Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the English West Midlands and the place and period have certainly shaped the setting and attitudes of a number of my stories.
When did you first start writing?
I made my first attempts at writing fiction when I was fifteen years old. I had gathered a great deal of information about the American 'Old West' and decided to put it to use by writing a Western novel. It was never finished, but the process revealed to me the joys of writing fiction.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I always work on more than one project at a time. So, currently I am writing a non fiction account of my three decades working as a zoo keeper specialising in the care of big cats, birds of prey and reptiles, 'Whose Zoo.' In addition, novels in progress include: 1 - Volume 2 of my irreverent fantasy series, 'The Soo-nar Stories' 2 - The first volume of a cross genre thriller series set in Melbourne and the Yarra Valley, 'Jaffa - Lost and Found.' 3 - A YA supernatural quest tale, 'Lily and the Drifters.' 4 - A new fantasy series tentatively entitled, 'Guardian Eternal.' 5 - My ongoing western novel, 'Yesterday.'
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The slow and restricted access to traditional publishers versus the freedom and control of indie publishing.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Making my novels available to a wider audience across a variety of platforms.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Finding the answers to the questions that life poses. Oh and, of course, having written :)
What do your fans mean to you?
I am overwhelmed and actually humbled by the kind comments and generous praise that my works have received. I, in essence, write stories that I like to read, for myself. It is gratifying to discover that other people gain pleasure from my efforts, too.
Who are your favorite authors?
An almost endless list in no particular order:
Jack Schaefer, William Shakespeare, Robert B. Parker, Lee Child, Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf, John Keegan, James Hilton, Robert Heinlein, Michael Moorcock, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Raymond Chandler, Ken Grimwood, Terry Pratchett, Antony Beevor, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming....
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The fact that I am still breathing and every day is its own reward.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, walking my German Shepherd Dog, playing video games, watching movies and TV, volunteering and did I mention reading?
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Online recommendations and forums.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was a short story I wrote at school, set in an Orwellian style, dystopian future. My English teacher hated it, I remember.
What is your writing process?
Organic. I start with a character and an inciting incident and then find my way from there. I never outline as I find that if I already know the story then I have no interest in writing it. The process of discovering the tale for myself is a large part of the fun.
I write my first draft by hand in an A4 notebook reserved for each particular novel and then transcribe onto my PC using voice recognition software as I find typing physically challenging and frustrating.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My first reading experiences were The Famous Five books by Enid Blyton. They fired my imagination and opened the world of fiction to my six year old mind. And I went on to name my first dog 'Timmy'.
How do you approach cover design?
An artist friend kindly produces images for me based on the story involved and I then incorporate this artwork into an online cover design process.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
'Shane' by Jack Schaefer. I am a big western fan and this is not only, in my opinion, the finest western novel ever written, it also gave a struggling young man a template for the kind of honourable person he hoped to one day become.
'Brideshead Revisited' by Evelyn Waugh. Beautifully lyrical writing.
'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee. Timeless classic, socially important and so well written.
'Random Harvest' by James Hilton. I love all of his works, but this moving tale gets me every time.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare - just genius.
What do you read for pleasure?
Westerns, SF, Fantasy, Military History, classics, historical fiction.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Describe your desk
Cluttered and surrounded by the trappings of a geek novelist.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.