I was born in the town of Paisley on the west coast of Scotland, near Glasgow. It was pretty rough going when I was young - there was a lot of poverty, unemployment and petty crime in the locale, and not many fun outlets for the young people. A lot of boys ended up in gangs, and subsequently in trouble with the police. Not everyone was bad - some of my neighbors were 'the salt of the earth', and there were a lot of 'characters'. In writing Small Fish Big Fish, I wanted to present this environment and the challenges faced by growing up there in a fresh way to modern readers. So many of the issues faced by Stephen are mirrored in today's society, such as bullying, friendship, self-confidence, and finding your own space in a complex world.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It was after a few glasses of wine and a discussion that went along the lines of 'what would you like to be remembered for after you've gone?' Some went for creating an acclaimed artwork - a painting, or sculpture - others said being a film star. I thought about it and said I'd like to be an author, write books so that my children, their children and their children's children could pick it up and see and feel what I felt. Maybe, they might discover a bond with their past. So, initially I went down the traditional route, but didn't have much luck, then decided to self publish. It's been a long process, but worth every minute.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I write, the world and everything in it fades away and there is nothing except creating my characters and stories. This total involvement in something creative, putting together something that comes from my inner soul, is the reason I write and keep writing!
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! Without an audience for my work, what is the point? The more fans I have, the better I'll write.
What are you working on next?
Actually, I'm working on a Science Fiction novel (maybe even a series) that I've really excited about. The plot line is written already, and I'm working on developing the characters a bit more. I'll let you know when I get to a final draft stage. I'm also about half way through a sequel to Small Fish Big Fish.
Who are your favorite authors?
Not an easy question to answer. There are so many! I loved Frank McCourt, Stieg Larsson, and Patrick O'Brien, and more recent writers such as Robyn Hobb, Graeme Simseon, JK Rowling, etc but I also can't put down earlier authors like Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert L Stephenson, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Dickens, and heaps more.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love Australian Rules Football and am a huge Geelong fan. I also enjoy other sports like soccer, cycling, golf and of course I read a lot. I have created some stained glass pieces and paint a little, but don't find the time for that anymore! I like to get out in the garden occasionally, and am also a part-time tutor at the local Community House. When I have the opportunity, I enjoy going up to Cairns (at the top of Australia) to visit my daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Via Smashwords of course! But also I am a big social networker. Word of mouth is a big thing - when someone at my writing class talks about a book, I tend to want to download it immediately.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was a short article when I was fifteen for my class magazine entitled "A smoky visitor". This was a report about someone from the department of Health in Scotland who came to try to dissuade the kids from taking up smoking cigarettes. I still remember how excited I felt to be published!
What is your writing process?
I'm a planner by profession, so it's natural for me to try to put some sort of structure around my books. This is not a rigid formula - just a framework that allows me to develop my stories and characters as I go. At the same time, I enjoy nothing more than just going for it! Let the inner muse take me where it will. I've written some original stuff doing this. I also rewrite and review my work often. I like to craft my words to get maximum impact and as an example, most of Small Fish Big Fish has been rewritten many times.
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