This author interview series is drawing to a close, to be replaced by the new character interview here. Give it a go, let one of your character’s do the talking…
Tell us a brief summary of your book’s plot.
Sprocket and the Great Northern Forest is set in a scrap yard squeezed between giant chemical plants and a decaying canal. Brassroyd Environmental is due for a shake up in more ways than one. Mrs. Mumbly, Brassroyd’s faithful English Bull terrier and her best friend Blaggard the crow make a discovery which will bring a legend back to life. The multi-national chemical works wants the yard for a mine vent in one corner and will go to any lengths fair or fowl to get it. The fight to save it and how dogs, crows, dragons and trees come to Brassroyd’s aid form the basis of the story. This is a book with real northern bite.
For anyone wishing to get a taste of my books if they drop me an email I have three Free Reads currently available which include the first three chapters of Sprocket.
What was the inspiration for this story?
My eldest grand daughter goes through books by the dozen and loves nothing better than a good adventure with a twist. Having stripped the local charity shops of every likely title and as a pensioner with a limited budget I thought I’d try writing one for her. This has now become three (Sprocket and the Great Museum Scam and Sprocket and the Poison Portal) with a forth one in the writing. The later books feature the Fearsome Four as I now have four grand children and have received complaints that I hadn’t written one for each of them.
Do you have any writing habits you would like to tell us about?
Ayear ago I bought a small laptop to take on holiday with me as my normal machine is too large to hump round Europe. In the interests of fitness I have taken to walking into the local centre, about a mile, to a coffee shop where I take an inordinate time to drink a large latte while I batter out a thousand words. Then I walk home. This gives me some gentle exercise, quiet thinking time and a treat mid way. It also means I have to set to and write before the very understanding staff throw me out.
My other habit is to get it written before I forget it. Blow the spelling and grammar, I just pound away before the idea finds a hole in my ear to drift out of so someone else can write it. For years I didn’t write because I was embarrassed by my woeful spelling but since the advent of laptops and spell checkers it doesn’t worry me any more. Stuff like that is for editors to sort out. If we were all perfectly literate they would be out of a job.
What is the hardest thing to manage when you start writing?
If I am not careful my books would only be about ten pages long. I have a desperate need to finish a story so have to force myself to develop characters and fill in the background and build the scenery without which the book would only be a cover blurb.
My other problem is a tendency to dispense with punctuation and end up with chapter long sentences. Stream of consciousness may have been all right for James Joyce but I am far from being a clasic writer so have to discipline my self to read what I have written and give my readers time to draw breath and let their eyeballs stop spinning.
Name the three books currently topping your To Be Read list?
Spinward Fringe 9 by Randolph Lalonde. I love this authors work which I came across when trawling the Kindle Sci-Fi books for holiday reading. I went through the first five like a dose of salts and my only complaint is that I read faster than he writes. But the wait only sharpens the appetite
Lies Ripped Open book 5 of the Hellequin series by Steve McHugh. This is another author whose books I could sit and read at one sitting if sleep and meals didn’t get in the way.
Robots like Blue by Anthony J Deeney. I have no idea yet about as he is a new indie author to me and the title caught my eye so I bought it and will review it as soon as i have read it. It’s my next read.
How important do you think a book’s cover is?
I wanted a cover illustration which gave a feel for the content for my first book Sprocket and The Great Northern Forest so chose a picture of trees and was pleased with the results. However I was brought down to earth with a bump by a comment from my grand daughter who was reading it in the playground at school and was asked by one of her friends why she was reading a boring nature book about trees. It is now in the process of getting a new cover. Be warned get some children to view your children’s book covers before going to print.
If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose?
It would have been Terry Pratchett who unfortunately has died. I loved his Disc World books which have all the problems we all face but approach them with a brilliantly slantwise logic. His sense of humour and boundless imagination kept me glued to his strange creations for hours at a time.
If I must choose a living author then Neal Asher would be first in line. A writer who has written a universe filled with believable humans, aliens and implacable artificial intelligences (AIs). His books have the ability to draw you into worlds both familiar and strange and he has the skill to treat technology as everyday so that it adds to rather than getts in the way of the narrative.