Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born in 1953, in Preston’s Docklands, Lancashire,the middle brother of three,a year between us all. I had a tough childhood, suffered domestic abuse and violence, at home. I was bullied and beaten by teachers at school. I became a rebel and dropped out of school at fifteen, with no
qualifications. I undertook a series of dead-end jobs. My first job was as a coffin-maker(very dead-end! )
Even as a small child, I loved to write and would write and illustrate little stories for my younger brother.However, life was tough and I was badly affected by it. Aged fifteen, I was invited to join a gang. I’d had lots of fights and was considered a ‘tough-guy’. By eighteen, I was in a young-offenders institution. This was a wake-up call for me and I swore I would never return. I didn’t.
I studied ‘O’ and ‘A’ Levels, part-time, out of a thirst for knowledge, a desire to escape the gang
-life I had drifted into and a desire to improve my job-prospects.
Whilst working at the Post Office, I applied for university and got a place, studying Enlish Lang/Lit. Here I discovered Shakespeare and lots of other great writers. I also discovered acting! I joined the university-drama-society and finally discovered my calling. I wanted to be a writer and actor. I graduated university and got a job as an actor in a local play. Here, I met Claire Moore, an actor and like me, someone with an interest in writing. We decided to set- up Certain Curtain Theatre Company, a touring-company that would write and produce only original plays.
That was many years ago! Times were very tough. Lots of ideas but no funding! We have written more plays than Shakespeare, to date, most of which have been produced and toured across the
U.K. and abroad. Bookings coming from word of mouth, by audience members who have loved our work.For the last eighteen years, we have specialised in writing plays that explore Domestic Abuse and Violence(yes, there is a difference)
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Our first, published play, ‘Lady In Red’ explores one woman’s attempts to escape a violent relationship and the many barriers she faces. The play is a psychological thriller, set in a house
with lots of shadows disturbing noises and movements just outside the corner of the eye. It is basically a psychological-drama, with a serious point to make. The plot is fast- moving and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The play also contains a very beautiful, descriptive language. Lady
In Red’ was inspired by many wonderful women, who told us of their experiences while we were touring another play ‘The Knot’, which toured for twelve years.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
My writing-habits include; writing with my favourite pen – yes – longhand! Using only one side of A4 sheets and writing,whenever possible, from ten a.m. I also write in front of a Lumie S.A.D.
light – especially on dark, winter days.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My influences include; Shakespeare, the song lyrics of Smokey Robinson, Steven Berkoff(like
Shakespeare with a sense of humour!) the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, Samuel Beckett, The
Beatles, E.E. Cummings and many others!
What are you working on now?
I am presently working on a novel about witchcraft.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Still learning this – But www.awesomegang.com – really are awesome!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
My advice to new authors would be; unless you have the innate genius of the most successful authors(and the luck!) get used to and learn to love ‘the slog’! There really is no other way. Life isn’t remotely fair. Don’t fall in love with the idea of ‘being a writer’ e.g. John-Boy-Walton-Syndrome.
Just get on quietly, with your work, until it’s finished. If you go round telling people ‘I’m a writer’, they will ask to see what you have written – and you can’t show them someone else’s work. Just get on with it. If you were meant to be a writer, you will be.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I ever heard came from my own lips – ‘Never strive to be ordinary’
What are you reading now?
I am currently reading Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Jamaica Inn’ and ‘The Lord Of The Rings’, for the umpteenth time
What’s next for you as a writer?
My plans are to finish my novel and start work on a new play.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
My desert-island books would be; complete Shakespeare, The Lord Of The Rings, The Worm
Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison, the complete works of Virginia Wolf and The Vegetarian Cookbook, so I would know what to eat!