Interview with Diem Burden

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a council estate in a small market town called Uttoxeter, in the English Midlands (if you've seen the Shane Meadows film, 'This is England', you've seen my childhood - the film was based on my town at the time I was a kid there). One of five boys from a working class family, we had to make our own enjoyment. Our life was spent outside on bicycles, exploring the countryside and playing fantasy games, getting hurt and occasionally being brought home by the police!

The third (and middle) child, I was shy, not particularly academically gifted and yet I was very artistic. At school, my paintings and drawings were well received by teachers and students alike, which helped boost my poor self-confidence. I even had one drawing published in the Birmingham newspaper, earning me one pound!

When I was about 11yrs old I came under the influence of a real teacher. Mr Bob Mellor was head of year, head of English, head of library and a true English eccentric. He believed in his pupils and worked hard to get the best out of them. He increased my knowledge, my confidence and above all, he encouraged me to read books.

Eventually, he managed to get me to write a story for a school competition. I began reluctantly, but soon got into the spirit of it. The story was entitled 'The Autobiography of a Golf Ball.' Amazingly, this was also well-received (or perhaps that was just to encourage me?), and probably not for my writing skills but more for my imagination.

By the time I was sent on to High School - thanks to Bob's hard work - I ended up in the top group with the brightest students. My life changed significantly that year. My confidence, creativity and art flourished, right up until I dropped out of further education at 17yrs of age. Sorry about that, Mr Mellor!
When did you first start writing?
After spending six years in the military followed by twelve years as a police officer, my artistic skills were well and truly buried.

My new career as a teacher of English to foreign students eventually caused me to fall in love with the written word, and by 2003 I had a dozen blogs on the go which gave me some surprising feedback from people all over the world regarding my writing. It's probably fair to say that my hidden creativity was finding a new outlet. This led me to the decision to write a book, but what about? Surely they'd all been written by then?

I began writing about my crazy childhood, a style of upbringing that has been well and truly lost now. 'Kicking the Cans' got to about six chapters, and was applauded by the privileged few who got to see my early scribblings. It even ignited a desire in my brother to write a book, which he did. I eventually abandoned 'Kicking the Can's as I didn't think anybody would want to read a book about me! (I'll resurrect it once I'm famous!)

In the summer of 2005 I was working in Cambridge as the Director of an international English language course. As I woke up next to my wife for another early and long day, we lay there talking about the dreams we had just been having. And that was it, my eureka moment! I went straight to my office and began tapping out the first few lines of 'The Dream Makers', which eventually led to six planned fantasy books.

These books took over my life for the next few years, and as I fumbled through the intricacies of forming and writing a book and running the idea out to various agents, I decided that the task was just too big for a first-time, untrained author. Writing up to 140,000 words on Microsoft Word is not for the feint-hearted! I needed to walk before I could run.

'The Rozzers', a series of five short stories, was born. Based on my life as a UK cop, these 15,000 word books would lead me through the complicated process of writing, creating and publishing a book. I decided to self-publish my work as e-books because it was so easy, it was free and nobody could get in the way of what I wanted to achieve. Part one of the series (End of the Road) has hit the number one spot in various categories and currently gets downloaded about 20 times a day - for free, alas.

I now have about fifteen books on the go, in various genres, at various stages of completion. I also use the Scrivener writing software which has helped me immensely.

My creative juices have not only returned after all these years, they have come back with avengeance!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes! The Autobiography of a Golf Ball, when I was about 11yrs old.
How do you approach cover design?
I wanted to publish my first books without any financial outlay, so as I once had artistic ability I decided to have a go at creating my own book cover. It took me ages to learn how to use the programs, time which I should have been using to write, but the end result was quite good. Many people told me how good it was, but it was clearly not a professional cover.

After a while I decided to reduce my book price to zero. After doing this, the book was downloaded about 8 times per day on average.

Being a perfectionist, I decided to splash out some money and hire a professional book cover designer. I found an excellent lady in the UK and together we came up with a brilliant cover. After uploading it, my downloads sky rocketed. They immediately doubled, then within two months they tripled, all because of a new, professional cover.

If you wish to compare the old and the new book covers, have a look at my blog page here> http://www.diemburden.com/2013/06/what-difference-does-cover-make.html

If you are an indie-publisher like I am, whatever you do, do not scrimp on that cover!
Published 2013-08-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Thief Taker
Series: The Rozzers. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 42,940. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Politics & Current Affairs » Law enforcement, Nonfiction » Law » Criminal
Part 4 of The Rozzers series takes us through the best years of the author's life as he becomes experienced, knowledgeable, relentless and deadly in his pursuit of the bad guys. The beauty of the famous British university city of Cambridge belies the wholesale criminality that pervades every corner. The only way to fight back at it is with cops like this.
One for the Road
Series: The Rozzers, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 26,360. Language: British English. Published: July 19, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Politics & Current Affairs » Law enforcement, Nonfiction » Social Science » True crime
The true life story of a British Police Officer who, having been authorised for solo patrol, is thrown onto the streets alone and has to learn how to be a cop on his own. Set in the 1990s, it vividly recreates the life of a rookie cop in those turbulent times.
Cops Don't Run
Series: The Rozzers, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 21,680. Language: British English. Published: November 13, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Law enforcement, Nonfiction » True Crime » General crimes
Swapping his army-greens for police-blues, ex-solder Diem initially suspects he has joined 'just another army'. All that changes however, once he is let loose on the unsuspecting public that make up the beautiful English university city of Cambridge. From mad axe-men to heart-breaking agony messages, the new probationary cop samples everything that life has to throw at him. But will he prevail?
End of the Road
Series: The Rozzers, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 13,700. Language: British English. Published: May 6, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Politics & Current Affairs » Law enforcement, Nonfiction » Biography » Law enforcement
(4.83 from 6 reviews)
If you thought being an unarmed British cop was tough, deciding to become one can be even tougher.