About the Author
Began as an office equipment salesman, but spent more time jotting ideas down than selling, which led to the publication by W.H. Allen in London of first novel Square One, and an invitation by BBC TV to join on attachment, during which time I read and reported on incoming scripts at the Script Unit, and also played a Doctor Who monster in the first colour production of the programme with Jon Pertwee. My book A Portrait of Barbara followed, published by Sphere
Books and St. Martin’s Press in New York, and is soon to be republished by Little, Brown Book Group as The Mystery of the Stolen Brides. Cut my screenwriting teeth on Lion’s Share, a script directed by Norman Cohen in South Africa, and have since written and re-written numerous screenplays, not all of which got made, but the experience of honing them has occupied me for years. Co-wrote the feature film Knife Edge, which starred Hugh Bonneville and Joan Plowright, the experience of which led to my ‘reality novel’ The Making of a Britflick published by The Tagman Press. Recently my romantic novella Lavender Days was published by Greenwave Editions. I’ve been an infantry soldier, house-cleaner, bingo steward, spare parts driver for a garage, hot-dog seller, magazine journalist, car-jockey for a vehicle hire company, security guard, film extra, professional proofreader, factory paint-grinder for Winsor & Newton, ditch-digger, copy-editor, TV background artiste, and sold encyclopaedias door to door. I have two lovely daughters, have recently been made a proud grandfather, occasionally sing in care homes and currently live in Hertfordshire.
What inspires you to write romance books?
I like to think that the binding force in the universe is love. Certainly what motivates much of human behaviour is sexual attraction combined with the feeling that a particular person is uniquely right for each of us, and that we can only hope to find this person in our lifetime, ideally when we’re young, though of course it may be many years before one meets one’s soulmate. This makes for such a rich and fertile ground to create stories in which beautiful and binding relationships are made. The romantic factor unites us all throughout the world: love and its many forms and permutations we can all relate to. We know that relationships can go wrong, so to write about the attraction of one person towards another in a happy and fulfilling way, even thought the road may be rocky on the way to this fulfillment, is in itself fulfilling.
Tell us about how you write:
To develop a story idea I talk to myself a lot – or, rather, mutter random thoughts into a recorder to be played back later to sift the waffle from the more useful stuff. When I have the basic idea and characters, I need to know how it’s going to end – happily, ideally, though sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. After a while the story and characters start dictating their own terms, and I let them. Once I have a good idea of where the whole thing’s going, I open a file on the computer and write an outline which is then developed into three stages: 1) the opening and introduction of the characters and story, 2) how the plot develops as the characters and action interact, and 3) how it all turns out. Then I write the book directly on to the computer screen.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Oh yes, and they talk back to me. I’m not bad at accents so can individualise each voice. Anyone overhearing me walking around speaking out loud to myself in this way in various voices (and it has happened) would be sure I was insane (and they did). One caller at my door said: “There’s someone else here, I definitely heard them!”
What advice would you give other writers?
Reflect reality, and be aware that sometimes people aren’t aware they’re in love till it’s too late. Always surprise the reader with how the characters unexpectedly behave and what they say. In real life, nothing is ever certain and people, including lovers and would-be lovers make mistakes constantly about themselves and each other, misjudging a situation or misunderstanding their partner’s words or actions for perhaps the noblest of motives. So be prepared to surprise yourself as well as future readers.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
In earlier times I went with mainstream publishers because there was no obvious alternative. More recently I wanted to avoid the delays and frustrations of conventional routes, so found a small but growing publisher and pitched my book in person. They read it and agreed to publish, though I had to meet some costs myself, including publicity. But that happens anyway – even main publishers have limited budgets and it’s up to the writer to generate interviews, press releases and so on. In this case, among other things, I wrote an article which was printed in The Lady magazine and gave the book a plug.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I don’t believe the conventional printed book will ever go, but ebooks are very much ‘in’, and Amazon announced quite some time ago that electronic books were now outselling printed ones. More and more readers, especially among the young, are buying Kindles and other reading apps and devices, so this market will continue to grow. But with print-on-demand so much more flexible and economical, the ebook and its printed counterpart will continue to co-exist for the foreseeable future.
What genres do you write?
Romance-with-edge, thriller, semi-autobiographical, historical, drama with erotic content.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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