Architect and Book Author Geoffrey Makstutis: “There Is a Sense of Release as the Words Come out on the Screen”

Geoffrey Makstutis is an architect and works in one of the world’s largest education companies. He also writes books; the latest, Design Process in Architecture, will shortly be released with Laurence King Publishing. From having an idea for a book to its actual release, it can be a long journey. Geoffrey describes how his ideas take shape in Ulysses, how he’s handling images (his book contains a lot of them), and how copyright clearances, reviews and translations contribute to the complexity of the whole process.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

Geoffrey Makstutis

Originally from the United States, for the past 28 years I have lived and worked in London. I am an architect, educator and author. I studied architecture in the United States and the United Kingdom; with most of my professional practice being within different firms in the UK. I’ve worked on projects; ranging from small residential schemes to large cultural institutions, in the UK, US and Far East. In 2004, I became a full-time academic; running the architecture program for a UK university. Since 2016, I have been working for one of the largest education companies in the world, developing vocational qualifications related to construction, art & design and creative media production.

What is writing for you — a profession, a hobby, or a calling?

Writing plays multiple roles in my life. My professional work involves a great deal of writing; ranging from producing reports to developing qualifications to creating training materials. When my day-to-day work was purely academic, I did a good deal of research; so I was involved in writing research proposals and research reports. In addition, I was often reviewing and writing academic policy information.

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Read Short Stories, Write Short Stories

The Short Story Project is a digital platform for curated and hand-picked short stories, most of which are available in multiple languages and as audio versions. Just recently, the platform launched a short story competition. We talked with the initiator, the Israeli author Iftach Alony, about it.

Portrait of Iftach Alony in his office
Iftach Alony, initiator of The Short Story Project

Short stories, Alony says, always have been his passion. In his opinion, they suit the pace of our time: “I believe, life can be better explored and investigated through short stories rather than novels.” The wish to draw more people to a (wrongly) neglected genre was part of his motivation to start the project. Read …

Author and Teacher of Creative Writing E. Christopher Clark: “That’s My Mantra: Just Get to Work”

E. Christopher Clark writes fiction about fractured families, lust gone wrong, and memories as time machines. In October 2017, he published his first novel, derived from a one-act play written twenty years ago in college. In our interview, he talks about the process of writing and the things that helped him to go through with it. Also, he discusses the benefits of studying creative writing at the university. As a teacher and holder of two degrees in the field, he knows a thing or two about it.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

My name’s E. Christopher Clark and I published my first novel, Missing Mr. Wingfield, in October 2017 to celebrate turning 40. In 2018, I’m aiming to top that by releasing not one but two new books: Bad Poetry Night, a collection of poems that came out in April to celebrate National Poetry Month; and The Seven Wives of Silver, a collection of pulpy 19th-century stories set on Cape Cod that’ll be out this fall.

E. Christopher Clark
E. Christopher Clark

What made you start writing in the first place?

In 2nd or 3rd grade, we were given the assignment to write the story of a picture we’d pasted to a piece of construction paper. That challenge — of turning visual inspiration into text-based storytelling — thrilled me, and working from photographs and drawings is still something I do today.

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Author Thomas Meyer: “I Think Most Couples Are Unhappy”

Thomas Meyer, Photo: Foto: 2teNaturManufaktur
Thomas Meyer, Photo: 2teNaturManufaktur

The Swiss writer Thomas Meyer used to earn his living with advertising copy before he started publishing books and essays. His debut novel, published in 2012, was a bestseller in his home country; it was also turned into a movie and will hit the theaters in October 2018. Meyer’s latest book is entitled Trennt euch! (“Break up!”); it is a treatise for unhappy couples aiming to help them break up. We asked Meyer a couple of questions about the book and the writing life.

Do you believe in the one great love?

I don’t believe in the singularity of great love. But I also don’t believe that a great love equals a great relationship.

Your book aims to encourage couples to end their relationships. Why did you write it?

It encourages only unhappy couples to break up. I wrote it because I think most couples are unhappy and because I wanted to show them a way to end their suffering. And to understand the reasons why they entered an unhappy relationship. Read …

Web Developer and Tech Blogger Tiffany R. White: “Teaching Other People Is a Great Way to Understand a Concept”

While Matt Gemmell gave up his job as a software engineer for writing thrillers, Tiffany R. White has gone her way in the opposite direction. She studied English and had plans to write a book, but then realized that she preferred writing code over writing fiction. Today Tiffany is a front-end web developer. Writing, albeit of a more technical kind, still plays a major role in her life.

Tiffany R. White
Tiffany R. White

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

I am a front-end web developer in Pittsburgh, PA, US. I am currently working on a web app called Check Yo Self (a riff on a 90’s rap song by Ice Cube) to check the spelling and grammar of your markdown blog posts. I am also working on a podcast with short episodes full of the latest developer news and insights.

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Psychologist and Writer Nick Wignall: “Ulysses Gets out of My Way in All the Right Ways”

Nick Wignall works as a psychologist in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he also resides with his wife and two young daughters, in an “old home that always needs fixing and repairs.” Despite many professional and private obligations, he manages to carve out regular writing time. Nick has published numerous articles and two books covering questions of psychology and self-help.

