– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Road to Cromer Pier’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
I am a 61 year old Accountant who semi-retired to explore my love of creative writing. In my career I held Board level jobs for over twenty five years, in private, public and third sector organisations. I was born in Coventry, a city then dominated by the car industry and high volume manufacturing. Jaguar, Triumph, Talbot, Rolls Royce, Courtaulds, Massey Ferguson were the major employers, to name but a few.
When I was nine year’s old I told my long suffering mother that as I liked English composition and drama I was going to be a Playwright. She told me that I should work hard at school and get a proper job. She was right of course.
I started as an Office Junior at Jaguar in 1973 at eleven pounds sixty four a week. I thus grew up in the strike torn, class divided seventies. My first career ended in 2015, when I semi retired as Director of Corporate services at Humberside Probation. My second career, as a Non Executive Director, is great as it has allowed me free time to travel and indulge my passion for writing, both in novels and for theatre.
The opportunity to rekindle my interest in writing came in 2009, when I wrote my first pantomime, Cinderella, for my home group, the Walkington Pantomime Players. I have now written eight. I love theatre, particularly musical theatre, and completed the Hull Truck Theatre Playwrite course in 2010. My first play, a comedy called He’s Behind You, had its first highly successful showing in January 2016, so I intend to move forward in all three creative areas.
Pen Pals was my first novel, but a second, The Road to Cromer Pier, will be released in the Summer of 2019.
I’m an old fashioned writer I guess. I want you to laugh and to cry. I want you to believe in my characters, and feel that my stories have a beginning, a middle, and a satisfactory ending.
Janet’s first love arrives out of the blue after forty years. Those were simpler times for them both. Sunny childhood beach holidays, fish and chips and big copper pennies clunking into one armed bandits.
The Wells family has run the Cromer Pier Summertime Special Show for generations. But it’s now 2009 and the recession is biting hard. Owner Janet Wells and daughter Karen are facing an uncertain future. The show must go on, and Janet gambles on a fading talent show star. But both the star and the other cast members have their demons. This is a story of love, loyalty and luvvies. The road to Cromer Pier might be the end of their careers, or it might just be a new beginning.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Thanks for being involved. Much appreciated!
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
When I was about nine years old I told my mother I wanted to be a Playwright, but she said I should get a proper job. She was right of course. I became an accountant, starting as an Office Junior and retiring as Director of Corporate Services. I was born in Coventry, but my wife and I lived for a while in Kent, before relocating to East Yorkshire in 1992.
In my fifties the opportunity came to write pantomimes for my home Amdram group, The Walkington Pantomime Players, and having had eight performed the joy of making people laugh is simply fantastic.
Since then I’ve written three plays, two of which are now novels. The third, He’s Behind You, has just been published. Feedback from novels is very different of course, but when an adopted child told me that the way I’d portrayed the feelings she had for her birth mother in Pen Pals was spot on it was very special. My first novel, it achieved 4.5 on Amazon which is a pretty good start to my work in novels.
The Road to Cromer Pier is my second book, but I’m also refining the play version. I’m semi-retired, and I’m a Non Executive Director of both my local NHS Trust in Hull, and a major housing association. It’s an active retirement, and I love my work, my creative writing and travelling. I also like spending time with my two daughters and four grandchildren.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My mother said that I never read enough! But I was a real fan of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. I also read Jennings and Derbyshire too. Now my wife says that I don’t read enough! I tend to read biographies rather than novels. The novels I read tend to be political thrillers, although Archer has become so formulaic I’ve got rather bored. To be honest I’d rather write than read other peoples work… .
Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I follow Joanne Harris on twitter, and if you tweet for advice she always replies, which is just great. I am very fond of theatre, so I’m a big fan of Tim Firth. He’s written plays like Calendar Girls and Flint Street Nativity, which are both funny but have a great human story as well. Whether I’m writing a play or a novel that is what I’m looking for, and he delivers.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I write in my writing shed in the garden with views over open fields. It’s more like a summerhouse, and has pictures of places I’ve been both abroad and at home, and things I’ve done, such as organising a major concert called Song for Hull as part of Hull 2017 City of Culture. The picture of a young girl waving to her mother from the Hull City Hall stage always reminds me of that night.
I write in silence. Sometimes ideas come and I sort of disappear for an hour or so into a writing world of my own. If ideas don’t come I give up until they do, sometimes in odd places and at odd times.
I tend to write in early mornings, particularly on holiday. I have always got up early, whereas my wife sleeps in. I remember finishing one pantomime on a balcony with a stunning view of Lake Como… .
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
As I started from plays and pantomimes I’m a planner. I’d start with eight boxes (two act of four scenes) and fill each box with ideas on a theme, building a story board. No idea is too whacky at this stage.
Expanding it into a novel I simply build more chapters into each of the boxes and develop more subplots and characters. Plays severely restrict the number of characters and how you portray an event. In a novel there is much more freedom to explore and tell the story.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I’m not sure I’m that qualified having only written two novels, but I did find some creative writing courses useful. I did the Hull Truck Theatre Playwright Programme, and a six week course at East Riding Theatre, where I learned a lot more than I realised at the time. Exposure to the work of others is good for you, and writing exercises do have merit.
The other thing I’d stress is the need for both Copy Exiting AND Proof Reading. I found an excellent editor, Alice Baynton, who really transformed Pen Pals into a very credible work. But proof reading is crucial as a separate process, and you MUST get this done professionally.
Early versions of Pen Pals were reviewed down to three star because although reviewers loved the story they couldn’t see beyond grammatical errors. Be warned!
What are your futureplans as an author?
I’m revising the play version of The Road to Cromer Pier, and will focus on the book launch this summer. I have a new book which is in embryonic stage called Last Hurrah, about a retiring man returning to his home town. I’m never going to be a prolific author, and I’m determined that I won’t set up the next book when writing the current one, or become formulaic. It will take whatever time it takes.
I’m also writing my next pantomime, Camelot, which I’m hoping might get selected for performance next year.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
If you were going to have one of the worst days of your life, other than a loved one dying, what could go wrong? Paul Warren has one of those days in the Road to Cromer Pier!
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Martin Gore.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!