Q&A With the Winners of the Fated Paradox Mystery/Thriller Contest

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Once again, we had the honor of chatting with each of our Fated Paradox winners, and we got the inside scoop on their stories and themselves! Their answers are fantastic, and their stories are just as intriguing. Make sure to check them out if you haven’t yet!


1st Place: Nick Tingley, ‘Dressed to Deceive’



Inkitt: Tell us a little about yourself!

Nick Tingley: It’s a little bit difficult to describe what I do because it can vary a fair amount. For a day job I work for a charity called Young Epilepsy where I support and teach young adults with epilepsy and autism. Outside of that, I’m a keen creative and work sporadically as a freelancer in the theatre and film industries in various ways, as well as pursuing my desire to write. Ironically it was never my intention to end up in this direction. My parents were both theatre folks and were very supportive when I decided not to follow them into that career (although my Dad was also a teacher when I was growing up which, I guess, made my current job inevitable). I tried my hand at different things over the years from archaeology to carpentry and living abroad in Bulgaria for a time before eventually ending up back in Kent in a town that later turned out to be the home of my ancestors. In short, I think of my life pretty much goes full circle – it’s funny how it works out like that…


I: When did you start writing ‘Dressed to Deceive’?

NT: Interestingly enough, Dressed to Deceive was originally written for and pitched to the editor of a Jack the Ripper anthology back in March, although I had been toying with the idea for a while before then. The brief had been to write a story about the Whitechapel Murders that was new and exciting – the only real condition was that Jack had to make an appearance somewhere. After initial interest from the editor, the story didn’t end up making the cut and I was left with little to show for my work except for a fairly standardised rejection letter. The only slight light at the end of the tunnel was the editor’s use of the following phrase, ‘On this occasion, I don’t think your story is suitable for this current anthology, but I have been known to be wrong before…’

At that point, I felt a little dejected until I found out about the Fated Paradox competition, so I submitted Dressed to Deceive figuring that I would probably be able to get a handful of reviews so that I could work out what was wrong with it. Needless to say, the response I got was not what I was expecting.


I: What inspired the story?

NT: Well I already had a morbid fascination with Jack the Ripper anyway. In fact, one of the first articles I ever had published was a historical account about the wider impact of the Whitechapel Murders on Britain, Europe and even America. I was always intrigued by the idea that different Ripperologists have different theories about which murders were committed by the same person, so I decided to take the idea that the infamous Double Event murders were actually committed by two different people and took it from there. But at the heart of it, I wanted to tell the story of a normal person who does a terrible thing and has to pay the price for it. I always like to tell the story of how a good person turns bad and the idea of using the historical Michael Kidney as a main character just seemed to fit like a glove.


I: Do you have any writing habits (eg. Special writing locations, listening to music, jotting ideas in a notebook… etc)?

NT: I live in a Tudor house at the moment with slanted walls and floors. In that house, there is a room that we call the study and inside that room is where most of my creative work takes place. Despite slowly drifting from one end of the room to the other (on account of the floors and a very poor wheelie chair), this is where I can focus my mind enough to write. It has to be as close to silent as possible, although this is often broken by the splash of the two turtles in their tank by the window. Whenever I find myself stuck or need to take a few minutes I can play with the turtles or tinker on a guitar or keyboard, or pluck a random book from the book shelf and, in cases of extreme unwillingness to write, I am only a short walk away from the nearby River Eden where I can walk quietly along the river bank and allow myself time to clear my head.

On my desk is a little blue book with a Tardis on it. This book is my Little Book of Crime that I write all my ideas for criminal acts that could appear in my stories. If I have an idea it goes straight into the Little Book of Crime and it I ever get stuck for ideas there is normally something in there to guide me.


I: What do you feel is unique about ‘Dressed to Deceive’?

NT: Well, the simple answer to that is that any story about Jack the Ripper isn’t going to be unique at all. There have been plenty of instances of people writing stories about Jack and the search to find him so the ground is pretty well trodden, even when you take into account the different theories. What makes Dressed to Deceive a little different is the idea that the character has no real interest in Jack. There is no attempt made to explain the murders or uncover the identity of the Ripper. Even when Jack finally makes his appearance, there is nothing to convey my ideas about his identity (and I have a very firm idea in my head who Jack the Ripper was).

