I was born in Northumberland and now live in Newcastle upon Tyne. I love the North East (apart from the weather!) I’m a biker and like nothing better than riding around the countryside in the sunshine. So that’s about 3 days a year then. I find it clears my head which is always good for writing. I teach History as a day job and I write in the evening and at weekends
What inspires you to write?
The inspiration to write has been a long time coming for me. I can think of nothing better than to put down on paper those thoughts that rattle around in your head. Its a very strange thing to do. The writing sometimes takes forever and at other times comes out so fast that my monkey fingers can’t keep up! But that feeling, when the characters start to gel, when the story starts to come alive, is a feeling like no other. I suppose what inspires me to write is the fact that not to write would be a crime. I would feel that I had let myself down. And it does not really need to be successful to be worth it. The feeling when your story is done and is staring at you from the laptop is such a wonderful feeling of satisfaction that it makes you continue. The thoughts then turn to what would happen in a sequel to this story….? And then the whole thing begins again!
Tell us about your writing process.
For Minstrel’s Bargain it was definitely seat of the pants. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to put across, and a sketchy view of what the outcome would be, and I simply filled in all the other bits, sometimes changing things as I went. I feel this leads to massive amounts of revision later though. For my second manuscript Point of Contact (any interested publishers out there?) I had an outline, but it was revised hugely to the extent that some characters disappeared and others morphed into completely different people. I’m working on the sequel to Minstrel’s Bargain now and I have a plan, although its very rough and ready, its simply a couple of sheets of A4 where the outline of the story lives. I usually have a plan for about 4 chapters ahead but I I know it will change as I go through it. So yes. I am a seat of the pants man
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I’ve never talked to my characters, although I do feel that Sturgess, the main character in Minstrel’s Bargain, is very much like me as a person. A friend of mine who read the book said that he imagined him as me ‘with a beard’ and that’s strange because in my mind he is very different from me physically. Other friends who have read the book have also said they can hear me talking when they are reading it. I take this as a compliment as writing is a very personal thing, so your own voice should shine through it I suppose. I do get emotionally involved with my characters though. When one of the main characters in Minstrel’s Bargain was killed, I admit I had a lump in my throat. Its almost like they become real people and you miss them when they’re gone. I think they have to that real though. They need to shine on the page so that readers can relate to them. Whether they are good or bad
Who are your favorite authors?
When I was young I was an avid fan of the ‘Adventure’ series of books by Willard Price. I think these were the first books I properly devoured. After these I moved on to books that my dad had lying around, mostly Alastair Maclean and Desmond Bagley thrillers. My Grandad used to read the ‘Edge’ westerns of George G Gillman as well and I gravitated to these, borrowing them after he had finished them. These are very violent books and probably where I got my love of bloody realism from! It was also at my Grandad’s where I picked up a copy of James Herbert’s ‘Lair’ and from that instant I was hooked on the horror genre. I moved on to other horror writers after reading all of Herbert’s back log such as Stephen King, Shaun Hutson etc, but have always read and enjoyed lots of different genres, especially historical fiction by the likes of Bernard Cornwall. I particularly enjoy the books of Derek Robinson. I have read ‘Piece of cake’ so many times that my copy of the book has disintegrated. I have to say though, out of all these writers it is James Herbert who has had the biggest impact on my own writing. For me, he was the master of horror.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
It was a long time coming. My father was an extremely talented man who painted and sang as well as writing poems for children. He passed away in 2014 and I had an idea of trying to get some of his sketches and wonderful poems published. I still want to do that, but at the time it came to nothing. However, whilst searching I came across Bloodhound Books’ website and decided to try and resurrect Minstrel’s Bargain, and they took it on. It really was as random as that. I would like to think that dad had something to do with that. He would have been over the moon to see me published.I found the Bloodhound Books website by accident really and something about it seemed to call out to me, I really can’t explain it. They wanted three chapters, and I had recently uploaded exactly three chapters (it was originally written on a typewriter!) and so I thought I would give it a go. I always knew that Minstrel’s Bargain was a good story, hopefully told well, but when I originally tried to get it published in the early 90’s nobody wanted a horror story, so it went and lived in the loft. It really is just random luck that I came across the publisher’s website. Nothing more than that
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
There are so many more opportunities for becoming a published author now. Self publishing, small indie presses etc. I think the big publishers will survive, and contrary to some, I believe that some bookshops will go on, although so many small ones have closed down now because of Amazon etc. The publishers have at last woken up to the fact that people want to write, and I think that, if your writing is good enough, and if you never give up, you will get your book in print. I think the future looks quite good. The opening of the first Amazon bricks and mortar book shop may be the future.
What genres do you write?
horror, sci/fi, paranormal thrillers
What formats are your books in?