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I was born in the cottage hospital of Fyvie in Aberdeenshire in 1961. I grew up on various farms in Aberdeenshire until I was eleven and then our family moved to Morayshire. I did not enjoy High School there. I was frequently belted for not being able to do my homework or producing illegible work most teachers couldn’t read or couldn’t be bothered trying to read. As a result of this I was often shoved into special needs classes where the teacher taught nothing but religion. At the age of fifteen, a month before my sixteenth birthday I joined the British Army. I remember the recruiting sergeant coming out laughing with my test results in his hands and telling me I could not get a trade in the army as my test results were to low. I didn’t care, I wanted to run up and down hills with a gun and blow shit up. Thankfully I was bright enough for that and I joined the infantry. I served a total of seven years under the colours, from the jungles of Central America to the streets of Northern Ireland. My home and family were the men of the 1st Battalion The Gordon Highlanders.
When I left the Army I found getting a job extremely difficult at first. My first job was driving a chippy van and my first full time job was at ICI Powfoot where I made gunpowder. From there I have had many jobs. I have worked in building sites and on the roads. In peat bogs and kitchens washing dishes. I have waited tables and driven furniture removal vans. Picked fruit and vegetables in season and driven Taxis. In essence I could and would turn my hand to whatever put food on the table and kept a roof over my head.
At the age of twenty-five and having been a year unemployed I reached one of the major milestones in my life. Disillusioned and getting desperate I was persuaded to try a part time course at the college. Of course I had to pick the one thing that scared me the most, computers. It was to my great surprise that not only was I able to complete the course but I enjoyed it as well. So I signed up for a full year. For the first time in my life I found that I could communicate with people on the same level. It was a revelation. It was then I began to suspect for the first time that I wasn’t as stupid as I had been led to believe throughout my life to that point. However the winds of fate picked me up and blew me away before I could take it any farther and it was another twenty-five years before I would return to pick up where I had left off.
This of course doesn’t explain my preoccupation with books. The only thing I found I could do really well as a youngster was read. Now as you may suspect by now I have learning difficulties. In fact I am registered as disabled with learning difficulties. I am dyslexic, have dyscalculia and a few other associated problems. I know some might be frowning right now as many dyslexics have problems reading. I was told when I was assessed that I have a rare form of dyslexia where my reading abilities are probably above the norm; however my ability to write legibly, grammar, punctuation and my numeracy skills are well below average. This of course is reflected in my writing. I have to get friends to edit all of my work. Even then many errors slip past and are often commented on. To date I only have one book that has been edited by a professional proofreader and that is Teardrops in the Night Sky. The simple cost of proofreading is the one thing that stops me doing it with all of my novels. Having a very poor education with few qualifications has always kept me on the breadline where work and pay is concerned. So it’s going to be a long time before I actually make any money from my books as the royalties from them will go straight towards having the next one proofread.
Some may ask, why not go to a publishing house? Yeah ok that’s a fair question but I don’t think I'm ready yet. Too many people trying to do the same thing all at the same time. I also don’t like the idea of being told what to write as has happened to many writers I know who are with publishing houses. Far too many people following the formula for success, publishing houses too follow the trend to keep in the money. I don’t actually care a damn about any of that; I swap genre like my wife swaps outfits getting ready for a day out. To date I have written Romance, Science Fiction, War and Science Fiction Fantasy Adventures. My short stories also include Horror, Children’s stories and Drama. None of this takes into account my poetry either. I don’t have to write a short synopsis and seek approval from editors either. I just write what the hell I like, when I like. Is it the right or wrong thing to do? I suppose in the end it is just a matter of opinion. For me it is the right thing. To become a literary giant, or a best selling author, then it is probably by far the wrong thing to do.
I can see in my minds eye a few shaking their head and wondering what the hell I’m all about. For me it’s all about fun. I love the exploration of mind. Whether my characters are in a romantic bind in some blistering desert or being chased across the universe by the bad guys, I don’t care, I just love the journey. Maybe that is the point of my writing across so many genres. I think to only write in one genre would crush me eventually, I am not the kind of person you can kick into a pigeonhole and leave there. I want to have a wee keek at what's round the corner, climb into the next hole over; have a root about and then move on. Of late I have discovered that some of my readers have also decided to join me on the journey. As I have moved from pigeonhole to pigeonhole, a brave few have begun to follow. It is such a buzz when a reader who normally only reads Romance novels, tells you she read your brutal alien invasion novel and loved it.
My books are about the characters, it is they who tell the story. I think it is that character development that helps my readers cross the boundaries with me. I am sometimes surprised by how invested some of my readers become in the characters I write about. Not only surprised but delighted. For seventeen years I sat and scribbled away in A5 jotters or banged away on an old laptop that only had a few hours battery life. Every now and then I would take an old book out of the cupboard and read it, then shove it away for a few years. Only a select few were privy to those novels and they could never understand why I never sent them to a publisher. I knew there was little hope of a mainstream publisher taking me on, especially considering the extra work my disabilities would bring. So I sat on them for seventeen years; until about the middle of last year when I began another book and stopped to ask myself a question. What the hell was I doing? So with the help of a friend I had a wee website built, but it was a bit of a flop as no one knew me and no one wanted to buy a book from a complete unknown. It was suggested that I put my books on Amazon. I put them on Kindle and was immediately slated for my grammar etc. That discouraged me for a while but then my friends and family began to step into the breach and helped me edit them. The remarks about my grammar and misuse of words have dropped considerably now and more and more people are taking the journey with me.
I sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading this and it puts some perspective on myself and my writing. To date only one of my books is available to order from your local books store or library and that is “Teardrops In The Night Sky”. It is the most popular of my novels and is a simple adventure story that crosses many boundaries. Teenagers to pensioners have written and told me of their delight at reading this novel. For the older generation it is the type of adventure without foul language and all the heavy sex scenes most modern novels contain. For them it’s a step back in time to the kind of pure adventure they were brought up with. For the young it’s something new to explore. It just so happens it's also my mothers favourite novel. Of course now it has been professionally proofread I am going to have to give her a fresh novel. The rest of my books are all available on Amazon as is Teardrops; in Kindle and paperback format.
J W Murison