Interview with Len Cooke

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I once read a notice on the wall of a colleague's office, it said – 'Life is not a rehearsal, it's the real thing.' I think the stark message behind that statement of absolute and incontrovertible truth is something that should be taught in every school in the world; it certainly gets me out of bed every morning anyway.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a number of hobbies and interests which include – entertaining and being educated by the grandchildren, woodworking, reading, photography and watching television. My wife and I also enjoy long drives in the Lake District, a most beautiful part of England in which we are privileged to live; additionally, we make frequent visits to our next-door neighbour – the Yorkshire Dales, which must truly rank as one of the most delightful places on earth.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
By recommendation from friends and by trawling through ebook listings on the Internet.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
The Nexus 7 from Google
Describe your desk
Very busy and usually cluttered.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Cheshire, England, just after World War Two. I am not sure whether growing up there had a particular influence on my writing, I rather fancy it was more of being an only child, which meant that my siblings, who in actuality were non-existent, were fictitious creations of my own imagination.
When did you first start writing?
Probably when I was about eight years old. My first involvement in a full-length novel was a collaboration with a friend in 1979. The book, a comedy, was never published and probably never will be but it was good fun, very good fun, and after my involvement with its creation I was permanently hooked.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I am currently working on a time travel novel where most of the action takes place a couple of centuries hence. As with many of my novels it involves a policeman, whose help is sought by someone from the future.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
This is a difficult question to answer without sounding too over-confident about one's ability to tell a good story. However, after many, many rejections by both agents and publishers, and with the eventual realisation that one was engaged in a lottery and competing with, seemingly, half the world's population, I decided that the independent route was the only way ahead. After all, as enjoyable and fulfilling as writing a full-length novel is, all writers want people to read the results of their labours, we all want to either educate, entertain or both. The independent route, especially via the ebook, was therefore the obvious choice to make, especially as there is minimal, if any, financial outlay and therefore – minimal, if any, financial risk.

I also firmly believe that the independent author is very much the author of the future, after all, musicians and artists have been going independent for years.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
A famous psychologist once stated, more or less, that people are very much like scientists, i.e. they wish to understand their social world and by doing so – control it. Well, if you are a writer of fiction you have control over your characters and scenarios, i.e. the social world you create, in spades! It is extremely fulfilling to give the bad guy a black eye, to have the pauper suddenly make good, to rescue the damsel in distress from a fate worse than death. It all boils down to two things really, one – that most of us like to be liked and do something useful and worthwhile with our lives and two – by introducing the feelgood factor of, one, we can, vicariously, do just that.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are everything; if you are writing to entertain others then without anyone tangibly appreciating your work you may as well be writing in a vacuum on a desert island, an island inhabited only by yourself. Fans give you the inspiration to continue and therefore, simply by being a fan, they make a statement that you are doing something useful, something right.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes, it was ‘When Michael was Six’ by (I think) Francis Dale and Earnest Noble. Michael is my real name and a very kind and loving aunt bought it for my sixth birthday. Although, perversely, I cannot remember anything about the story, I do know that I was gripped by the sheer magic of it and by so doing the book made a lasting impression of the power and delight that can be created by the written word. As every avid reader knows – good books can do that sort of thing; certainly, I for one, have not stopped reading since.
What is your writing process?
I usually think about a story for anything up to six to eight weeks, jotting down ideas in the small notebook I always carry for that purpose. I do not plot in great detail, preferring instead to begin with a basic idea which, as with real life itself, can grow, organically. I then start to write, usually on the computer, and every time I return to the story I re-read, as a minimum, everything written the day before. Finally, the whole script is printed off, read aloud to my wife and edited in hard copy. I also usually ask a friend to cast an eye over the text before moving on to final publication.
Published 2014-02-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The McEndrick Option
Series: The Kate Hoagan Investigations, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 118,370. Language: British English. Published: October 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
The McEndrick Option is a fast-moving, psychological and political thriller featuring Len Cooke’s somewhat maverick, Cumbrian police heroine – Kate Hoagan.
The Mindhunter
Series: The Kate Hoagan Investigations, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 91,650. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
(5.00 from 1 review)
A serial killer is on the loose in Northern England, arrogantly discarding his many victims like so much unwanted garbage in the countryside and meres of the beautiful, but wild and often lonely English Lake District. Detective Chief Inspector Kate Hoagan, feted national heroine and pride of the small, Cumbria police force, is charged with stopping the murders but...
The Extraordinary Adventures of Charlie Frank
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 62,890. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Charlie Frank is middle-aged, out of work and for the first time in his life, in trouble with the law. To makes matters worse, his octogenarian father is arrested for mooning out of a bus window and his wife, who no longer loves him, is going through a mid-life crisis. Then he meets and falls in love with Grace, a beautiful police officer and...
The Guardian Angel
Price: Free! Words: 33,360. Language: English. Published: August 30, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Horror » Occult
A compendium of five short tales of the bizarre and unusual including: 'The Guardian Angel', 'Jennifer', 'The Fixer', 'The Time Traveller's Folly' and 'The Friends'. Featuring the devil, alien invaders and the folly of using time travel to alter history and find a wife.
September
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 86,560. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
A journey of greed, lust, avarice, adultery and murder. Set in rural England in the 1950s, 'September' is also a story about love, courage,and, with the aid of the paranormal, unfaltering belief.
The Illusionists
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 92,320. Language: English. Published: December 28, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
For Detective Superintendent Harry (H) Harrington, life is being very unkind. Firstly, his wife is brutally murdered, then, after he nearly dies himself, and his assistant does, he is swept along on a grim journey of government intrigue, duplicity and political assassination as he tries to uncover the truth, find the identity of his wife’s killer and save his reputation from the gutter.
The Time Travellers' Guide to Total Chaos
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 57,220. Language: English. Published: December 19, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Take a beautiful and highly intelligent alien from a faraway planet who is seeking political asylum on Earth. A not so bright policeman from Scotland Yard ordered to look after her; a mobile, futuristic computer called Zandron, with the ability to enable time travel. Result – absolute, complete and total chaos! Caution, read this only if you do not value your sanity.