Please tell us about you and something you’re working on.

Portrait Nick Wignall
Nick Wignall

I like to say that I’m a clinical psychologist by day and an author by early morning.

As a psychologist and therapist, I do a type of counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy for folks struggling with insomnia and anxiety disorders like panic, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), and phobias. Unlike more traditional forms of therapy, it’s a very action- and goal-oriented form of counseling, so I’m often out driving with my clients who have driving phobias or helping my insomnia clients strategize a plan for a better evening routine.

But in addition to my clinical work during the day, I’m also interested in how we can apply the insights and techniques from the clinical psychology world to help folks meet the ordinary challenges of life – maintaining a consistent exercise routine, communicating more effectively with partners, getting quality sleep, finally finishing that novel we’ve been working on for years! So I spend my early morning hours writing and doing research either for articles on my website or future book projects.

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About Living, Working and Writing in Bali – Interview With Startup Founder Matt Oldfield

Work and live where others holiday – for Matt Oldfield this dream has come true. From the Indonesian island Bali, where he is residing with his family, he pulls the strings of his online dive travel agency ZuBlu. In our interview, he talks about his workflows and tools for managing the content of the company’s website. Also, Matt reveals what made him go to Bali and if his life is as dreamlike as it sounds.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

Matt Oldfield
Matt Oldfield

My name is Matt Oldfield, I am a photographer, writer, biologist and diver based in Bali, Indonesia, although originally from the UK. I left the cold and wet behind over 20 years ago and lived in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, for more than a decade, then did a lot of traveling before ending up in Bali nearly 6 years ago. My wife is from Java and we have a beautiful daughter – Saraswati – who was born in Bali.

Having worked as a freelance photographer and writer in Bali for the last 6 years, I recently launched a new online dive travel agency – ZuBlu – for which I am responsible for managing all of the site’s written content, amongst many other jobs!

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“Writing Is a Primary Way That I Express Myself in the Larger World”

David is a teacher and administrator of his school’s science department, currently based on Long Island, New York. In his opinion, reflective practice is crucial for any educator; writing is his way to do it. Ulysses is not only his chosen tool for this but also helps him save time with his administrative chores.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

David Knuffke
David Knuffke

I’m an educator currently based on Long Island in New York. After 12 years as a teacher, I became the administrator in charge of the department I taught with during September of 2016. Next year, I’m moving back into the classroom and moving with my family to Singapore. Outside of my immediate job responsibilities, I work on a lot of different things related to education more broadly.

Which role does writing play in your life?

Writing is a primary way that I express myself in the larger world. My job requires me to write quite a bit, but outside of the responsibilities that I’m paid for, I write regularly for my blog, and for other professional organizations and associations that I’m a part of.

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“It’s Hard to Love Reading and Not Also Want to Write”

Ashley Warren’s world is about writing. As a content and research strategist, she composes blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, and white papers. As as creative writer, she lets mostly female protagonists embark to fantastic adventures in imaginary worlds. In our interview, she talks about how she got into writing, self-publishing, as well as her routines and workflows.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

Ashley Warren

I’m Ashley Warren, and I’m a writer and researcher in Reno, Nevada. I live here with my husband, Andrew, who is a robotics engineer, and our cat, Sofie. Daily, I wear several hats: I’m a content, UX and research strategist; a research and writing consultant; and a creative writer. I hold a Master’s degree in Literacy Studies from the University of Nevada-Reno, which helped me hone both my research and writing skills.

My brain is regularly split between logic/analysis and untamed creativity. Right now, I have two main projects for early 2018: a speculative fiction short story anthology — working title Badlands — about how people are shaped by their environments; and a cross-genre role-play game (RPG) campaign called The Fractures. RPGs — such as Dungeons & Dragons — have really changed the way I approach storytelling, since it requires a logical approach just as much as a creative one: how can players get from point A to point B in the most interesting way possible? How can I create a unique, interesting world and atmosphere that people can delve into?

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Matt Gemmell: “Writing Is Difficult, but It Feels Like a Challenge Instead of a Hardship”

Action-thriller author Matt Gemmell is fascinated with how small choices can have a profound effect on our lives – a fascination also reflected in his debut novel “Changer”, published last year. In our interview, he talks about why he switched professions a couple of years ago, never looked back since, and still does not regret the time he spent in software engineering.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

Matt Gemmell

My name is Matt Gemmell, I’m a writer of action-thriller novels — amongst other things — and I live in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, with my wife Lauren and our eight-month-old labradoodle puppy, whose name is Whisky.

For a number of years, I was a consultant software engineer for various clients, including Apple, and I did a bit of tech journalism on the side. I also released a lot of open source code for iOS and the Mac, as strange as it is to think about that now.

I’m currently working on TOLL, the second novel in the KESTREL series of action-thrillers with a fringe science twist. The first book, CHANGER, came out last year.

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