#2 – Perfect 10
I used to be a budding Jonathan Ross.
Almost 20 years ago I started to take my writing seriously. Back in 2003 a young 25-year-old Jay12 aspired of becoming an author. That year I had first found UKAuthors as part of my search for an outlet for my creativity. I started my own website using one of those free webhosting services (I think it was called 50megs) because I wanted to look like I was professional but because I was such a newbie, I really didn’t have much to say on the site. I did try to write pieces to showcase on there and they were often forced and downright terrible. I had no writing credits under my belt, and it therefore looked empty and awful.
I looked around for ideas. Most writer’s websites were full of adverts for their work, their books, and their musings, but I had none of that and as I had not really found a voice for blogging, I struggled to pad out my site with anything. I found myself spending my writing time trying to create a website, but I wasn’t writing for it. I was just worrying about it. With hindsight I know that was silly. If I could speak to 25-year-old me now I would tell him to forget the website and get on with the task of writing. But then I wish I could go back and tell 25-year-old me a lot of things, mostly lottery numbers and where my keys were in September 2008 when I spent an entire afternoon looking for them.
Then one evening I had an idea. It was born from UKAuthors. The thrill I had gotten from messaging people and receiving comments gave me huge pleasure and was incredibly helpful. So I decided that I should simply interview other authors and publish the results myself. This seemed like a great idea. I had not seen many sites with such content and felt that it might be something unique. I also hoped that it would help me get to know other writers, find out what inspired them, and help me to network, all of which it eventually did.
I sat and wrote down as many questions as I could think of and then aggregated them together where questions were similar. Eventually I got the list of questions down to what seemed like the best set that covered all of the questions that I would ask of a writer. At that time, I felt that if I could get people to agree not only would it be great content for my site, but I may well learn something about writers and writing.
I named the interview feature “Perfect 10” which seems a little arrogant as I’m pretty sure it could have been called, “The obvious, generic 10 questions every writer gets asked all of the time” but like I mentioned I was young, naïve and a little stupid still at this point in time and so it was, Perfect 10 was born.
I contacted a whole group of people on UKAuthors and asked them to take part and I cannot remember anyone saying no. It was great. I sent the interviews out and everyone replied and I was over the moon. This small project was a success, it looked great on my site and it also helped me to get to know a whole bunch of people who became regular readers of my contributions and people who’s writing I thoroughly enjoyed.
It has been a long time since those interviews have seen the light of day. But I still have them collected into a document that I have also included below. They are from between 2003 and 2006, so they are like a fine wine these days, a little aged. If you take a look I hope you enjoy reading them and please don’t judge them too harshly. We were all much younger and less experienced back then.
Interesting to read these short interviews with familiar names, Jay, of which most, as I remember were predominantly prose writers, with the exception of Michael (Shackleton) and Jolen, who continued on site until recently? As I recall, both Andrea and Sunken did similar interviews didn’t they, Andrea’s often with current well-established off-site writers, and the munkey in his own unique style mixed with his usual witty humour? At 25, you must have been one of the youngest on site, which means I fear, a great many of the site originals are no longer with us. For me, the twenty-two years… Read more »
I was one of the youngest. I know Linear who I interviewed was also my age, he may have been a year or two younger, but I probably was one of the young ones back then. Not anymore of course. Although i don’t feel any older in my head even if my knees and back disagree with that idea. I did write loads before I joined UKA but I did it all by myself at home and kept it all stuffed in a box underneath my bed. No one ever saw it and most of it has been lost. I… Read more »