Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have been writing on and off since I was at school, becoming a student of radio playwright Bill Stanton’s Writers’ Tutorial in the late eighties. After brain seizures in 2004 that left me permanently disabled, I embarked upon an intensive course of rehabilitation that included swimming, cycling and running. After competing in Ironman UK in 2007 – billed as the toughest one-day sporting event on the planet – I took a break to write up my training notes!
Triathlon – Serious About Your Sport was published by New Holland in March 2012. Since then, I’ve co-authored two more books on Cycling and Swimming, published by New Holland in May 2013.
My main area of interest is fiction. My first novel, The Butterfly Collector, published December 2012 is available on Amazon Kindle and in paperback. My second novel, Drowning by Numbers, was published in June 2013 and is also available on Amazon. I am currently working on my third and fourth novel in tandem, as well as a book on mental health, which will be available later this year.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My second novel Drowning by Numbers was inspired, in part, by my experience as a musician and charts the decline of international Nineties guitarist/songwriter Joe E Byron as he struggles to keep his marriage and his drug habit afloat, while resisting all attempts by doctors and psychiatrists to get him into treatment. The novel took two and a half years and eleven rewrites to complete, not to mention the countless temper tantrums and shredded paper along the way! In spite of the dark nature of the material, I still consider it, primarily, as a novel about relationships and the family unit, a theme that runs through much of my work.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I write all my first drafts longhand in notebooks then put them away in a drawer for up to a year. This isn’t all that unusual, I know, as I’ve read of other writers who use this method. But I do drink coffee on the hour, every hour, as a reward for sitting in the chair, which I’m told is a little OCD.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Graham Greene has been a huge influence. The opening to ‘A Burnt-Out Case’ is one of my favourites, a masterful example of economy and precision. For inspired storytelling and setting, Hemingway’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls.’ One of my favourite contemporary novels is William Boyd’s ‘Brazzaville Beach’, which I’ve read several times. I have so many books on my bookshelf that I only hope I live long enough to read them all.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing my third novel, in the crime genre, and what is probably my most ambitious novel yet, set in New York. I’ve also finished the third draft of a non-fiction book on mental health, which I’m extremely excited about. Oh, and several short stories, one of which I’ve entered in The Dark Pages Crime competition.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I am a big convert to social media, and fully understand the necessity for writers to have some kind of online presence. Facebook and Twitter are great for building a following, and for promotional offers, but to reach a wider readership, sites like Awesomegang and Goodreads offer a much more targeted and effective approach. For little-known authors, offering free e-books on select days is a great way to entice new readers.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Keep writing. There are many classes and teachers out there, some of them very good, but you learn through repetition, and by constantly rewriting your own work. Some writers seem to be convinced that there’s a short-cut to success, that you learn a particular technique then write a bestseller in six weeks! If anyone out there comes across such a method, please let me know.
The other indispensable tool is persistence. You will need this, and a fair dose of tenacity, to counter the rejection slips that are sure to follow. Develop a belief in your own work and keep sending it out there until one day it doesn’t come back.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
‘Don’t get it right, get it written’. Having been through awful periods where inspiration had all but dried-up, I came across these words in a writing magazine. Novels, in particular, are something of an endurance. You have to do whatever it takes to keep you in the chair and, most importantly, get you to the end. There’s a real psychological boost in finishing a draft, even if you do have to rewrite it again and again until you’re finally satisfied.
What are you reading now?
‘The Temptation of Eileen Hughes’ by Brian Moore.
What’s next for you as a writer?
More words, more novels, more coffee …
What is your favorite book of all time?
‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ by Ernest Hemingway
Author Websites and Profiles
Adam Dickson Website