Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I started my first novel at the age of 10 - and there have been many other starts since then - but they all ended in the fire. The first novel to see the light of day was "Through my Eyes. Again." in 2021. Since then I've added a short story (Mrs Henderson's Limp) and a novella (Colette). A sequel to my first novel is due in 2023.
What makes writing your passion?
I have always loved words and have been an avid reader all my life. If my writing is a passion, it's one with ups and downs as things work and don't. But there is great satisfaction in hearing my readers comments - good and bad!
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing all my life - but in terms of public visibility only since 2021.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I think the overriding feeling was fear - that people would hate it or, worse, that no-one would read it.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My first novel just happened - my daughter was badgering me to start writing again. It was completely unplanned and the characters arrived, slowly revealing their stories. Colette is mentioned in my first novel (and one of the main characters in that is named for her). The novella "Colette" arose from a mention of her in the sequel. After that mention, it was as if she was standing beside me, waiting for me to write her story.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Not earning enough (yet) to quit my day job - I teach Maths and Physics at High School.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I don't know that I've had writer's block yet. I was unable to write a difficult scene in Colette for two weeks until I found a way round the problem. As I don't write full time, perhaps I'm currently immune to proper writer's block!
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I keep going because I want to know what happens in the story! As a new author I have no advice except - write!
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Don't burn those stories! Fortunately, some of those ideas persist in my memory and may yet appear in print. My next project (an SF novel, currently in planning) is a rework of one of those ideas.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes. I find the reviews (good and bad) that explain what they liked/hated and why to be very helpful. Every author gets horrible reviews that illuminate only the reviewer and I happily ignore those.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Most good reviews just say they liked the story and/or characters and they make me smile. When they go into more detail I really enjoy them and I'd love to be able to talk with the reviewer in more depth.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes. My first novel has autobiographical elements. But then, isn't that true for every first novel?
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
I'm not in any of my stories - but I'm sure parts of me have contributed to some of the characters - male and female.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
The book cover is part of what attracts a reader to investigate a book, so it is important. There's a huge story behind the cover of my first novel, part of which involved a correspondence with the Berlin Museum about copyright of east German propaganda posters.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I enjoy talking with my readers. It's fascinating to hear how they have interacted with my writing. That interaction always has individual elements that link to their lives. In conversation about this with another author, we came to the conclusion that every reader has a slightly different version of the book, one influenced by who they are.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Well - it hasn't happened yet, so I don't know!
Who is your favorite author? Why?
That's like asking which of my children is my favourite! I studied English literature ranging from Chaucer, through Shakespeare to the 'classic' English novels and I found I loved plays and poetry but the 'classic' novels (Dickens, the Brontes, Hardy etc.) left me cold. As a child, I discovered the Narnia books and that lead me to Tolkien and then to SF and there are so many great authors there.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I'm quite happy being me - I don't need to be anyone else as I'm still trying to be the best version of me.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I doubt it.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
As I said, I'm happy being me.
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.
Nothing! Don't feed the trolls!
What would you say to your readers?
Thank you for taking my book into your life for a while ... and please write a review!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I grew up mostly in the UK where I went to school and university. I now live in Brisbane, Australia with my wife, three ginger cats and a labradoodle. My daughter is a published writer, living in London and my son works in IT in Melbourne.
What is your day job if you have one?
I've had a varied career. I'm currently teaching Maths and Physics at high school (my first degree is in aerospace engineering).
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
But my wife and I are big fans of classical music (including opera). We attend music festivals, concerts and opera performances here in Brisbane and elsewhere on the east coast of Australia. Prior to covid, we visited Europe regularly for concerts, music festivals and opera.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Er - no.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
The sequel to "Through my Eyes. Again." is in the editing process and will see the light of day in 2023. It tells Col's and Mutti Frida's story from the the time they disappeared from "Through my Eyes. Again." to their reappearance.
So it's not really a sequel ...
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
You're asking that of a teacher? How long do you have?
As a start, I'd like to see music/art as part of the core curriculum.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
1) A global treaty banning nuclear and biological weapons and the safe destruction of all those currently in existence.
2) Worldwide, real emergency action to stem climate change.
3) Nuclear fusion becomes an engineering reality - we can't colonise space without this.
What is your favorite music?
We're back to picking a favourite child! There is so much music that speaks to me, from Hildegard von Bingen through Tchaikovsky to King Crimson. Music has and always will be part of my life.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I'm a glider pilot and my longest flight is over 800km.