Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I have been a lifelong daily newspaper journalist but only ventured into fiction about 18 months ago
What makes writing your passion?
The power of the word. It is what drew me into journalism after university and the same is even more true of fiction if anything.
How long have you been writing?
Literally all my life. I won a national essay writing competition in the UK when I was eight and English has always been my strongest subject.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Ecstatic! There is nothing quite like seeing your book in print and holding it in your hands. This is something you may have spent a year writing. It is not the same as seeing a feature you have written appearing in a paper.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My central character in The Poseidon Files is Naomi who was inspired by my grandmother, who was something of a mystic. She was a lovely, kindly white-haired lady who was always right when she predicted something. I was a little scared of her I think. So she lives on, in a way, in my books.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Agents in many ways. They are the gatekeepers in publishing and are so often wrong in their judgements. Too many talented writers are turned away or are put off by rejections. It is proven by writers who have success despite them. J. K Rowling and Any Weir are two excellent examples.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I sleep on it or I go the the pub and have a few drinks to think through the problem. Invariably works!
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Never, ever, give up. If you think you have a good tale to tell stick at it. But most importantly read, read and read. Plan your story, chapter by chapter and be prepared to change it as the story develops. And when you finish, that will be just the beginning....
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I would tell myself that I was an arrogant bastard. I had four degrees and was clever and I knew it. I must have been a complete arse. I'm quite a nice guy now though. Honest!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I read them all. So far, I don't have any bad ones but if I did I would simply shrug. In the end you can't please everybody.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I was genuinely amazed and thrilled! I basked in gratifying plaudits such as ‘page-turner’, ‘heart-pounding’, ‘engaging’ and ‘thrilling.’ One or two even suggested it would make a good film or TV series, especially given the popularity of Liverpool as a film location which is where the story is largely set. At the moment they are filming Batman here!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes. As a journalist I have years of experience to call upon. My books are mostly about crime with a touch of the supernatural. At one time I was a crime reporter so I know how the police operate and how criminals think.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Apart from my grandmother (see above) I tend to 'see' my characters as I plan and write about them. They are nearly all based on people I have met or know. In that way I am able to describe them in my mind's eye.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
The cover is important but not more important than the story. It is simply a marketing tool to entice a potential reader who will also read the blurb on the back in deciding whether to buy it or not.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I am more than happy to talk to my readers. No author should live in an ivory tower. What your readers think matters in my view. It is invaluable feedback whether you like it or not
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I'm human! Of course I love it when people enjoy what I write. One of the advantages of being an author is that nobody recognises you in public unless you are a household name. So you can live a normal life.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Difficult this one. I have always enjoyed Bran Stoker and his Dracula but of all the authors I have read recently J K Rowling in her nom de plume as Robert Galbraith in her Cormoran Strike stories go down well with me. I just like her style.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Well again. J K Rowling. And not just for the money either. It's having the power to dictate to agent, publishers and producers. That would be wonderful.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
Well, So far only one has been published and that was re-written twice. The second book, Kill Joy, has so far been re-written once and may well be again before it is published.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
John LeCarre I think. His mastery of the spy genre is quite unequalled
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
Trolls are real menace. People have committed suicide because of therm. They should all go to jail for a long time
What would you say to your readers?
Thanks for having the patience to read me. I am flattered that you chose my book and I will never cease to be thrilled when you enjoy it!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I am divorced with two kids, a son in Estonia and a daughter in Toronto, Canada . I live in Liverpool in the UK
What is your day job if you have one?
Journalist (See above)
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I am also an artist which is now my day job. I have a studio and my work is handled by a London dealer
Did you have a happy childhood?
Yes I did, mostly in Wales where I lived in a remote village surrounded by mountains.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
It is just something I always intended to do but never got round to it....until now!
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
My second novel, Kill Joy, is being copy edited at the moment and should be out in the New Year.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
I think more emphasis should be given to the creative side of life where kids can use their imaginations more
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
A friendly agent
A friendly publisher
A friendly marketing manager
What is your favorite music?
Beethoven and also the works of R Vaugh Williams
Share a secret with us 🙂
I have none!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!