to do an author interview and would highly recommend his writing to anyone who enjoys a good short story.

Why did you write My Father Loves?

Two years ago I decided to take a couple of weeks off work and go through all of my notes and scribbles that I had made since a kid and get them in some sort of order as I was determined to finally start writing (I’d been talking a good fight since I was around 15…) I kept anything I felt worthwhile and interesting and threw away the rest.
 After filling several dustbins I emerged with three A5 notebooks full of ideas. There were ten or so that were more developed than the rest so I decided to focus on those first and try and get them finished. ‘My Father Loves’ was amongst them and became my fifth completed short story. I don’t know where it came from or why it happened to be one of the more completed ideas, as it is not autobiographical in any way; it is more about the underlying theme of supposed adulthood and the plot developed as I wrote.

What kind of reader would enjoy My Father Loves?

The interesting thing about putting yourself out there and allowing your stories to be read is that you don’t know what the appeal is and even if there is one! I didn’t set out with a target audience, I don’t write to a specific genre, I just told myself to write something I felt happy with and not think about an audience at all; it was quite liberating and made it much easier to write. I feel very free to write as I don’t think of anything else other than creating stories as I want them to be.

How did you develop your characters?

It took me a long time to find the confidence to write (in the sense of writing with the purpose of publishing) and I think the key to it was the realisation that I didn’t have to know how the story or the characters would turn out before I started writing…the fun came as I was writing. All of the notes I make come from an emotion or a feeling, a ‘I wonder how I would feel if this is the way my situation in life is’ type question, then as I start writing the characters develop over time (I constantly question why this person would say or do something and keep rewriting until I feel confident in that person).  I am focused on writing short stories at the moment so perhaps it is easier to change and adapt as you go along, if you were committed to a few hundred thousand words then I imagine you may want to have a firmer idea of plot and character before starting!

Why did you decide to publish My Father Loves yourself?

There were several reasons why I went the self-publishing route. First and foremost I had been talking about writing for so long that I got to the point where I felt if I didn’t do something right now then I’d never do it, so it was out of impatience with myself more than anything. The thought of sending stuff off and waiting felt like I was tricking myself into a delaying tactic and even worse, a don’t bother because nothing will happen attitude. Secondly, I was inspired by someone I knew, an artist, who was dedicated to spending time in her studio and always made time to work on her own practice regardless of her work commitments and other day-to-day getting on with life stuff. She gave me the confidence to tell myself ‘just get on with it!’ Thirdly, technology! When I learnt about Amazon’s self publishing program and how straight forward it was to create an ebook I told myself there is no reason you cannot do that. I would recommend it to anyone; you can communicate to the world through Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and so many other platforms now that your audience is immediate and global. I also have no delusions of grandeur, I know I am at the very beginning of my development as a writer, a novice story teller, so once you accept the fear of other people reading your work you can open yourself up to learning; it is a great way to improve and better yourself, you can be part of forums and groups from all over the world that critique and review your work and help you.

Are you working on any new writing at the moment?

Yes, lots planned! I have five short stories that I have completed first drafts for and I have set myself the target of trying to get one finished and online every month (that will come back to haunt me for sure). After that, those notebooks I mentioned will be where I turn to. There are years and years of ideas inside, I don’t know if any will turn into a story or if they will inspire, but that’s exciting, I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen.