Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born in Bristol but moved out many years ago when I went to college. I started writing novels then, and have completed over 20 now. The first ones were Science Fiction but I moved into Crime Fiction soon after, and in 2006 started putting up my books on the internet, both as paperbacks and as e-books. I’m living in Salford now, across the river from the big city of Manchester, which is a place that’s known around the world. It’s not just the capital of North West England but it’s also famous for music, football and the Industrial Revolution. Manchester had the first passenger railway in the world, and is still innovating today.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book to be published is called ‘Trumps a Mayor” and I’ve submitted it to Kindle Scout, to see if it might get a few votes and win the prize of being published by Kindle. It’s inspired by the election this year of a Mayor for the county of Greater Manchester. It’s never happened before and it’s all part of the British government’s commitment to loving power back out into the regions. I started writing it in February 2017, just after a new President was inaugurated in the USA. That was a surprise to most people. I started wondering what it would be like if a similar kind of guy arrived to stand for election in our area, someone with no political experience and a business background. Was it possible he could become the Metro Mayor? Read the book and find out!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I used to have a desk in my bedroom, which is where I do my writing. Then, when we moved home 2 years ago, it seemed too much to fit in, so I started writing on my laptop, but not on my lap – on the bed. (Sometimes I feel like Noel Coward – though not as funny.)
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I like the classics of the Private Eye and Hard-Boiled genre, such as Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald, and Mickey Spillane. Also, people in modern times such as Sue Grafton. On the whole, however, I tend to read mostly factual books these days – history, geography, biography and Self Improvement.
What are you working on now?
I am busy right now preparing ideas for a book I can write in November. Ever since 2012, I have set aside the month of November to write a new novel as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The rules are that it has to be a minimum of 50,000 words and has to be completed only in the days from 1st to the 30th November. So far, five novels completed that way – and I have the certificates to prove it!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I always promote my books on my own website, which is http://www.Salford.me/ and then follow it up with mentions on my pages on Twitter and Facebook. I use Lulu.com to make my paperbacks and e-books and then they get sent to Amazon and all the other internet bookshops. In terms of promotion, I find that there are lots of groups on Facebook and people on Twitter who want to help. If you search ‘Kindle’ on either site, you’ll find them there.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
My advice for new authors is that you need to find a routine. It’s no good taking the next ten years writing the ‘perfect’ novel. Better to write one book a year, and then you’ll have ten books to put out there. You’ll find readers are a lot more interested in a series, and once they’ve tried one of your books, they will easily come back to look at all the others.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
When I was young I was told ‘Write about what you know’ and that sounded good. But then, recently, I heard an improvement. It’s ‘Write about what you know – but that’s just the start’. In other words, start from where you are, maybe the place you live, the age you are, the relationships you’re in, but then look around and see where you might go, what might happen next. Never be satisfied with merely reporting your life – turn it into something that everyone can relate to.
What are you reading now?
I’ve been roaming around the e-book store and I’ve stocked up with Sue Grafton novels. I’ve just finished ‘W’ and ‘X’ and I’ve nearly finished ‘Y’. I’m looking forward to ‘Z’, if it ever appears!
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’ve been really lucky in recent years. I live in Britain and there have been a series of national events for me to write about. There’s been the Olympic Games here; the General Election in 2015 (and 2017!); the election of a Mayor here in Salford last year and this year the election of a Metro Mayor. Next year is 2018 and I’m looking for something that could be a suitable subject for me. At the moment I’ve only thinking that I might be able to use the fact that it’s the centenary of the ending of the First World War. Surely I can find something in that.
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?
If I was only allowed 4 books, then one of them would have to be a notebook. If it was full of blank pages and you’d let me have some pencils, I could work on a new project. As for reading books, I’ll take one by Sue Grafton, one by Raymond Chandler, and a Theasaurus. I’m sure I could learn from all of them.