My name is May J. Panayi and I’m 57. I have been a writer since I was a kid. Okay not anything earth shattering; just a poem in the local paper at age five, then a newsletter to the neighbourhood age ten. I hobby wrote poems and short stories throughout my teens and early twenties, then various magazine submissions, and a lot of activity in the underground fanzine scene of the eighties; contributing to others as well as producing my own. I started writing books around 2000, and currently have fourteen titles published. I moved onto just writing fiction novels with the occasional short story collection. I became a full time self employed writer in 2014. It’s been an interesting journey so far and one I hope will long continue. I write across a variety of genres, my friends call me the eclectic indie. My Sun series, in which there are two novels so far, a third coming soon to complete the trilogy, is my most popular style. It is travel romance/mystery; bit hard to categorise. My horror is next most popular though a bit graphic for some. I live by the sea in Brighton, UK, and write whilst looking out at the boats. Inspiration comes from life, the universe and everything. It never stops.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always written, ever since I was a little kid; poems, diaries, magazines, articles, short stories, non fiction and then finally, full length novels. Even when I take time off to travel, I always take a note book so I can write travel blog notes, or other musings. Sometimes I even get story ideas when I’m travelling. My best selling Sun series, was inspired by travel to Greece and finding long lost family in Cyprus.
Tell us about your writing process.
I have an idea, then I make notes. Sometimes the notes stay skeletal for a long time until I come back to them. Sometimes I decide they will work out better as a short story. Occasionally a book just rushes in almost fully formed, and I scribble like crazy until I have the skeleton and small bones in place, ready to put on the flesh. By which I mean, the notes are broken down into chapters and events that will take place within each chapter.Then I pretty much stick to that plan, perhaps adding the occasional extra event or details, until I have written the book. For the Sun series, I drew a map of the island of Aegos with my characters homes and details marked on it.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Some of my characters really come to life and take up residence in my head; I really like Guy from Malbed Mews; he’s the animus to my anima maybe. But my favourite has to be Ella Hudson [Ella Zacharoulis in Return to Aegos] from Sun Sea and Secrets. She is everything I’d love to be; confident, optimistic, gregarious. And she eats and eats, and stays slim and gorgeous!
Who are your favorite authors?
I like to read horror. My favourite authors are Stephen King and Dean Koontz, so I await new arrivals from them. I liked James Herbert, H.P. Lovecraft and others, but I have read all their stuff and they’re dead so not bringing out any new stuff. Horror from beyond the grave lol- I’d read that! My favourite Indie horror authors are Iain Rob Wright, and Michael Kelly. I have dabbled in the genre with my horror novel Malbed Mews and horror shorts collection; Tales from the Library of a Twisted Mind, but they just don’t have the popularity that my Sun series does. I really enjoy a good Joanne Harris or Jodi Picoult too. Other influences include J.G. Ballard, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Clifford D. Simak… too many to list really. I read prolifically and constantly, so favourites change a lot. But I always enjoy settling down with something new by a core favourite.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I wish I’d discovered the indie author scene in its earliest days, as it was much easier to sell books back then, before the market got saturated, and the big companies started doing weird things with their marketing algorhythms. Also I’d tell myself ‘don’t beat yourself up about times of no writing- think of it as thinking/plotting time.’ Maybe I’d tell myself not to bother sending stuff round the legacy houses and collecting rejection slips and low self esteem. I have had some things picked up by magazines and anthologies by sending them around, but I have earnt more money and reached many more readers by using indie publishing. Self publishing has brought me great joy as I see the sales and pages read and know that people are reading, and hopefully enjoying, my stories.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
On my optimistic days I hope that indie publishing will open up a world of new talent. Legacy publishing is pretty much impossible unless you are already famous or know someone. This cuts out a whole host of brilliant new writers. Every time I read a new indie author I am excited. Their writing is tighter and better honed. Sometimes when I pick up an occasional author from legacy paperbacks, I am shocked at how much they drift, and think what kind of reaction they would get if they were an indie. Obviously there are exceptions on both sides; some legacy authors pretty much never have a 'fail,' and some indies don't seem to have any kind of spell check or edit and end their story in the middle just to make more sales; giving us all a bad name. On pessimistic days I think people just aren't reading books like they used to.
What genres do you write?
Travel romance. Horror. Shorts. Women's Drama. Life Drama/Action. Cookery. Poetry. Non fiction.
What formats are your books in?
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.