Robert White was born in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1958. He hated school and spent more time playing truant than being educated.
One High School teacher did take him under his wing and sowed the seeds for his life-long interest in story-telling.This probably saved him from being institutionalised.
At 22 he joined the Police Service and spent 15 years patrolling some of the North of England’s toughest areas.
As his career developed his specialism became Tactical Firearms and he took part in over 200 live firearms scenarios.
In 1996 he left the service and moved to the U.A.E. where he worked with several retired members of HM Special Forces.
It was during the long hot Abu Dhabi summers he began to write his first novel.
He has recently submitted his Crime/Thriller novel ‘The Fix’ to the Kindle Library and is available to download.
A second novel, ‘DIRTY’ has now been added to Amazon.
This novel is set in 1981 and follows the exploits of a young Police Constable. It is a grim tale of villainous coppers and lawyers and is definitely not for the feint hearted.
Robert now lives in Lancashire with his wife and is writing his third novel ‘The Fire’
What inspires you to write?
My initial inspiration came from my English Litterateur teacher at High School, Leo Hall. I was not a good student, being far more interested in playing guitar and dreaming of being a rock star. Somehow he managed to form my interest in reading and subsequently writing.
He was a tough old boy and had been a Paratrooper in the Second World War. He taught me two things. ‘Write about what you know’ and ‘Don’t expect to make any money.’
Later in life, I have drawn on my own experiences. Having been a Cop for 15 years, I have seen and done things others may have only read about or seen in movies.
Also, I read as many novels as I can. If I find I’m suffering from ‘writers block,’ I close the laptop and sit down to a good book. I find the process invigorating and off I go again.
Finally, but not least, everyone needs a shoulder to cry on. My wife, unlike myself, is very well educated and she has been a source of great encouragement throughout the creation and publication of my work.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am very much a ‘seat of the pants’ kind of guy. I never know the ending of a book at the start of the writing process. I always start with an idea for a character and as I shy away from lengthy descriptive, I try and form the main protagonist from their actions, feelings or direct speech. Therefore I write little character sketches that include some dialogue. I like the reader to form their own mind-image of each player.
I then drop the character into a scene. This may not be the opening, it may be in the middle or near the end of the novel. I don’t always write in order, but this scene is always key to the plot.
My best ideas always come when I’m about to sleep (most annoying for my wife) so I keep a pad and pen next to the bed and often scribble down a few key words so I don’t forget.
After each scene is complete I read the text out-loud. If it doesn’t flow at this point, it won’t flow for the reader either.
Finally, if I’m excited about writing a scene, it is probably good. If I’m bored, then the reader will be too.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
In my novel ‘The Fix’ there are three main protagonists and each tell the story in their own voice. I’d never written in ‘first person’ before so the challenge was to create three voices that the reader could recognise and follow.
My main difficulty was to talk, act and think like Lauren the female lead.
I would find myself saying things out loud like, ‘come on Lauren, you wouldn’t say that or do this’ then chastise myself for writing the text.
My wife thought I was going slightly mad!
What advice would you give other writers?
Writing is a lonely business, so be prepared to spend many hours alone in your chosen location.
As my old teacher said, “write about what you know. So write about Crime, Drugs, Guns and the seedy side of life. ” That might seem difficult if you are currently writing about Hobbits, but what you ‘ know’ from your own life experiences, good and bad will help create believable characters, even if they are bright green!
Be prepared for rejection, disappointment and sometimes cruel reviews of your work. You will need broad shoulders and a thick skin.
Finally, enjoy the process. Yes we all feel a little angst and sweat a little blood at times, but if you don’t enjoy… give it up.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I spent several years sending query letters, emails, sample chapters and even full manuscripts to Agents and Publishers with no success. Indeed, I think I only received two replies in all that time. Both rejections.
I didn’t ever feel the need to ‘vanity publish’ and pay several hundred pound just to see my book in print and it replace my manuscript in the bottom drawer.
My wife (again) told me about Kindle Direct Publishing and gave me the kick up the backside I needed to put the book out there.
It doesn’t end with you pressing the ‘publish’ button. After your friends and family have eagerly downloaded your work, then what? If you hope for a ’50 Shades’ moment, forget it. Your book will be so far down the ranks, it may as well be buried at sea.
You will need to promote your book by social networks such as Facebook, twitter. Create a webpage or blog and spend many hours doing just what I’m doing now.
Telling people about yourself and your work.
I’ve been fortunate so far, in that both novels have received excellent reviews and due to my shameless self promotion, sales are steady.
There are no easy options, but I wish you good luck in your endeavours.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Sadly, I can see the loss of bookshops before anything else. Supermarkets and online sales of printed material will last longer, but eventually, maybe even less that ten years hence, the printed book could well be resigned to an E-History-Book.
What genres do you write?
Action Adventure Crime Thriller Murder Mystery
What formats are your books in?
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