It’s not about that. It is about a nobody who does something truly awful and ends up getting drawn into something that is far greater than himself. It is about a human being and how they struggle to deal with the terrible things they have done. Everything else, from the historical facts dotted around to the final twist, is really just window dressing for that central story. And for a Jack the Ripper story, I think that is different enough for people to sit up and take notice.


I: Do you have any advice for other authors on Inkitt?

NT: There is this idea that writers should write regularly, which you see thrown around a fair bit and I completely agree with that. But I think the thing that makes a writer stand or fall is their ability to edit. So often I have heard writers say that editing is the job of some publishing house wizard and that the real magic happens in the creation of the characters, environments and plots. For me though, the real writing happens in the edit. The first draft is about getting that story out of my head so I can do the real work of making it as good as it can be. I guess the advice I would give to other authors is respect your edit as much as your first draft and always remember that if you can’t sit down and read your own work, you can’t expect a reader to do it either.


2nd Place: Jamie Weisgerber, ‘Influence’


Tell us a little about yourself!

Jamie Weisgerber: I am married to my wife of 14 years and I have two teenage kids. I live in Southern California and am a huge Halloween and horror fan. I grew up watching Twilight zone and Tales from the Crypt so I am partial to anthology style of storytelling. I have been writing and telling stories for most of my life but recently have been encouraged to throw some of my stories out there.


I: When did you start writing ‘Influence’? 

JW: I actually did not put anything on paper until I discovered Inkitt. The idea had been floating around in my head for sometime but it was the Fated Paradox contest that forced my hand so to speak. It was originally a larger story (in my head) as I almost pictured this as a potential screenplay. I learned very quickly that the attention span of a reader on the internet can be short, so I decided to condense the story down. I wanted to put some stories out there to see if there was interest enough for me to flesh them out further. I am planning to publish 13 short stories on Inkitt and Influence is the third in the series. The stories are not a continuation of a larger story but rather connected in someway.


I: What inspired the story? 

JW: Several years ago I read a book called The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. In his book he speaks of individuals with great influence in the world. These individuals set the trends in regards to what we wear, eat, drink, watch, listen to and how we live our lives. I thought to myself how that kind of influence was almost a superpower of sorts. What if it was amplified? Would that be awesome or terrifying?


I: Do you have any writing habits (eg. Special writing locations, listening to music, jotting ideas in a notebook… etc)?

JW: I have a fairly stressful and demanding job that requires me to travel, so my phone and emails can be a huge distraction. My best ideas usually come while I am driving as my mind can wander a bit. I get the most writing done on airplanes as I have zero distractions.


I: What do you feel is unique about ‘Influence’? 

JW: I think most stories tend to focus on the good guys. Although the narrator does not at first see himself as the bad guy he slowly descends into that role and embraces it. Originally did not intend this to be a superhero/villain type story but what I think makes this unique is this guy does not wear a cape or a mask.  He simply is hiding in plain sight and that is what I think is most disturbing…he can be anybody.


I: Do you have any advice for other authors on Inkitt? 

JW: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Don’t worry about grammar if you have a great story.  Grammar can be fixed…a poor story is just a poor story. I believe your best bet is to start with short stories in an attempt to build a following. If readers like your short stories they will be more inclined to read your novel or larger story.


3rd Place: Damian Greco, ‘Demons’



Inkitt: Tell us a little about yourself!

Damian Greco: I am 31 and have always had a good imagination, I started writing 2 years ago for a different way to express my creativity.


I: When did you start writing ‘Demons’?

DG: I started writing Demons about 5 days before the competition. I had written the first death scene a year ago but I knew there was more to it than that, and the competition sparked me to finish.


I: What inspired the story?

DG: My inspiration came from the natural dark side in people.


I: Do you have any writing habits (eg. Special writing locations, listening to music, jotting ideas in a notebook… etc)?

DG: I write better at night, usually when I should be going to sleep, like write now answering these questions at 11:07pm.


I: What do you feel is unique about ‘Demons’?

DG: I think the concept of his personal demons about being gay, wrapped into the actual manifestation of the beast, while perhaps not groundbreaking or clearly visible, is an interesting twist.


I: Do you have any advice for other authors on Inkitt?

DG: Don’t stop. There’s no time like the present to write anything and everything. Even one small scene could inspire a full story.

Do you have a topic you would like us to cover? Let us know about your suggestion. 


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